From taking supplements and experimenting with different pre-workout meals, there are plenty of things you can do to get more out of your workouts. But the latest workout hack is a little less discreet!
According to a new study from the University of Keele, swearing out loud before you hit the gym can boost your muscle strength and stamina. The researchers asked volunteers to swear before hopping on an exercise bike for an intense 30-second sprint or gripping a device that measures hand strength.
The test subjects were asked to blurt out whatever swear words popped into their heads—as if they had just banged their head and had no filter. As you can imagine, F and S-bombs flew like there was no tomorrow! The second group of volunteers were asked to do the same with less emotionally-charged, more ‘neutral’ words.
The Swearing Sallies and Rude Ronalds were found to perform significantly better in both tests than their neutral counterparts. On the bike, their peak power was increased by 24 watts, while their grip strength was boosted by 2.1 kilograms on average.
Study leader Dr Richard Stephens has said that the strength gains could be a result of the swearing “stimulating the body’s sympathetic nervous system”—the system that makes your heart pound when you are in danger. The study built on previous research from the University of Keele that revealed that swearing can increase tolerance to pain.
It could be that it involves the pain relief effect we registered [in previous research]. Pain perception and pain relief are quite complex things. Swear words have a distracting effect. Swearing seems to be a form of emotional language. Perhaps it’s the emotional effect of the words that leads to the distraction, but this is just speculation at the moment.
-Dr Richard Stephens via The Evening Standard
So, while researchers still aren’t 100% sure why it improves workout performance, it may be worth cussing like a sailor next time you want to make some gains in the gym! Maybe just under your breath though, so as to not get kicked out! Or, you could try one of these at-home workouts and swear to your heart’s content.