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Turn it up: Billboard, Spotify create mother of all workout playlists

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Anyone who’s ever been to boot camp knows the power of music when it comes to amping up exercise and boosting motivation.

But you can only listen to variations of “C-130 rolling down the strip” so many times.

That’s why the always musically-minded folks at Billboard teamed up with Spotify to ping more than 1.5 billion playlists built by 40 million users to create the mother of all sweat-soaking song compilations, a Top 25 of all-time workout greats.

“The results are an accurate cross-section of the music that may come to mind when you think of hitting it hard – ” ‘Let the Bodies Hit the Floor,’ anyone? ‘Bulls On Parade,’ of course. Metallica, naturally,” reads Billboard’s write-up of the results. “But also some less predictable choices from the data pool: Dropkick Murphys’ ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston,’ made famous by the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed,’ as well as Kanye’s mega-politik ‘Black Skinhead.’ Ok, maybe ‘Black Skinhead’ makes sense, considering it starts off with the sound of someone obviously straining on a stairmaster.”

Even better, Billboard has broken down the results across seven exercise categories: running, CrossFit, cycling, weightlifting, yoga, the gym and Tae Bo (um, that’s a still a thing?).

Of course, the top 50-plus songs they’ve put together for each workout type won’t be to everyone’s liking, but you’ll be sure to find new material to work into your own workout rotation.

It’s also interesting to see – and hear – the kind of music the various workout cultures gravitate toward.

CrossFitters, for example, aren’t just fans of predictable hard rockers such as Rage Against the Machine and Guns N’ Roses, but also dig on the dean of dubstep Skrillex and a variety of hip hop powerhouses, from Kanye to Macklemore.

Runners, on the other hand – or foot – love them some Lady Gaga, Avicii and other pop favs, while lifters like indie rockers Arcade Fire and Doves. Meanwhile, gym rats skew toward rap heavyweights such as Black Kent and Biggie Smalls.

And of course, everyone can get pumped up to Meditation Spa’s bendy classic “Yoga Nidra.” Or not. But it’s probably still better than singing your own C-130 mashup about “airborne yogis on a one-way trip.”

So, do you have favorite songs for favorite workouts? Tell us in the comments below.

Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is a writer for OFFduty. Reach him at jona@militarytimes.com.