A motivational music and video intervention improves high-intensity exercise performance

Martin Barwood, Neil Weston, Richard Thelwell, Jennifer Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Music and video are utilised by recreational gym users to enhance their exercise experience. Music and video have not been investigated for their combined ergogenic effect during high intensity exercise. To induce fatigue, this study was performed in warm (~26°C), moist conditions (~50%RH). Six, non-acclimated, male participants took part in the study. Each participant completed three 30-minute exercise bouts on a motorised treadmill under three counterbalanced conditions on separate days: control (CON), motivational music plus video intervention (M), non-motivational intervention (NM). They completed a warm-up (5 km·h-1 [5 minutes], 9km·h-1 [10 minutes]) followed by a maximal effort run (15 minutes). Participants did not receive any feedback of time elapsed, distance run or speed. Measures: Distance covered (metres), heart rate, blood lactate accumulation (Blac) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE). Participants in the M condition ran significantly further than in the NM (M: 3524 [388]metres; NM: 3110 [561]metres; CON: 3273 [458]metres) and CON conditions, accumulated more Blac, but did not increase their peak RPE rating (p <0.05). The M intervention improved tolerance of high intensity exercise in warm conditions. It was proposed that a change in attentional processing from internal (physical sensations) to external perspective (music and video) may have facilitated this improvement. These findings have strong implications for improving health, fitness and engagement in gym-based exercise programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-442
JournalJournal of Sports Science and Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • distraction
  • attention
  • lactate threshold


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