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Oh s**t! Science says swearing can boost your workout

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Photo: Stocksy/Jacob Ammentorp-Lund

Have you ever been in a workout class and been instructed to sprint on a serious incline or do a crazy amount of burpees only to find yourself responding by uttering a swear word under your breath? (Not just me, right?)

Thankfully, you don’t have to feel ashamed—science just found that cursing actually helps your fitness performance. Can I get a $#@!-yeah?

Published in the Journal of Psychology of Sports and Exercise, the report looked at people completing two different workouts—one on a stationary bike, the other to test hand grip strength—to see if saying swear words aloud would help their fitness game. Turns out that not only does it feel good, but audibly cursing actually boosted the participants’ strength.

On the bike, swearing caused a 4.6 percent increase of initial power in a 30-second test, and in the hand-grip test it resulted in an 8.2 percent increase, when compared to a G-rated workout-sesh. According to experts, those bad words might help alleviate the pain you’re feeling as you’re working out your muscles (score).

“Cursing may allow people to shut down their inhibitions and somewhat veil the effort and the pain of this really difficult task,” notes Dr. David K. Spierer, EdD, the co-researcher of the study from Long Island University in Brooklyn. In this way, he says that “using swear words might be helpful in any circumstance where muscle strength and a sudden burst of force or speed is required.” So, next time you’re told to do something strenuous in your workout class, go ahead—curse it out (to yourself, of course).

Speaking of, here’s a 15-minute low-impact boot camp workout you can do right now. And these are 10 things you only understand if you do boot camp