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Experts Sound Off on Workout Grunting
Date:10/24/2007

Some gym members object, but these noises may boost fitness

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Jane Ross, a 42-year-old Boston area gym buff, is honest about it: When exercising, she sometimes grunts.

"I think it's part of going to a gym -- I grunt during a workout, and I think that most people do," said the mom and former personal trainer. "When you are exerting yourself, it's a release."

But not everyone is so accepting of those loud fitness club exhalations.

Late last year, Albert Argibay, a Wappinger Falls, N.Y., bodybuilder and state correction officer, was escorted by police out of the Planet Fitness gym he was a member of, after another member complained to management of his loud grunting during weightlifting.

Planet Fitness, a national chain, has a solid "no-grunting" policy in place and Argibay's noisemaking -- along with a resulting verbal tussle with management -- cost him his membership, The New York Times reported.

The story spawned headlines and much debate, with the grunt-prone lined up on one side and annoyed non-grunters on the other. The former say grunting boosts their workouts, while the latter claim it's just so much hot air.

Each side has its advocates.

Dennis O'Connell is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and professor and chairman of physical therapy at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He has led two studies assessing grunting's ability to maximize exercise output.

During the research, O'Connell had a variety of people lift a heavy dead weight and pull that weight upward until they straightened their bodies into an upright position. Participants were told to either grunt or stay quiet during the lift.

"Very experienced lifters that normally grunted when they lifted did have about a 1 percent improvement with grunting," O'Connell said.

That pattern was repeated with the other lifte
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