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3 Factors to Finding the Right Group X Workout Music


Workout music is an instrumental part of a group exercise (Group X) class — pun intended!

If a group fitness class was a cake, the music would be the frosting. It’s not the most important element of a class, but it can be someone’s favorite part of the whole experience. When picking out your songs, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind in order to create a playlist everyone loves.

Here are three important factors to choosing the right songs for your group exercise class.

Time of day/week for your class

The same playlist won’t work for your 5 a.m. Monday class, 10 a.m. Saturday class and 6 p.m. Thursday class. For example, weekday early morning (say, 6 a.m.) classes tend to be retired or working professionals. And most of them (yourself included) probably just woke up. Steer clear of rap or anything with an unsettling or particularly loud beat.

Your participants

For the most part, you’ll know when your participants like your songs. Sometimes they’ll sway to the beat or start mouthing the words to themselves. When a good song comes on, you can feel the energy in the room as the class starts to push themselves harder.

When you start teaching a class, try different genres of music to see how your class responds. Once you determine what your class likes, you’ll want to create playlists featuring a wide-range of genres and popularity, with an emphasis on their favorites.

If you’ve tried a lot of different genres and still aren’t sure what workout music your class likes, feel free to ask your participants directly. Be specific. You can say something like, “I tried something new by playing, ‘The Boys Are Back in Town,’ did you like that song? Should I play it again?”


At the end of the day, you need to like the workout music you choose. The people in your class will feed off your energy and if you don’t love the song, they’ll notice.

If you play a song and the participants start complaining about your song choice, Schwinn Master Instructor Shannon Fable recommends responding, “Ok, I absolutely love this song, so this one is for me. If you don’t like it, you can just shut your ears for three minutes.” That way, you can still play the songs you like and casually remind the folks in your class that you have to cater to a lot of different tastes, not just theirs.

A great group exercise playlist successfully combines the preferences of you and your participants with the class environment. Once you have a sense of everyone’s music preferences, you’re well on your way to creating the best playlist for your audience.

For more music ideas, visit the workout routines and playlists page.