Music; a Competitive Edge

December 18, 2018 0 Comments

Music; a Competitive Edge

Do you use music during a workout? Before a game? An exam?

If you do, you are not alone, if you don’t then you should.

Different genres of music generate different reactions in us. Some force focus, some make us move and some increase adrenaline.

Which is why music is such a vital part to training and competing in sport, but only before hand.

In sport, regardless of whether you are running down the high street or competing, having music enhances your performance, giving you an edge.

In fact, music gives athletes such a competitive edge, that in 2007 the USA Track and Field group banned the use of headphones and portable audio equipment at it’s official races to “ensure safety and prevent runners from having a competitive edge.” 

But how does it work?

By disassociating the pain and fatigue from sport with music, we can push through the experience with more ease. We can go for longer and push further than we could were we to be focussed on the sensation of the exercise. Although I believe this is only true if there is a synchrony between the rhythm of the music and the movements of the athletes themselves. Haile Gebrselassie synched his stride to the song Scatman when breaking the 10,000 metre World Record. Gebrselassie said when interviewed “the Scatman John tune is replaced by the need to set the perfect pace and to keep a close eye on the opposition, often years younger.” Long distance running is about not being the fastest, but making sure you are not the slowest. Finding a song that has a steady beat means a runner will be able to regulate their pace better.

Scientists and top minds at Brunel Uni have found that music can reduce your rate of perceived effort by 12% and improve your endurance by 15% which is astounding. When your body is working at over 80% and for longer than 20 minutes, you naturally start to fatigue. Your heart rate is faster and lactic acid builds in your muscles. Music that can decrease your heart rate means that your body will be able to cope with the physical demand more effectively.

We could consider the potential for music creating what we all must by now refer to as The Zone. If you are unaware as to what The Zone is, it is effectively where you ‘zone out of everything else so much that you create your own zone, completely zoned in and focussed on one thing in particular.’ In this instance, it’s winning.

As I mentioned earlier, there are particular genres of music designed specifically for focus, so the same logic can be applied to studying.

Music can also boost internal motivation by triggering positive emotions.

We are much more capable of succeeding when we are reinforced positively. Many songs, especially workout music will use positive lyrics and upbeat rhythms to increase your heart rate to prepare you mentally and physically for a workout. This can have a positive effect on the person training as in most cases, this means they can go for longer and more importantly enjoy it more.

So next time you compete or exercise, put in your bluetooth wireless earphones (safety first! – You can get some here at ) listen, and Go.

This post was written by Adam Jones.