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10 Best Workout Songs

By Edited Dec 14, 2015 2 1

There is no better way to get amped up for a heavy weight workout that with the right song cranked on your iPod.  The following Top 10 list is taken straight from my most frequently played songs in iTunes.  In looking over the list, it is clear that for me, heyday for workout music was during the late 80's and early 90's.  In fact, this list includes 4 songs from the '80s, 5 from the '90s and just one from 2010.  I hope you are able to find a great song that you may have forgotten about.  I am always looking for new music, so have a look and let me know if there are any songs that would would have added.

10. Firestarter (Prodigy)

Why this song?
Album
This song is mean and angry.  There is no hidden meaning to be found in the lyrics - they speak to being a firestarter, an instigator, a danger and a mind detonator.  I put this one on whenever I want to find more focus during my workout.  If I am having doubts about being able to do a set,  this song gives me the kick I need. 
The Fat of the Land 
Date Released
March 18, 1996
Highest Position on Billboard
#30 - Billboard Hot 100

9. Bawitdaba (Kid Rock)

Why this song?
Album
'Bawitdaba' was Kid Rock's breakthrough song.  The lyrics mean absolutely nothing, however Rock dedicates this song to every fringe element of society that he can think of - crackheads, freaks, chicks with beepers, etc.  The chorus is so primal and repetitive that you can't help but get psyched up when you start to hear "baw wit da ba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy"
 Devil Without a Cause
 Date Released
May 4, 1999
Highest Position on Billboard
 #10 - Billboard Alternative Chart

8. Institutionalized (Suicidial Tendencies)

Why this song?
Album
This song was a skater classic in the mid 80's.  Unlike most of the songs on this playlist, Institutionalized has a plot.  The lyrics are quite easy to understand and tell of Mike, a highschool kid whose various influences (friends, counsellors, parents) find his behaviour suspicious and suggest therapy.  The song speeds up during the chorus, which is when I try to time the hardest part of my set.  The vintage look of this video also makes me laugh.
 Suicidal Tendencies
Year Released
 1983
Highest Position on Billboard
Did not chart

7. Not Afraid (Eminem)

 

Why this song?
Album
Eminem has a number of good workout songs (Lose Yourself, Till I Collapse, Square Dance), but I was feeling that the 21st century was underrepresented.  This song is about having the strength to blow up a comfortable existence to move into a better place.  I take this to mean that unless you are living on the edge of your comfort zone, you are letting your life get way too complacent.   
 Recovery
Year Released
 April 29, 2010
Highest Position on Billboard
 #1 - Billboard Hot 100

6. She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)

Why this song?
Album
This post-punk song takes me back to my college years and was a forerunner to The Cult's breakthrough hit 'Love Removal Machine'.  The lyrics mean very little - apparently written for a woman with sparkley eyes that comforts the lead singer when the world gets him down.  I love the beat, the guitar and Ian Astbury's vocals.  The louder the better on this one.
 Love
Year Released
 May 17, 1985
 Highest Position on Billboard
 #36 - Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs

5. Kickstart my Heart (Motley Crue)

Why this song?
Album
I was not a glam metal fan back in the day, but looking back, can appreciate what Motley Crue did.  The song was written by Nikki Sixx after he was declared clinically dead after a 1987 drug overdose (while touring with Guns N' Roses).  He was declared clinically dead and the EMT (a huge Motley Crue fan) needed to give him 2 adrenaline shots to the heart to resuscitate. 
 Dr. Feelgood
Year Released
 November 20, 1989
Highest Position on Billboard
 #27 - Billboard Hot 100

4. The Beautiful People (Marilyn Manson)

Why this song?
Album
This song points out the hypocracy of beauty providing access and power and the phrase "Beautiful People" was originally coined by Vogue Magazine to describe the Kennedy family.  One of the producers on this song is Nine Inch Nails' frontman Trent Reznor.  Through the use of backmasking, if played backwards, you can hear  "I'm evil, believe it" for each "Beautiful People" and the chorus becomes "'You don't stand a chance against me, You don't have a way out, You must all praise us because he is the only way out'"
 Antichrist Superstar
 Date Released
 January 1997
Highest Position on Billboard
#26 - Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 

3. Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N' Roses)

Why this song?
Album
In 2009, 'Welcome to the Jungle' was named VH1's greatest hard rock song of all time.  Axl Rose's lyrics give the perspective of somebody moving from a small town to find their fortunes on the streets of Hollywood.  This was the opening song played at all GNR concerts until 2009 (and is now the second song after 'Chinese Democracy' if/when the band performs now)
 Appetite for Destruction
Year Released
 October 3, 1987
Highest Position on Billboard
 #7 - Billboard Hot 100

 

 

2. Enter Sandman (Metallica)

Why this song?
Album
Who isn't afraid of the boogey man as a kid?  This song's guitar riffs were intended to sound like a live stadium concert.  It is an intense song that always gets me going.  This has become Metallica's signature song.
 Metallica
Year Released
 July 29, 1991
Highest Position on Billboard
 #16 - Billboard Hot 100

 

 

1. Thunderstruck (AC/DC)

Why this song?
Album
I was fortunate to have seen AC/DC live for their Black Ice Tour in 2009.  It was the loudest concert I have ever been to, and Thunderstruck was the loudest song.  The whole arena was jumping.  I can easily channel the energy and intensity into a workout whenever I hear Angus's opening guitar riff. 
 Razor's Edge
Year Released
 1990
Highest Position on Billboard
 #5 - Mainstream Rock Tracks

I used this playlist pretty regularly for heavy workouts.  If you are interested in changing up your routine, I just finished the P90x program and would highly recommend it for people looking to bulk up and cut down on body fat.  The results were fantastic, but the time commitment was huge.  To stay fit, I am now starting on the short version of Insanity which only takes 20 minutes per day.

I would like to hear about what music you listen to at the gym - please use the comment box below to let me know what changes you would make to this Top 10 list.

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Comments

Jul 11, 2012 8:40pm
Introspective
You had me at Kid Rock!!!!
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Bibliography

  1. "Firestarter (song)." Wikipedia. 9/4/2012 <Web >
  2. "Bawitdaba." Wikipedia. 9/4/2012 <Web >
  3. "Institutionalized (song)." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >
  4. "Not Afraid." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >
  5. "She Sells Sanctuary." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >
  6. "Kickstart my Heart." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >
  7. "The Beautiful People (Marilyn Manson)." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >
  8. "Welcome to the Jungle." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >
  9. "Enter Sandman." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >
  10. "Thunderstruck (song)." Wikipedia. 9/7/2012 <Web >

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