45 Best Pump Up Songs of All Time for Sports

Whether you're lacing up a pair of running shoes for the big game or readying the grill for an epic tailgate, you'll need music.

Music's mental and physical effects make it a natural match with sports. Be sure to stretch and then read below for our list of the 45 best pump up songs of all time. Let's go!


“Sirius” by Alan Parsons Project

Song year: 1982

It's only fitting we start with the theme song of the 90s Chicago Bulls – one of the most dominant professional teams ever assembled. If “Sirius” didn't already evoke an ethereal yearning for greatness, the Bulls' six world championships certainly added to its mystique.

“Sirius” is a great song to throw on for team introductions or knowing basketball fans. Just hearing the first few bars alters the mood to that of champions.

“Howlin' for You” by The Black Keys

Song year: 2010

The Black Keys keep it simple on their hit “Howlin' for You.” The bluesy guitar sounds like it came out of a swamp of distortion, while the stomps and claps that accentuate the drumming give the whole rock and roll affair a familiar pep-rally quality.

Athletes and fans will appreciate “Howlin' for You” and its swaggering rhythm accompanying them as they enter a stadium or gym to do battle.

“List of Demands” by Saul Williams

Song year: 2004

Some might remember Saul Williams' “List of Demands” from a spirited Nike commercial a few years back. Even without this reference, there is little chance anyone could sit still with this high-tempo song running in the background.

“List of Demands” is pure energy. The rapid-fire synthesizers and lyrics give the song urgent propulsion while the drumbeat cuts the tempo in half with a simple pattern. The result is one of the best pump up songs with an assured, heart-pumping anthem.

“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne

Song year: 1980

You'd have to be crazy to strap on a helmet and run as fast as you can into the human equivalent of a brick wall. Ozzy Osbourne's “Crazy Train,” with its lyrical content and stellar lead guitar, works incredibly well as a pump-up song for more aggressive sports.

If it's football, hockey, or just pumping weights, you won't be able to sit still when you hear the chugging palm mutes and high octane solos of “Crazy Train.”

“Stronger” by Kanye West

Song year: 2007

Look no further for a pump-up anthem than Kanye West's “Stronger.” The song samples Daft Punk's “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” which is already an uptempo and relevant message for athletes, but Kanye takes it to a new level.

With a great beat behind it, the Daft Punk sample ascends to the greatness of its lyrics and makes a great companion on the treadmill or the track.

“Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine

Song year: 1999

Rage Against The Machine's “Sleep Now in the Fire” is the musical equivalent of running through a brick wall. From its ragged and distorted guitar intro onward, the song does not let its foot off the gas.

“Sleep Now in the Fire” boasts aggressive rapping, wild-sounding guitar, and a mercilessly heavy rhythm section. If this song doesn't get you ready to run through that brick wall, check your pulse.

“Back in Black” by AC/DC

Song year: 1980

Splitting the difference between a dance floor and a mosh pit, AC/DC's “Back in Black” is one of the best pump up songs of all time. The guitar and singer wail while the rhythm section lends the tune a groovy swagger.

AC/DC's music plays during sporting events across the world because of their swagger-inducing rock and roll style. “Back in Black” is one of their best.

“Party Up (Up in Here)” by DMX

Song year: 2000

Any song that heavily features a whistle has to trigger the inner athlete in its listener. DMX's “Party Up (Up in Here)” was one of a string of hit singles the rapper put out at the turn of the century. His energy and gruff rapping style endeared him to millions of fans.

“Party Up” is the ultimate hype anthem. Everyone will be ready for game time after getting pumped up to this.

“Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin

Song year: 1970

Led Zeppelin's powers are at full display on “Immigrant Song.” Between the heavy drumming of John Bonham and the banshee wails of Robert Plant, this song sounds exactly like marching into war. The perfect sound for a team getting ready to show up and throw down.

When you rock a pump-up song from one of the greatest rock bands of all time, there's only one thing left to do – win.

“On to the Next One” by Jay-Z

Song year: 2009

With masterful production courtesy of Swizz Beatz, Jay-Z's “On to the Next One” is a relentlessly propulsive rap track that will get you in the zone immediately. With Jay bragging about his evolution, the point of this track is almost as clear as Bill Belichick's when he claimed, “We're on to Cincinnati,” five times in the same press conference.

“We Will Rock You” by Queen

Song year: 1977

“We Will Rock You” is one of the best pump up songs ever. It's hard to deny a track this powerfully direct. Freddie Mercury serves as more of a hype man than a singer here, directing a stomp clamp response that underscores the song's rocking sentiment.

“We Will Rock You” has a pep-squad quality that will get the game going. Just be sure to put your money where your mouth is.

“Humble” by Kendrick Lamar

Song year: 2017

Just because Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017 doesn't mean we still don't get amped and ready to go when we hear tracks like “Humble.” The song, off his acclaimed album DAMN., is the type of track that makes a dance beat feel hardcore.

“Humble” will have you nodding along and keying in on your opponent immediately – even if that opponent is just the treadmill.

“Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes

Song year: 2003

Though Detroit garage-rock duo The White Stripes did not set out to write a stadium-sized pump-up anthem, try telling that to the legions of fans that chant “Seven Nation Army” at sporting events across the globe.

With simple drumming and a catchy bass line, “Seven Nation Army” is a marching song, a call to arms, and a workout rhythm like no other.

“Get Back” by Ludacris

Song year: 2004

When I hear Ludacris' “Get Back,” I see a group of athletes jumping around in the tunnel, getting ready to run out on the field. And when I hear the lyrics, I hear the exact type of chest-thumping attitude employed in the best jock jams.

“Get Back” is a hype track for the ages, one that's aggression is perfect for the swagger of sports.

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

Song year: 1991

The opening riff to “Enter Sandman” sounds dangerous. Just like allowing the sandman to enter your life, playing Metallica to pump yourself up is a risky endeavor. Who knows just what you'll be capable of when the music is this heavy.

If heavy drums and palm-muted guitars get you pumped up, this is the track for you. If they don't, you'd better watch out for the sandman across the court from you.

“Bad Boy 4 Life” by P. Diddy (Ft. Black Rob & Mark Curry)

Song year: 2001

Between its stilted guitar riff and catchy beat, P. Diddy's “Bad Boy 4 Life” is the type of track that strikes fear in the heart of an opponent. By putting this song on, you signal the arrival of a pumped-up and confident group, making it great for pre-game hype sessions or walk-on music in baseball.

“The Power” by SNAP!

Song year: 1990

“The Power” by SNAP! has been a go-to jock jam for decades now, but all those years have only served to solidify the track's place in sports music lore. Its affirmations of personal strength and high energy beat are the perfect mix for sports.

“The Power” is especially effective for cardio workouts or dance-loving tailgate parties with its pulsing rhythm and upbeat tempo.

“The Distance” by Cake

Song year: 1996

Cake's “The Distance” is literally about a race, making its plodding bassline and catchy electric guitar riff just icing on the cake of this certifiable alternative jock jam anthem.

Because of its subject matter, “The Distance” has been used as background music for televised racing events several times. I'd recommend throwing this on before hitting the track to tackle your personal best time.

“Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys

Song year: 1994

Between their sing-scream rapping style and punk rock-inspired guitars, the Beastie Boys are the quintessential hypesters. As forebearers of the rock and rap combination that would come later in the decade, the Beastie Boys perfected the mix of these disparate genres on their 1994 classic “Sabotage.”

Putting on “Sabotage” is sure to get even the mellowest middle-distance runner pumped up and ready for the main event.

“Jump” by Kris Kross

Song year: 1992

Amazingly, Kris Kross' song “Jump” samples six different tracks. This amount of pop squeezed into three minutes must be why the song is early hip-hop perfection. Everything about “Jump” is catchy, and the command for the listener to jump is perfect for pumping up basketball players or celebrating a big play.

“Song 2” by Blur

Song year: 1997

Even though Britpop stalwarts Blur wrote “Song 2” as an homage to American rock, they couldn't have imagined the type of response they would get from across the pond. Considering the rocking, immediately catchy “Song 2,” it's easy to see why so many teams play the song to get pumped during a game.

If you're looking for a two-minute shot of alt-rock to get you through your workout, look no further.

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Song year: 1982

Through its association with the most popular sports-film franchise of all time, Rocky, Survivor's “Eye of the Tiger” has become one of the most recognizable sports pump-up songs ever.

Evoking the underdog tale of Rocky Balboa with a soaring chorus and rapid-fire, 16th note palm mutes on guitar, Survivor captured the fighting spirit of athletes and fans for decades to come.

“Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake & Lil John

Song year: 2013

Nearly a decade after “Turn Down For What” took over pop culture, the pure energy of Lil John's vocals and stellar production from DJ Snake still make this a stadium-shaking anthem.

For fans of EDM or rap, answering the question this track asks with a resounding “nothing!” is all the hype you'll need before the big game or your next big lift.

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem

Lose Yourself by Eminem Is A Great Pump Up Song

Song year: 2002

Made famous by Eminem's star turn in the film 8 Mile, “Lose Yourself” is the classic underdog tale reimagined as a rap battle to a four-on-the-floor drum machine beat and incessant guitar riff.

Not only does “Lose Yourself” serve as a motivational story, but the constant drumbeat is the perfect tempo for working out.

“Whoomp! (There It Is)” by Tag Team

Song year: 1993

One of the greatest and most enduring tracks of the Jock Jams era, Tag Team's “Whoomp! There It Is” remains one of the best pump up songs of all time.

Whether it's pumping through a dance club, stadium, or gymnasium, “Whoomp! There It Is” is going to keep the energy and spirits high with its immediately recognizable sing-along chorus and beat.

“Machinehead” by Bush

Song year: 1994

There's a reason the Columbus Blue Jackets play Bush's “Machinehead” before every opening faceoff – it gets you amped! The buzzsaw opening guitar riff is a classic of 90s alternative rock, and listeners would be hard to hear it and now feel ready to go.

As for what Gavin Rossdale is singing about, the jury is still out. But it doesn't matter much when the song gets you this pumped.

“WIN” by Jay Rock

Song year: 2018

The title says it all. Jay Rock came correct with this track, an anthem of victory that drips swagger with its deep bass and trap beat. “WIN” is all about attitude, repeating its title like a mantra. “WIN” is a great track to get your body and mind amped while focusing on the matter at hand: winning.

“Infinity Guitars” by Sleigh Bells

Song year: 2010

Sleigh Bells take things to another level on “Infinity Guitars.” By adding a blown-out speaker effect to their handclaps and guitars, the song feels like it's in overdrive before it even really kicks in.

Once the song really kicks in, it feels like your mind has exploded in a collision between a rock band and a cheerleading squad. “Infinity Guitars” is the type of song that you can't help but feel energized by, making it one of the best pump up songs.

“Started From the Bottom” by Drake

Song year: 2013

Drake's love for sports is almost as well known as his music. It's fitting then that “Started From the Bottom,” Drake's assured tale of coming up with his crew, serves as the perfect pre-game anthem for teams ready to hit the court together.

Despite its mellow tempo, the mood of “Started From the Bottom” sounds like an athlete in the zone. Put this on to set the tone.

“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath

Song year: 1970

As an ominous kick drum gives way to pitch-bending guitars and a freaky robot voice, you either feel pumped to the gills or slightly confused. But once Black Sabbath's iconic “Iron Man” riff kicks in, you have no other choice: it's time to rock.

Lest you think the rocking is over, just wait until the outro. As Sabbath kicks their riff into high gear, your performance is bound to do the same.

“Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit

Song year: 1999

Aggression personified, there's no other way to describe Limp Bizkit's “Break Stuff.” This song is for athletes that love hard-rock and need to dig deep to get in that last rep or final burst of strength across the line.

For fans, this is an anthem to strike fear in the heart of opponents. Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit aren't here to make friends.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Song year: 1991

When Nirvana catapulted to fame with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the punkish sounds of grunge were still novel in the mainstream. Today the song serves as a touchstone for pop culture by representing the best of anthemic alternative rock.

Nirvana's iconic guitar intro exploding into a full-throttled grunge guitar attack will get everyone out of their seat and lacing up their pads.

“C'mon N' Ride It” by Quad City DJ's

Song year: 1996

Whether you're celebrating a big win or just trying to get on the dance cam during a time-out, Quad City DJ's “C'mon N' Ride It” is the perfect soundtrack. The persistent dance beat and disco-esque string flourishes make this song a classic pump-up anthem – the type that pairs the joy of dance with the ecstasy of victory.

“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N' Roses

Song year: 1987

Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash opens “Welcome to the Jungle” with the type of riff that assures the listener something incredible is about to happen. Once Axl Rose lets out his high-pitched scream, you'll be suitably amped – and the song hasn't even started yet!

“Welcome to the Jungle” is the ultimate psych-out track for opponents, in turn making it well suited to pump-up fans and athletes of all stripes.

“How We Do” by The Game

Song year: 2005

The Game takes confidence to a whole new level on the track “How We Do.” Along with 50 Cent's staccato rap delivery in the chorus, The Game struts confidently throughout “How We Do,” making his raps the chest-puffing type that gets us pumped up for sports. Perhaps this is why NBA legend Carmello Anthony makes a cameo in the music video.

“Blitzkrieg Bop” by Ramones

Song year: 1976

The Ramones are rightly known as the fathers of punk rock, though they don't get enough credit for “Blitzkrieg Bop” as a sports anthem. Its sing-along chorus is perfect for sporting events, while the buzzsaw guitars are wild enough to pump up every type of athlete and sports fan in attendance.

With its fast tempo, “Blitzkrieg Bop” is particularly suited for runners.

“Spoonman” by Soundgarden

Song year: 1994

Written as an homage to a street performer while highlighting societal value systems, Soundgarden's “Spoonman” is pretty heady for a jock jam. But when your song is as rhythmic and thunderous as this, no socio-economic commentary is going to keep people from getting psyched.

Due in part to the use of spoons by performer Artis the Spoonman, this Soundgarden classic is a propulsive grunge rocker that will pump you up.

“Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

Song year: 2017

Name-dropping the Minnesota Vikings is only part of what makes Lizzo's “Truth Hurts” a modern classic of the pump-up jam genre. With a heavy bass and light trap snare, Lizzo delivers her self-affirmations with a humorously light resentment.

While a piano plunks out a rhythmic hook, Lizzo feels herself, and by extension, empowers the listener to do the same. “Truth Hurts” embodies the head-bopping swag.

“I'm Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys

Song year: 2005

The Dropkick Murphy's Celtic-inspired stomper “I'm Shipping Up to Boston” has become an anthem for sports fans in the New England area – but a song this good shouldn't be confined to just one region.

Despite the narrative tieing the song to Boston, the intro is perfect for walking onto a field or psyching yourself up to tackle that last rep or final hill, making it a sports anthem for all.

“Jump Around” by House of Pain

Song year: 1992

Perhaps no track captures the pure jubilance of movement better than House Of Pain's “Jump Around.” The song has an infectious beat and repetitive chorus, making its command to jump around hard to resist.

Add to the mix references to tennis legend John McEnroe and bodybuilder turned actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it's no wonder “Jump Around” has become a classic sports pump-up song.

“Live Your Life” by T.I. (Featuring Rhianna)

Song year: 2008

Between the laid-back, southern tinged rapping of T.I. and the iconic timbre of Rhianna's vocal hook, “Live Your Life” has a little something for everyone. The affirming message of the song mixes perfectly with its staccato string section, creating a positive imperative.

“Live Your Life” is an energetic and reflective song, one that can help set the tone for an athlete before leaving the locker room.

“Kickstart My Heart” by Mötley Crüe

Song year: 1989

If it's high octane riffs and shout-along choruses you seek, look no further than Mötley Crüe and their song “Kickstart My Heart.” With a chugging, palm-muted rhythm guitar at its core, this song moves along at a frantic pace. This song is here for one reason: to pump you up. Run to it or fight to it – just don't deny it.

“Hate to Say I Told You So” by The Hives

Song year: 2000

The Hives' “Hate to Say I Told You So” is a standout single from the garage-rock revival of the turn of the Millenium.

The song's quick tempo, ragged guitars, and throat-shredding vocals combine to make a rollicking jock jam worthy of any pre-game pump-up. Accordingly, The Hives are known for their raucous stage shows.

“All My Life” by Foo Fighters

Song year: 2002

In the wake of his Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain's suicide, Dave Grohl decided to forge ahead in the fertile grounds of the 90s alternative rock boom. His new band, Foo Fighters, would record some of the most recognizable arena rock anthems of the generation.

Among their hits, the propulsively rocking “All My Life” stands as one of their fist-pumping best. Put this on for an alternative pre-game hype session.

“Connection” by Elastica

Song year: 1994

Although last on the list, this is definitely one of the best pump up songs. A danceable drum beat, buzzing guitars, and wavering synthesizers come together to make Elastica's “Connection” one of the most memorable songs of the 90s alternative scene.

The way “Connection” explodes from its subdued intro into an inferno of rhythmic energy is enough to get any crowd or athlete ready to play. Just be sure not to hurt your opponent too badly.

Top Pump Up Songs, Final Thoughts

Music has the power to alter our physical performance while aiding in the creation and solidification of communities. It's no wonder that pump-up songs play a role in stadiums everywhere.

We hope this list of the 45 best pump up songs for sports has you hyped up and ready to walkout to the big game!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *