Not too long ago I was doing German volume training with a friend on front squats, as we got to the final few sets on my last few reps I would let out a roar from tension. However my friend found this highly embarrassing, tried to complete his set silently and failed. I was training in a local ‘Globo’ gym and started to look around, everyone was completing their sets in dead silence granted many were not maxing out or doing compounds ( A lift where use a lot of muscle groups to complete the movement, such as Deadlifts and squats). If you started grunting, yelling, and roaring during a set of tricep pull downs you should really go home. What caught my attention most of all was the few who were doing compounds seemed to be putting more energy into not making a noise rather than their lift. This brings the focus of the article to the art of tension!
How to create the grunt?! It starts with the Valsalva maneuver; taking a deep breath so that you core pushes out (not just shallow from the chest you then try and exhale against a closed airway). Pressure is created within the chest cavity which, in turn, stabilizes the abdominal and chest during a heavy lift, the roar comes when during the lift the pressure breaks through, or at the end of the lift when you exhale against the closed airway. The importance of this abdominal pressure is to protect the spine during heavy lifting. In a Poliquin article I read he states how Vladimir Zatsiorsky, (PhD) says that abdominal pressure can be increased with the use of the Valsalva maneuver, and this can reduce pressure on intervertebral disks up to 40 per cent. This is like giving yourself your very own lifting belt. Not so embarrassing now?
Strength coach Lorne Goldenberg came up with the following test:
When next lifting heavy, try to hold your breath for at least the first 3/4 of the concentric action and then, on another lift, begin to exhale as you initiate from the floor. You will find that you can lift much more when you hold your breath and blow it out at the end of the movement, thus letting out a roar! For the record we don’t mean for you to sound like King Kong mid mating session.
Giving a roar mid lift or at the end of the effort of the lift has huge psychological benefits too. Research has shown that a roar can really help an athlete prepare for a lift and immerse them self in it. How many really strong people have you seen perform a massive lift silently? … You can even see it watching Wimbledon.
The roar has huge physiological and psychological benefits and will increase your lifts. It really does makes the difference between a failed lift and a successful lift, we at Fitness Wild have experienced this with our clients. If you do not use the Valsalva maneuver and let the roar out we would strongly recommend you incorporate into your training. The sad thing is many ‘Globo’ gyms are starting to frown upon ‘anti-social noise’ and even ban the roar! Don’t even get me started on the banning of chalk or the rule of having to wear shoes in the squat rack!