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Building a Pump Up Playlist for Every Kind of Workout

Kelsey Sarracino Mar 06, 2024

Every workout, from hot girl walks to serious weight training sessions, has one thing in common—a kick-a** playlist. But mastering the art of workout music playlist-making is harder that you may think. Maybe you put a random playlist on shuffle and hope for the best (spoiler alert—it usually doesn’t work very well). But now, it’s time to change that tune, break it down, and reveal the science behind crafting a perfect pump-up playlist.

Before you throw your gear in your favorite workout duffel, here’s how to get your playlist in order.


Set Your Workout Plan 

What’s on the agenda for today? Is it a high-intensity weight training day? Or a low-key, taking-it-easy walk? Or even a mix of both? It’s important to consider this before you start, because whatever you choose will dictate your playlist’s vibe, length, and energy levels.

If you’re opting for a high-intensity session, think about the BPM (beats per minute) of your music. Selecting songs with a BPM that matches your goal heart rate will naturally help you set and keep that high energy you’re working for! Pro tip: EDM is a great genre if you’re looking for a fun and consistent beat. 

On the other hand, a stroll on the treadmill or a walk through the park doesn’t have the same high-energy vibe as an intense cardio workout. Softer acoustics or lo-fi tunes could be the right move for low-key exercise. 


Consider Your Mood 

Whether you’re happy, sad, angry, or just need an escape, there are tons of songs for that. But if you’re struggling to find music that fits your current vibe, taking a look at pre-made playlists can help you find the songs you’re looking for. 

Spotify’s “Made for You” playlists (sorry, Apple Music people!) are a great place to start. Mixing and matching from multiple playlists can help you create an even more personalized version without too much searching. 


Let’s Talk About Genre

Are you a “any and all genres” kind of playlist-er? Or a “carefully alphabetized and cultivated” person? Either way, selecting a genre (or two) can help you narrow or expand your options and craft a great workout playlist. 

This is the perfect opportunity to do a deep dive into your favorite genre. But if you’re feeling adventurous, consider exploring a brand-new genre. Take a walk down discovery lane and see what catches your ear. A new top genre or favorite artist could be in your future.  

If you’re looking to practice yoga or stretch, pure instrumentals can help keep you in the moment while still focusing on your body’s movements and sensations. 


In Your Era Era 

Into 2000s jams? Early ‘90s R&B? Classic rock? Modern pop? Whatever era you’re feeling, making a year-inspired playlist can let you experiment within a few key years and maybe even discover some new favorites. 

It can also be fun to explore a few genres within these chosen years. You never know what fun favorites are waiting to be discovered! Who knows, maybe your dad was onto something when he was blasting ‘80s tunes non-stop on that road trip. 


The One-and-Done

If building a workout playlist song-by-song isn’t your jam, try the one stop shop playlist approach: 

·       Step 1: Pick an artist or album. 

·       Step 2: Press play. 


This approach couldn’t be simpler and while you may have to hit skip a couple times to keep your vibe going, you’ll get a range of old favorites and new discoveries. 

Another great one-and-done album hack? Musicals. If you’re into that kind of music, throwing on your favorite musical album can immediately get you in the mood to strut your heart out. Fair warning: You may start belting out your favorite show tunes in the middle of the gym. 


A Different Kind of Playlist

But if even after all these tips, you’re still not feeling the workout music playlists, it’s time to consider a podcast. If you’re the sort of person who loves to tune in to tune out, a podcast or even an audio book could be the right move. 

From an easygoing podcast to a captivating audiobook, these categories will have you so engrossed in the story, your workout will fly by! 

Remember, it’s all about what makes you feel inspired and ready to jump into your workout. Whatever you choose, enjoy rocking out to your personalized workout playlist.