As I travel across country, one of the more frequent questions I’m asked by aspiring SEAL candidates is does running to music help or hurt when preparing for special operations training. Although most Americans would agree that music gives them a psychological lift during their workouts the question remains does it actually improve exercise performance?
Over two decades ago the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation published an article stating music neither altered the physiological or psychological performance of those who participated in the study. Yet, in April 2010 an article in the Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline concluded music did have a motivational effect on aerobic or endurance training. If this sounds confusing you’re not alone. It only takes a few minutes of research to find dozens more articles that make the case that music does and doesn’t have an affect on exercise performance.
Some fault the framework of the various studies stating the type of music or age of candidates in comparison to music played had an influence the outcome of each study. Others believe that modern changes in exercise parameters and increased use of personal trainers has lowered an individual’s need for music as a means of motivation. Regardless which side of the debate you fall on the fact is if you’re training for a special operations selection course it probably won’t matter. Completion of SEAL training or any special operations course is primarily dependent upon an individual’s mental tenacity and not the amount of physical stamina they have when they check onboard. That will be built and refined during the countless weeks of abuse all trainees must endure.
If however, music motivates an individual to keep consistent with their workouts, which in turn builds perseverance then I say crank up the Korn. If not, then relax and enjoy the sounds of nature or the grunts echoing through the gym. Either way would be special operations applicants shouldn’t be concerned if listening to music during their runs helps or hurts in their preparation for BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training). Any SEAL can tell you the Foo Fighters won’t mean a whole lot when you’re trudging through a 3-mile soft sand run on the beaches of Coronado.