As I decided to create the last pair of Strength Training playlists, I came to an interesting realization: if I’m in the weight room, there’s a 15% chance I’m listening to The Clipse and a 40% chance it’s Jay-Z. Sure, when you’ve put out over a dozen killer albums (and Kingdom Come) it’s easy to fill just about any themed playlist. But Shawn Carter’s predilections for beef, braggadocio and a discerning beat-selecting ear make his discography ripe for the weight room. In fact, the real challenge became trimming this list down to a workable 75-minute soundtrack.
Be warned — you won’t find his biggest party anthems (“Big Pimpin’,” “I Just Wanna Love You”) here, though. This is retrospective of Jay and his favorite producers and collaborators (and Amil) at their most downright venomous. If you rock this start-to-finish and aren’t hurting by the end, you’re listening wrong.
Tip: There’s an app for that. If you can’t afford a trainer (or, like me, you prefer the solitary “just me, my music and muscle-groups” workout), there’s an infinite constellation of fitness apps out there. While they offer different things to different kinds of fitness enthusiasts, a good all-around app I use every day is Full Fitness .
It offers instructions and progress tracking for hundreds of exercises, about a dozen workout programs for every goal from weight loss to business travel, and even a pretty solid food/calorie tracker. It’s an iOS-only app, but Fitness Buddy (free | $1.99) seeks to bring a similar experience to Android users.