10 Songs to Fix Your Dumpy Gym Playlist

Power Rankings

Your gym playlist sucks. You’ve known it for a while, so just admit it. I’ve searched high and low for years to find a perfect playlist and it doesn’t exist. Everyone’s tastes are different. Some people prefer to lift to metal while others like rap. Every once in a while you’ll still catch some of the oldies blasting classic rock while they’re pushing plates. Variety is the spice of life and genre is rarely the problem I have.

You search “Gym” in Spotify and immediately find hope. Playlists like “Gymcore” and “Gym Bangers” come up with 70k+ likes, leading you to believe they’ve got to be good. WRONG. “Nonstop” and “Major Distribution” are some of the first songs on the playlist and your pump is wasted. Knowing that people are burning their trenbolone and pre-workout on songs by Drake makes me sick. No hate on him as an artist, but that doesn’t belong on any gym playlist and I won’t apologize for that take.

Look, I’m not on the side of metal only at the gym either. In fact, I’d argue against that. Maybe it’s because I’m old as dirt, but I want lyrics I can understand. Either make me feel like a piece of shit or like I’m better than everyone else. Give me something to work with and a beat that makes me want to move heavy things to it. That’s why this list was created. Please, I’m begging you, replace all of your slow vibe-along songs on these gym playlists with these instead.

10: “Love Sosa” – Chief Keef

Everyone knows this one and that’s for a good reason. Look, I know the intro is long enough to be its own song, but just plan for that. If you put it on as you lace up your shoes in the locker room, you’ll be hitting the drop as you strap in for some hack squats. Trust the process and stay with me here.

9: “Clear Eyes, Full Heart (Can’t Lose)” – T. Powell

I’ve got to put my hand up here. This song’s production value is at the floor. That being said, it starts off with a top ten motivating speech of all time. If you’re lucky enough to have any sort of athletic career still in front of you, the lyrics might mean something too. If you ever felt slighted by the politics in sports, it’ll reel you in too. It’s raw, but it works…even if only on a gym playlist.

8: “Till I Collapse” – Eminem, Nate Dogg

A certified classic by anyone who’s ever put music into their ears. The song literally talks about legs giving out from underneath you. If that’s not a perfect fit for training to failure on leg day, then I don’t know what is. Even if you’re a distance runner, this song is one to bury for mile 14 of a marathon. The minute your legs are on fire, just before they go numb for the rest of the race you need a boost and this is it.

7: “I Don’t Get Tired” – Kevin Gates, August Alsina

For the hard workers and grinders, Kevin Gates always delivers. Sure, there’s a slow part around the 2:30 mark in the song that’s borderline cringe-worthy. Spin it into a positive. That’s the perfect time to rest between reps and get that heart rate back to the 100 range. It’s legitimately BUILT for lifting.

6: “Can You Feel My Heart” – Bring Me The Horizon

The top of this list was starting to feel a bit too rap-heavy. It needed a curveball to re-wire the brain and keep it interested. No better way to do that than a song that’ll leave you breathless just lip-syncing. If you’re not mouthing lyrics from songs on your gym playlist, then what are those songs even doing on there in the first place?

5: “Heart of a Champion” – Nelly

Right when you thought we were done with rap…BAM, we’re hitting you with a BANGER. You’re already out of breath from screaming, so why not start it with some exercises led by Nelly. I’m a sucker for a chorus sung by a group and this song might be the reason why. The song came off of an album titled “Sweat”…it’s purpose as a gym song couldn’t be more obvious. Bonus: You’ll especially love this if you’re a ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-bas-ket-ball fan.

4: “The Downfall Of Us All” – A Day To Remember

One of the most iconic starts to a song in the history of music. A song that transcends genres and cultures. There isn’t a body on the planet that doesn’t have a positive response when this hits the eardrums. You can legitimately watch you heart rate spike the second the preverbal needle drops as if they were inverse functions of one another.

3: “Go Forever” – Rob Bailey, The Hustle Standard

This is a special one for all the runners out there. If you ever feel like quitting or slowing from a run to a walk, this is the song to drop. As with a lot of the songs on this list, the intro is a hurdle you’ve got to overcome. Once you do though, the honey proves to be worth a couple of bee stings to get it. If the lyrics and vibe aren’t enough to push you through, the subtle thought about whether T-Pain is in the song should keep you too occupied to realize you’re suffering.

2: “Warrior” – Atreyu

This should be on every gym playlist ever created. If it’s not, your playlist sucks. Look, I don’t make the rules (yes I do) but I will enforce them. The tempo fits what your push/pull motion should be. There are breaks to rest between sets. The intensity changes, but never gets too low. TRAVIS BARKER WAS BROUGHT IN FOR IT. It’s a song that is perfectly crafted for it’s intended purpose. If it were a plate, it would deserve to have it’s own Michelin Star.

1: “Keep it Goin” – Deorro, Danny Avila

At the end of the day, people exercise to look good and be superior to others. Feeling good is simply a side effect and I won’t hear differently. Know what’s way more fun when you look good? Partying. Get the party started as you finish up and take it with you when you leave. As complicated as the brain is to some, it’s very simple to trick. Feed it the smallest little bit of serotonin as you leave and it will want to go back. It’s the same logic golf courses use when designing their 18th hole.

Honorable Mentions

“Toxicity” – System of a Down

This song has every right to be on a gym playlist. The ride it takes you on from start to end has stood the test of time and keeps bringing folks back. Much like High Roller at Valley Fair, you know you’ll wind up with a headache from all the banging back and forth, but you keep getting in line to do it again.

“God’s Plan” – Fame on Fire

In all honesty, any Fame on Fire song will do. If you don’t know about their “bit”, these guys cover all kinds of songs (typically hip hop/pop music) and put a much harder spin on it. It gives you everything you want in a top-10 charting song while also giving you something to lift to.

“LSD” – Ghastly

Once again, this song has got a beat that you’ve got to earn, but I love it nonetheless. I’m addicted to a long build up, apparently. Better than being addicted to drugs. Speaking of that, this song will make you want to go on a trip, and not the kind you have to pack for. It’s purely included for the variety in genres so the festival folk don’t feel left out and the fact that it’ll get your heart race GOING.

“Can’t Be Saved” – Senses Fail

The millennial emo in me would be ashamed if I didn’t include an anthem like this. Again, the group chorus makes an appearance on a song that’s undeniably great. The only downside is that the chorus is quick and you’ve got to hit your reps in that window. If you can do that, the song will never let you down. An under-appreciated piece of emo lore.

“We Dem Boyz” – Wiz Khalifa

This one is specifically for the group workouts where nobody’s got their own headphones on. Few songs will get a whole gym riled up and pushing sets together like this one will. Nothing against the ladies in the gym at all, but sometimes the boys just need to vibe with one another.