“Kosher” Music During Exercise


“What are your top picks for kosher, Jewish, kol isha-free workout music.  Thanks!” – Posted by Shalom I.



This is a great question, and an important one too, given the number of studies that have come out over the last couple years extolling the numerous benefits of listening to music while working out (see the recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, as cited in the Nov 2012 edition of Men’s Fitness).

Let me start by pointing out that “workout music” can fit into different categories, depending on what your workout consists of, each played at a different speed (or tempo), measured in “beats per minute” (bpm) – i.e., the quicker the song, the higher the bpm.  For example, music for indoor cycling typically has a tempo of 60-110 bpm; high-impact and low-impact cardio music typically have tempos of 135-155 and 120-140 bpm, respectively; and music for yoga/Pilates typically has a tempo of <110-120 bpm).  Rhythms are usually in a 4/4 time signature (i.e., 4 beats/measure), (see Resources For The Group Exercise Instructor, 2012, American College of Sports Medicine).

Secondly, I believe that the music one listens to during a workout should inspire, motivate, and from a Jewish perspective, elevate the workout from something we do to merely benefit our body to something we do to signify our love for Hashem, challenging our body to be better so that our neshamot can become better too.  For this to be true, I believe the music we each listen to should be a personal choice; after all, we are all different, each with our own personal preferences.

Finally, most Jewish music albums comprise a mix of fast and slow songs, and unless we’re talking about music for slower exercise routines, such as yoga, we’re mostly interested in fast songs with a rapid tempo (>120 bpm).  Therefore, we’ll need a mix from many places, rather than relying on a single album for our source of motivation.

That being said, my personal choice of Jewish workout music (at a tempo between 120 and 160 bpm) include songs from the following artists/groups:

Lev Tahor; Shimon Craimer; D’veykus; Andy Statman (and other Klezmer bands); Yaron Gershovsky; Kol Achei; and Idan Raichel, among others.  Some of my other favorite “kosher” workout music includes bluegrass and Celtic instrumentals; anything with energy and passion.

I suggest crafting your own playlist and set it to play in a random order; mix the song sequence up, and keep things exciting.   

If anyone has any other suggestions for good [kosher] workout music, let me know.


Respectfully Yours,

Chemmie Sokolic,

The Personal Trainer


  1. Shana

    For me, any song that I LOVE is a good workout song, no matter the tempo. Sometimes doing an exercise slower is harder than rushing through it. My top song of the moment is the Lecha Dodi by the Maccabeats. It makes me happy to hear that song, and when I’m happy, my work out is better!

    Lecha Dodi – Maccabeats

    1. admin

      That’s a good point, Shana. Although tempo is important, at the end of the day, it’s how the song makes you feel. If it helps with your workout, if it gives you energy and instills meaning in your physical exertion, it’s all good. I would add that a slow song sung with passion is often more energizing than a fast song sung merely to sell albums.

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