T Nation

17 Yrs Old. 5' 10" and 155 lbs, 9 Year Swimmer, Beginner Lifter

I’ve been a competitive swimmer for 9 years and have never tried serious lifting but I’m looking to get into bodybuilding. I know I need more mass but what do you guys see that I should be working on? do I have good potential?

You should work on food and continue lifting and gain some weight

Like, competitively? Or do you just mean building more muscle to look better?

And are you still swimming competitively? If so, I’d have to presume that adding weight (even muscular weight) would be a delicate situation without negatively impacting performance.

Physique-wise, in general, you legs are way better than anyone could expect a swimmer’s legs to look. So really good work there.

Delts totally dominate your upper body, so I’d focus on chest (first and foremost), arms, and back.

You’re young, tall, skinny, and lean. That’s a great place to be in to put on some quality size if you’re consistent with diet and training.

I think the main issue would be actually balancing the swimming with muscular weight gain, since swimming is a calorie-burning sport and muscle requires ample calories and because it’s one sport where there is such thing as “too much muscle”.

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Thank you for the feedback!! I’ve actually finished my competitive swimming career two weeks ago so that won’t be an issue balancing, and if I have the genes I would love to compete locally!

You don’t need the “genes” for local shows. Hire a coach and make a go at it. Learn and improve. Time well tell how successful you will be but either way you’re going to improve with the effort.


Very common for competitive swimmers. Disproportionately large deltoids and lats/rhomboids, defined triceps, obliques… Leg development like this to my knowledge isn’t typically associated with swimming #genetics, though working with a kick-board is fairly strenuous on the legs.

OP is very lean, that’s about all I have to contribute.

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Any advice on isolating the chest? My triceps always seem to get over worked on most pressing and my delta on most flys.

Yes I figured those would be my strong suits. My leg development is most likely a combination of good genes and a little off season biking.

I think one thing that may help with your chest is if you did a double pre-exhaust of dumbbell flyes, no rest into incline bench, no rest into flat bench. I did this recently and it really gave a crazy chest pump and helped me make some good progress in size and strength. You won’t be able to bench as much as you normally would because of how pre-fatigued you’ll be, so keep that in mind when selecting weights. Don’t overdo calories, remember, muscle building is a slow process and gaining excess fat won’t assist you in building muscle. Just try to stay disciplined and accountable. Get 8-10 hours of sleep, follow your diet close, don’t skip workouts, and always approach every workout with great focus and intensity. I wish you the best brother!

IMO, you have some strong points that most on this forum would kill for.
What a blessing to have those quads! At 17! (Your hamstrings might be lagging though)

There is absolutely no problem with dominating delts. Build everything around them. It is also nice having a naturally lean body fat composition.

How is your strength on the three powerlifts?

I would recommend working on strength movements for the next two years, while increasing your dietary nutrient intake (more protein, fats, and carbohydrates.)

IMO, your thighs cannot get too big (but calves must follow) and your delts cannot not get too big. More size everywhere cures all symmetry problems.