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Will anger increase your body strength or not? If you get angry, you may think that i can break anything or fight anyone but sometimes you almost lose control on your body completely (or probably always).

So, if you are ordered to break a brick, will you break it easily when you are angry or when your emotions are under control?

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I just share this knowledge because it seems totally opposite to prerequisites of the question: "Oxytocin is an age-specific circulating hormone that is necessary for muscle maintenance and regeneration" (Title of publication!) So since oxytocin is released when cuddling, it might support you to release the maximum of your strength :) – PythoNic Jun 26 '14 at 19:08
up vote 4 down vote accepted

There could be a correlation between negative emotions, such as anger and hostility, and muscle strength (Tolea et al., 2012). This, however, is a post-hoc examination around the relationship between personality traits and muscle strength and may not infer that 'body strength' actually increases during anger and hostility.

"In spite of the evidence for relationships between personality, physical activity, and muscle strength, to our knowledge, only one study reported on the association between personality and muscle strength (Jorm et al., 1993). In that study, Jorm and colleagues investigated correlations between neuroticism and extraversion and muscle strength in a sample of older community-dwelling Australian men and women. Neuroticism but not extraversion was found to negatively correlate to strength in women only."

A study conducted on physical performance and anger could support that there are positive correlations between anger and physical performance (Davis et al., 2010). Note that this only focuses on physical performance and does not necessarily indicate that anger directly increases actual body strength (i.e. cardiovascular, resistance level, power).

"Consistent with previous research (e.g., Woodman et al., 2009), anger facilitated performance of the peak force task. The significant influence of trait anger and anger-out on physical performance provides additional evidence of the role of anger’s action tendency in performance (Smits et al., 2004). This finding supports Lazarus’s (2000b) proposed influence of anger on performance; that is, the action tendency of anger appeared to align with the task demands and performance was facilitated by the induction of anger."

This may well tie well in addressing your question:

P1. There is evidence to show that anger facilitates performance of a peak force task.
P2. Breaking a brick involves a peak force task.
P3. X is angry and required to break a brick.
C. It is likely that anger would facilitate X's need to break the brick.

As for anger regulation, the same article touches upon the significance of anger regulation strategies towards anger and physical performance. My intuition would be to say that a response such as anger is more likely to help one "break a brick" when ordered rather than being in a controlled state. Anger is more likely to increase reactive motor skills which could maximise power exerted. I'm not an expert on physical fitness but emotional states of mind would seem to impact physical behaviours in my view.


  • Toleaa, M.I., Terracciano, A., Simonsick, E.M., Metter, E.J. & Costa Jr., P.T. (2012). Associations between personality traits, physical activity level, and muscle strength. Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 264-270
  • Davis, P.A., Woodman, T. & Callow, N. (2010). Better out than in: The influence of anger regulation on physical performance. Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 457-460
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In many cases, the limit of your strength is not actually the maximal force output of your muscles, but reflex inhibition from pain. Anger and the associated release of adrenaline causes stimulus-induced analgesia, which could potentially relieve some of this reflex inhibition. So yes.

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