Six-minute energetic songs are so useful in indoor cycling profiles. The possibilities are endless: use them for longer climbing intervals, cadence work, or paceline efforts. Do four sets of 6-minute over/under intervals just above and just below FTP or lactate threshold heart rate at different cadences. Also use them for 3–2–1 intervals, one of my favorite ways to use 6-minute tracks.
I’ve got my favorite energetic 6-minute songs, but I do tend to overuse them, so I’m always on the hunt for new ones. I initially put together these bucket playlists just for myself because I love the 3–2–1 format and wanted to make sure I wasn’t repeating songs (too) much whenever I present this ride. I’ve curated as many 6-minute songs (give or take about 10–30 seconds) as I can and put them into five different Spotify bucket playlists that fall into tempos for the following cadence ranges*:
- 55 to 69 rpm
- 70 to 79 rpm
- 80 to 89 rpm
- 90 to 99 rpm
- over 100 rpm
*If you don’t ride to the beat, that’s fine too! Just use them as you see fit. These buckets can still help you select songs close to the cadence you want your riders at (say, a flat road versus a climbing cadence).
Shorter songs are in vogue right now, so there aren’t many mainstream songs that are this long—unless they are remixes, and we’ve got tons of remixes for you in these bucket playlists. You’ve probably also noticed that many pop and dance tracks fall into a predictable tempo of 120 to 140 bpm. That’s why the playlist of climbing tracks in the ~60 to ~70 rpm range is much larger than the others (360 songs vs 70 or less); the plain and simple reason is that there are far more songs with that tempo out there.
There is a total of close to 600 songs in these five bucket playlists (as of this updated posting), and that number is continually growing whenever I find new ones. If you have any 6-minute song suggestions that are good for cycling that I’m missing, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll add them to the playlists. I’ll take any tempo, but I’m especially eager to add higher-cadence longer songs.
If you don’t use Spotify for your classes, at least get yourself a free Spotify account. You can still create playlists such as these and then use a program such as Songshift to transfer from one streaming service to another. If you still don’t want to get a Spotify account, don’t worry, we do have PDFs of the playlists that you can download. With your free Spotify account, you can still access these playlists, listen to them, and decide if you want to purchase the songs or find them in the resources that you typically use, whether that’s iTunes, Apple Music, SoundCloud, etc. I am constantly adding new songs to the playlists in Spotify, so the PDF may not be updated.
Let me give you a couple of my favorite 6-minute songs that I might be accused of overusing!
Freedom! 90, George Michael, 6:30, 90 bpm
It’s a little longer at 6:30 but it’s found a spot in so many of my 3-2-1 and Over/Under profiles that I probably need to retire it for a while. When you need a longer 90 bpm track that people know, few other options are quite this good (IMO)!
I Feel Love, Bronski Beat, 6:01, 140 bpm
When you need a great climb.
I Can Feel It, Waterjuice, 5:53, 89 bpm
It’s just under 6 minutes, so when I use this for a 3-2-1 ramp interval, I subtract a few seconds from the 3- and 2-minute efforts, making sure to leave a full minute for the 1-minute higher-intensity push.
The Best Revenge – Tocadisco’s Macaco Gordo Mix, Fischerspooner, 6:14, 132 bpm
Perfect for an increasing grade climb of a 3-2-1 ramp.
India, Joy, 6:11, 104 bpm
Staying committed to a cadence of 104 as you progress from moderate to harder to even harder is a huge but satisfying challenge for your riders. Make sure they have a lot of practice at this high cadence first.
ICA members can access the five bucket playlists below.