20 Songs Scientifically Proven to Pump Up Your Swim

20 Songs Scientifically Proven to Pump Up Your Swim

20 Songs Scientifically Proven to Pump Up Your Swim

We at Underwater Audio are obviously big fans of listening to music while we work out. A good soundtrack can make swimming (or any other workout) a lot more enjoyable. For some more dedicated athletes, however, a more enjoyable workout isn’t enough; it’s all about finding a more effective workout.

Well, we’ve got good news for the hardcore fitness folks in the audience: listening to music while you swim can actually provide some serious physical benefits! Read on to find out how music can help you take your swim to the next level.



The Science of Songs

Science continues to show that working out to music can statistically improve your work out. Bringing your headphones to the gym leads to a better exercising experience.

There have been quite a few studies in the past about the impact of music on running and cycling, but now there are even two new studies that focus on swimming with music! Both have conclusive statistical evidence that swimming with music – for recreational to moderately competitive swimmers –  can and will shave off time.


Music Motivates

guitar pool

Photo Courtesy of Wicker Paradise

There are two major ways that music can help you improve your physical performance. First, it can motivate you to stay relaxed and comfortable even while swimming at a faster speed.

The way that music helps motivate your workout is by setting a consistent beat for you to move to. A regular beat helps you keep a steady pace, which is especially important for cardio exercise like swimming or running.

While any music can help you swim, NOT ALL SONGS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Scientists analyzed songs by their Beats Per Minute (BPM) and then ranked their effectiveness.

The BPM range that is most effective at pumping you up falls between 125-140.  Anything faster than that and you can be stressing your body out without knowing it; any slower and you are not setting a fast enough pace.


Audio Overcomes Aches

dancing silhouettesSecond, music can help you literally overcome physical pain when your body is tired.

According to one researcher, your body starts to tell you it is tired through signs like stiff muscles, sweating, and loss of breath. However, if you have music in your ears, focusing on the music can help you block out these signals and keep exercising! Minimizing the “burn” can help you make it through a longer workout and can improve your stamina by as much as 70%.

Just by putting on some tunes, you’ll be able to work out longer and feel better while doing it.


Training with tunes

Swimming to music has been proven to scientifically improve your swim in multiple ways. You can
speed up your work out. You can overcome aches and pains.

It is has also been shown to stimulate your heart rate and raise your blood pressure, so it is a great way to get a better warm up going. Also, the effectiveness of music while swimming has been equated with taking sodium bicarbonate (commonly used to enhance performance) before a race.

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of listening to the right music while swimming, let’s find the right tracks and load up your playlist!

sodium bicarbonate


How do you count the BPM?

So how do you determine if your favorite songs are in the right range? Calculating the beats per minute of a song is not that hard to do.  Start by turning on your favorite song and getting to the good part (aka the beat that pumps you up). Then, pause the song and find a stopwatch or a timer.

From here, hit play and start tapping your foot to the beat. This is the important part: count each tap. Once 15 seconds have elapsed, hit the pause button and write down how many times you tapped your foot.  Multiply that number by 4 to get the BPM of the song,  Once you’ve done this a few times, you should get a feel for about the speed you’re looking for.

You could also just Google it.  That works too.


Songs Scientifically Proven to Pump up Your swim

We’ve curated a list of tracks from a few different genres that are the right BPM to improve your workout. Without further ado:

Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow (131)The Beatles
Lady Gaga – Edge of Glory (128)
Psy – Gangnam Style (132)
Michael Jackson – Beat It (140)
Adele – Someone Like You (135)
Classic Rock
Van Halen – Jump (129)
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart (132)
Elton John – Bennie and the Jets (132)
The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun (129)
The Clash – Rock the Casbah (129)
Sugarland – Just Might (140)
JoDee Messina – Bring on the Rain (138)
Miranda Lambert – Famous in a Small Town (139)
Blake Shelton – Mine Would Be You (140)
Trace Adkins – Tough People Do (140) 
 baby piano
Classical: (these can vary based on arrangement and performance!)
Beethoven – Symphony 3 in E Flat Major (132)
Mozart – Symphony No. 4 in G Minor (125)
Einaudi – Primavera (139)
Ravel – Bolero (140)
Piano Guys – Titanium/Pavane (129)


This is just to give you an idea of what is out there. I am personally excited to find out that “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by the Darkness (129) is in the right range. It you don’t want to do your own BPM test, just Google it.

Leave Us A Comment

Has anyone found the perfect song for a specific stroke?  Let us know in the comments below!


About the author

Rachel Blake
Rachel Blake has been working at Underwater Audio for the last year doing Customer Service. She recently graduated with a MA in History of Science. She enjoys running, hiking, any type of music, dancing with her husband, and playing with her puggle.

» More blog posts by Rachel Blake

Posted by Rachel Blake




    Jan 31

    Michele Dowdy

    Funk on a Roll by James Brown.

    May 24


    Everybody by Justice Crew

    May 29


    Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet

    Jul 21


    Get Your Freak On…Missy Elliot

    Jul 28


    Intro – The xx (a little slow, but great for recovery and warm up – 100 bpm)
    Platinum chains – Michael Woods (127 bpm)
    Levels by Avicci (126)
    Safe and sound – Capital Ciites (126 bpm)

      Aug 19


      Finally! Someone else knows about Levels.

    Aug 16

    susan huber

    white room by cream
    angel by massive attack
    any music by massive attack

    Sep 23


    Evenflow by pearl jam!!

    Sep 11


    More pump you up music – Taylor Swift, Shake it Off; Katy Perry, Roar, Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck. . .
    I’ve loaded more of this type of music into my Underwater Audio

    Jan 03


    Till I collaps by eminem is my favorite

    Jan 13


    Holding out for a hero by Bonnie Tyler.

    Oct 26


    “Mozart – Symphony No. 4 in G Minor (125)”

    Did you mean Mozart – Symphony No. 40 in G Minor (125)?

    Nov 06


    Has anyone tried cajun and/or zydeco waltzes? For your 3 or 6 beat kick?


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