From a scientific standpoint, the grunting noise is made as we exhale against a closed, or partially closed, vocal fold. The vocal folds, or vocal cords, refer to the two bands of muscle tissue that open into the windpipe. The vocal folds are open and relaxed when we breathe in, sometimes producing a rushing noise. But when the vocal folds close as we exhale you might going to hear some turbulence. Some experts say that we get an extra Ooomph by grunting that is probably related to a communication signal from the part of the brain that controls breathing to the part that controls muscle function. When we forcefully push air out, the brain sends information down to the muscles, which either excites muscle groups or decreases inhibition — or both. The result might be enhanced performance.
Because making noises can be so beneficial, some trainers encourage it during their sessions with clients. I have also heard it said that making noise helps students channel their frustration or pain in a helpful way and remain focused.
Of course on the flip side is that particularly noisy clients can be a big distraction for other people trying to focus in a Pilates class.
Personally, I do not encourage grunting to the PilatesEVO students and trainers here in Barcelona as for Pilates I do not think it is appropriate, necessary or conducive for the correct form. So what is your experience and opinion? Are you a Pilates grunter? Do you encourage or discourage grunting, or do you not mention it at all? Have you had a particularly noisy client and if so, how did you deal with the situation? Please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend!
Chris Hunt, PilatesEVO