A study of Oxford rowers has shown that members of a team who exercised together were able to tolerate twice as much pain as when they trained on their own. In a study published in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters researchers from the University of Oxford found the pain threshold of 12 rowers from the Oxford Boat Race squad was greater after group training than after individual training. They conclude that acting as a group and in close synchrony ramps up pain thresholds, as the underlying endorphin release underpins communal-bonding effects that emerge from activities like religious rituals, group exercise and dancing.
The study found there was a significant increase in the rowers’ pain threshold following exercise in both individual and group sessions (a well established response to exercise of any kind). However, after the group training there was a significantly larger increase as compared with training carried out individually. The results prove that endorphin release is significantly greater in group training than in individual training.