Connect
To Top


Grit And Bear It


If you’re going for a PR on a lift, or just moving that new refrigerator into your house, don’t forget to use concurrent activation potentiation.

In other words, grit your teeth.

Scientists at Marquette University studied the concept that muscle contractions become stronger in one muscle when you contract a separate unrelated muscle at the same time. Researchers took a group of trained men and measured the load and level of contraction during a standard leg extension. When the subjects gritted their teeth, they were able to lift 10 percent more weight.

What’s more, when they also clenched their fists and contracted their stomach muscles, they became 15 percent stronger. (This is one of the reasons why powerlifters aggressively contract their core muscles before any big lift—and why you should, too.) While the strength boost doesn’t seem novel to gritting your teeth—feel free to clench other bodyparts — the jaw is one of the easiest muscles to activate when under a load. Just be careful of those chompers; the subjects in this experiment bit down on a mouthpiece.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in advice

  • IM Ask Us Anything #2

    Expert advice for over-40 athletes about training, supplementation, nutrition, hormones, and more. By Jay Campbell and Jim Brown   Chris: Are...

    Sharon OrtigasJune 30, 2017
  • Training For Mental Toughness

    By Eddie Avakoff   Sure, muscles look great. And isn't it nice to be the one at the squat rack with...

    Sharon OrtigasJune 7, 2017
  • Over-40 Fitness

    Expert advice for over-40 athletes about training, supplementation, nutrition, hormones, and more. By Jay Campbell and Jim Brown Many people stop...

    Sharon OrtigasJune 6, 2017
  • THE LION ROARS

    Expert advice to your questions about training, nutrition, recovery, and living the fitness lifestyle. By Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes   Brandon:...

    Sharon OrtigasMay 9, 2017
  • THE LION ROARS

    Expert advice to your questions about training, nutrition, recovery, and living the fitness lifestyle. Chris: Is there an ideal length/method for...

    Sharon OrtigasJanuary 31, 2017
  • THE LION ROARS

    Expert advice to your questions about training, nutrition, recovery, and living the fitness lifestyle.    Nathan: I’ve been lifting for 10...

    Sharon OrtigasJanuary 6, 2017
  • The Lion Roars: Expert Advice

    Answers to your questions about training, nutrition, recovery, and living the fitness lifestyle. By Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes Lewis: I'm currently...

    swarnavaAugust 25, 2016