T Nation

Swimmming & weightlifting


Altho my bf% is not low at all, i'm still packing on a good amount of muscle.
And I tend to sink whenever I get into a pool, no matter how hard I kick and stroke I just can't stay up. The only solution I found that helps is to wear flippers or swim with a floatation device.

One life guard said to me it's prob due to my muscle density, being a big guy & carry good amount of muscle, that I just sink like a dead weight.
So as a result I don't enjoy swimming and trips to the pool as much as I did years ago.

any other lifters experience this?


Don't swim while holding weights, it's a no win situation...

Kidding,... yeah, I tend to sink too, whatcha gonna do? -lol Cutler talked a while back about how he and his wife went scubaing (or something) when they were on vacation, and because he couldn't stay afloat, he ended up just sitting on the boat watching his wife swim.



Lol! Yeah, as Stu was alluding to, if you're good at lifting weights you should be able to sink in the pool pretty easily after a year or two of lifting. :slight_smile:


plus lifters tend to have a higher bone density as well, which doesn't help at all.

I've actually had this problem all my life, even when i was 127lbs (same height) but the doctor said my bone density was way higher than average (i had it tested, for another non-related reason).


SEALs, pararescue, Combat divers, lifegaurds, etc. are usually in pretty good shape and have a good amount of muscle and lower bf%. They usually do pretty good at swimming, too. Learn to swim and breath correctly in the water. Almost anyone, fat or muscular, sinks in water if they're letting all their air out. Lots of bodybuilders, excepting Cutler apparently, have enjoyed swimming.


You could switch to pool sprints- a very big fella i know swears by them, very tough with nearly zero impact to screw up his knees. Just a thought?


SEALs and pararescue types are certainly fit, but they are always well within normal ranges far as body mass, for example: 5'11 180lbs
my teenage kids jump in deep water and they naturally rise to the top, and stay afloat with little effort. That doesn't happen for me i'm 5'8 way over 250lbs with a gut.


those are tuff, but limits you to the shallow end of the pool.
The real fun and enjoyment is in deep water.


I agree with this ^
You are certainly a really big guy but its probably more your bulk (both muscle and fat) affecting your swimming stroke rather than your actual density that is causing you to sink.


Um, good try, but fat helps fluency through the water.


What I meant is that being bulky is going to affect the biomachenics of his swim stroke.


This is true. My step dad is SEALs, he is one of the bigger guys on his team, and hes 6'1,200. The biggest guy on the team is about 240 and he's the only guy close to that size. While guys like my step dad are certainly fit as hell with very little bf, im sure its a lot easier to keep his 200 afloat vs my 260, or someone like cutler who is in excess of 300 in his off season.


Gotcha, and I do agree. I use to be a pretty damn impressive swimmer as a fat kid (seriously) but now I am just a slow mess trying to keep himself afloat - lol. Can't say my stroke has changed any, but then again I don't have a coach like I use to so I can only do it the way I know, haha. :slightly_smiling:


weight doesn't determine buoyancy. Density does. The leaner, denser, person is less buoyant regardless of weight.


False!! how many floaties I wear determines my buoyancy!

We used to have to do pool workouts if we were injured in college. I found foaties were my friend.


I've seen plenty of normal sized people sink too, technique could be your problem. Try filling your lungs, don't thrash around, take nice slow strokes. Could help.


I understand this. But if there are two guys with high muscle density relative to their weight that both sink, and one weighs 75 lbs more than the other, i would think he's going to have to exert more energy to stay afloat.