Pump It Up: Rockin' 45-Minute Cardio Playlist

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Music goes a long way with motivating me to work out. I can't imagine running, teaching Spinning class or even lifting weights without some good tunes to keep my mood and energy levels high.

When I teach classes, music takes center stage. I take a lot of time to create a good playlist and craft a class that follows the speed, beat and mood of the music itself. And now, I'm going to share one of my new playlists with you, along with the great cardio workout that goes with it.

If you want some cardio ideas for using this playlist, look at the "What to do" cues below each song, where I'll give you a general idea of how to match your workout to the music (using speed and incline/resistance cues)—whether you're on a treadmill, stationary bike, stair-climber or even an elliptical. Use the "Intensity on scale of 1-10" guidelines (10 being the hardest you could possibly work) so you know how hard to work during each song. Even if you don't follow this sample workout, these are some great tunes to take to the gym!

*Please note that this sample workout is for the intermediate to advanced exerciser. Adjust the time and intensity to suit your fitness level and needs.

(Time) Artist – Song Title
What to do
Exercise Intensity on a scale of 1-10

(3:37) Paul van Dyke – Time of Our Lives
Reach 6 to 6.5 by end of song

(4:04) U2 – Beautiful Day
Moderate resistance/incline with high-intensity bursts at chorus
7 during recovery, 7.5 during bursts

(4:04) Coldplay – Viva la Vida
Low-intensity recovery with sprints at each chorus
7-7.5 during recovery, 9 during sprints

(3:43) The Killers – Mr. Brightside
Increase incline/resistance every minute
Start at 7, Reach 8.5 by end of song

(3:00) OK Go – Here It Goes Again
Go for speed and maintain a quick pace
Start at 7, Reach 8 by end of song

(3:12) Madonna ft. Justin Timberlake – Four Minutes
Reduce speed and resistance (recovery song)
6 to 7

(4:18) The Ataris – The Boys of Summer
Moderate resistance/incline and with speed bursts at each chorus
Start at 7.5, Reach 8.5 during each burst

(3:17) Johnny Cash – I've Been Everywhere
Increase incline/resistance every minute
Start at 7, Reach 8.5 by end of song

(3:12) The Clash – Train in Vain
Reduce speed and resistance (recovery song)
6 to 7

(3:15) The Strokes – Last Night
Low-intensity recovery with sprints at each chorus
7-7.5 during recovery, 9 during sprints

(4:04) Jamiroquai – Canned Heat
All out effort!
Sustain 8 to 8.5 for entire song

(4:07) Alanis Morissette - Underneath
Cool Down
Reach 6 or lower by end of song

(3:30) Yael Naim – New Soul
1 to 2

And you're done!

Would you give this cardio playlist two thumbs up? If not, tell us what songs you do like to work out to.

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YMWONG22 2/17/2020
Thank you. Report
MUSICNUT 1/31/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
ERIN_POSCH 1/17/2020
thanks for sharing Report
DEE107 9/2/2019
thanks Report
I am sure I will be getting my task done by reading this article. Nicely written and well presented.I will definitely put this on my brain. https://playviewapps.com/ Report
Absolutely Report
Created a Spotify Playlist on my MSDRPEPPER account - for those who use Spotify with their Runkeeper etc. Here's the link (you'll need to copy the link below, paste it into a new tab, remove the spaces, and then re-enter it into a new tab.
http :// open.spotify.com /user/ msdrpepper/ playlist/0qDX7uMVhxKQRVyyXBhNfk Report
This is an awesome playlist! I already had most of the songs in my library, and I made 2 small adjustments so I didn't have to buy the rest on iTunes: I used Personal Jesus for Johnny Cash and Hands Clean for Alanis Morisette :-) Report
This is a great playlist! Very similar to the one I made myself :D Report
My favourite workout songs usually japanese anime soundtracks, the music really can pump you up even though I don't even a word, haha Report
Check out www.indiesouprunner.com if you like indie music (or if you're too busy/lazy to create your own playlist) this site is for you :) Report
I love OKGO-Invincible
My fav though is to listen to my pandora station on my iPhone. Even if you don't have an iPhone, you can get a free Pandora account at pandora.com! It is awesome how you can type in a song or artist and then it plays songs similar. Report
Great playlist!! Report
I like the songs in the iTunes' "The Biggest Loser Workout Mix - Country Hits." It has a lot of great country songs remixed so they're great to run to. Some songs on the list are:

Somebody Like You
Party for Two
Play Something Country
When the Sun goes Down

and many more great songs! Report
Here are just a few of mine:
I don't wanna be in love -(Dance Floor Anthem) - Good Charlotte
How High - Madonna
What Hurts The Most (radio remix) - Casada
Hurt (JB and BSOD electro mix) - Christian Aguilera
Missing (Hi_Track Club Mix) - Delano and Crockett
All I Even Wanted (Radio Edit) - Basshunter
Music Inferno - Madonna

I am always looking for new songs to add to my collection. Thanks.

I definitely need high intensity or rock songs in my list. I like listening to a song that rises up/crescendoes in my walk to the gym to get me pumped up. I try to listen to that same song each time (unless I had a rough week/day in which case I just jump right into the rock). Here are some of my favorites from my list:

Paris Texas--Bombs Away (starting song)
Queen--Don't Stop Me Now
Disturbed--10,000 fists
Black Eyed Peas--Pump It Up
AFI--Miss Murder
Jay-Z--Dirt Off Your Shoulder
My Chemical Romance--I'm Not Ok Report
I've actually never heard of any of these songs, but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to try it. Report
I definitely need rock music to get the intensity level up when I exercise. Thanks for the rockin' play list and suggestions. Report
I don't know what i'll do without music. My music gets me in the mood for a workout when i'd probably give up after 10mins. i put the songs on shuffle so i don't talk myself out of the mood if i know what's coming up next and i place the songs in a way that the really fast songs like blackeyedpeas- Hey Mama, comes up just in time to get me running at a faster pace when i would normally have slowed down my pace. Great list though! Report
Great playlist. I love all kinds of music and like to try new music. New music spices up the workout so it doesn't get boring. Report
When you login at YouTube you can find all the songs and put them on your own playlist. Just select the songs you want. As a bonus you have video to look at while working out. Report
Thank you all for your lists! Change is good. Here's my current list:
Steppenwolf - Sookie Sookie
Steve Holy - Brand New Girlfriend
MC Hammer - Can't Touch This
Gretchen Wilson - Redneck Woman
The Knack - My Sharona
ZZ Top - Funky Cold Medina
ELO - Hold On Tight
Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music
Freddy Cannon - Where The Action Is
Jo Dee Messina - Heads Carolina, Tails California
Mel and Tim - Backfield In Motion
Commadores - Brick House
Trace Atkins - Honky Tonk Badonkadonk
Daddy Dewdrop - Chick-a-Boom
Donna Summer - She works Hard For the Money

Yeah, I know, eclectic LOL
Whatever it takes to keep my feet moving.
Thank you SO MUCH for this playlist! I have to stick to a bike for a few weeks while rehabbing a stress fracture in my foot, and I was pretty down about not being able to run. I remembered this post and printed it out and made a playlist of the songs and did the workout on the bike today. It was great! I couldn't find one of the songs on iTunes so I subbed in a different song of a similar length and beat for it. PLEASE post more of these--I'd love a longer one that lasts about an hour! THANKS! Report
Thanks so much! I find music to be a huge motivator and have been looking for new music to add to my list. Fantastic to have a nice big list of suggestions! Report
that is hysterical! Just yesterday I got myself a little creeped out in a deep wooded park when Living Dead Girl came on... yup - I'm a dork! Report
I agree with GIANT - STEPS. I find metal (and rock) very motivating. Nothing gest me out there busting my butt quite like Rob Zombie. :)

- Josie Report
For me heavy metal is the best to work myself into a frenzy. I like:

Breaking Benjamin
Linkin Park
Korn Report
I love my ipod...... I have country, dance, sing along, just got engaged, playlists.
Makes the time fly walking my dogs. Report
I dont know any of those songs either, but I might have to look them up. I'm up for trying out anything. ;) Someone asked about country playlists, and I do like country. So here's mine. Keep in mind, I'm new, and slow (my fastest run is at 4mph) so it may not be fast enough for you, but it works for me:

Baby One More Time- Britney Spears
Before He Cheats- Carrie Underwood
Mississippi Girl- Faith Hill
Dearly Beloved- Faith Hill
Workin for a Livin- Huey Lewis and the News (I like that version better than the Garth Brooks version)
Conga- Gloria Estefan
If This is It- Huey Lewis and the News
Heads Carolina, Tails California- Jo Dee Messina
Sold (The Grundy County Auction)- John Michael Montgomery
Spiderwebs- No Doubt
If You're Going Through Hell- Rodney Atkins
Man! I Feel like a Woman- Shania Twain
Down to my Last Teardrop- Tania Tucker
I Like it, I Love It- Tim McGraw
How Do You Like Me Now?- Toby Keith
I Wanna Talk about Me- Toby Keith
Courtesy of the Red White and Blue- Toby Keith
Who's Your Daddy?- Toby Keith

Nicky H Report
I think this mix is great. I have a mix that i use for when i am doing cardio - eliptical, running, etc....korn, new order, ac/dc, metallica.....LOL it has been the same mix since i was in college, on a tape in my sony sports walkman....before the ipod days!!! i have since retired my walkman, and just use my ipod, but that tape still sits in my walkman!!! oh the memories!!!

I wonder if Nicole has a website where she posts her playlists and workouts. I be interested to see others she has.

This blog and everyone's post are very helpful! I am getting tired of the music on my MP3 player and have been looking for some new songs. I normally do a mix of songs but my favorite ones to work out to are songs that I can line dance too. I really love line dancing and when I hear the songs while working out (no matter what I'm doing), I just think about how fun this song is and mentally line dance ;-)

I also agree with the prior post about Baby's Got back...this is a must on the playlist! It really motivates me and makes me think about even though I have curves I am still sexy ;-) Report
I have a workout playlist on my ipod, but usually put it on shuffle, so I never know which song is coming up next. Some favorites are:
Dontcha' - Pussycat Dolls
Buttons - Pussycat Dolls
Baby Got Back - Sir Mix-a-Lot - oh, c'mon, how can you NOT have that song in there?!?!? lol
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Calabria 2008
This is Why I'm Hot - Mims
Fergalicious - Fergie
Glamorous - Fergie
I'm not sure how I'd get up the energy to be on the elliptical without these. Report
Heres my list I use on the treadmill:
Get The Party Started-Pink
SOS- Rihanna
Don't Bother-Shakira
I Will Survive-Gloria Gaynor
Hurts So Good-John Mellencamp
Watermelon Crawl-Tracy Byrd
Don't Stand So Close To Me-The Police
She Works Hard For The Money-Donna Summer
God Blessed Texas-Little Texas
Billie Jean-Michael Jackson
Beat It-Michael Jackson
Fast Cars & Freedom-Rascal Flatts
YMCA-Village People
Party For Two-Shania Twain & Billy Currington
Living In Fast Forward-Kenny Chesney
This Ain't No Thinkin Thing-Trace Atkins
Sorry to say this list is too contemporary for my taste. Thumbs down!
I'd stick with a mix of classics like PRINCE, BOWIE, BOHANNON, TOM TOM CLUB!

If I didn't have music, I don't really think I would have the motivation to exercise in the morning. I just bought Jasmine Sullivan's Fearless CD and it is so good and hsa some great motivating songs. Report
Thanks for sharing. My favorite thing to do to make time go is talk, but when everyone around me is plugged in, I wish I had an iPod too. It's climbing up my 'must have' list fast! So, thanks for sharing, I've pasted the list and others here so I can get to them in the future. Thanks everyone for taking the time to share! Report
I don't know most of these songs but it's a great idea to have all the music together to go with your workout. Thanks for sharing. Report
My gym Goodlife Fitness Centres in Canada has a great 'Body Pump' class that plays 'Simply Irresistible' during one of the workouts (for squats). Great energy and the perfect beat for the routine. Report
It would be great to have this playlist streamed along with the others on the SparkSounds page. I'd love to see that page have the "what to do" and "intensity" included along with playlists, too. Report
Wow, some great ideas! I like the Gorillaz, 'Dare' and 'Feel Good Inc' get me moving. Some of the 80's stuff will get you moving, and at curves i discovered some Abba will also get you going. One Christian song I really like to move to is "Flood" by Jars of Clay. There are some 'sprint' moments, if you will, and some 'recovery' moments in that song. A college friend wrote a book called "Bright Lights, Big Ass" (good book) and she had a pretty good workout mix listed in it, if anyone is looking for more ideas. Report
Goodness I must be older than I feel as I only recognize a couple of those songs. I like oldies fast music ( 60's mostly) I do agree with Sgt Honey about "Can't touch this" as it really gets me moving. I like fast upbeat music to exercise to and I save the slower mellow music for relaxation time. I have a large variety of music and can't get into my workouts without it. I downloaded and burned a couple CD's for my grandkids of the new music and some of it is pretty good. Report
Thanks for all the great ideas! Report
I have 17 workout playlists on my iPod right now (workout 1, workout 2, workout 3, etc). They are each around 40 minutes long b/c that's how long my cardio and cool down takes. I start at workout 1 and go throught the list until i forget where i was or get through and start again. I need to revamp them somewhat though and add some new stuff. I just have to be careful about spending time on iTunes b/c I could so easily drop $100 in one sitting buying single songs! Report
Well, I'm not sure what happened when I posted my previous comment, but that last song should be "How Bizzarre". Report
I'm loving the ideas for new songs to add to my MP3 player!

Here are some of my current faves to get me going when I'm walking.

Gwen Stefani~Hollaback Girls
Outkast~Hey Ya
John Lennon~Instant Karma
The Pretenders~Brass in Pocket
Adam Ant~Goody Two Shoes
Dexy's Midnight Runners~Come On Eileen
U2~Beautiful Day
Devo~Beautiful World
Rhianna~Shut Up and Drive
OMC~How Bizzare Report
Forgot to add..Queen's Fat bottom girls you make the rock and roll world go round... :) Report
For those of you who like Christian music, try Nicole C. Mullen or Rizen, they both have songs that are great for high intensity, and Nicole C. has great cool down ones, too. And Newsboys is a big favorite of mine. Oh goodness, DC Talk, Audio Adreneline, and Jars of Clay for fast stuff and Ginny Owens for cool down. There's a ton of great stuff out there that's challenging and inspiring! Report
a lot of good playlists on here...One I would add is the theme from Rocky Report
Okay, I totally love music when I'm working out. Helps me go longer. I use the podcasts for my C25K too. I am definitely downloading these and then some that other members posted too. I like a lot of reggaeton music when I'm working out. The beat really keeps me going. DaddyYankee and Akon , Aerosmith. I like country music as my warm up and cool downs since they are usually slower paced. Report
OK, I am sitting down today to revamp my playlists! Also, I enjoy the C25K (Couch to 5k) podcasts from http://www.ullreys.com/robert/Podca

The change prompts are in the music so you don't have to look at your watch, and the running program is fab!!! Report