Grunting may actually help you recruit more muscle. But here’s how you can harness more strength without all the noise.
If deadlifts, squats, curls, or bench presses cause a grunt to escape every time you do a rep, here’s why: It’s easier to tap your power when you’re making ape noises. (Seriously.)
Researchers believe that primitive vocalizations trigger the fight-or-flight response to recruit more muscle fibers as you lift. By grunting, you’re essentially channeling your inner animal, which helps you move more weight.
In fact, a Drexel University study found that grunting instead of regular breathing can boost maximum static handgrip strength by as much as 25 percent.
What’s more, it improves your stability by forcing your core to contract, says strength coach Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S. And the more stable your core or foundation, the stronger you are.
Now the downside: You sound like you’re having sex, which causes the other gym members to throw weird looks your way or even complain to management.
Luckily, you can harness your animal power without the ruckus. Just close your lips, press your tongue into the roof of your mouth, and breathe deeply through your nose as you lift.
Why your tongue? Because the muscular organ is intricately connected to the deep stabilizing muscles of your core. When you activate it, your deep core muscles also turn on, making you more stable.
If that doesn’t work, switch to a power-lifting or Cross Fit gym. Primitive sounds are welcome there.