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Best Workout Songs: 40 Bangers To Help You Survive The Gym
Geert Pieters
List & Guides

Best Workout Songs: 40 Bangers To Help You Survive The Gym

Inspiring and motivational, the best workout songs have driven many a competitor to achieve their personal best – and then smash it.

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Working out is always better with music. It motivates us to dig deeper, strive harder and even escape the real world for a while. Thanks to modern technology, we’re able to listen to our favourite songs while we exercise – so here are the 40 best workout songs to help get you through those demanding gym sessions.

Listen to our Running playlist and check out our 40 best workout songs, below.

40: The Monkees: I’m A Believer

The Monkees’ hit 1966 song is great at the start of a workout. With its upbeat tempo and instrumentation, it’s guaranteed to put a pep in your step, whether you’re stretching, running or dancing.

39: Green Day: Holiday

With the anthemic Holiday, Green Day capture the angsty energy of a generation of disillusioned millennials. While the tune may be more often associated with the skateboarding crowd (thanks to the Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland video game), its quick tempo and repetitive guitar hook make it one of the best workout songs for that moment when you’re just hitting your stride.

38: Flo Rida: Good Feeling

Flo Rida’s Good Feeling is a nostalgic dancefloor staple with an infectious beat. Revitalising Etta James by sampling her 1962 single Something’s Got A Hold On Me, Flo Rida created a time-jumping classic that looks to both the past and the future. With lyrics such as “Let’s get it/Gotta love the life we’re livin’,” the song’s positive message seems purpose-built for that latest round of cardio.

37: Tom Petty: I Won’t Back Down

With Tom Petty himself acting as personal coach, and Ringo Starr setting the pace on drums, I Won’t Back Down is perfect for cooling down with a light jog and stretches after your workout. The message: push yourself in order to reach your goals, and you’ll eventually get there.

36: Tina Turner: Disco Inferno

Tina Turner’s cover of Disco Inferno was recorded especially for her 1993 biopic, What’s Love Got To Do With It. A funky and energetic backdrop for an intense workout, its repetition of “burn, baby, burn” is reminiscent of a personal trainer encouraging us to feel the burn.

35: Anne-Marie x KSI x Digital Farm Animals: Don’t Play

Don’t Play’s simplicity allows the thriving collaboration between Anne-Marie and KSI to shine effectively. The latter’s rapping has never been better, as he winds around with Anne-Marie’s baritone voice to tell the story of a relationship falling apart due to constant emotional games. The garage style mixes with an 80s disco vibe that instantly pulls you in to the song.

34: Phil Collins: Sussudio

The classic 80s sound epitomised by Phil Collins’ Sussudio – all electronic drum kit, horns and synths – is enhanced by the song’s made-up name, making for both a melodic and rhythmic escape among the best workout songs.

33: Muse: Supermassive Black Hole

Fusing elements of electronica and funk, Supermassive Black Hole is a standout among Muse’s wide-ranging catalogue. With frontman Matt Bellamy’s gentle voice floating on top, it was the perfect choice for the iconic baseball scene in Twilight – and what better way to assert your place among the best workout songs than to invite fantasies of hitting homeruns with vampires?

32: Cher: Believe

Cher’s timeless hit shows the power of transformation, as it solidified her place as a cultural figure entering the 21st century. Featuring thick Auto-Tune and characteristic electronic production, Believe is a dance classic that will forever motivate gym-goers, thanks to its lyrics and high-octane tempo.

31: Charli XCX: Good Ones

Incorporating everything from synthwave to electro-pop and dance music, and blanketing it in retro 80s vibes, Charli XCX’s 2021 single Good Ones was an instant club hit. Its punchy production and hypnotic synths also make it one of the best workout songs, with a cyclical rhythm that’s perfect for cross-training or any type of exercise that requires reps.

30: Panic! At the Disco: High Hopes

The blaring brass section that drives Panic! At the Disco’s High Hopes offers a sure-fire way to maintain stamina while doing laps. The song’s positive message about dreaming big and overcoming obstacles is also perfect for encouraging you to set goals and persevere until you smash them.

29: Chicago: 25 Or 6 To 4

From its powerful horn section to its masterful guitar solo, Chicago’s 25 Or 6 To 4 is perfect for those longer workouts. The song’s multiple sections act as symphonic movements ensuring that you will never get bored, and they are tied together with the foundation laid by the rhythm section at the start. Not just one of the best workout songs, 25 Or 6 To 4 has become a classic sports anthem associated with the NFL and is also a staple for most high-school marching bands.

28: a-ha: Take On Me

With its energetic riff and effortless 80s synth-pop sound, Take On Me is guaranteed to invigorate any workout. The song already has an official Zumba routine, which uses a samba-style remix more suited to the dance. The original version of the song, however, hits the perfect tempo for any moderate or rigorous exercise.

27: Olivia Newton-John: Physical

Physical was an instant hit in 1981, spending ten consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. While the lyrics pose an obvious double-entendre, the song still encourages physical fitness. It also takes us to a time of fun retro aerobics gear: legwarmers, neon headbands and high-cut leotards over spandex shorts. The song’s melody was recently sampled by Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa for Prisoner, whose edgy catchiness also earns it an honourable mention among the best workout songs.

26: Alok and Vintage Culture (featuring FAULHABER): Party On My Own

To match the song’s lyrics about loneliness and the end of a relationship, the production on Party On My Own is on the darker side, but it maintains an upbeat tempo. The thumping bassline and drum patterns create a trance-like feeling ideal for getting in the zone.

25: Aretha Franklin: Respect

Aretha Franklin’s version of Otis Redding’s Respect is easily one of the best workout songs. With a snazzy horn section, upbeat background vocals and, of course, Aretha’s powerful lead vocals, it makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.

24: Fleetwood Mac: Go Your Own Way

In the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, when Tom Hanks’ titular character got a bit bored with life, “for no particular reason” he just started running. As Forrest ran all the way across the US, Fleetwood Mac’s era-defining Rumours track Go Your Own Way provided the soundtrack. If the sound of Lindsey Buckingham passionately screaming his heart out for Stevie Nicks was able to accompany a run that lasted “three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours”, then it can push the rest of us through a quick circuit.

23: Donna Summer: Hot Stuff

Hot Stuff opens with a chromatic riff up and down the synthesiser, which will help propel you higher if you’re on a stair climber. Donna Summer effortlessly puts us in the party mode, making it feel as though we’re letting loose in a nightclub, not exercising down the gym.

22: Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Another song that helps make a gruelling workout feel more like dancing with wild abandon, I Wanna Dance With Somebody makes time pass more quickly during cardio – it’s much more enjoyable pretending you’re in the club with your friends.

21: Prince: U Got The Look

Prince’s 1987 hit U Got The Look is a heavily percussive song, with Sheila E delivering a fantastic drum performance and His Royal Badness wailing on guitar like only he could. The repetition of the lyrics almost acts as a chant, driving you to peak performance in search of that “heck-a-slammin’” body.

20: Led Zeppelin: Immigrant Song

Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song has been memorably used to soundtrack battle scenes in films (with lyrics inspired by Norse mythology, it made a fitting appearance in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarock, as the Norse god takes on a mass of villains). Action-packed and filled with Jimmy Page’s belligerent guitar, Robert Plant’s belting vocals and John Bonham’s thunderous drumming, it’s definitely one to listen to while weightlifting.

19: Young Thug: Hercules

A fittingly-titled entry among this list of the best workout songs, Young Thug’s Hercules will help gym-goers channel the Greek hero’s mighty strength. Produced by Metro Boomin, the song lives in constant anticipation of slap, while Thug raps and scats in complex patterns and modulations that match the slinking beats behind him.

18: Stevie Nicks: Edge Of Seventeen

Beginning with a strong 16th-note guitar riff, Edge Of Seventeen creates a sense of adrenaline coursing through your veins. When Stevie Nicks’ powerful voice comes in, she commands “the white-winged dove” to empower anyone who’s listening. The percussive repetition of the guitar riff makes the song ideal for endurance training or long-distance running… Or, to tone your calves, you could try twirling around the room in a mystical shawl, in true Stevie style.

17: Killswitch Engage: In Due Time

Proof that heavy metal is good for pumping iron, Killswitch Engage’s In Due Time will enhance any rush of endorphins, its quick guitar and drum work really driving home the Massachusetts metallers’ message of overcoming life’s trials and tribulations.

16: Tiësto: The Business

With its repeated refrain of “Let’s get down, let’s get down to business”, Dutch DJ Tiësto created a modern house classic with a cyclical chorus that encourages productivity. Perfect for those lunchtime workouts, The Business will get you out of the office headspace and into the callisthenics frame of mind.

15: Missy Elliott (featuring Ciara and Fat Man Scoop): Lose Control

Built on a run of chromatic scales, Lose Control is as badass as it comes. Missy’s attitude, Fatman Scoop’s raspy shout, and Ciara’s soft croon all come together to create the perfect song to ramp up the energy and raise anticipation for that next gym breakthrough.

14: The Doors: Break On Through (To The Other Side)

The ferocity created by John Densmore’s drums and Robby Krieger’s guitar in the introduction to this classic Doors song will drive you forward through your workout. With Jim Morrison’s assertive vocals and Ray Manzarek’s intricate keyboard solos increasing the frenzy, this song is guaranteed to help you break on through the pain barrier of your workout.

13: Dua Lipa: Physical

From Dua Lipa’s renowned sophomore album, Future Nostalgia, Physical encourages exercise in all forms – dance, rioting or anything else its lyrics may seem to suggest. The song’s bouncy synth-pop elements keep things fresh for listeners looking to get ripped for any of the above.

12: Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger

The theme tune for 1982’s Rocky III, Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger immediately established itself as one of the best workout songs of all time. Transporting us to the steps of the Philadelphia Museum Of Art, where Rocky Balboa ends his morning run, it has come to epitomise perseverance and the significance of the underdog. The guitar strumming in the intro builds anticipation for what’s to come, while, with each repeated power-chord strike, we inch closer to briefly starring in the Sylvester Stallone film inside our mind.

11: Chaka Khan: I’m Every Woman

Empowering for everyone who listens to it, I’m Every Woman serves as a reminder that we’ve all got it in us to succeed – whatever we want to accomplish, we can do it “naturally”. Chaka Khan tells us not to compare ourselves to others, but to know we’re perfect already, which also makes I’m Every Woman a great body-positive hit. A song that sings to our souls, it easily sits among the best workout songs.

10: Ed Sheeran: Shape Of You

One of the best Ed Sheeran songs to add to your workout playlist, Shape Of You’s hypnotic, marimba-lead rhythm is infectious enough to get you through even the most punishing gym session. Proof that the song is great for physical training, its music video is set in neither the club nor the bar, but predominantly in a boxing gym and sumo dohyō.

9: Red Hot Chili Peppers: Give It Away

As the lead single from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik album, Give It Away signposted the high-energy blast the group’s fifth record would deliver. Frontman Anthony Kiedis’ sleazy lyrics are rapped while Flea’s funky bass roams around the track and guitarist John Frusciante gives the song an edge with angular fretwork. Add the bouncy feeling created by Chad Smith’s drumming, and Give It Away is one of the best workout songs for regaining any lost focus.

8: Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin: I Like It

At the end of I Like It’s first verse, Cardi B makes it plain: “I run this shit like cardio.” What else do you need to hear while on the treadmill? With Bad Bunny and J Balvin contributing, the song’s blend of trap, salsa, and boogaloo is an undeniable adrenaline-pumper.

7: Madonna: Into The Groove

Into The Groove is perfectly prefaced by Madonna encouraging “And you can dance for inspiration”. She’s right, of course: dancing is a major form of working out; it increases flexibility, improves muscle strength and has also been proven to ease anxiety. With its catchy chorus and whimsical lyrics, Into The Groove topped charts around the globe in 1985, and its simplicity has ensured its place among the best workout songs.

6: Paramore: Ain’t It Fun

Working out is fun… right? If you not feeling it, Paramore’s perky tune Ain’t It Fun can help. The song’s xylophone creates a light feeling that’s grounded by Hayley Williams’ slightly sarcastic lyrics, but while she consistently reminds us that the real world is tough, the central theme is that that we shouldn’t take things too seriously.

5: Olivia Rodrigo: Good 4 U

One of the best songs of 2021, Good 4 U draws on all the post-breakup misery that leads some spurned lovers to the gym. The staccato bass that drives the verses creates a momentum that culminates in the song’s hard-hitting chorus, making it one of the best workout songs for sessions that demand spurts of high-impact training. After all, why should our exes be the only “happy and healthy” ones? We deserve that, too.

4: Finesse: Bruno Mars (featuring Cardi B)

Blending 90s New Jack Swing with Bruno Mars’ modern take on funk and R&B, Finesse is an essential addition to any workout playlist in need of a bit of polish. Cardi B’s verses add an extra layer of old-school hip-hop that is guaranteed to keep you going through those interminable spin classes.

3: Lizzo: Good As Hell

Lizzo’s uplifting Good As Hell is a perfect booster for that mid-workout lull. Her soulful pop sensibilities shine as she sings about embracing independence and taking life as it comes. “Baby, how you feelin’?” she asks. “Feeling good as hell!” a chorus replies. It’s the best mantra for body positivity while working out.

2: Van Halen: Jump

Featuring Eddie Van Halen playing a prominent synth-style keyboard, as well as performing a cutting-edge guitar solo, Jump’s unique dance-rock style is a great all-rounder in this list of the best workout songs. David Lee Roth is known for his outrageous stage moves, and this high-energy song always provided him with the perfect opportunity to turn in performances that any cheerleader would be jealous of, including flips, summersaults and mid-air splits – fine inspiration for the more freewheeling exercise junky.

1: Daft Punk: Harder Better Faster Stronger

The fourth single from Daft Punk’s disco-influenced second album, Discovery, Harder Better Faster Stronger builds with a steady momentum that’s like a mini gym session all in itself. Starting out with lyrical fragments of “Work it/Make it/Do it/Makes us”, it progresses towards the more fully realised “Work it harder, make it better/Do it faster makes us stronger” and, topping our list of the best workout songs, emerges as the very embodiment of the idea that small steps ultimately lead to making the biggest moves.

Need even more of a pep? Check out the best feel-good songs – upbeat tracks to guarantee happiness.

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