Wearing Red May Boost Your Performance in the Gym

How This "Danger Color" Can be Used to Your Advantage

Jay Cardiello - Red Dominance
Red Dominance. Jay Cardiello

Does wearing the color red heighten your performance in gym? Maybe, according to a 2011 study published in an issue of journal Emotion, where researchers demonstrated that viewing the color red enhanced the perception of force and velocity of motor output in humans. 

Essentially, these findings showed that when humans saw this dominant color their reactions became faster and more powerful. What implications does this have on the "Average Joe" who wears a red-colored shirt for a workout?


Clearly, this will not convert his "Weekend Warrior" skills into the Adonis-like form of an Olympic athlete. Yet, it may elicit dominance upon entering the gym. Seeing red immediately boosts adrenaline levels, raising awareness of your surroundings; causing an individual's body to react as if it is in a "fight or flight" response.  This danger cue may regress back to more animalistic times when male dominance was seen in hominids (great apes); where red-colored alpha males sat at the pinnacle of dominance in the hierarchy of the animal kingdom, Alpha Game, March 2011. 

Perhaps this was the reason why, at the height of his dominance in tournament play, Tiger Woods wore a red shirt in the final round to stress his seat on top of the golf world; or, ruling clubs such as Manchester United have experienced such long-term success in English football, Journal of Sports Sciences, April 2008.

Like it or not, red is the color of dominance and more studies are proving that athletes who wear this color are producing more wins, Nature


Question - Will this dominance be felt for the average male gym-goer? In short, red is by no means the magic panacea of strength. Researchers even concluded that the powerful effects of red are short-lived. Whether its power is time-sensitive or not, the visual prowess and psychological dominance one feels from wearing red may be worth the investment.

This leaves me to ponder; if science now identifies the color red as creating both a physical and psychological advantage - Will red apparel and accessories soon be labeled as performance-enhancing supplements? Or better yet, will the Olympic committee begin penalizing athletes for donning too much red? 

Final thought, working out is hard enough. Why not use this powerful color to your advantage?

Continue Reading