It might force a few spectators to cover their ears, but grunting helps players improve their performance across sports disciplines, not just tennis, a new study has found.
While there have been numerous studies that prove grunting to be a source of spurt in power for tennis player, they did not consider if the concept held true through across the sport. According to a report in The New York Times, other than backhands and ground-strokes, the squeals during physical activities help people exert more power in all sporting activities.
To prove their synopsis, scientists decided to look closely at mixed martial arts and grunting. The sport was chosen as it, like tennis, needed sudden movements. Also, unlike tennis, martial arts does not involve inherent noise, the report stated.
The experiment deemed that if an onlooker struggled to judge a kick or a punch when someone grunted, then the distraction could be attributed to the yell and not due to some other reason.
For the experiment, as many as 20 male and female martial arts practitioners were recruited. All were asked to kick a heavy bag fitted with a device to measure force.
They were asked to kick the bag both as they yell and while remaining silent. The videos of these kicks were shown to 22 undergraduate students. The footage showed the athletes’ feet advancing rapidly towards those viewing it.
The students were asked to decide whether the kick would land high or low and press a corresponding computer key. During half of the kicks, a standardised grunting sound accompanied the motion of the kick. There was no sound on all other instances.
Upon examining the data, the researchers concluded that grunting while kicking had improved the martial artists’ power by almost 10%. Also, the students were found to be slower in their response time while watching the videos accompanied with the grunting noise.
These results showed that a “grunter” drew advantage due to the distraction and proved to beneficial for exerting more power.