Play That Inspiring Music

How to Create a Playlist That Will Turn Indoor Cycling into a Joyride


Exercising to music often makes the time pass more quickly and the experience more enjoyable. Indoor cycling is no exception. Indeed, choosing the right tunes can actually help you get more out of your rides. Research suggests that listening to music makes your workouts more enjoyable, reduces your perceived level of exertion, and enhances your overall performance. A case in point: A 2014 study from Brunel University in the U.K.

found that when people rode a stationary bike at an intensity that was 5 percent above their maximal ventilatory threshold (the point at which breathing becomes labored and it’s difficult to talk while exercising) as they listened to music, they enjoyed the workout more and their moods were more positive than when they did the same routine without music.

The American Council on Exercise recommends looking for workout songs that have a tempo or beats-per-minute (BPM) rate that corresponds to the heart rate you hope to achieve during the workout: In the case of cycling, the optimal range would be songs that have a BPM rate between 135 and 170. The Spinning® program recommends going with songs that have BPMs between 130 and 140. Any way you slice it, we’re talking about fast-tempo songs that will boost your mood and motivate you to ride at a higher intensity.  Woo-hoo!

For the indoor cycling classes I teach, as well as my own personal rides, I like songs that have an upbeat tempo and often layers of rhythm.

I also vary the genre of music and the BPMs, depending on what kind of ride or drills we’ll be doing. Climbing a hill can be done to a slower song, whereas sprints and jumps are better suited to upbeat, faster tempo songs.  

Here are some of my favorite tunes for indoor cycling. Feel free to borrow or steal my suggestions and make your own playlist.

Then, ride to your heart’s content!

Versatile Songs to Pedal to

Can’t Hold Us, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Cooler Than Me, Mike Posner

Counting Stars, OneRepublic

Crazy in Love, Beyoncé

Don’t Stop, Foster the People

Don’t Stop the Music, Rihanna

I Gotta Feeling, The Black Eyed Peas

In the Ayer, Flo Rida

It’s My Life, No Doubt

Lessons in Love, Neon Trees

Let’s Go, Calvin Harris

Lights, Ellie Goulding

Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong, Spin Doctors

Lucky Strike, Maroon 5

Play Hard, David Guetta

Roam, The B-52’s

Start Me Up, The Rolling Stones

Timber, Pitbull

Turn Around, Pt 2, Flo Rida & Pitbull

The Walker, Fitz & The Tantrums

Waves, Mr. Probz

Great Hill-Climbing Songs

Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Verve

Empire, Shakira

Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

Freak, Kelly Rowland

Learn to Fly, Foo Fighters

Locked Out of Heaven, Bruno Mars

Lonely Boy, The Black Keys

Magnificent, U2

Numb/Encore, Jay-Z & Linkin Park

Rolling in the Deep, Adele

Scream, Usher

Shut Your Eyes, Snow Patrol

Take Back the Night, Justin Timberlake

Tongue Tied, Grouplove

The Way I Are, Timbaland

Inspiring Songs for Jumps

Drive By, Train

Four Minutes, Madonna

Heart Skips a Beat, Olly Murs

Love Runs Out, OneRepublic

Mercy, Duffy

Super Songs For Sprints and Speed Intervals

Cry for You, September

Delirious, David Guetta

Euphoria, Usher

Hot, Inna

I Cry, Flo Rida

I Like It, Enrique Iglesias

Loca, Shakira

Mr. Brightside, The Killers

Night of Your Life, David Guetta & Jennifer Hudson

On The Floor, Jennifer Lopez

Push It, Salt-N-Pepa

She Bangs, Ricky Martin

Tonight, Enrique Iglesias

We Found Love, Rihanna

White Wedding, Billy Idol

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