How Does Shaving Help Swimmers Swim Faster?

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A 1989 study published in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" is seen as definitive proof that shaving body hair can save you time during swimming competitions. Researchers studied 18 collegiate swimmers, half of whom shaved excess hair from their arms, legs and torso. The shaved group turned out a superior performance when swimming a tethered breaststroke, leading researchers to conclude that shaving results in less drag. Essentially, shaving improves your swimming economy so you can work harder with less effort.

Psychological and Perception Effects

  • The very ritual of shaving before an important competition may put you in the mindset to perform at your best. In addition, a study from the University of Indiana found that shaving increases the sensory perceptiveness of the skin, which may give swimmers a better "feel" for the water. This "feel" may result in improved performance, because the swimmer is more conscious of his stroke mechanics.

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