“[R]esearchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognition and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, and other institutions began by inventing an electronic kit that could be integrated into the internal workings of weight-training machines, transforming them into oversize boom boxes. Once installed, the kit would produce a range of propulsive, electronic-style music with a variety of sound levels and rhythms, depending on how the machine’s weight bar or other mechanisms were manipulated during workouts.
The researchers installed the kits into three different workout machines, one a stair-stepper, the other two weight machines with bars that could be raised or pulled down to stimulate various muscles.
They then recruited a group of 63 healthy men and women and divided them into groups, each of which was assigned to use one of the musically equipped machines during a strenuous though brief six-minute exercise session.
As the volunteers strained, their machines chirped and pinged with a thumping 130 beats per minute, the sound level rising or falling with each individual’s effort and twining with the rhythms created by the other two exercisers. “Participants could express themselves on the machines by, for instance, modulating rhythms and creating melodies,” said Thomas Hans Fritz, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute who led the study.
The groups were, in effect, D.J.’ing their workouts, creating sounds that echoed their physical efforts.”
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