Cursing Can Make You Stronger, Scientists Swear

A psychologist as confirmed repeating profanities out loud can boost strength.

May 7, 2017 5:00 am
Professional weight lifter screaming while holding heavy weight
Sergiy Tagirov of the Ukraine competes in the men's 105kg weightlifting on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 6, 2012 in London, England. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

For those who felt swearing helped make them feel a little more empowered while pushing their limits, science has confirmed a sanity to the profanity.

New findings presented at a British Psychological Society meeting Thursday demonstrated how cursing can boost strength. The study was conducted by Dr. Richard Stephens, who has previously shown that expletives can increase pain tolerance.

Stephens’ new study observed participants during intense 30-second stints on a stationary bike and isometric hand grip tests, which basically involves squeezing an object. Those who yelled obscenities throughout the two exercises were logged producing more power than the participants who did not.

Repeating profanities increased power on the bike by an average of 24 watts and boosted strength by about 4.6 pounds, The Guardian reports.

While the findings themselves were what Dr. Stephens expected, he was confounded by a deep inquiry at the data. The researcher suspected the increased strength was caused by the body’s sympathetic nervous system being stimulated—since that’s what makes cursing boost pain tolerance—but found no significant changes in the heart rate and other physiological metrics that would have also been affected.

“We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully,” Dr. Stephens said in a press release.

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