The Secrets of Shaving Your Body for Sport

Shaving my body for sport has become something of a ritual. Every weekend before a swim meet, I relax in a hot bath, razor in hand, and take all the hair off my legs, arms and chest. Why? Do I think it will help my aerodynamic performance? Not particularly. I am not a particularly hairy guy and the small blonde hairs that gather on my chest and legs are unlikely to seriously interfere with my time.



The idea that shaving your legs and body will improve your aerodynamics and hydrodynamics is perpetuated in sports circles. In reality, any effect is so negligible, that it will make almost no difference to your athletic performance. But just because shaving doesn’t streamline your body to carve through the water, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its benefits.


For me, by far the biggest benefit of shaving before sports is the mental edge. Without body hair, I feel less resistance in the water. When I have body hair, I can feel the water passing across my hair follicles, and even though it isn’t true, it feels like it is slowing me down.

When I’m gliding through the water, I have no idea how fast I am going and each stroke seems to propel me forward. Without the sensation of drag, I feel like I can push my body even further and feel even more motivated to move even faster.


Another advantage of ridding yourself of body hair before playing sport is that it makes treating cuts much easier. Without body hair getting in the way of the dressing, getting caught in the scab and potentially causing infection, it is much easier to treat an open wound and apply a cover.


A couple of my friends are long-distance runners. While I was writing this article, I asked them what they thought about shaving their man hair for sports. One of them told me that he also shaved his legs and arms because he thought that in the summer months it helped keep him cooler.

He admitted that he didn’t know if the science behind it would support this, but he was adamant that he felt cooler whilst running and didn’t seem to care if this was a psychological effect or a scientific fact.

So, before you head out to compete, give it a go. You might like it and if you don’t, it doesn’t take long to grow back. You might find that you have the psychological edge on your next opponent before you head to the pool, road or track and give yourself the push you need to get the best results.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

Recommended For You