Trance is the best music to work out to, a new study by athletics trainer David Siik of Equinox has found.
Siik, who runs the club’s elite treadmill program, did research around the Mozart Effect – the result of a 1991 study by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis that showed listening to music by the composer had healing affects on the brain – to find the results.
“Here’s the thing about the Mozart Effect,” Siik told Billboard. “It’s just the belief that by listening to Mozart as opposed to other types of music, especially lyrical music, you tend to perform better in testing like IQ tests, cognitive tests, reading tests.”
Siik then decided whether to test whether the theory worked in relation to exercise, but instead of using classical works, he used music by artists including Armin van Buuren and Radion 6.
“I looked at the Mozart Effect as a starting point but I was never planning on playing Mozart in the class,” he said. “All that means is the choice between lyrical music versus non-lyrical music affects the brain and your motivation and feelings. It’s been studied for a long time but it hasn’t really been applied to fitness.
“I found that the most robust library falls with the hi-energy/trance music, which is perfect because trance by its very nature has a lot of patternization in its notes,” Siik said.
He explained the reason behind the results is because athletes can concentrate better if they are listening to music without lyrics.
“If you have, say, Justin Timberlake feeding you this awesome story and then you have a coach, David Siik, telling you to subtract 1.8 from your personal record, and add a 2 per cent incline, I believe it’s overstimulating your language processing center and studies support that,” Siik said. “The multitasking that is caused by lyrical music in the background dramatically reduces focus and retention.
“If you’re just going out for five miles with no decisions, you should play whatever music you enjoy,” Siik added. “But for anybody who’s looking for a little bit of challenge in their workouts and wants to create a sense of structure – say going to Central Park and doing two minutes fast, one minute walk – try this music. I guarantee it changes the experience.”
There’s been a number of studies around electronic music this year, including one that revealed the age you should give up clubbing, another that showed major labels are making $9,000 per minute from streaming, the reason we’re all totally addicted to bass and one that found music stimulates the same part of the brain as sex, drugs and food.
Rob McCallum is DJ Mag’s deputy digital editor. Follow him on Twitter here.