Workouts are all about the grind. A gruelling HIIT-session or PR day can push you past your mental and physical limits to the point of sweat-drenched, mind-numbing exhaustion. And a perfectly curated song—one that fuels your body at its core like a literal shot to the heart—can help get you there.
The greatness of an epic workout song requires a few things. An upbeat tempo, for one. (See: Kanye West’s adrenaline-fuelled Power.) Lyrics are another. (Dua Lipa’s Physical is a natural choice.) But a killer workout song, the kind that makes you finally hit your stride on a long run, just has to make you feel damn good. After all, workouts are also about bettering yourself; sometimes, you just need a quick reminder that you’re already well on your way.
Below, a few heavy hitters to add to your playlist.
1 “Power” by Kanye West
We can’t hop in a time-machine to a Kanye we know and love, but we can reminisce about 2010 and his release of Power, a deadlifting anthem for the ages.
The clock’s tickin’ I just count the hours.
2. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
eminem’s 8 mile album cover as pictured, he’s walking on a dimly lit street
In this 2002 song that accompanied 8 Mile, Eminem rapped about mindfulness before it was cool.
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.
3. “Level Up” by Ciara
Workouts are about pushing yourself to your limits. Ciara gets it.
Thank God I never settled. This view is so much better.
4. “Pressure” by Martin Garrix and Tove Lo
Martin Garrix and Swedish singer Tove Lo join forces on a record that makes you want to run slower, just so you can listen to it on repeat.
Tension just feels so thick in the room.
5. “Savage Remix” by Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce
This goes without saying. Enjoy three minutes of Beyonce rapping about Only Fans and TikTok.
I’m a boss, I’m a leader, I pull up in my two-seater.
6. “What’s My Age Again?” by Blink-182
What’s My Age Again was made for times when a heavy bass or a beat drop won’t work on a long run.
Nobody likes you when you’re twenty three.
7. “Juicy” by Doja Cat
This is a song about the importance of squatting, right? We’re going with it.
If you could see it from the front, wait ’til you see it from the back.
8. “Pynk” by Janelle Monae
Lip, Cheek, Forehead, Eyebrow, Colorfulness, Organ, Temple, Illustration, Graphics, Graphic design,
The snaps, harmonies, and bass line on Pynk work better than actual pre-workout.
Let’s count the ways we could make this last forever.
9. “Motivation” by Normani
You got this. Here’s a little help.
Let me be your motivation to stay and give it tonight.
10. “Desperado” by Rihanna
Desperado is the kinda song that will make you push harder, move faster, and maybe sit in the shower in the heat of an existential crisis (..or maybe that’s just us).
If you want, we could be runaways running from any sight of love.
11. “How You Like That” by Blackpink
A song with a beat drop so epic it’ll make you sweat.
Now look at you, now look at me.
12. “Losing You” by Solange
An ’80s-inspired jam that makes us long for the days of sweatbands and jazzercise. Almost.
I know you’re waiting for the rest that you can’t get from me.
13. “Dang!” by Mac Miller and Anderson .Paak
The ultimate cool down song, Dang!’s go down smoother than a protein shake.
Starting up the engine, need to reboot
14. “Infinity Guitars” by Sleigh Bells
Human, People, Holiday, Christmas decoration, Fictional character, Christmas,
Really, the entirety of Sleigh Bells’ 2010 debut album, Treats, is one pump-up, workout song after another. Start with Infinity Guitars and work your way down.
Red souls, red friends.
15. “Sleepyhead” by Passion Pit
The first single off the 2009 record Manners, Sleepyhead packs a punch of synths and expertly autotuned vocals, suitable for any cardio sesh.
You were one inch from the edge of this bed. I dragged you back a sleepyhead
16. “Midnight City” by M83
Appropriately named, this 2011 record by M83 feels like running through an empty city at night when there’s nothing stopping you from pushing forward.
The city is my church. It wraps me in its blinding twilight.
17. “1901” by Phoenix
Sometimes, an excellent workout song is just about putting you in a good mood. Enter: 1901 by French-indie rock band Phoenix.
Girlfriend, you know your girlfriend’s drifting away. Past and present, 1855-1901.
18. “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore
Working out can be fun, right? If not, maybe this single off Paramore’s fourth studio album will help get you there.
So what are you gonna do when the world don’t orbit around you?
19. “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” by Caroline Polachek
No song better encapsulates the feeling of a gym crush you’ve never actually met.
I get a little lonely, get a little more close to me.
20. “Comme Des Garcons” by Rina Sawayama
Comme Des Garcons feels like being trapped in the best rave (or Soulcycle class?) of your life.
Every time you see me, it’s like winning big in Reno.
21. “Physical” by Dua Lipa
In this single off her critically acclaimed second album, Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa sings about the importance of exercise in all forms.
Adrenaline keeps on rushing in, love the simulation we’re dreaming in.
22. “Paper Love” by Allie X
Allie X’s vocals can put you under a trance and make you forget about everything except pounding the pavement.
There’s a light and it pulls me in.
23. “iT” by Christine and the Queens
In the first track off Chaleur humaine, Christine and the Queens celebrates her achievements, a message you need to hear in any context.
I’m a man now and I won’t let you steal it.
24. “Feelings” by Haley Kiyoko
We here at Men’s Health have a lot of feelings. Thankfully, the gym can help us sort through a few of these, as does Haley Kiyoko’s record, Expectations.
I’m hooked on all these feelings.
25. “FKN Around” Phony PPL and Megan Thee Stallion
Brooklyn-based group Phony PPL team up with Megan Thee Stallion on a track so fun forgot we have another 20 minutes left on the stationary bike.
Risking it all baby just to get down.
26. “Green Light” by Lorde
It’s easy to give up mid-workout. Let Lorde’s anthemic first single off her second album, Melodrama, convince you otherwise.
I’m waiting for it, that green light. I want it.
27. “Muddy Waters” by LP
This epic single by LP (real name: Laura Pergolizzi) is a spooky, monumental track for days when your workout’s a drag.
In the muddy waters we’re falling.
28. “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn
An electronic pop disco song all in one, it’s the ultimate self-empowerment anthem.
And I’m giving it my all, but I’m not the girl you’re taking home.
29. “Waiting Game” by Banks
In this slow-burn of a song, Banks sings about forbidden love, and maybe, long lines at the squat rack.
What if the way we started made it something cursed from the start.
30. “Octahate” by Ryn Weaver
A ballistic missile of synths and harmonies, Octahate feels like aural adrenaline.
I can’t take it from the day I saw my heart start breaking, no one saved me.
31. “Want You Back” by HAIM
Haim has something to tell you: Don’t skip leg day. Oh, and Want You Back slaps hard.
I’ll give you all the love I never gave before I left you.
32. “Fallingwater” by Maggie Rogers
Fallingwater is a song about sweating a lot, we’re assuming. If not, this back-half of song will help you breakthrough the wall on a long run.
I fought the current running just the way you would
33. “Gone” By Charli XCX and Christine and the Queens
Charli XCX and Christine and the Queens sing about feeling lonely in a crowded room. Isn’t that how we all feel at the gym from time to time?
I feel so unstable, fucking hate these people, how they’re making me feel lately.
34. “Claws” by Charli XCX
How we feel about Claws is precisely how we feel about finding out we just PRed by accident: totally unexpected and very much appreciated.
I like everything about you.
35. “1%” by Kiiara
Let 1%’s epic beat drops help you move even faster.
And right before my cell phone dead, you’re playing with my 1%.
36. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
In this house, we stan CRJ. Begin your workout with the 2011 pop banger that started it all.
This is crazy. Here’s my number, call me maybe.
37. “Cut to the Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen
When you finally feel that dopamine rush, this is what it feels like.
I wanna cut through the clouds, break the ceiling.
38. “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande
Appreciate what you have. That’s what Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande are singing about in this pop track, and that’s what we’ll tell ourselves in the mirror after a slog of a workout.
I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive.
39. “Work From Home” by Fifth Harmony
In a time of quarantine, Work From Home is an epic ode to home workouts, we think.
I don’t need no explanation’, cause baby, you’re the boss at home.
40. “365” by Zedd and Katy Perry
An underrated single on Katy Perry’s discography, 365 is here to remind you that forging fitness is all about daily discipline.
3-6-5, all the time.
41. “Don’t Start Now” dua lipa
Another disco-reminiscent hit by the UK singer to make your gym feel like a night at Studio 54.
Did the heartbreak change me? Maybe, but look at where I ended up.
42. “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” by Jay-Z
A self-love anthem for the next time you’re feeling a little small at the gym. (You’re killing it, btw.)
I’m the realest that run it, I just happen to rap.
43. “Started From the Bottom” by Drake
Let’s take a moment to truly appreciate how far we’ve come with Drake’s hypnotic track off his 2013 Nothing Was the Same.
Started from the bottom now we’re here.
44. “2 On” by Tinashe
We love to get 2 on, too. We’re assuming Tinashe means two-a-days.
Get faded, turn up with the big boys.
45. “Waves” by Normani and 6LACK
The sort of track you play when you’re getting over heartbreak and the gym is your saviour.
I’ll let you come and go like seasons.
46. “Alive” by Sia
I’m still breathing, sings Sia, a good note to self when you can’t catch yours.
I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go.
47. “Lose Control” by Missy Elliott, Ciara, and Fat Man Scoop
A hip-hop staple to help you power through your AM run.
Everybody here get it out of control. Get your backs off the wall cause Misdemeanour said so.
48. “Outside” by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding
Outside’s chorus feel like taking one giant exhale at the top of a mountain you’ve spent hours climbing.
I’ll show you what it feels like, now I’m on the outside.
49. “Controlla” by Drake
You’ll find yourself moving without even realising it when listening to this 2016 hit by the 6 God.
Go slower, go faster.
50. “Long Way 2 Go” by Cassie
Long Way 2 Go’s melody is as unforgettable as that one time you almost fell off a treadmill. (We’ve all done it.)
Think twice ’cause you got a long way to go.
51. “1 Thing” by Amerie
The one thing we want is this feel-good funk song on repeat. Oh, and for people to wipe down their equipment.
It’s this one thing that got me trippin’.
52. “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah
A song for those in need of a spotter.
Is it my go? Is it your go?
53. “Dear Maria, Count Me In” by All Time Low
A punk-pop throwback for a mid-workout pick-me-up.
‘Cause I got your picture, I’m coming with you.
54. “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus
Oh, to go back to the days when we were teens lifting weights in front of our childhood bedrooms’ mirrors.
I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby. Listen to Iron Maiden, baby, with me.
55. “Sorry Not Sorry” demi lovato
We’re sorry not sorry about including this cardio banger on this playlist.
And it’d be nice of me to take it easy on ya.
56. “Whiskey in the Jar” by Metallica
A little heavy metal for a lot of heavy lifting.
I took all of his money and it was a pretty penny.
57. “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
Need we explain ourselves?
Coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine.
58. “Cloudbusting” by Kate Bush
Fight us: Kate Bush is the GOAT.
I just know that something good is going to happen.
59. “Eye of the Tiger” survivor
You were probably wondering when this would show up. Here’s the workout anthem of workout anthems.
It’s the thrill of the fight.
60. “Physical” by Olivia Newton John
Let me hear your body talk.
Via Men’s Health.