Best Lifting Music for Heavy Weights by Barbell Brigade

Posted on 14 Jun 2015 18:56


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Bart Kwan recently posted a video of a group discussion between his girlfriend Geo and his training partners and members of his gym Barbell Brigade, Lu and Alex.

The topic of discussion was music to listen to while lifting weights – especially when setting personal records or going for max-outs.

What kind of music is the "right" kind of music to listen to while lifting weights, or working out in general, is frequently debated.

What kind of music helps you get more motivated? What kind helps you perform best?

Original Video

My Thoughts

I think this topic of workout music is completely dependent on the person. In the video you will notice how each of the three participants prefer different music. Geo likes Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Lu loves Hip Hop, Rap, Rock and Metal and Alex prefers RnB.

Here’s what I think and this is just my opinion. About 99.9% of the time I don’t like any music whatsoever. I prefer either silence or just to be in the environment with my crew. I conversed with Donnie “SuperD” Thompson on Facebook a few weeks ago because I saw a video of his training and they were listening to some really low non-aggressive type music. I have also seen Scott Cartwright listen to “Let it go” from the Frozen movie soundtrack while pulling 1,000 pound rack deadlifts. A lot of these big time powerlifters have kids and their families with them when they are putting in the time and effort to up their strength while maintaining regular jobs and such. So they don’t like big aggressive music because it is a distraction to the kids and makes the environment non child friendly but most importantly they believe that you shouldn’t have all these mental crutches to get you ready to lift. You have to center yourself and be so focused that nothing can disturb your sense of equilibrium.


Having spent so many years training under Eric Troy I am also a firm believer in not using mental crutches to get you ready for a lift. I know a lot of powerlifters will agree with me because when you compete in a meet you cannot listen to music or anything so why develop these dependencies during regular training? But I am not a powerlifter nor do I wish to ever compete and I think you should listen to music if you really want to but you shouldn’t become one of those people who starts half-assing a workout just because you don’t have access to your iPod or something.

In Eric Troy’s Getting in the Zone series he has gone in depth to explain the state of arousal (don’t get confused with being sexually aroused: this is about being prepared to lift a shit ton of weight!) and how you can engage in specific breathing exercises and visualization techniques to being best prepared to lift a new max.

I don’t think people should be judgmental of others for listening to whatever music floats their boat and gets the bar moving but they really shouldn’t be overly dependent on the music to do their work for them. Lifting big weights is as much a mental game as physical and you shouldn’t lose yourself while listening to music and attempting a big feat of strength. Whatever genre or music band you listen to you must be aware of what is going on around you. You cannot envision yourself like some machine about to do a mundane activity of lifting weights.

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