Grunting: It's Natural

The kids on the playground were yelling.

"Sounds like torture going on out there," I said to the woman ringing up my soup mix.

"Yeah, that's every day," she said. "Yelling. I wish I would have yelled when I played."

"Never too late," I said, grabbing my change.

I spend a significant portion of my job, somehow, talking about this sort of thing, Usually it's while joking with guys in the weight room: "I knew you by your grunting," I'll tell a guy, because it's true. In a gym, the noises one makes are as identifiable as the voices, both of which I hear on a regular basis. Sometimes we'll debate the validity of making noise. Expressing oneself in this manner is somewhat of a vulnerable act, and it always calls to mind the woman who told me she made no noise during any of her four childbirths. Courage or repression, I wondered.

In my classes, I'm always yelling for my people to breathe during mitt work with me, as it's a natural tendency to hold one's breath while getting that big punch out. Hence the "sss" or "fff" methods of letting out some air with each punch. I'd been doing a pretty good job of making a lot of noise and spit, but lately more noise was coming out. Yells, even. And I'd recall that guys in my gym did a lot of "ha ha"-ing themselves. So I decided to follow my instincts and let it go.

Tonight this got me through some intense mittwork, my trainer backing me into the ropes at the end of the round when I was beat. So I let it out. Primal grunts assisted the work. I liked it. I'll keep this up--it gives me more energy than the little breaths. Probably a mouthguard will get in the way eventually, and maybe someone someday will teach me the "right" way to breathe while punching.

But for now, I'm yelling. No time like the present.


  1. It's like sex, isn't it? Gotta make some kinda noise. Oh wait! We have kids in the house. No wonder we started yelling during boxing!

  2. I used the same metaphor when telling my husband--who is away, mind you--that doing mitts with a person for the first time is like sex. Add the post on grunting, and he's a little bit nervous.

  3. It's good for him to be a wee touch nervous. After all, we can change headlights! Who knows what kind of damage your town's gonna see during his absence? ;)


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