We know that smashing the patriarchy is a little bit easier when we’ve got a bit of muscle to back it up. That’s why we at FMF think it’s important to spend time working on your fitness. Whether you get your sweat on by dancing, running, walking, lifting, skating, biking or playing sports, we’ve got you covered with some jams to get you through your workout. Our playlist includes three different blocks of music, from punk rock to pop songs, so we’re sure there’s something for every taste in the mix.
Block One: Pop and R&B
These tracks are perfect for cardio – add them to your next Zumba mix or turn them on next time you go for a run. Or maybe even try a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout to switch things up a bit! We knew couldn’t create a feminist workout mix without a Beyonce track, but to make it even better, we included two.
The first – Run the World (Girls) is a great song to try out some of your favorite dance moves, just like the queen herself. Switch it up though, and add some squats and lunges during the chorus – after all, you want to be “strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.”
For our second Beyonce song, we’re throwing it back to her Destiny’s Child years with Bootylicious. In addition to lifting a really rad intro from Stevie Nicks, Destiny’s Child embraces body confidence on this track – and encourages you to do the same. Bust a move, “groove tonight,” shake your jelly along with this song, just get moving!
Listen next to Icona Pop’s I Love It during your next run. The steady beat makes it perfect for staying at a strong, steady pace while jogging. Take your workout to the next level by skipping the treadmill and running outside. Natural hills and curves make for a more difficult run than the treadmill, plus you’re working different muscles.
A HIIT workout is a great way to get in some cardio and to get your heart rate up. Best for these workouts are songs that switch from high intensity to low or vice versa. Mansion Song from Kate Nash is perfect for this – she starts out with a spoken word poem about being “an independent woman of the 21st century” who wants “to fuck and expected to be fucked.” Try walking during this slower part, then as the music begins, up your level of cardio to a fast jog or even a sprint.
Embrace your inner tough girl and try cardioboxing to Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl. Take your punches to the next level by working with a punching bag at your local gym. Zero in on your target (imagining the bag is the patriarchy should work) while Stefani sings “so I’m gonna fight, gonna give it my all/gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you.”
Cardioboxing doesn’t stop at Stefani, though. Crank Lily Allen’s Knock Em Out and finish that workout strong. Even though you “can’t knock em out/can’t walk away” in the sticky situations Allen sings about, you can knock that boxing bag pretty hard. Give it all you’ve got and finish strong!
We know that sometimes you don’t want to smash things when you work out. Give yourself a little body love with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Dance, run, bike or walk to this gem of a song and focus in on lyrics like “don’t hide yourself in regret/just love yourself and you’re set.” You’re beautiful, baby!
Block Two: Alternative and Indie
Alternative and indie music makes for some awesome weight room workouts focused on bodyweight workouts or several low-level weight lifting reps. Check out the songs we compiled for you below! Start off your alternative/indie workout with a new track from Lucius, a five-piece band from Brooklyn lead by two women with strong voices.
Turn it Around is perfect for working on your strength with lyrics like “she can’t be bothered with the mistakes she’s made” and “she’s impatient cause she wants it now.” Try some two-count push ups with this song – take two beats to fully lower yourself, and two to bring yourself back up.
Santigold’s Girls is perfect for an intense core workout. Start with some mountain climbers, then switch it up to mason twists. Finish the song off with plank jacks for a cardio-heavy workout. The song itself is devoted to women – in the refrain, Santigold repeats the word “girls” several times.
How could we talk about feminist alternative music without addressing Haim? The three-piece band doesn’t just make great music – they’re a tribute to sisterhood in the realest sense. The Wire is one of their best tracks to work out to – try some Pilates moves like the bicycle and front leg pull to both lengthen and strengthen your muscles. Extra points if you do them along with the beat!
Block Three: Punk Rock/Oldies
Entering the weight room in many gyms is like entering a boys club – more often than not, weight room members stare at your booty, try to give unsolicited fitness or nutrition advice or overexert themselves in hopes of impressing you. Come armed and ready with a loud playlist to tune out the negative energy – and lift strong and hard along with it.
Habibi, a new band from Brooklyn, has an awesome track called Tomboy perfect to begin your weight room expedition. Let their driving drum beats push you through sets of pull ups (assisted if you’re not ready for full-on ones) and lateral pull downs. If you get bored, tune into the lyrics – “she’s a tomboy, tomboy/she’s a supervillian’s hero, hero” and train like that hero!
Sometimes all you need is a Joan Jett classic to get you through your workout – we think Bad Reputation fits the job perfectly! Work on sets of dumbbell curls and hammer curls through the song and remember: Jett doesn’t care about her bad reputation. Neither should you.
There’s always a point in a workout when giving up seems like the best option. Push through it with Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, letting lyrics like “I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva” and “I’m burning through the sky” remind you to finish out your workout strong!
Bonus Block: Roller Derby Tracks
What could be more feminist than a good old-fashioned roller derby? Strap on some skates and smash that jammer with two fantastic tracks – Roller Derby Queen from the Red Aunts and Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches.
What are your favorite workout tracks? How do you stay strong and smash the patriarchy? Let us know in the comments!