Why Eminem Should Be On Every Swimmer’s Playlist

Peruse through the pre-meet pump-up playlists of swimmers across the board, from the upper echelons of the elite to the coming-of-age teenager and you’re more likely than not to find a common artist among them  -Eminem.

Michael Phelps even pointed to the rapper’s track “Till I Collapse” as one of his favorite training tracks in 2012, the year he would become the greatest Olympian of all time.  Coincidence?  Scientists say no.  Recent research coming out of the Hartpury University Center in Gloucestershire found that, after listening to certain Eminem songs prior to physical activity, their studied athlete felt less tired and more alert.  

36-year-old Ben Hooper, a British swimmer, was involved in the study, which evaluated the physiological effects of different types of music ahead of his 2,000-mile Atlantic swim slated for December. In fact, Eminem’s hits in particular were found to boost an athlete’s performance and speed by approximately 10%, according to the results of the experiment. Specifically, the ever-popular “Lose Yourself”, “Not Afriad” and “Without Me” were shown to ‘significantly increase both power and endurance during prolonged and intense exercise.’

Why is this the case?  Researchers conclude that the aforementioned Eminem songs’ specific rhythm, tempo and lyrics have a “highly motivational edge”.  Scientist Richard Collins, pointed to the ‘emotional impact’ of lyrics as being important in upping the performance factor. “The music still needs to be at a brisk pace, but we found tracks with an emotional resonance can boost performance and endurance as much as 10%.” Relating the results to test subject Hooper, Collins says the boost could be “because these emotionally tied songs help Ben muscle down and push through the pain.”

What should be on your playlist? According to Hartpury University Center researchers, the two lists below detail the songs you should move to the top of your pump-up playlist, as well as the tracks you should bust down to the ‘cleaning out the garage’ background-noise-level.

Top ten songs for optimum athletic performance

  1. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  2. Not Afraid – Eminem
  3. Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
  4. Hall of Fame – The Script
  5. Remember the Name – Fort Minor
  6. Stay – Sash
  7. We Come 1 – Faithless
  8. The Day Is My Enemy – The Prodigy
  9. Without Me – Eminem
  10. Back in the U.K. – Scooter

… And 10 songs to avoid

  1. Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
  2. World Looking In – Morcheeba
  3. Tear Drop – Massive Attack
  4. Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
  5. Kelly Watch The Stars – Air
  6. One Love/People Get Ready – Bob Marley
  7. Fleetwood Mac – Passenger
  8. No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley
  9. You Can Get It If You Really Want – Jimmy Cliff
  10. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

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5 years ago

Totally agree.
But IMHO, Rudimental “Not Giving In” shud be No 1.

5 years ago

Massive Attack, Morcheeba AND Air? Are you kidding me with this “do not listen to list”?! Those groups and those particular songs are fantastic music. Judging from the list, the university is in the UK……… yup.

Reply to  ChestRockwell
5 years ago

I’m pleased about hall of fame being in the list

5 years ago

This is all wrong. Eminem’s lyrics are angry and so is the emotional response from his fans. Anger produces adrenaline and leads to an early release of endorphins before a race. Try this with a STRONG parental advisory:

Top-10 feat. Eminem
1. Rabbit Run
2. ‘Till I Collapse
3. 40 Oz.
4. Marshall Mathers
5. Fight Music
6. The Way I Am
7. Airplanes, Part II
8. Cinderella Man
9. Soldier
10. Forgot About Dre

The Next 5
1. No Apologies
2. I Need a Doctor
3. Rap God
4. Still Don’t Give a…
5. Kim

The Next Next 5
1. Sing for the Moment
2. Rap Game
3. Roman’s Revenge
4. Kill You
5. My Dad’s Gone Crazy

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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