"I'm a goodsinger; he is a greatguitar player."
-- Bono, on Edge
U2 Lists: Top 10 U2 Workout Songs
January 26, 2011
[Ed. note: This is the 22nd in a "U2 Lists" series, where @U2 staffers pick a topic and share their personal rankings on something U2-related.]
Many ring in the new year by making resolutions to improve their lives, whether it means getting a better job or quitting a nasty habit. One of the most popular goals is to get in shape, so I thought it might be fun for this first U2 List of 2011 to feature songs that promote such an endeavor.
Though some believe U2 music wouldn't be conducive to a great workout, I actually find many of their songs making their way to my iPod en route to the gym. What's great is their versatility -- you can vary your routine by simply shuffling your playlist and maximize the types of exercise you get.
10. "Wire" Recommended Exercise: Stair Stepper
This song is a powerful one for those in need of a cardio fix. The beat never slows, and lyrics like such a nice day to throw your life away are a perfect catalyst for releasing aggression.
9. "Lemon" Recommended Exercise: Weightlifting
Although this song would be welcome at any dance club or discotheque, it's also especially useful when lifting weights. It's rhythmic enough to promote endurance, yet slow enough that you won't hurt yourself.
8. "Numb" Recommended Exercise: Yoga
For those who take the zen approach to fitness, I recommend the calm chants of The Edge in this repetitive mantra that may otherwise drive you nuts. The perpetual chatter allows for ease when holding poses and the sensory overload of lyrics doesn't promote any sing-along distractions.
7. "Fast Cars" Recommended Exercise: The Tango
When I first heard this song, I immediately pictured a couple dancing the tango. A vibrant woman in a flirty, red dress; a sexy man in a crisp, dark suit -- joined together in close embrace as they took small steps in time with the music. Grab a partner and try it: Aside from the calories you'll burn, you may just enjoy some romance.
6. "Mofo" Recommended Exercise: Boxing
Though I'll admit that this song doesn't rank among my U2 favorites, there is no denying that the wicked mix of rock and techno promotes spontaneous movement. When Bono performed this song live, he sometimes took the stance of a boxer, which makes a perfect fitness fit.
5. "Elevation" Recommended Exercise: Trampoline
Prior to a U2 tour, I spend many days getting in shape for what is inevitably the most wonderfully exhausting part of the show: pogo-ing during this song. Jumping up and down in time with Bono's commands works muscles throughout your legs, and the best way I know to prepare for that is to spend some time on the trampoline ... elevating. You won't want to stop once you start.
4. "Walk On" Recommended Exercise: Walking
No matter what your fitness level or goals, we can all benefit from a good walk from time to time. The inspirational energy of this song, written about Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, will only fuel your fire to blaze the path ahead.
3. "Vertigo" Recommended Exercise: Elliptical Machine
The sound of the "Vertigo" guitar riff will always remind me of the iPod commercial that launched this song into our collective consciousness. The band, outlined in black in front of bright, colorful backgrounds with dancing silhouettes, made me want to jump out of my skin. Now, I use those images, and that killer riff, to hit my stride on the elliptical machine. A great balance of resistance and persistence as the song builds to the chorus.
2. "Mysterious Ways" Recommended Exercise: Belly Dancing
Really, is there any other way to groove to this song? Thinking back to the days of Zoo TV, picturing Morleigh Steinberg shimmying her way across the stage, it's hard not to bare your belly when the first notes of this tune begin. You should submit to the urge -- your abs will thank you later.
1. "Get On Your Boots" Recommended Exercise: Running
Whether jogging on a treadmill or running along a trail in the woods, the momentum that this song builds is like a shot of pure adrenaline. The speed of the beat and Bono's rapid singing provide the perfect storm of stamina for pressing on. Get on your boots, and get moving!
© @U2/Kokkoris, 2010.