Fitness instructors know that music has the power to stimulate and relax, to divert attention from feelings of fatigue and to enhance positive moods. Now, Tunisian researchers have shown that up-tempo warm-up music can improve short-term bursts of anaerobic exercise by highly trained athletes in competitive activities.
Researchers equipped 12 competitive male athletes with tapes and headphones that played music at 120–140 beats per minute during the 10-minute warm-up period. After removing the headphones, the athletes performed a 30-second sprint on a cycle erogometer. Two days later, they conducted the same test, without music. After both warm-ups, the scientists recorded each subject’s heart rate and rating of perceived exertion; after the sprints, they recorded muscle power output and RPE.
Data analysis revealed that hearing up-tempo music during the warm-up did not significantly affect either heart rate or RPE, but it did increase peak power output. Study authors suggested that music might play a role in increasing motivation and arousal.
Study findings were reported in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine (2012; 3 , 233–38).