Psychophysical and ergogenic effects of synchronous music during treadmill walking

J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2009 Feb;31(1):18-36. doi: 10.1123/jsep.31.1.18.


The present study examined the impact of motivational music and oudeterous (neutral in terms of motivational qualities) music on endurance and a range of psychophysical indices during a treadmill walking task. Experimental participants (N=30; mean age=20.5 years, SD=1.0 years) selected a program of either pop or rock tracks from artists identified in an earlier survey. They walked to exhaustion, starting at 75% maximal heart rate reserve, under conditions of motivational synchronous music, oudeterous synchronous music, and a no-music control. Dependent measures included time to exhaustion, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and in-task affect (both recorded at 2-min intervals), and exercise-induced feeling states. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA was used to analyze time to exhaustion data. Two-way repeated measures (Music Condition ? Trial Point) ANOVAs were used to analyze in-task measures, whereas a one-way repeated measures MANOVA was used to analyze the exercise-induced feeling states data. Results indicated that endurance was increased in both music conditions and that motivational music had a greater ergogenic effect than did oudeterous music (p<.01). In addition, in-task affect was enhanced by motivational synchronous music when compared with control throughout the trial (p<.01). The experimental conditions did not impact significantly (p>.05) upon RPE or exercise-induced feeling states, although a moderate effect size was recorded for the latter (etap2=.09). The present results indicate that motivational synchronous music can elicit an ergogenic effect and enhance in-task affect during an exhaustive endurance task.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Music / psychology*
  • Periodicity
  • Physical Endurance
  • Psychoacoustics*
  • Walking