When it comes to creating a captivating and motivating atmosphere at strength and conditioning gyms, music is essential. Music has the power to lift your athlete’s energy, elevate their performance level, give them a mental edge, and help them focus on pushing past their boundaries. On the flipside, a bad playlist can cause your athletes to lose focus; good music in the gym shouldn’t be the center of attention, but you can definitely feel its absence when it’s gone.

If you’re a strength and conditioning coach working with high school or college-level athletes, then generally you’re going to be dealing with a population of relatively young people. Just because the music you listen to gets you going, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will do the same for your athletes; particularly if you’re from vastly different generations.

There are several ways to discover what kind of music your young athletes are listening to. One approach is to keep up with the latest trends and pop culture references in order to stay informed on music genres and artists that are popular right now. Keep an eye on the Billboard charts, streaming services such as Spotify, and social media outlets like YouTube. If you have a good relationship with your athletes, you can ask them for suggestions for the gym playlist

When making your gym playlist:

1. Identify the genres of music that work with your audience. More importantly determine the genres of music that DO NOT work with your athletes.

2. Consider the pace, intensity, and style of the music. Music with lots of variation creates noticeable changes in music, drawing attention to it. Again, music should be in the background of your gym and not be the center of attention.

3. Choose songs with lyrics that motivate people to keep going. If lyrics are too distracting or not appropriate for your gym, you can often find instrumental versions of various popular music.

4. Experiment with music genres, mixing up hip hop, rock, pop, and EDM in a single playlist or confining a single genre to a given day of the week. Figure out what works and go with the best results.

5. Incorporate the occasional classic from a different decade.

6. Make sure to include some instrumental tracks that are high-energy but not too distracting.

7. Keep in mind the overall atmosphere you want to create in your gym when selecting tunes.

8. Test out different types of music during workouts to see what works best for your members.

Sample Music Lists: