The Album Workout: Rocking the Pounds Off for Good


I thought I’d try something new the other day, and as it turned out, it was so freaking amazing, I just had to share it with you guys.  I’ve got a couple musical staples on my phone when I hit the gym; namely, Pandora or Slacker Radio.  While I love both of these  apps, the problem is when you’re working out 7+ hours a week, every week, everything starts sounding the same.  And to be honest, I really don’t get this considering Pandora talks about the 31535 (or something like that) hours of music their stations have.  But I digress.

So the other day, I was in a bit of a lull and trying to come up with a new workout routine.  Combined with the repetition coming out of my ear phones, a light bulb went off.  I was going to try to combine a full album with a complete workout.  Each song would represent one exercise, breaks could take please between songs, and choruses could be used to gauge sets…or something like that.  The more I thought about it, the more sense it made.  No more counting, timing, etc. – just listen to the music and complete the exercises.  Simple as that.

The tough part involved trying to find a full album to workout to.  It seemed like no matter what I picked, something was wrong with it. It of course had to be upbeat and really get the heart pumping, but something with distinct song layout to make following along easy; i.e. an unending bass beat with a few random noises overlayed was out (basically what you find in group fitness classes of trendy gyms nowadays). After much YouTube sampling I happened upon something that fit the bill perfectly.  For those of who you may be averse to this type of music, bear with me.  We’re doing this for the workout (right?), so just suck it up and see how it goes even if this isn’t what you’d listen to while driving around town.

I ended up choosing Metallica’s Master of Puppets as my initial sample into this new workout format.  I don’t care what you think about Metallica (or metal in general), I challenge someone to find a complete album that gets you more amped for a workout.  So with the right album in tow, I set out to create a killer workout that maintained the pace and intensity of the song selections.  And this is what I came up with…

1.  Battery – We’re just getting into the workout here.  Rotate 10 push ups, followed by 10 mountain climbers, followed by 30 seconds jogging in place.  No breaks between exercises.  Maintain the tempo of the song, taking breaks only when the drums disappear.

2.  Master of Puppets – This one is long and intense, so we’re going to hit your muscles nice and heavy here.  Grab a couple dumbbells (or water jugs) and get started on knocking out 10-12 hang snatches followed by 10-12 floor fly/tricep presses. Take yourself a nice 30 second break after each set, then repeat.  Keep up this two-exercise combo for the entire ~8 minutes of the song to really give those upper body muscles a nice pump.

3.  The Thing that Should not Be – This one maintains a steady, rhythmic bass line and heavy drum beat. Pick up the jump rope and do your best to maintain a slow and steady jump for the entirety of this one.

4.  Sanitarium – My personal favorite on the album, this one is a perfect mix of heavy, uptempo metal, with guitar solos that slow things down just enough to catch your breath.  For this one, I want you to do 20 eagle sit ups/10 ground runners/10 seconds rest.  Whenever you hear a guitar solo, take a longer break.

5.  Disposable Heros – This one just makes you want to jump. At 9 minutes it’s also the longest track on the album, so I created a mini-circuit for this one.  Follow 8 lateral dumbbell raises/8 vertical crunches/8 bicep curls/8 overhead tricep presses for the length of this song.  Be sure to take a break of about 20-30 seconds after each round.

6.  Leper Messiah – Here we’ve got a nice steady bass line, and heavy guitar riffs.  This one is perfect for really burning out those legs, so as soon as the music hits, start knocking out reverse lunges. Keep a slow and steady pace and really burn out those glutes and hamstrings. Keep up with the lunges until you hear the guitar solo hit….then I want you to immediately start performing squat jumps for the rest of the song.  Keep it up, you don’t have much longer…just get down, explode up, repeat….keep it up, we’re almost through the album…

7.  Orion – This one starts off slow; use it as a time to catch your break/take a sip of water.  When the guitar comes in, let’s get back to doing a little cardio/lower body combo work.  Give me 10 squat pulses + wide burpees followed by 30 criss cross jumps.  I admit, this one drags on a bit, so just do your best to maintain your pace with the underlying beat, and grind it out. Take a break when the music slows in the middle of the song, before getting back into the above combo when the pace picks up again. We’ve got one song left, stick it out and finish strong.

8.  Damage Inc. – This one also starts slow, the gets frenetic with a collision of drums, guitar, and fist-pumping lyrics.  Start this one off by hitting those abs again…try to hold a plank until things really get crazy.  Once the pace picks up, I want you to knock out 15 horizontal jacks followed by 15 up/down planks. We’re done after this song, so go all out for the full five minutes.

If you actually made it through that entire workout following the pace and exercises I laid, give yourself a giant pat on the back.  I was absolutely dying by the 40-ish minute point, and by the last song, I was close to passing out from exhaustion.  This workout is no joke.  You don’t realize it but maintaining a tempo of an album like this really forces you to work longer and harder than most of you are probably used to.  It’s also great for those of you who may or may not have a habit of turning a 20 second break into a 2 minute Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest check-in.

Let me know what you think of this workout and be sure to look for more of these “album workouts” in the near future.