Apparently, Swearing While Working Out Makes You Stronger

Above: Go ahead, drop an F-bomb in between deadlifts
Apparently, Swearing While Working Out Makes You Stronger

Lifting weights isn’t exactly a walk in the park—but it’s not supposed to be, right? It’s supposed to be grueling and leave you a little sore (in a good way) afterwards. That’s how you get results. After a few reps, your muscles are burning and it takes everything in you to do just… one… more… bicep curl. So no one would blame you if you happened to curse as you struggled to finish your set. Luckily, that might actually be giving you that extra push you need.

In another example of a study no one knew they needed, researchers have found that swearing while you work out actually makes you feel stronger. Going on previous research that found swearing actually helps make people better able to cope with pain because it triggers the same part of the nervous system as the fight or flight response, Dr. Richard Stephens from Keele University in the U.K decided to take it another step further.

The theory was that cursing while you’re working out might actually make your perform better because it masks the pain a little bit. To test that hypothesis, Stephens asked study participants to do two separate exercises while repeating either a swear word of their choice or a neutral word.

The first exercise involved 29 participants cycling in short but intense bursts. Researchers found that participants performed better when they were saying the swear word as opposed to the neutral word. “On one measure of power in the first five seconds, it was a four percent increase in the swearing vs non swearing group, then across the full 30 seconds it was about two percent increase,”

For the second exercise, 52 participants completed a hand grip test. “This still measures performance, but it isn’t as extreme. In the grip task they produced about eight percent stronger grip in swearing vs non-swearing,” Stephens explains. You can imagine the longer someone is gripping, the harder and more painful it will get–kind of like doing a plank for longer than a minute.

We all know that the more reps you do, the more painful an exercise becomes, so if swearing helps you put up with the pain for just a little bit longer, maybe it’s worth trying. Just don’t be surprised if no one at your gym is willing to spot you for your bench presses because you’re known as the guy who’s always yelling obscenities like a crazy person.

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