To Yell or Not To Yell

Is it acceptable to grunt or even yell during a workout?

Rebel yell - but is it necessary?
Rebel yell – but is it necessary?

I know there’s some controversy over whether or not letting out some vocal response actually helps during exercise.

I think we British are a bit restrained – although I have, in my time, welcomed an outbreak of whooping when an aerobics class got particularly tough.

And I plead guilty, Your Honour, to vocal venting.

Meg Ryan lets go in the deli
Meg Ryan lets go in the deli

Just today during a particularly arduous abs session following “insane” Guerrillas I let out a yowl which had the instructor turning round and commenting “I wondered what what was going on there for a moment!”

Had I left my inhibitions at the door?

It reminded me of that notorious deli scene in the late 80’s romcom “When Harry Met Sally”.e27e543cea0754ca1e834665d9a0f2d60bdcd3c35e288bf8346098172d7b7227

Again, I’m going to apply some British restraint here and suffice it to say the female lead “fakes” a response arguably more appropriate to the bedroom in a busy restaurant – to prove a point.

She “finishes” – and resumes eating her lunch, whereupon an older woman on the next table tells the waiter “I’ll have what she’s having”.

Did Monica Seles invent the 'tennis grunt'?
Did Monica Seles invent the ‘tennis grunt’?

Apparently it took several takes to film that scene.

Was Meg Ryan, then, as mortified as I?

Let’s get out of the New York deli – and back into the gym.

Or the dojo, and even the tennis court.

Everyone’s familiar with Miss Piggy’s “Hi-yah!” as she wallops Kermit.

Kiai is the Japanese term for the yell or shout used during an attacking move – but in addition to the impact on your opponent, it’s also thought to teach a proper breathing technique.

Miss Piggy is familiar with the Kiai
Miss Piggy is familiar with the Kiai

Nine-time Gland Slam winner Monica Seles has been dubbed the creator of the “tennis grunt” (and you can see her in action here).

Yet Russia’s Maria Sharapova topped a Daily Telegraph grunting poll in 2011 – deploying a climactic shriek of the blue-movie variety at 101 decibels.

There have been calls for a crackdown regarding on-court grunting – but leading pundits point out that, just as in martial arts, it can help players focus on their performance.

But if you’re not a world class athlete and just working-out, there’s always going to be the idea that there’s simply no need to make a noise and if you do, well, then you’re simply showing off.

At this point I needed a laugh
At this point I needed a laugh

At this point I decided I needed a bl**dy good laugh – and courtesy of BroScienceLife, I found it.

In the YouTube video There Will Be Grunts, our guide explains: “Your grunt explains who you are. It’s your identity at the gym.

“Grunting is in our nature, it was the first language – followed shortly after by Emojis”

He then goes on to analyse variations ranging from the “lion-breath” to the “squirt-bottle”. Take a look below, but be advised – there’s swearing (“oooh language!”) .

“Grunting should be reserved for weight that’s impossible to move silently”.

A concept an English woman can relate to – my friend trained perfectly happily amid body-builders but a switch to another gym got her disapproving looks from other female gym users – for her “unladylike” grunting.

Yet as a trained fitness instructor she found this helped her achieve her targets “especially with the leg press”.

So whether you yell, scream or grunt – it would appear you’re in good company.

Just pick your moment wisely!


2 thoughts on “To Yell or Not To Yell

  1. A few years ago I was at the gym and there was a guy on the elliptical doing some sort of a weird HIT workout. I mean, he was really going for it. But the noises he was making… Dear god, he actually sounded like a soundtrack to a porn movie with the longest climax ever! It just went ooooon and ooooon and oooooon.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If you pop into a Singapore gym, you probably hear silence. We are so reserved we tend to keep to ourselves even when we are exercising. So much so I know some gym actually play techno music to fill in the awkward silence. Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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