Is Grunting a Hack for Better Workouts?

by Ravi Ram

If you’ve ever watched a tennis match, you’ve probably noticed that some players make a lot of noise when they hit the ball. It can be quite off-putting, and opponents and fans alike have complained about it. However, recent research suggests that these grunts of exertion may actually give athletes an advantage.

A study conducted on tennis players found that grunting enhanced the velocity, force, and muscle activity during serves and forehand strokes. While the sound itself may be unpleasant to others, it seems to offer a distinct competitive advantage. Additionally, research has shown that vocalization during exercise can increase grip strength by 25 percent compared to passive breathing.

Considering the potential benefits, it’s not surprising that grunting has been adopted by athletes in other sports as well. College tennis player-turned-coach, Ignacio Morera-Lucas, believes that grunting can maximize workouts in short-burst exercises, as it helps generate more power and intensity. Football players and competitive weightlifters have also been known to grunt during their workouts.

To put the science to the test, the author of this article decided to try a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session with and without grunting. The author typically prefers HIIT workouts because they can be done at home, are time-efficient, and provide variety in exercises. However, the author acknowledges that working out alone at home may not always be as intense as exercising in a class with others.

Fortunately, grunting during a home workout proved to be beneficial. The author found that grunting made the workout more fun and engaging. As the intensity increased, the grunts became increasingly necessary. It turns out that the author had been a grunter all along, without even realizing it.

Grunting could be particularly useful for home workouts, as it helps keep the individual more focused and engaged. While working out in public may still be more effective, allowing oneself to make ridiculous noises during a home workout could enhance the overall experience.

However, grunting at the gym is a different story. Many gyms have penalties for loud noises, as they can be disruptive to others. Research suggests that the grunts made by tennis players can throw off their opponents, so it’s reasonable to assume that similar distractions could occur at the gym. While grunting may have helped the author’s home exercise session, it wasn’t worth ruining someone else’s workout over it.

So, if you happen to hear some curious sounds coming from your neighbor’s apartment, don’t be too quick to judge. They may just be trying to get in shape and harness their inner Maria Sharapova.

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