Music to boost your workout

Costas Karageorghis Staff Photo 1
Dr Costas Karageorghis

If the holidays have left you sick at the sight of mince pies and chocolate baubles and you’re wanting to amp up your fitness, Deezer is here to help! Top athletes use music to enhance their performance, and researchers are now studying this phenomenon to understand how to fully harness its power.

We spoke with Dr Costas Karageorghis, a leading sport psychologist from Brunel University in London, about how to maximise the beneficial effects of music for your workout. Dr Karageorghis has even made his own ultimate workout playlist on Deezer to get you started. Now there’s no excuse!

So can music really help us in the gym?

Our research demonstrates that music can be a tremendous supplement to exercise. For maximum impact the tempo and rhythmic pattern need to be targeted towards your movement rate and activity pattern. Music can benefit exercise particularly at low-to-moderate exercise intensities. It is less effective at high intensities, like during sprint cycling, because our brain struggles to process the sound – fatigue-related cues fight to dominate our attention.

Photo by Yuri Numerov

Weight lifting: Music that is fast, rhythmic, percussive or bass-driven is particularly good for psyching yourself up before a highly strenuous activity like lifting heavy weights.

Fast running: You need faster music for when you are training at a high intensity. Dance music of 130-140 bpm is ideal for very intense exercise.

Jogging, rowing, cycling: Our recent research has shown that the tempo range 125-140 bpm is ideal across the broad spectrum of exercise intensities when an individual makes no conscious effort to synchronise their movements to the rhythm (asynchronous music). A playlist should ideally contour your expected heart rate during a workout. If you are synchronising your movements with the music, the beats per minute need to match your intended movement rate, so it’s important to determine what this is likely to be and to select music accordingly.

What should we look for in a good workout playlist?

The music should possess a pleasing melody and harmony that improves your mood; the music should typically be in a major key. Music that promotes inspiring imagery or has strong personal associations can also be highly effective.

The musical rhythm (beat) should make you want to move; as well as having lyrics that contain positive affirmations of exercise such as “work your body”, “push it” or “run to the beat”.

Here is a playlist that I would recommend for the average gym goer, starting with three uplifting warm-up tracks and building up towards a tough cardio-type workout:

Dr Costas Karageorghis has been a consultant psychologist to many leading athletes and is the author of Inside Sport Psychology (Human Kinetics, 2011), a guide to strengthening mind and body for enhanced performance. Between 2007-10 Dr Karageorghis was the lead consultant for Run to the Beat, a unique running event featuring live and pre-recorded music to boost performance.

Ones to Watch in 2014

What a year! 2013 has seen Deezer launch new features to help with music discovery, and we’ve gained dedicated new fans around the world as we continue to grow. We’re driven by the desire to make music more accessible than ever before, and thanks to our global team of Editors, we are able to be a platform for emerging artists who may have small beginnings, but who find a global audience on Deezer. As an end of year treat, our Editors have put together a playlist of the artists they think you should be listening to in 2014.



Here’s what the Editors have to say about some of their picks:

You Don’t Know How by Courage My Love: “Such amazing songwriting for such a young band. An addictive combination of ridiculously catchy vocals and crunchy guitars” – Gregg Henderson, Deezer Editor Canada.

Demon by Kandle: “This talented and charming 23 year old will be releasing an album in February 2014. It’s bound to quickly reach beyond Canadian borders” – Pauline Mahé, Editorial team, Deezer Canada.

Bullets by Tinavie: “Popular for a long time in Russia, this Moscow-based Indie-Pop band re-worked their sound completely in 2013 and they deserve international acknowledgment in 2014” – Mikhaïl Irzak, Deezer Editor Russia.

Half of a Century by The Delphines: “Hailing from the U.S. mid-west and providing some hard-hitting lyrics, The Delphines have given us a taste of what they can do through a couple of EPs that anticipate a bright future for these four youngsters” – Carlos Ardila, Deezer Editor South America.

Darkest Place by Woman’s Hour: “We’ve fallen in love with the beautiful, moody, and smart music coming from Woman’s Hour this year. The rest of the world will surely follow in 2014” – James Foley, Deezer Editor UK & Ireland.

Happy New Year from everyone at Deezer!

Deezer Sessions with Phoenix and James Blunt

Today we’re excited to share two exclusive Deezer Sessions with you, this time from legendary French electro-rock quartet Phoenix, and from one of the most successful UK singer-songwriters, James Blunt.

Recorded at our Paris HQ, the relaxed session from Phoenix was a hit with Deezer staff, with Phoenix performing stripped-down versions of tracks from their 2013 album Bankrupt! along with the classic “1901”. We think you’ll love it.

James Blunt stopped by Deezer London to perform four songs from his latest album, Moon Landing. The intimate studio setting was a perfect match for Blunt’s heartfelt delivery.

See all the Deezer Sessions from incredible artists including Birdy, Franz Ferdinand, Kodaline, Asaf Avidan, Stromae, and Roseaux.

Google case study

Taking place today at Le Web, Google are presenting a case study on Deezer’s integration with the Google+ platform.

“What we have found is that Google signed-in users are 2x more likely to upgrade to a paid account on It seems very likely that Google’s growth features have had a significant impact on our user satisfaction and global business success.” - Axel Dauchez, CEO of Deezer.

Google+ sign-in has been available on, iOS, and Android since May 2013. Web users are also able to instantly download the Android app during registration, improving the registration flow.

We’ve found that Google+ users on are more engaged, less likely to drop-off after downloading the app, and are more likely to become Premium subscribers. All in all, a great success!


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#Deezerby… Music, TV, and sports stars takeover!


This week, a number of very special guests are taking over Deezer to give you an exclusive glimpse into their musical world. Our Guest Editors include Brazilian footballing legend Ronaldinho, MTV Europe presenter Laura Whitmore, Spanish band Lori Meyers, Belgian band Hooverphonic, plus other stars from around the world.

“HEAR THIS and EXPLORE are all about discovery so we thought it would be fun to celebrate this by doing something a bit different. Each of these stars has got a real passion for music and so we invited them to tell us what tunes were important to them. We’ll be getting some awesome playlists together, and our new recruits are going to bring something fresh to the editorial team.” - James Foley, Head of Editorial, UK & Ireland.

A total of 15 guest editors are taking the reins in 17 countries, with each of them joining forces with their local Deezer Editor for a worldwide #Deezerby takeover. Go and check out their recommended albums, tracks, and playlists on the dedicated Deezer By… app.


RIP Nelson Mandela

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” From Long Walk to Freedom, 1995.

Nelson Mandela, thank you for inspiring us with your courage and compassion.

A tribute playlist by our South African Editor, Tecla.