Effect of Pre-Exercise Music on Bench Press Power, Velocity, and Repetition Volume

Percept Mot Skills. 2021 Jun;128(3):1183-1196. doi: 10.1177/00315125211002406. Epub 2021 Mar 15.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of listening to pre-exercise music on bench press performance. We recruited 10 resistance trained males (M age= 22.8, SD = 5.8 years; M height= 173.7, SD = 8.3 cm; M body mass = 81.0, SD = 18.2 kg) for this crossover counterbalanced research design. Participants completed two bench press exercise trials of (a) No music (NM), and (b) Pre-exercise music (PreExM) separated by at least 48 hours. For each trial, following a warm-up, participants listened to music or no music for three minutes. After this 3-minute period, they completed one set of bench press repetitions with maximum explosive intent at 75% one repetition maximum (1 RPM). We used a rotary encoder to measure power and velocity of barbell movement. After a 3-minute rest during which they again listened to music or no music, participants completed another set of repetitions to failure (RTF) at 75% of 1RM. Immediately following this second set of repetitions, we measured exercise motivation with a visual analog scale (VAS). We found that the PreExM condition increased mean power output (p = 0.005; d = 0.792) and barbell velocity (p = 0.015; d = 0.722). RTF were significantly higher during the PreExM versus NM trial (p = 0.002; d = 0.985), and motivation was significantly higher in the PreExM trial versus NM (p = 0.001; d = 0.932). These findings suggest improved muscle power explosiveness and strength-endurance when listening to music before a bench press exercise. From a practical standpoint, athletes who have the option of listening to music immediately prior to resistance exercise may benefit from its use.

Keywords: barbell velocity; explosiveness; motivation; resistance exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Music*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Weight Lifting
  • Young Adult