Improve your sports performance to the rhythm of music

Do you love sports and are constantly looking for ways to improve your sports performance? Or do you not love it at all but feel the need to get back in shape even if the will does not assist you?

In both cases this article is for you: you will find out how music can be a valid ally for your efforts.

 Improve your sports performance

Very often you see athletes who insulate themselves with headphones before a race, a football match, or during a workout. It’s not just a way to make a moment of waiting or physical effort more enjoyable: several researchers have shown that music helps improve performance, increases control of movements, loads, relaxes, distracts.

Motivational music is something that changes a person’s feelings, just as it turns sadness into happiness, it can turn boredom into determination.

What science tells us

Scientific research on the effects of music in sport developed around the 1990s and identified 5 specific functions that were attributed to the power to improve the sports performance of athletes, both during competitions and in training sessions. It involves dissociation, synchronization, control of excitation, acquisition of motor skills, and achievement of competitive trance.

Dissociation consists in the effect of music distracting from the feeling of fatigue and the perception of the efforts that are being made helping to create a positive mood, removing tensions and fears related to the result. Note that this effect has been found only in the case of medium or low-intensity efforts. Where the effort is greater, the perception of fatigue exceeds the effect of music that is however able to create a more pleasant context, contributing to the greater well-being of the athlete.

The synchronization of the beats and the time of the music you listen to, with the succession of repetitive movements typical of sports such as running, cycling, cross-country skiing, is able to improve the performance of the activity giving more regularity to the movement, making it more efficient and prolonging the resistance. By providing time references, it allows the athlete to optimize his energy expenditure.

Control of arousal comes from the fact that music alters psychological arousal, particularly through rhythm. It can be useful both to stimulate and give the charge in view of the goal to achieve, both to calm anxiety, allowing you to achieve an optimal state of mind.

Acquiring motor skills is particularly effective in children, improves coordination, and allows you to acquire new and more complex motor skills, stimulates movement, and makes learning more enjoyable.

These elements contribute to the achievement of the competitive trance that is the moment in which the athlete feels less fatigue and produces a performance above his usual levels.

 The important thing is to choose the right music

The choice of music is important to obtain the best results. Needs are not always the same. The sports are different and you can prepare to face a race or a training session. As we have seen, some sports activities, which we can define as more repetitive, are particularly suited to be accompanied by music. Sports can be individual, in which listening is understood in an individual way, or team and in which the music serves the team to create group spirit and synchronize movements.

The choice must fall on music that is pleasing and that has a time and a rhythm that reflect the type of activity to be carried out. Often we resort to real playlists created specifically to follow a training circuit with fast rhythms and higher volume in the moments when the effort is expected to be more intense and slower music at lower volume in recovery moments.

If used as regular training companions, these playlists become known to athletes who are able to anticipate the sound flow further improving the effect.

The perfect playlist should therefore contain these elements: be pleasing to the athlete, be familiar, transmit strength and energy, be in tune with the movements that must be made, contain values that are uplifting and associated with sport such as the overcoming of limits, work, and discipline associated with triumph.

The advice of an expert

We asked the opinion of an expert, Geppy Ribaudo , kinesiologist and personal trainer:

That music is of fundamental importance – he explains – I don’t have to explain it. Just think that the old ISEF (Higher Institute of Physical Education) was present as a subject and the exam had to present a gymnastic progression to the rhythm of music. His influences in sport are many: he gives rhythm to a gesture, helps to concentrate before a competition, gives adrenergic charge before and during a sporting performance. So much so that during races in which you could safely use with the aid of headphones (marathon, cycling) is prohibited because it is considered almost doping.

Clearly it changes the impact with the performance depending on what I have to do and therefore even a playlist has to take this into account. If I need concentration I will have to use some music that helps me to concentrate: I choose and I would suggest jazz, if I need to shoot energy and then have an extra gear I will use rock (I load with the music of Bruce Springsteen).  

Of course everyone has their own musical choice. I have people who train using commercial music just as there are guys who put on ‘rap’ music during a workout. The choice is absolutely subjective but my opinion is that if I have to perform a technical gesture I would use calm music (jazz / lounge) while for a performance like go and break everything I would use music full of energy (rock / metal etc. etc. ). This also applies to the pre-performance … While in the post-workout recovery phase I would listen to blues / jazz but I am a separate case … Anyway some pretty mental music … “.

So no more excuses, choose the music that suits you and start training!


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