Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Music improves sports performance

Music improves sports performance
Swimmers improve their times by two percent if they listen to motivating music. Sports scientists at Brunel University did tests with 26 swimmers aged 18-23 and published the results in Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

Much has already been written on the stimulatory effect of music on athletes. Studies have demonstrated this effect, for example on 400m sprinters [J Sports Sci. 2006 Oct; 24(10): 1095-102.], on rowers' sprint performance [The Sport Psychologist, 22, 175e182.] and on triathletes' long-distance times [J Sci Med Sport. 2012 Jan; 15(1): 52-7.].

The researchers wanted to know whether swimmers react positively to music so they got their subjects to listen to music on a waterproof MP3 player while they swam 200 metres as fast as possible.

On one occasion the swimmers had to listen to Sexy And I Know It by LMFAO; on another occasion they listened to Howl by Florence And The Machine. According to the researchers Sexy And I Know it is a motivational number: it has a simple rhythm and the lyrics can be interpreted as positive. Howl is a more complex number and therefore oudeterous: neither motivational nor demotivating.

Both songs have the same tempo 130 beats per minute which according to the researchers is best for improving performance.

The swimmers also swam the same distance on one occasion without music.

When they listened to music the swimmers had faster times, as the figure below shows. Howl had almost the same positive effect as Sexy And I Know It. The swimmers were equally motivated by both tracks, although seventy percent said that in the water at least they preferred Sexy And I Know It.

Music improves sports performance

"The present findings support the hypothesis that the use of music during a high-intensity task can have an ergogenic effect; this was in the order of 2% when averaged out across the two experimental conditions", the researchers write.

Music lowers testosterone levels, we wrote a few weeks ago. If that effect is physiologically relevant, maybe athletes should use music during competitions, but not during training sessions.

Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Volume 14, Issue 4, July 2013, Pages 560568.

Music lowers testosterone level 09.05.2013