Truth be told, 90s alt rock probably isn’t the most, uhh, uplifting music in the world. But there’s something about it that really pumps me up. I guess it takes me back to being 16 and playing Weezer and Pearl Jam way too loud on my way to and from all my basketball and volleyball practices. Anybody out there with me? If so, grab your Discman and get ready to rock!
A 90s Alternative Rock Playlist
1. (2:40) Buddy Holly, Weezer. Weezer’s Blue Album was one of my absolute favorites. “Undone—the Sweater Song” was the song that hooked me on our local alternative rock station, and I could just picture these guys jamming in their garage, kicking out all the songs on that album. “Buddy Holly” has a great, peppy beat that puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Use this to get warmed up in whatever way feels good—jogging, jumping rope, dancing around like a fool, whatever.
2. (4:54) Even Flow, Pearl Jam. From the first drum beat, this song is pure energy (which, you know, is not exactly par for the course for my beloved Eddie Vedder). Play it and just try not banging your head around the three-minute mark. I dare you. By the end of “Even Flow,” you’re warmed up and ready to go.
3. (3:32) Slide, Goo Goo Dolls. Now that your heart is pumping, it’s time to work some muscle groups, so grab your weights and work some fluid moves, like a squat to overhead press or wood choppers to “Slide.”
4. (4:18) Wonderwall, Oasis. Take things down a notch; get your breath, make sure things are feeling good and stretched out, and then, plank. The album version of this song is just over four minutes, and the radio edit is 3:45, so see if you can get two or three long planks in there. Feel free to switch to one side or the other for an added challenge!
5. (3:17) The Offspring, Come Out and Play. Let’s make the move from strength to the cardio workout of your choice (run, bike, row, whatever). Start at an effort that feels comfortable; the high BPM of this song will help you find a faster than usual stride, so dig in and make it count.
6. (3:00) The Distance, Cake. There’s really no option but to push through the pain with this song, is there? Keep it going with the cardio of your choice and continue working your way up to a speed you find challenging, but manageable. Push yourself to see just what you can do for the last minute of the song.
7. (4:43) Give It Away, Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had a really, really hard time choosing between this and “Higher Ground,” but since “Give It Away” was the one that technically came out in the 90s, it’s the winner. Take this song to start slowing things down a bit without letting your heart rate fall too far down.
8. (5:01) Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana. Let’s use up whatever’s left in those legs, shall we? Get started with squats, and then, with each change from verse to chorus to hook, etc., switch it up so that you’re squatting deeper, or with your toes out to the side, or on your tip toes, or, if you need to, switch it up and do lunges. Just stay consistent and steady all the way through this one.
9. (5:13) Plush, Stone Temple Pilots. Okay, so, your legs are toast, but you’ve still got some strength left in your core for this track, right? Hit the floor and spend the next five minutes going through your arsenal of ab exercises. Crunches, Russian twists, a little Pilates work … whatever floats your boat (and makes you sweat). Do it.
10. (3:59) Negative Creep, Nirvana. Nicely done! You’ve only got four minutes left (unless you have more songs you’d like to add to the end, that is!), and I want you to enjoy them. Get some nice, deep, belly breaths in, and stretch it on out—especially those quads and hamstrings. Then, go hop in your car, roll down the windows, and play some of these songs way too loud. I take full responsibility.
Do you have any musical genres that get you surprisingly pumped up? What else would you add to this 90s alternative rock workout playlist? —Kristen