Swearing Makes People Stronger, Scientists Say

Dropping f-bombs leads to real power gains, according to a new study

May 5, 2017
Photo: iStock

Scientists have discovered a new performance enhancement that might be right up Ronnie “the Limo Driver” Mund’s alley.

Dropping f-bombs out loud actually makes people stronger, according to researchers at the University of Keele in England and Long Island University Brooklyn.

Their study focused on several dozen participants who were asked to perform intense cycling or hand grip exercises twice—once while cussing like a sailor and another time while keeping it clean. Results showed that participants produced more power while doing their expletive-laden workouts.

“When we got people to repeat a swear word or a neutral word while they were doing it, we showed a performance increment with swearing,” Keele researcher Richard Stephens told Wired.

While the performance gains are pretty clear, Stephens revealed he and his team are still trying to determine precisely what accounts for them. “We’ve got a clear effect but no clear explanation for the effect,” he continued. “Maybe it is just a general disinhibition … Swearing kind of makes you throw off the shackles and throw caution to the wind and be less up-tight about things, and the benefit could come from that.”

This isn’t the first time Stephens’s has studied the effect of expletives—in 2009, he determined swearing reduces pain levels. In another recent study, a different team of researchers found that booze curbs the pain pretty effectively, too.

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