Legal Action Against Peloton Gives a Useful Insight on Music for Mountain Bikers


Reports have appeared in the press this week that copyright proceedings have started against indoor cycling brand Peloton. The company make high end, networkable exercise bikes (with celebrities like David Beckham, Hugh Jackman and Ellen DeGeneres reportedly devotees) and are accused of using music for which they haven’t paid royalties. So what does this mean for us?


Well there is a well recognised link between music and our exercise levels with research showing that music enhances performance.

Fast tempo, loud intensity music increases our levels of excitement while slow tempo, quieter music calms and relaxes us.[1] You frequently see videos of athletes listening to music before a competition to calm their nerves or to energise themselves dependent on their pre-competition routines.

Research has provided greater insights into the effects of music. It has been shown that, when exercising, there are two types of music you can listen to – music that corresponds to the rhythm and speed of the exercise you’re performing and music that doesn’t.

The Effect of Synchronous Music

Synchronous music corresponds to the tempo of the exercise we’re performing and has been shown to help both professional and non-professional athletes manage their energy usage more effectively and prolong their endurance. It has been shown, for example, that individuals cycling with their movements in synchrony with the music they are listening to, use 7% less oxygen than when cycling listening to asynchronous music.[1] 

Similarly, synchronous music has been shown to improve the endurance of individuals running on a treadmill by 15% and help them feel more positive about exercising even when working at very high intensities.[2]

Additional Effects

Other things that music has been shown to improve are the acquisition of motor skills such as coordination and balance and even that certain lyrics may improve technique. The song “ Push it” by Salt-n-Pepa has been shown to reduce the number of technical errors in athletes performing the shot put.[1]

So what can we take from all this?

Musical taste is very subjective and so choosing the songs that work for you rather than looking for songs that work for others is your best bet. When doing this though, think about the level of intensity and tempo you’re wanting to work at and select appropriate music of a comparable tempo and volume.

If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.


Want to learn more?

[1] Karageorghis, C. I., & Priest, D. L. (2013). Music in Sport and Exercise: An Update on Research and Application. Sport Journal

[2] Brunel University. “Jog To The Beat: Music Increases Exercise Endurance By 15%.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2008. 


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