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Effect of Rhythm on the Recovery From Intense Exercise

Eliakim, Michal1; Bodner, Ehud1; Meckel, Yoav2; Nemet, Dan3; Eliakim, Alon2,3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 1019–1024
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318260b829
Original Research

Eliakim, M, Bodner, E, Meckel, Y, Nemet, D, and Eliakim, A. Effect of rhythm on the recovery from intense exercise. J Strength Cond Res 27(4): 1019–1024, 2013—Motivational music (music that stimulates physical activity) was previously shown to enhance the recovery from intense exercise. The aim of the present study was to isolate the effect of rhythm (presumed to be the most effective factor of motivational music) on the recovery from intense exercise. Ten young adult active men (age: 26.1 ± 1.7 years) performed 6-minute run at peak oxygen consumption speed, at 3 separate visits (random order). At 1 visit, no music was played during the recovery after exercise. In the other visits, participants listened to motivational music that was previously shown to enhance recovery (a Western CD collection of greatest hits of all times converted to dance style, 140 b·min−1, strong bit, played by portable MP3 device using headphones at a volume of 70 dB) or only to the rhythm beats derived from the same songs. Mean heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), number of steps (measured by step counter) and blood lactate concentrations were determined at 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 minutes of the recovery. There was no difference in HR changes during the recovery at all conditions. Compared with the recovery without music, listening to motivational music during recovery was associated with significant greater number of steps, lower absolute lactate levels, and greater mean decrease of RPE. Listening only to rhythm beats, derived from the same music, during the recovery was associated with significant greater number of steps and lower absolute lactate levels compared to recovery without music. Music was significantly more effective than rhythm only in the absolute mean number of steps. The beneficial effect of both music and rhythm was greater toward the end of the recovery period. Results suggest that listening to music during nonstructured recovery can be used by professional athletes to enhance recovery from intense exercise. Rhythm plays a very important role in the effect of music on recovery and can be used to enhance nonstructured recovery when music is unavailable or when cultural barriers and individual music preferences may apply. The optimal music and rhythm selection is yet to be determined.

1Department of Music Therapy, Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel

2Department of Life Science, Zinman College of Physical Education, Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel

3Child Health and Sport Center, Pediatric Department, Meir Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Kfar-Saba, Israel

Address correspondence to Alon Eliakim,

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.