The 33 Most Underrated Workout Songs of All-Time

This post is what I was going to work on yesterday morning before I got side-tracked by this topic. All in all, I think that post was a much more important use of my time.

However, this one will be 10X more fun. And for many of you, those who don’t care about the blogger/media relationship or the tired discussion about steroids in baseball, this post will probably be far more entertaining and, hopefully, even useful.

Today, I am going to present to you a list of 33 songs that I think are underappreciated from a workout standpoint. They may not all be great songs, per se, but they serve the purpose of keeping the energy high during a workout.

All of these tracks are no-brainer automatics when I’m creating or editing a workout playlist, and hopefully you’ll find at a least a few of them to your liking.

best-workout-songs-of-all-timeI don’t know about you, but a great mix of songs is what makes an intense work out not only bearable, but enjoyable. And as anyone who has seen my body transformation over the last 24 months knows, I need all the motivation I can get right now to spend more time in the gym.

Well, I finally mustered up the consistent motivation to work out regularly again. The first step, of course, was to sculpt my voluminous iTunes library into a tight, shuffleable workout mix in which only songs that I never have the urge to skip make the cut (because, let’s be honest, nothing sucks more than being in the middle of interval sprints on the treadmill and trying to switch songs.)

Now, you’ll notice that my tastes in genre are rather eclectic; however, there is one characteristic that each of these songs shares: they have an intense beat and/or tempo. I simply cannot stand anything else when I’m in a workout zone.

I don’t expect all of these songs to be your cup of tea, but perhaps you can find 5-10 of them to add to your own workout mix. Nothing gets me more excited for a workout than knowing I have new songs in the workout playlist; and as we all know, any extra ounce of motivation to hit the gym is worth its weight in, well, you get the idea.

In no particular order, except for the first song and the last two songs, here are the songs that I consider to be the among the best, and definitely the most underrated, workout songs of all-time.

(Oh, and see if you can guess what movie soundtrack is my favorite ever…)

Update: I created a Sports iMix with this entire playlist (minus Lateralus, because Tool isn’t on iTunes). If you like any or all of these songs, you can either buy the entire playlist, or download each song individually. How easy is that?

iMix: The Best and Most Underrated Songs of All-Time

best workout songs of all-time

Training Montage – Vince DiCola (from Rocky IV)

This is a great song for a warm-up run when you want to get a good sweat going before hitting the weights. Nice tempo throughout with a crescendo at the end to get you moving.

Before moving on, And let me say this about the Rocky soundtrack: I know that a lot of people work out to it, so you may balk at me listing this and other Rocky-inspired songs here. But unless everyone has Rocky music on their workout iPod – and I doubt that’s the case – then Rocky music is underrated. It’s the best music to work out to bar; bar none.

Be Yourself – Audioslave

Another good one by Audioslave: Like a Stone

Machinehead – Bush

This has always been one of my favorite songs to lift to. It’s frenetic throughout.

Thanks for the Memories – Fall Out Boy

I don’t particularly enjoy this band’s other songs, nor would I ever listen to this song while not working out, but I can’t deny that it’s a good song to run too.

Beat It – Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is very underrated from a workout perspective. I’ll be honest: I could workout to just a mix of MJ songs, but I thought I’d try to make the tough decisions and only pick a couple. This is the easy #1 choice.

No Easy Way Out – Robert Tepper (from Rocky IV)

Can You Feel It – Jackson 5

And here’s the other MJ song, this time with his brothers.

Numb & Encore Remix – Linkin Park and Jay-Z

Somebody Told Me – The Killers

Also a great one for Sing Star…if anyone else enjoys karaoke with their friends on a weekend evening.

Easily – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

A lot of good songs to choose from in the RHCP catalog. Again, these are underrated songs, so I chose one I thought not many people would think about.

Panic Switch – Silversun Pickups

Love this song. When I’m doing interval running and getting ready to crank it up an MPH or two, I try to time it with the last 2 minutes of this track.

Hearts on Fire – John Cafferty (from Rocky IV)

Lateralus – Tool

Tired of the Rain – Black Stone Cherry

Wild Nights – John Mellencamp

Rainy Monday – Shiny Toy Guns

Burning Heart – Survivor (from Rocky IV)

It’s My Life – No Doubt

I will probably draw some criticism for this poppy selection. The thing is, for whatever reason, this is just one of those songs that gets me moving when I’m running; and I can’t argue with that. Listen to the beat of the chorus. It was made for running. Her voice may annoy you (it does me), but I learned to get over it.

You Will Leave a Mark – A Silent Film

What You Know – Two Door Cinema Club

This song may have more energy than any other song I’ve ever heard.

Lip Gloss and Black – Atreyu

Lots of screaming, but the piano at the end is great.

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

Small Town – John Mellencamp

A second song from Johnny Cougar. Growing up in Indiana I used to do basketball workouts to him all the time.

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor (from Rocky)

A certified classic. Again, you may balk at this being on a list of “underrated” workout songs. I say that until it’s on everyone’s workout iPod, it’s underrated.

Barricade – Interpol

Mr. Jones – Counting Crows

Better Life – Keith Urban

What!? Country!? Yes, country. And yes, Keith Urban. I can’t explain it. I just like it.

All the Same – Sick Puppies

This song starts out kind of slow, but I enjoy songs that build to a powerful crescendo, which this one does.

Life Is a Highway – Rascal Flatts

Yeah, country again.

Get Down With the Sickness – Disturbed

Uprising – Muse

I contemplated removing this one because it was in the commercial for a Tom Cruise movie…but it barely made the cut because, outside of that, it’s a really good workout song.

And now, let’s end this with a bang…

Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

Yes, it’s true. This song somehow finds its way onto pretty much every type of song list I create. What can I say? This song has always been a favorite, even before the 2005 White Sox won it all with this song as the anthem. Who doesn’t get pumped up by the chorus?

War – Vince DiCola (from Rocky IV)

Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this.

For as long as I can remember, I have organized my workouts around the most difficult part coinciding with the final two minutes of this song.

What I like about this one is that it starts out with a nice tempo that easily keeps you moving, but then there is a really slow part in the middle. If you’re in the middle of a long run, or a series of sprints, this part is difficult to push through because you have no musical help. It’s a good test of wills and mental toughness.

But then, once the grand finale is ready, it’s on. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every time this song hits 3:46, I get a huge burst of endorphins and a second win, and can knock out the next two minutes at any intensity. I don’t know why, but it’s a great lesson in mind over body. (Now if I could just figure out how to do it without the music…)

Anyway, this is and will always be my favorite workout song of all-time. I don’t care how many other lists this song ends up on (and surprisingly, I didn’t find it on any), it will always be underrated in my mind.

Okay, now it’s your turn. This is just my list, but I know there are other great workout songs out there. Please post your favorites in the comments. I like to keep my playlists fresh, so any additions will be much appreciated.

About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.


  1. "Never Gonna Give You Up" must have been #34.

  2. I'm not really sure anything from Rocky can be considered underrated.. more like the gold standard in workout tunes :P

  3. this is the worst list on the internet, possibly ever.
    or at least since working out and music were associated with one another.

    • Wow, well obviously I disagree with you, but we do appreciate honesty around here, whether it is for, against, or indifferent to anything we post. So thanks for the comment. Sorry the songs weren't your taste.

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  5. It's My Life is a remake. The original song is by Talk Talk. Check it out. It sounds a million times better when it sounds nothing like some whiny, petulant teenager singing to her mother about that damn 10 pm curfew.

    • hey loser, gwen stefani/no doubt version of its my life craps all over talk talks version, so go to hell

      • Really? Because I didn't rank a song I've never heard of I am a loser and should go to hell? Ben, my friend, thank you or the visit. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to visit MSF and I try to provide the best content possible…but take it easy bro. I bet if we met you would not wish me to go to hell, so I'll give you a mulligan on this comment.

  6. great list!exactly my taste!:)

  7. I am apparently late to the party here, but "The Joker & The Thief" by Wolfmother. You can't listen to that song and not want to jump around, or in my case, pick up your running pace when it is playing. And "Blue Orchid" by The White Stripes. Those two songs are my go-to songs when I need to pick up my tired pace.

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