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Rock On! A 90s Workout Playlist

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 ’cause we’ve got a 90s workout playlist!

The first album that captured my little teenaged alt rock heart: Weezer (Blue Album).

The first album that captured my little teenaged alt rock heart: Weezer (Blue Album).

90s Workout Playlist

1. (2:40) Buddy Holly, Weezer. Weezer’s Blue Album was one of my absolute favorites, so, of course, it had to be on this 90s workout playlist. “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” for this 90s workout playlist, 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 90s 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 of this 90s workout playlist, 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 workout playlist? —Kristen

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  1. Betsy says:

    I’m SHOCKED that Veruca Salt is not on this list! No Seether, Shimmer Like a Girl, Volcano Girls? They have tons of empowering rock hits for workouts! I always include them on my workout playlists. 🙂

    1. Jenn says:

      Oooh, they are good! Maybe we’ll do a girls-only 90s alt rock playlist… 🙂

      —FBG Jenn

  2. Bella says:

    Nice awesome list. I will take note of these songs… I always work out in random and sometimes I need to skip songs at a time. Will definitely work on a playlist. 🙂

  3. Tish says:

    I knew Jenn would chime in! LOL Veruca Salt was definitely on Jenn’s radar in high school! These rock! I’m sooo walking down memory lane.

    1. Jenn says:

      Hehe. 🙂

  4. Barbara says:

    Oh man, those songs take me back! Where are my Birkenstocks?

  5. Kristie says:

    I am SO happy that I’m not the only alternative girl out there who likes to enjoy a good grunge workout! My favorite station on iHeartRadio is ’90s Unglued – makes my time on the circuit or elliptical that much better 🙂

  6. Emily P says:

    Such great songs! I love having a 90s alternative music playlist to switch up my workout music (or even something to perk up a dull day at work).

  7. Emily says:

    YES YES YES!!!
    Done and Done! Thank you! (p.s. I totally traded out the second nirvana song for veruca salt <3)

  8. Deb E says:

    I still listen to all my Pearl Jam. Never gets old.

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