I started fitness boot camp this week—a group of otherwise ordinary people who gather at the local high-school football field for things like jumping jacks, sit-ups, squats, lunges and some evil invention called “burpees.” And now I can hardly raise my glass of beer or plop down on the couch in front of the TV without feeling the pain in long-unused muscles.
Sadly, there’s no music during our workouts, but I bet there is during yours. And I bet it’s time for you to update that ol’ workout playlist. “Best” Workout Songs of course, is a matter of taste, but the following songs are guaranteed to get your body moving (even though they don’t include The Suckers’ wonderful, non-exercise-related song by that name.) And if you don’t exercise, just think of all this great music as reason to get up offa that thing.
(Thanks to all my friends on Facebook and Twitter and the Paste staff and interns for the many suggestions. If you’ve got a great workout song not on this list, please add it to the comments below.)
80. “Scatmambo” by Scatman John
Ethiopian Olympic long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie requested this song during a 2,000-meter race in 1998. He set the world indoor record, proving that it’s not the quality of the song that matters in sports—it’s the 135 beats-per-minute. That said, these other 79 are pleasing to the ear.
79. “Typical” by Mutemath
Recommended by U.S.A. Olympic volleyball player Reid Priddy in Paste’s 2008 feature on Olympic training music.
78. “Let the Day Begin” by The Call
Here’s to the rowers in the morning lake; here’s to the cyclists in the streets…
77. “New Noise” by Refused
The shape of punk to come includes a flatter belly.
76. “Go Faster” by The Black Crowes
Ain’t no workout like dirty, Southern workout.
75. “They” by Jem
Nothing like a little paranoia to keep you going.
74. “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand
73. “The Rockafella Skank” by Fatboy Slim
Norman Quentin Cook made a career of getting bodies moving. Plus his name is Fatboy Slim.
72. “Dancing Choose” by TV on the Radio
Frantic energy resolving in a lovely chorus.
71. “Agony” by The Muffs
Of course a song called agony is going to be perfect for my workout.
70. “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen
If Freddie Mercury can sing like that, you can do a few more push-ups.
69. “We Will Become Silhouettes” by The Postal Service
Perfect for that misty day run.
68. “Whip It” by Devo
The nostalgia is guaranteed to get your mind off those crunches.
67. “Apartment Story” by The National
Not all workout music needs to be in your face.
66. “A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend
Instant spring in your step.
65. “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
There’s no reason to feel guilty when you’re running. Just be careful not to sing with your headphones in.
64. “inni mer syngur vitleysingur” by Sigur Rós
There are no fat people in Iceland.
63. “Stillness Is The Move” by Dirty Projectors
Sometimes you need something a little more mid-tempo while you get going. Plus the existentialist questions at the end are wonderful to ponder on a boring treadmill.
62. “Rosa Parks” by Outkast
If you’re tired, run to the beat. If you’re feeling good, run to the flow.
61. “Coma Girl” by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
A forgotten gem from Strummer’s final album.
60. “Hard Feelings” by The Constantines
There’s an urgency to this song that’s perfect for keeping you going.
59. “Get Me Bodied” by Beyoncé
As Ms. Knowles says, “A little sweat never hurt nobody.”
58. “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield
It was good enough for Will Ferrell’s character in Semi-Pro.
57. “Shut Up And Let Me Go” by The Ting Tings
Not the last of the iPod commercial songs on this list.
56. “Tightrope” by Janelle Monaé featuring Big Boi
For kicks, imagine that’s Janelle up there in front of your step class, decked out in her signature white tux.
55. “Trashcan” by Delta Spirit
With a beat like a metronome to keep your legs moving and a melody to keep a smile on your face.
54. “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)” by Switchfoot
Power chords for a power workout.
53. “Happy” by Fischerspooner
Their major-label debut might not have sold a lot of copies, but it included this energetic nugget.
52. “Plaster Casts of Everything” by Liars
This tune goes straight past your ears and into your bones.
51. “Go Go Gadget Flow” by Lupe Fiasco
It can’t hurt to hear the word “go” 700 times.
50. “Good Luck” by Basement Jaxx (Featuring Lisa Kekaula)
Perfect for the warm-up, as it takes a while to get going.
49. “Percussion Gun” by White Rabbits
Roman slaves had a drummer telling them to row. We have white Rabbits’ drummer telling us when push it.
48. “Helicopter” by Bloc Party
Just tune it out when they mention queueing up for junk food.
47. “Here It Goes Again” by OK Go
As my nephew, Josh says, “Every time I hear it I think of treadmills.” Just don’t try that dance routine at home.
46. “Busy Child” by The Crystal Method
Resist breaking out the dance moves while you jog.
45. “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk
Or, if you’re lifting weights, you could just focus in on Kanye West’s “Stronger.”
44. “Renegades Of Funk” by Rage Against the Machine
“No matter hard you try you can’t stop us now!”
43. “Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang)” by Eagles of Death Metal
If you want your workout to rawk.
42. “Drunken Lullabies” by Flogging Molly
If you’re new at this whole “workout” thing, start off with the Whiskey on a Sunday version.
41. “Dance Commander” by Electric Six
When you’re sweating through mile seven, there’s no such thing as ironic distance.