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Music Matters

Training Log #4:

We have now discussed the training or coaching concept of "not sitting during training," as well as the importance of not repeating the same warm up every day, in. order to allow the brain to be properly turned on. But what if you can also warm up before you even get to the gym?

What effect does music have on your training? Researchers from the University of Houston conducted a study in 2017 showing that when you listen to music that is a constant rhythm and had a “strong personal connection” it would activate your brain and increase stimulation. I have to agree. I would always listen to a good 45 minutes of motivational music on my way to training and afterwards. Remember how in the last training log I said that training should always start on a good note and end on a good note? Well, here is a simple example of one way to do this. There are a few nuances from the research that you may not think about when choosing a song playlist.

Instead of just picking random songs, try picking songs that have a similar theme, a similar tempo and even similar vocabulary. Research shows that the music needs to be familiar to the person to have the same brain activation as you see in the right side of the picture above. This engages the entire brain and since sports require an entire brain to activate the different parts, it makes sense to follow this strategy for the music you pick on the way to training. I suggest you make a playlist of 40 - 50 songs that you know by heart, that have similar tempos and similar themes. Then try listeing to them just before your training starts, or during your warmup.

Psychologist and former athlete, Costas Karageorghis, wrote a wonderful book about the power of music and training. He shows that in the temporal lobe, cortisol is released when listening to music, which is not just used during stressful situations, it also helps to warm up your brain by saying in essence, "wake up!" Picking the right music will activate the brain, like a good creative warm up, turn on the visual, motor control and stress centers of the brain that help regulate all of these different aspects for athletic development.



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