Music and training. In the gym, it can put you in the right mindset and set the tone for what needs to be accomplished. The sheer volume, the guitar riff, the faint voices getting louder and louder all leading up to the first “thunder,” sets the tone. Your crew is more attentive, they’re surrounding you from every angle, and you’re focused on what you have to do as you lock yourself under the bar.

Below are examples of how Team elitefts™ uses music to drive their training sessions:

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Bryan Mann

My choice is music depends on what is required. On lifts where focus is needed:

“Stand up to the Man” by Jason Boland and the Stragglers

“Never Enough” by Eminem

“I Got A Woman” by Led Zeppelin

“Simple Man” by Lynrd Skynrd

“The Man Right Chea” by Mystikal


For lifts where I need to kill someone:

“Respect” by Pantera

“The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson

“Killing in the Name of…” by Rage Against the Machine

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses (come on, it’s played before every Mizzou game!  That song is a conditioned response to go time!)

I’m huge on arousal level control. For some lifts, I have to be more calm and focused, and I need music that helps me get there. Jason Boland is an old soul classic country type who’s playing today. “Stand up to the Man” embodies everything I believe in; I will make the decisions of what I do.  It’s not about the other person, I will stand up and do what I have to when I have to. Skynrd and Led Zeppelin have got that just rhythm I really love and helps me be up but not too high. The Eminem and Mystikal help me into a dark place still stay in control, these are what will be on for a max single on bench press.

For some lifts, I need to be more aggressive and attack mode. Either technique is not important for me to do well, or the lift is so well grooved that I can go on autopilot. For these songs, it’s about bringing out the the kill mode. For these songs, it’s got the rhythm, the volume, the language that just makes me want to rip heads off. Something like “The Beautiful People.” I hear songs like that and start rocking back and forth like a crazy man, and it really just elicits that primal feeling to attack. “Welcome to the Jungle” — dude, I’ve been a coach at Mizzou for 10 years, this is a Pavlovian response for me. This song is played immediately before kickoff, tipoff, etc. so it just means it’s go time.

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Casey Williams

“Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix

“Another Brick in the Wall”  by Korn

“Shoots and Ladders” by Korn

“Hail to the King” by Avenged Sevenfold

“American Badass” by Kidrock

“Holy Diver” by Killswitch Engage

“Whiskey in the Jar” by Metallica


We’re not really particular with music at Colonial Barbell Club. If you watch all of my training videos, I think every fourth one you’ll hear an advertisement come up on the Pandora station we have. It happens. Same as a meet, unexpected things happen. Deal with it. We usually just throw some heavy metal on the stereo and go for it. Small talk inevitably happens when Todd Hamer’s around, but it’s what makes us a close knit group. No one takes themselves too seriously and we talk about things outside of lifting. I do try to cue up a good song when I’m going for a heavy set, but typically that’s during meet prep and not just average training days.


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C.J. Murphy

“Supremacy of Self” by Hatebreed

I use this one to get really jacked up for a PR or if I am not 100% focused. Not sure why, but it gets me focused, maybe because I am stuck in the 90’s.

“Light of a Fading Star” by Flogging Molly

Pretty self-explanatory: Boston Irish guy, Irish music

“I Ain’t Got You” by Aerosmith (Live at Palls’s Mall version)

Aerosmith covering James Brown? How do you not dig that shit?

“Before I Forget” by Slipknot

I forget stuff and this reminds me not to. Seriously, listen to this. It jacks you up.

“Blue Sky” by Allman Brothers

I listen to this during my cool down. It gets my mind back to normal and reminds me of my wife so it makes me happy.

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Méana Franco


Savior” by Rise Against

Bring the noise by Public Enemy

“Mad Desire” by CygnosiC

Android Porn” by Kraddy

If you had asked me for my top five training songs five years ago, you would probably have gotten a collection of remixed top 40 songs most of which being Beyonce. The more I got into heavier lifting and powerlifting the more I started listening to heavier music. I like listening to faster paced songs for volume or accessory work, and more ‘epic’ songs for heavier sets. I love the build up of “Android Porn” and have a bad habit of waiting for the beat to build before actually walking up to the bar.

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Jo Jordan

“I’m Alive” by Anthrax

 “Survival” by Eminem

“The Fearless Must Endure” by Jasta

“All Or Nothing” by Madball

“Lift Me Up” by Five Finger Death Punch

The messages being expressed in these particular songs drive me and speak to me. On a daily basis, like a lot of people, I have to oppress feelings of anger, sorrow, worry, fear and loneliness. It’s not the healthiest way to deal with stress, but it’s how I’ve always done it. Music invokes emotion and allows me to draw from those oppressed emotions and to channel all of it into that particular set or rep. I’m not as vocal/loud as I once was, but on the inside there is nothing but pure, unadulterated fury and focus being placed on whatever lift I happen to be doing. The music I choose helps me accomplish just that.

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Shane Church

“If I Had a Heart” by Fever Ray (theme song from Vikings)

“Red Nation” by Game and Lil Wayne

“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

“Now You’ve Got Something to Die For” by Lamb of God

“Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine

I actually don’t like music when I train with a group. People ask for help with their technique and then put head phones in before they lift makes no sense to me. How are you going to listen to my verbal cues?These songs are the top songs that play at the gym while I lift alone. But, lifting in a commercial gym setting most of the time, I listen to everything from country to electronic dance music. The thought of becoming dependent on a song to get you fired up is illogical to me.

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Ben Hartman

“Cinema” by Benny Benassi (Skrillex Remix)

“Alive” by Krewella

“Take Back the Night” by Justin Timberlake

“Clocks” by Coldplay

“Ni**as in Paris” by Kanye West & Jay Z

I don’t use headphones or listen to music while weight training. Something about the cords dangling everywhere and having to worry about a device on my arm or hip while lifting just drives me nuts. On the other hand, music during cardio is a MUST. If for some reason I forget my headphones or they don’t work, I’ll gladly postpone that cardio session for another day. The songs I listen to vary from pop, rock, rap, EDM, hell…even boy bands if the mood strikes me (I have no shame in my game). Whatever makes me nod my head or reminisce about a happy memory works perfectly.

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Eric Maroscher

“Laid To Rest” by Lamb Of God

“Walk” by Pantera

“The American Dream” by Walls of Jericho

“I Will Be Heard” by Hatebreed

“Psychosocial” by Slipknot

Music at the Monster Garage Gym is just as much a part of the training atmosphere as the chains on the walls, the trophies on the shelves, and the competition photos in the frames. The purpose of the music depends really on the type of training day we are having. If the day is say a max effort squat training day, the music fuels the aggression of the powerlifters at MGG. Songs like the live version of “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” by Lamb of God are shaking the sub-woofer and speakers at the MGG and much like a shark feeding frenzy, as the music fuels the lifters and the lifters fuel one another. Music is a catalyst for aggressive, red-lined lifting when the team is working up to that top set. Now, on pretty much the complete polar opposite, if it is a volume day and we are all done with the main movements and want to hit those odds and ends (the scraps, if you will), we down shift to something like Snoop Lion’s “So Long off the Reincarnated album. Ultimately, the purpose of the music is to paint the auditory landscape to train to, and it is a pretty large ingredient in the training at the gym, so much so that there is a back-up receiver there as well. We lost our tunes once when the system died….never again.

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Vincent Dizenzo

“The Outsider” by A Perfect Circle

“Feiticeira” by Deftones

“If You Want Blood” by AC/DC

“Dissident” by Pearl Jam

“Hard Workin Man” by Left Lane Cruiser

Wow, what role does music play in my training? That’s such an interesting question. Well, to start with, here are my five most listened to songs that definitely make every meet playlist. Although this list may not show it, I have an eclectic music library. I think more than anything music evokes emotions deep within me. Sometimes it’s upbeat and makes me happy where I’ll smile through a session. Other times it can bring me to tears (a luxury of training in my own basement) and that deep sad emotion can stoke the hell out of a session. Of course there’s just good old fashion adrenaline from some rock and roll.

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Mark Watts

“Aeran San” by Apes from Space

“Timestretch” by Bassnectar

” Epic Hangover (Kap Slap Bootleg)” by Avicii

“Plugged In” by Rollz  (Bassnectar Remix)

“Clash” by Alesso

Music to me is emotion. It culminates my thoughts and feelings and gets into my soul.  My playlist is one genre but when it comes to music, I prefer sound that I can feel, not just hear.  I appreciate the message and whether it is Eric B. & Rakim or Tool, it needs to feel like the song was written with my emotional connection in mind.

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Joe Schillero

“Harder Than You Think” by Public Enemy

“Nuthin” by Lecrae

“Devastator” by For Today

“Protect Ya Neck” by Wu-Tang Clan

“Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine

I’ve always found music helps me focus and is a crucial part of my routine for training sessions. A good playlist for training can help “flip the switch” to get your mind right when you need to move some heavy weights. We all have plenty of stress and distractions that can cloud our minds during the day, and training music can help clear that out for a period of time. My music styles were largely influenced from where I’ve lived and trained in inner-cities since I was younger. Training music has differed in the various places I’ve trained, but the core style has remained the same.

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Ken Skip Hill

“Till I Collapse” by Eminem

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem

“Not Afraid” by Eminem

“Cinderella Man” by Eminem

“So Bad” by Eminem

Boring and predictable, I know. I probably listen to these songs 80% of the time I train. When I train legs I listen to “Till I Collapse” over and over for every set on every single leg day.  I have had terrible back injuries so since the last one about a year and a half ago this song reminds me that no matter what, I will continue to train and find a way around my injuries. I almost feel that this song protects me for some odd reason and if I play a different song, I might injure myself again. Hey, it works for my psyche. I have also posed to “Lose Yourself” many times for shows. The words for all of these songs speak to my training or how I approach my training and bodybuilding. As often as I hear these songs, they never get old. My second online training DVD that I will start filming this winter will be titled, “Till I Collapse”.

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Matt Wenning

“Mother” by Danzig

“I Ain’t Heard of That” by Slim Thug

“Gettin It” by Too Short

“2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted” by 2Pac

“Rooster” by Alice in Chains

I don’t use music to match my mood, but instead, use it to block out distraction and up the intensity of the training. I’m never training by myself and usually have two or three other groups going simultaneously, so when the music turns up everyone knows it’s time to work. We’ll explain the workout or a part of it and tune everything else out. Therefore, we’re all on the same channel, pushing towards the common goal.

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Brandon Smitley

“Cochise” by Audioslave

“Rap God” by Eminem

“Fight Music” by D12 ft. Eminem

“Happy?” by Mudvayne

“Duality” by Slipknot

In the garage, I tend to use a vast array of music varying from rap to rock. Considering I’m able to blast the music as loud as I want, I tend to start with some rap during warm ups and gradually move to harder rock as the sets continue to progress in weight. After the main sets I just let my playlist or Pandora go on shuffle and do it’s own thing. When the training partners are over on the weekends we really get the music going during big PR attempts or heavy sets. The great thing about using Pandora during accessory is that it usually leads to some funny stories that helps kill rest period time and get some good laughs in. The best thing about my list is that every time I hear “Duality” by Slipnot I think of Bob Youngs driving me to the sauna prior to RUM to get my weight under. Always some of my best motivation.

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Brandon Patterson

“In the Meantime” by Helmet

“Panasonic Youth” by The Dillinger Escape Plan

“Blood and Thunder” by Mastodon

“Mars – The Bringer of War” by Holst

“5 Minutes Alone” by Pantera

I don’t currently listen to music when I lift, but back when I had a rickety home set-up that was used as a back-up gym, I did need some tunes to get going and Meantime was always my go-to album. I could’ve easily picked all five song songs for this list from Helmet’s Meantime.Ironhead,” “FBLA II,” “Turned Out,” and “You Borrowed” all get me stoked, but the title track hits like a runaway semi. My next three songs have all been stand-bys for getting me psyched on the drive to the gym (and occasionally on my way to a long day at the office.) Every DEP album opens with a crusher, but “Panasonic Youth” is truly pummeling mathcore (“Fix Your Face” from Ire Works might’ve been the winner had I written this on another day.) Though it’s become more progressive over the past few albums, Mastodon can be as heavy as its namesake, and Leviathan—a Moby Dick-themed concept album—is an achievement by any standard: “Blood and Thunder’s” channeling of Ahab’s hatred is a weight-room gem. Classical music may seem an odd addition, but “Mars, the Bringer of War” from Holst’s The Planets suite has inspired everything from metal songs to orchestral action cues from movies. (My runner up was the “Dies Irae” portion of Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor which has been used as the score to fight scenes in major action flicks.) Finally and fittingly fifth, Pantera’s “5 Minutes Alone” was a staple psych-up tune for me in undergrad; I’d blast it in my dorm/apartment, then keep it going mentally on the walk to the nearest gym.

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Clint Darden

“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

“War Pigs” by Black Sabbath

“Its A Long Way To The Top” by AC/DC

“46 and 2″ by Tool

“Nutbush City Limits” by Bob Segar (Tina Turner LIVE works also)

Music is part of the balance that I find myself in during my day.  No matter if it is Jay-Z on the way to the gym, AC/DC shaking the walls of the gym, or Jamie Johnson on the top down cruise home…I use music to “get lost”. Once MY SONG comes on the stereo and the sound gets turned up a couple levels, my mind goes from “changed” to “completely flipped.”  I don’t think it is the words or even the beat but often it is just the simple madness of the song itself, the artist that “got lost” in their own music and creative talents. Combine that with a little nostalgia from the last time that song came on and I broke a PR and I can smell the nose torque, feel the METAL King Pro Deadlifter ripping my legs, and the bar twisting my hands to pieces as the band plays on. It is my time to “get lost” not only in the music or even the lift, but in the entire experience.


Amy Wattles

I do not have a play list and I chances are high I won’t ever have one again specific to training. Of course I listen to music when I train. Music enhances the intensity and the overall experience of the training session. However, in my mind the concept of a playlist represents routine, structure and stagnation.

A few years ago I was training short term with a weightlifting coach in order to reach some very specific goals. This training was a whole new beast and challenging for my mind more than anything else. We trained without music blaring and it was awkward. It felt as though a portion of who I was as a lifter was exposed and I felt naked. There was no music hiding me, my lifting or the free flow of critiques on what I needed to improve. Whenever I would probe about the music he would laugh at us crazy lifters for the rituals we go through to get pumped for our training, from ammonia, specific music selections, slapping one another in the face, etc. His view was always no matter what external stimuli you introduce, no matter how hyped you get for your lift, no matter how loud the music, you will never change the scientific principles of a quality lift. I would never defy science and owed it to myself to put in quality work in the gym through consistent and technically sound reps.

Those words stuck and made an impression. At the time my playlist was so rigid, in my head everything had to line up properly before I would lift. If the end of a song was near, I would stop and wait. Nothing screwed my training up more than being in the middle of a set and the music stopping. It was a wasted set in my head. Music was no longer an accessory to support my training, it dictated my training.

My mind is my tool. I never get all geeked out before a lift, quite the opposite. In my head I talk to the bar. I talk to myself. When I am going for heavy attempts, the conversations get pretty heated while still adhering to the technical components of a good lift. My mental dialog is my number one. However, there is always music playing when I train. The selection is based on my mood and what I feel as though I need for that day’s training. I had to take the control back so my performance was not influenced or controlled by external variables. I worked hard to break free from being reliant on specific music, the order of the music in relation to my training, a playlist or whatever you want to call it.

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Steve Goggins

“Attitude Adjuster” by Pastor Troy

“What U Gon’ Do” by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Lil Scrappy

“I Don’t Give A Fuck” by Lil Jon

“Bugatti” by Ace Hood, Future, Rick Ross

“U.O.E.N.O.” by Rocko featuring Rick Ross, Future

These are my top ones right now. It changes every couple of weeks.

Music is my pre-workout. I don’t do caffeine or any kind of pre-workout. I can come in the gym feeling lazy and a little unmotivated. But when I put that first song on and crank the volume,  I dance inside my own head. I really get jacked up listening to loud rap or metal. Depending on what it is, I can work myself up so high that I can get emotional if I feel I need to take it there. If it is a 90% and above lift, then music will be a factor for me.

Scott Yard

“Battle Hymn” by Manowar

“Come To The Sabbath” by Mercyful Fate

“Ritual” by Ghost B.C.

“The Dragon Lies Bleeding” by HammerFall

“Tears Of A Mandrake by Edguy

The list above is a solid snapshots of where I am at with my tunage right now. I am all over the map. Two months ago I was on a hard core Phil Collins and genesis kick. My neighbor was over enjoying some beers rand he told me he never saw a person so fired up about Genesis. I use music as a back drop to my life. If I’m doing trash I have headphones on. Cutting grass, doing a report at work, in the car….you name it. Tunes are flowing.

I am always adding to the iPod. Music and the gym to me are great but irrelevant. I like tunes when I lift but I could also be getting after it with total silence. When I hit a single, I don’t hear anything. Sometimes I hear my teeth grind or a joint crack but other than that it is just focus. Last night I  block pulled 855 and I had Joe Jackson on the radio singing “Is She Really Going Out with Him”I love the song and had no problem pulling a max block pull.

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Chase Karnes

“Walk” by Pantera

“Wasting My Hate” by Metallica

“Breadfan” by Metallica

“Conditions of My Parole” by Puscifer

“Israel’s Son” by Silverchair

Most of the time I don’t pay too much attention to what I’m listening to when I train. I’ll typically throw it on Pandora and select one of my rap, rock or outlaw country stations based on whatever artist fits my mood at the moment. That typically gets the job done. However, when the time comes to go for a big PR or if I’m feeling a bit “off” during a training session the following are my top five go-to songs. I can’t count how many PRs I’ve hit to these songs over the years, but I know it’s been many. There’s just something about the lyrics, tempo and sound of these songs that gets me fired up.