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Yelling Improves High-Intensity Exercise Performance

We’ve all experienced it…the annoying individual in the gym yelling loudly as they try to push out the last few reps of each set. Well a new study has provided good evidence that this subconscious (and sometimes annoying) practice of yelling may in fact lead to greater power output when exercising at high intensity.

The particular study in question involved participants undertaking an incremental cycling exercise protocol until exhaustion. Subjects completed the exercise on two occasions in random order over the course of 10 days, with one trial permitting yelling and the other not. During the yelling trial, subjects were required to yell at least three times when they felt exhausted, while during the control trial, no yelling was allowed.

The researchers measured each subjects peak power and time until exhaustion as well as a range of measures related to oxygen consumption and CO2 production as well as ventilation and respiration rate.

When subjects were permitted to yell, their peak power and time to exhaustion increased significantly compared to when they were not allowed to produce any yelling sounds. Other measures that improved included something called O2 pulse (i.e. wolume of oxygen consumed by the body per heartbeat.) and the volume of oxygen carried by the blood (i.e. VO2).

One of the other mechanisms the researchers hypothesised by which yelling might improve high-intensity performance was through greater muscle activation.

So next time your smashing out a final sprint on the exercise bike or pushing out your last rep in the gym, don’t be afraid to let out a bit of verbal self-encouragement – it might just help get you over the line.

 

Chen CL, et al. Effect of yelling on maximal aerobic power during an incremental test of cycling performance. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 2015

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