Pump It Up! The 7 Best Workout Songs From Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers
Pump It Up! The 7 Best Workout Songs From Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers
These experts agree—an energetic tempo and pulsing beat are the fastest way to get you in the mood to move. We asked seven of Canada’s top trainers for their favourite song-and-exercise pairings. Read on and check out our Spotify playlist below to get you feeling as motivated as the pros.
Eva Redpath, Nike Master Trainer and founder of Body Conditioning By Dancers, Toronto
Favourite Song of the Moment: “Break The Rules (Tiesto Remix)” by Charli XCX.
“This perfect HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout track,” says Eva. “The lyrics and hard hitting breakdowns inspire me to push through my workouts so I can break through my fitness goals.”
Exercise to try: Walk Out Push Up To Swivel
• How to do it: “Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bring your hands to the floor. Walk your hands out until you reach a push up position perform one push up, then twist your body to touch one knee to the opposite elbow. Repeat twist on the other side. Walk hands back and return to start position.”
• What it works: “This move engages multiple muscle groups and gets your heart rate up quickly! Similar to when you are holding a plank, you’ll feel that your core, shoulders and arms, and inner and outer quads will all get fired up to keep you stable while getting through a set.”
Amber Joliat, rock 'n roll yogi and owner of Misfit Studio, Toronto
Favourite Song of the Moment: It's a tie: "Teardrop" by Massive Attack and “Fly Away” by The Precious Lo’s.
“They're odd and unusual and quirky, those are qualities I love in music.” says Amber. For workouts, “I choose songs that you can get lost in, either the rhythm, or instruments or musicality. I find great pleasure in discovering new bands, rediscovering old genres and revelling in music from all over the world. These particular pieces have a melodic tempo and a strong base to follow.”
Exercise to try: “My speciality is melting together a sequence of movements into one long continuous thread, moving both slowly and quickly, constantly challenging the body— Try this sequence, moving in one fluid, non-stop flow:”
• How to do it: “Starting in down dog, slowly roll forward to plank, lift one leg, and round you back bring your knee towards your nose while lifting hips high. Lengthen back out to plank, keeping your leg lifted, and end with a push up. Repeat three times, and then again on the other side.”
• What it works: “This is a whole body work out working against gravity. In the core, it targets all abdominals, obliques, and glutes. In the shoulders, it works the posterior, anterior and deep deltoids. In the arms, it builds biceps and triceps.”
Larry Track, personal trainer and owner of Track Fitness Studio, Toronto
Favourite Song of the Moment: “Alive” by Pearl Jam.
“This is my all-time favourite song to get pumped up for a workout. Hearing the guitars and lyrics won't let me quit. It's a reminder how thankful I am to be healthy and alive!”
Exercise to try: I love doing pull-ups when listening to this song because it's one of the hardest exercise to perform.
• How to do it: “Find a bar or a set of rings and pull! Focus on good form by engaging your core…try to rise up high enough to get your chin over the bar or rings.”
• What it works: “Pull ups are great for upper body strength and core.”
Sahra Esmonde White, creator of the Essentrics workout technique and trainer to the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal
Favourite Song of the Moment: “Toes” by Glass Animals.
“Essentrics is a fluid strengthening and stretching workout, which means that many of the songs we use have a fluid, cool beat. Most of our music is medium-paced because we don't use momentum in the workout; we help you to strengthen and target muscles at a pace that allows you to engage and really feel your muscles.”
Exercise to try: Essentrics Side Lunges
• How to do it: “With your feet wide apart, lunge to one side, lift both arms and bring them close to your ears. Squeeze your abs, pull your arms away from your body and slowly lift both arms to the ceiling while coming out of your lunge. Repeat on the other side. Do each side three times.”
• What it works: “This move helps to create flat abs, a defined waist and help work into the lower back area to strengthen and tone your waist. It engages your abs, waist, back, and full core while simultaneously working your lower body, quads, and inner thighs.”
Dhani Oks, owner of Academy of Lions CrossFit studio, Toronto
Favourite Song of the Moment: “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys.
“The role of music in workout is extremely important. We are creatures that intuitively understand rhythm. We need to match the music to the intent of the workout. When I need to train to my maximum effort or intensity, a heart pumping, emotionally driven tune that helps connect me to my “primal” instinctive brain. This song is primal, raw and the baseline hits the heart. It gives you just the right amount of chaos and emotion.”
Exercise to try: “Circuit Training, TABATA & HIIT style workouts are perfect for this.”
• How to do it: “Include movements like step-ups, sandbag carries, burpees, Russian twists, skipping, and weighted lunges.”
• What it works: These exercises require power and “involve significant metabolic effort,” focusing on building strength and working the cardiovascular system.
Alix Kell, lead “Addicted To Sweat” cardio-dance instructor at Hard Candy Fitness, Toronto
Favourite Song of the Moment: “Triumph” by Wu Tang Clan.
“I grew up as a teen in the 90's when hip hop and rap was at its finest. The Wu Tang has so many bangers that get me excited in a slightly aggressive way. One thing about this song that is so special is that there is no catchy chorus and the beat is so loud and hard! It never gets old to me and gets me so jacked to perform demanding workouts like heavy lifts, CrossFit-style workouts and interval training.”
Exercise to try: Burpees!
• How to do it: “Standing up with your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees and reach your arms to the floor in front of you as you kick your feet back behind you to come Into a full prone position on the floor. I call this "hitting the deck". This should be done fast and in one single movement so you end up face down with your chest, stomach and thighs completely on the floor, elbows bent and hands in push up position.
Then, use your arms to push your upper body off the floor as you kick your legs up into a half squat. This too should be done in one fast movement landing with your torso upright and your knees bent into the half squat position.
Finally, jump straight up out of the squat and clap your hands over your head. The jump doesn't have to be high, but both feet must leave the floor.
Repeat as many as you can while keeping a steady pace. I modify the burpee for those who have any pre-existing conditions, injuries, low blood pressure or who are very tall by having them kick out into the plank position instead of "hitting the deck" in stage #1.”
• What it works: This is a full body movement that will increase your bodies ability to perform work at a high capacity. It works triceps abdominals, glutes and quads, as well as stabilizing muscles through your whole body. And, the most important muscle—the heart—is challenged too. Burpees are a strength and cardiovascular exercise sure to burn max calories!
Aaron De Jong, personal trainer and owner of MOVEMENT108 functional fitness studio, Vancouver
Favourite Song of the Moment: “Memories That You Call (feat. Monsoonsiren)” by Odesza.
“I like exercising to this song because it has a slow build and builds you up with it, making the work or effort grow into big exertion.”
Exercise to try: Turkish Getup
• How to do it: “Start laying on your back with a kettlebell pressed overhead. Roll onto your opposite forearm, then onto your hand. From there it’s time for a high hip bridge through the planted hand and opposite foot. Swinging the leg through to a lunge position, stand all the way up into a lunge, all the while keeping the kettlebell lifted straight up overhead.”
• What it works: “For this, you move in every movement pattern: Rolling, pressing, pushing, lunging, extending through the hips…This exercise can not only build strength through movement; it also helps find imbalances in the body to work on.”