Study: Does Grunting Improve Workouts?

People who grunt while exercising may offend nearby patrons instead of improving their overall endurance during workouts, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas studied volunteers to examine the effectiveness of grunting and its affect on a person’s overall force during a workout.

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In the study, participants lifted dead weights upward until they straightened their bodies into an upright position and were told to either grunt or stay quiet during the test exercise. The workout was tested on a group of college football players, who lifted regularly and grunted often, and a group of graduate students, who were untrained lifters.

The football players showed a 2 percent improvement in terms of force during lifting, and the graduate students, who did not grunt, increased their lifts by 5 percent.

When grunting was analyzed across the two participating groups, grunting did not provide an overall boost to an individual’s performance, according to the study.

Dennis O'Connell, strength and conditioning specialist and professor and chairman of physical therapy at the university, who has led two studies on the subject, said that grunting may cause more arguments and disruptions in the gym than improvement to workout.