Will weight training damage your voice?

For voice specialists we know putting extra strain on your voice, such as grunting or yelling may lead to vocal damage. But, weightlifters use these techniques to maintain and increase their efforts to improve their fitness and muscle mass. This research article looks at how weightlifting techniques may be damaging to some voices. 

Laryngeal Symptoms in Weightlifting Athletes. Anna Rumback, Melissa Maddox, Michael Hull and Aliaa Khidr, Brisbane, Australia and Charlottesville, Egypt.

This article reported on a group of weightlifters and if their voice changed during and after training. Nearly half identified either throat pain, a change in their voice or globus sensations. That’s a significant effect on your voice for an activity. If you’re training for an hour up to 5 times per week, which is not unusual, this is significant repetitive strain on your voice.

Weightlifting is about using effective safe techniques to achieve your fitness goal and this often include breathing techniques. These include, purposeful breath hold and forcefully exhaling against a closed larynx, mouth and nose. This hard glottal closure (Valsalva maneuver) are “intended to increase core stability and alleviate part of the load placed on the vertebral column and facilitate the lift by increasing glottic closure and subsequently increasing intra-thoracic and intra-abdominal pressure”

A quick side note, vocal straining is a normal body strategy. ‘Locking’ your throat allows you to lift everyday heavy objects (like your shopping or a child) , it helps women really push for childbirth and definitely helps when you need to poo. Normal stuff.

So, in a nutshell, you constrict your throat or constrict your throat and grunt to increase your ability to lift heavy weights, this has a negative result of straining or damaging your voice. But, what about the other half who didn’t have any vocal strain. Why?

There’s little research on other physical activities and with the popularity of training as Crossfit, we are lacking in ways to maximise vocal safety, while maximising physical exertion.

It’s clear their needs to be more research in this area. My concerns are for singers who weight train and for any singer who keeps an exercise routine will need to understand the effect of cardio and weight training on their voice. Is there a safe way to exert sound to lift heavy weights?

What are your comments? Have you had any experience with loosing or voice changes when training? Leave your comments or jump into the groups or activity feed.