Bodybuilders can be HUGE, like absolute tanks of humans.
If you look this answer up online, there’s a different website (which won’t be named) that has a completely incorrect answer. I’m not even sure how this guy wrote that article in confidence.
But, can bodybuilders swim?
Yes, bodybuilders actually CAN swim. Even though they may be heavier, they are still very capable of swimming. In fact, most bodybuilders swim regularly as it’s a great cardio exercise and is one of the best workouts for growing your chest, back, and abs. While they won’t be the fastest swimmers by any stretch of the imagination, they can still swim really quick!
Let’s talk about this a little more in-depth and look at some science about how much it affects their swimming!
Swimming is The BEST Cardio Out Theree
People ask me all the time, Tommy- what’s the best cardio out there? I just want to burn the most amount of calories in the shortest amount of time.
And they always look surprised when I tell them that swimming is the best cardio out there.
Most people LOVE swimming, and they love finding out that they can lose a ton of weight and have fun at the same time.
Swimming has a ton of advantages compared to other versions of cardio.
First of all, water is something that causes a lot of resistance by default– so there is always a stressor on your muscles when you’re swimming. There’s no ‘easy way’ to swim.
Second of all, swimming requires every muscle in your body. You can’t just lay there, you will uh- drown. You need to be flexing your abs, legs, chest, etcetera.
Third of all, other forms of cardio usually cause joint pain and can seriously stress your muscles. Swimming is one of the best forms of cardio as it actually RELIEVES this pain.
And lastly, swimming burns the most calories of any cardio exercise out there per hour. So, it’s much more efficient to go swimming for an hour than running.
Plus, it’s just more fun. Especially if you can get some games going like water volleyball or swim tag.
Many Bodybuilders Just Swim For The Cardio
Most workout programs, including the famous Arnold Blueprint to Mass, all have their users do intense cardio.
Since swimming is the best form of cardio- most bodybuilders will swim purely for the cardio.
While they may not be trying to swim to win a competition, you can usually see them doing laps around the pool at a moderate pace to keep their heart rate up.
Bodybuilding Works Out The Chest and Back Very Well
In bodybuilding, the chest and back are probably the most important muscles to build.
Sure, you can have big arms, but your chest and back are some of the biggest muscles on your body, and if they aren’t developed- you’ll fail the competition instantly.
An incredibly strong back can seriously increase your chances of winning a competition- or just making you look much bigger.
The thing is, when you have a huge back, everything else looks bigger on you automatically. It increases the whole size of your body. And if you have a small back, you just look tiny- no matter how much muscle you have.
It’s the same thing with the chest, it’s one of the most defining features of someone-especially if they have a shirt on. If your chest is small and undefined, you will look small too.
But, swimming works out the chest and back very well. Here’s why:
Swimming Stretches Out And Works The Chest and Back Muscles
All those bodybuilders you see on stage aren’t getting that muscle by just blindly curling weights. Most of them focus heavily on ‘stretching’ out the muscle and causing it to really ‘burn’.
The truth is, these bodybuilders go to the gym everyday and figure out how to make their muscles work the hardest they can to force that muscle growth.
Part of this methodology is by ‘stretching’ these muscles. This is because the ENTIRE muscle from top-bottom is completely worked.
With most exercises for the back (ie: barbell row, lat pulldown) and/or the chest (ie: bench press, pectoral flys) the entire muscle isn’t actually activated. Just well- most of it.
This means there are parts of that muscle that have barely grown because they aren’t activated as much.
A good example of this is the lats, the back muscles are just notoriously hard to grow. However, to swim, you need to fully rotate and stretch out that back completely.
This stretching and rotation you do in swimming also forces the ENTIRE muscle to constantly contract and relax, which stimulates the whole muscle.
This is one of the best ways to get that muscle to grow and really get that aesthetic look that makes you not only look big but shredded.
Do Bodybuilders Swim Slower Then?
Yes, bodybuilders do swim a little bit slower- but not by much.
The large amount of muscle causes more drag when bodybuilders try to swim, so they are naturally slower. Plus, they do weigh more- but that’s not that big of a factor either.
Honestly, most bodybuilders will swim really fast. In fact, there are some bodybuilders that can completely smoke a novice at swimming.
But, when it comes down to a pro swimmer that perhaps competes at the Olympics, they will smoke a bodybuilder at the same level because they have much less drag.
So, a pro swimmer will beat a bodybuilder at swimming. And a pro bodybuilder will beat a pro swimmer at bodybuilding.
But, contrary to popular belief, bodybuilders don’t just sink like rocks in the swimming pool. They can actually swim really fast, and often will swim faster than some novices due to their leg muscles.
The Bottom Line- Can Bodybuilders Swim?
Yes, bodybuilders can swim. They can swim faster than a lot of people due to their leg muscles, but may get beat out by people at a professional level due to muscles causing increased drag. But, no- bodybuilders don’t just sink or anything.