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Can persistent coughing give you a good chest workout?
August 9, 2006 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Can persistent coughing give you a good chest workout?

I came down with a cold recently, resulting in ~1 week of extended periods of coughing, especially when I was trying to sleep. Last night was the first time in a week that I've gotten any decent amounts of sleep, and on waking up this morning, I noticed my pecs seemed to be bigger and more firm. This was later confirmed by the gf.

I found some info that says normal breathing involves chest muscles (including pecs), but can prolonged, vigorous coughing actually yield noticeable changes in muscle tone/size?
posted by logicpunk to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Your muscles may be more tense as a result of your illness but there is no way they hypertrophied any measurable amount.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:45 PM on August 9, 2006


Did you lose weight during your cold? This could have reduced your waistline, resulting in a larger, more defined appearance for the pecs.
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:51 PM on August 9, 2006


Well, it is true that prolonged spasmodic coughing can severely strain the chest muscles and ligaments ("bruised rib syndrome").

Coughing as pec exercise, though? Not so likely, though this may explain the rumor that Vicks is coming out with a line of manssiers.
posted by rob511 at 4:32 PM on August 9, 2006


No, you did not get a pec workout from coughing. The muscles that are mainly responsible for an effective cough are the abdominal (stomach) muscles and the diaphragm.
posted by rkent at 4:45 PM on August 9, 2006


I think you lost weight and are seeing perhaps more definition, but no, there's absolutely no way you could cause pectoral hypertrophy by coughing for a week.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 5:55 PM on August 9, 2006


There are all kinds of muscles that are responsible for breathing, but the pecs are not among them. Sorry!

Even if the pecs could be strengthened by coughing, it's a bad idea. Coughing is harmful to other structures, such as the vocal cords. It's just not the miracle exercise you've been looking for.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:53 PM on August 9, 2006


Whooping cough sufferers are especially cut.
posted by Dasein at 9:30 PM on August 9, 2006


Whooping cough sufferers are especially cut.

I can vouch for that. I had whooping cough a couple of years ago, and my abs were the best they'd ever been. That was abs, though, nothing higher up.

and man, whooping cough sucked.
posted by COBRA! at 6:50 AM on August 10, 2006


Thanks all. I think weight loss might be the right idea, since I did cut out a lot of crap food around the same time. And my abs are still MIA...
posted by logicpunk at 9:05 AM on August 10, 2006


spasmodic coughing can severely strain the chest muscles and ligaments ("bruised rib syndrome").

and I tell you, feeling something go POP in your ribcage while coughing due to pneumonia is NOT fun, because after that it hurts to cough (feels like you're being stabbed). As they note there, it took 2-3 months to heal.
posted by mrbill at 4:01 PM on August 11, 2006


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