It’s more fun to rock out than work out. Research shows that listening to motivational music while exercising boosts your endurance and helps you withstand fatigue.
Music videos add a visual element to the distraction. If the music video was birthed in the 1980s, it entered adolescence in the ’90s. An awkward mix of experimental fashion and evolving technology suited a decade of fickle trends.
From sugary pop to NY rap to alt rock, here are 10 videos that will spice up your workout:
1 – DMX “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”(1998)
Let the Yonkers, NY rapper pump some testosterone into your workout. Producer Swizz Beatz looped an infectious sitar over a military cadence in the fourth single from DMX’s debut.
The video is fittingly hyper-masculine. Shirtless men lift weights and pop wheelies to DMX’s coach-like refrain of “Stop, drop, shut ’em down.”
2 – Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time”(1998)
If you need inspiration to sculpt schoolgirl skirt-worthy thighs, look no further than this iconic Britney video.
The single, released when Britney was just 17, was a massive hit around the globe. And the school setting of the video–and the famously knotted-up shirts–were Britney’s idea.
Decades later, its bubblegum pop chorus and choreography are still fresh. Push up, crunch, one more time!
3 – Missy Elliott “Hot Boyz (ft. Nas, Eve, and Lil’ Mo)”(1999)
Missy Elliott’s music videos have always been ahead of their time. “Hot Boyz,” directed by the legendary Hype Williams, was nominated for a Soul Train Music Award.
Fire up your cardio as Missy performs in a glittery tracksuit amidst flashy pyrotechnics. Billowing smoke and dancers in slick black outfits complete the apocalyptic vibe.
4 – Chumbawamba “Tubthumping”(1997)
Your ab routine knocks you down, but you get up again. Hit your second stride to this incredibly catchy smash that catapulted the Lancashire, England band to celebrity status.
Plus, you’ll appreciate frontman Dunstan Bruce’s very ’90s bleach job.
5 – Michael and Janet Jackson “Scream”(1995)
Working out is a great way to release pent-up energy. No video captures that catharsis quite like “Scream,” in which the famous siblings are so fed up with tabloids and rumors, they blast off into space.
Join the Jacksons as they kick, stomp, and dance out their frustrations in a zero-gravity chamber. The futuristic black-and-white visual inspired many that came after it, including another ’90s classic: TLC’s “No Scrubs.”
6 – Spice Girls “Who Do You Think You Are”(1996)
The scenery and outfit changes alone are enough to make your mind spin. Scary, Sporty, Ginger, Baby, and Posh Spice work the steadycam with unstoppable pizzazz in this fun video.
The chorus (“Swing it! Shake it! Move it! Make it!”) is practically an exercise anthem. Before you know it, you’ll have the body for Posh’s insane bejeweled bikini.
7 – Aaliyah “Are You That Somebody”(1998)
With a beat perfect for dancing or for a traditional workout, this song sounds just as funky and cool as it did when it was released.
Director Mark Gerard had Aaliyah grooving in a secret mountaintop cave–ideal for the singer’s goth tomboy style. Even if you can’t keep up with the choreography, you’ll enjoy working out to this Grammy-nominated jam.
8 – Ace of Base “The Sign”(1993)
Technicolor backdrops. Longing stares. Leather jackets blowing in the wind. This video is oh so ’90s, but the energy is undeniable.
You’ll find yourself wanting to leap and twirl like the multi-colored silhouettes that randomly burst into the frame.
9 – Foo Fighters “Everlong”(1997)
Distract yourself from mid-workout pains with this bizarre, satirical video. Directed by Michel Gondry, it’s high concept–there’s a dream sequence, a parody of “The Evil Dead,” and plenty of amazing costumes.
We may never fully understand the video or the song, but that soaring hook will power you to the last rep in your set.
10 – Sir Mix-a-Lot “Baby Got Back”(1992)
Squats are no fun. Luckily, this ode to the shapely derrière has stood the test of time. The Black Eyed Peas and Nicki Minaj have sampled it, and song parodies abound.
The imagery in the video isn’t exactly subtle, but it is entertaining. Exercising your backside goes by a lot quicker when you keep your eyes on the, er, prize.