Want your clients and athletes to reach new levels of power performance? Have them train while playing their favorite tunes. A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2011; doi: 10.15191JSC.obo13e318237e7b3) suggests that athletic performance improves when a client gets to choose his own music. The study involved 20 trained college males who performed three bench-press sets to failure at 75% of 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) and three jump squats at 30% of 1-RM. Subjects did the exercises twice—without music and again while listening to self-selected music (SSM). Bench press performance didn’t change, and there was no statistical difference in squat jump height. But squats did improve with the music on: take-off velocity, rate of velocity development and rate of force development were all higher. And while the men reported more fatigue after exercising to their chosen tunes, they also reported greater levels of vigor.

“This study demonstrated increased performance during an explosive exercise and an altered mood state when listening to self-selected music,” the study authors reported. “Therefore, listening to self-selected music might be beneficial for acute power performance.”