Can Bodybuilders Float & Swim? (solved)

Can Bodybuilders Float

If you are a bodybuilder, it is inevitable that going to the beach and walking with the muscles is interesting for anyone. Still, when it comes to going to the water, it gets more complicated for you.

You’ve probably heard the argument that bodybuilders have a hard time floating on water.

To understand the scientific truth behind why bodybuilders are more likely to drown rather than float, it is necessary to understand the general principles of density and buoyancy.

Muscled people find it difficult to float on water because the muscles are denser than water. Muscle density is 1.1 g/ml, while water density is 1.0 g/ml. The greater the muscle mass a person enjoys, the more intense the body composition, causing a problem for the person in the buoyancy process.

First, we’ll take a quick look at these principles and how they apply to the central question of this article. Then, read to the end to see if flotation difficulties associated with increased muscle mass are enough to prevent a muscular person from learning how to swim completely.

Let’s dive right in …

  1. Low bone density and high body fat levels can help bodybuilders float:
  2. SaltwaterSaltwater is more suitable for human float:
  3. The more you fill your lung with air, the easier it is for you to float:
  4. Buoyancy becomes more accessible as the limbs of the body expand:


Why bodybuilders Have a Hard Time Floating?

The problem for bodybuilders is that their bodies contain more and more muscles, while they contain a little fat.

According to Archimedes’ principle,’ the body will float if it is less dense than the liquid.’

But what do density and fluid have to do with a bodybuilder’s body?

Well, here’s the detail of that…

The human body generally contains muscles, fat, and bones, and each class has the density that makes up it.


The average density values of different body tissues are compared to the average water density in the table below (source).


Substance Average Density Value
Fat Tissue 0.9 g/mL
Water 1.0 g/mL
Muscle Tissue 1.1 g/mL
Bone Tissue 1.75 g/mL

From the chart above, you can see that the average density of fatty tissue is lower than water. On the other hand, muscle tissue and bone tissue are denser than water.

According to the Archimedes principle, only fatty tissue promotes positive buoyancy. In contrast, muscle tissue and bone tissues will support negative buoyancy.

And that’s why

Many bodybuilders find it very difficult to swim and float on water, especially if they have lower-than-normal fat levels.

Of course, you now realize why


Fat people float better than bodybuilders

Can Bodybuilders Float & Swim (solved)

Obese people, in general, swim better than skinny people.

Because their fat density is less than water density, however, it is the general composition of a person, not necessarily their size, that determines their buoyancy and the quality of the buoyancy in the water.

In general, obese people, women, and the elderly tend to float better, while people with high muscle mass tend to drown.

So yes, it’s funny that this is a relative advantage that fat people have.


How can a muscular person float?

With all this talk about the difficulty of buoyancy for muscled people, you may be curious to see if bodybuilders have the ability to float or not.

I know that when I first learned about this concept, I asked the same question myself.

Muscle mass is only one variable to consider when determining a person’s ability to float. But many other factors need to be taken into account and affect the effectiveness of the buoyancy process.


  • Low bone density and high body fat levels can help bodybuilders float:

As mentioned earlier, body fat and bone density also play an essential role in a person’s ability. On the buoyancy and swimming

Therefore, although a person may have a high degree of macho muscle mass in his body, this does not necessarily mean that he or she will be able to float negatively.

If this person has a relatively high body fat content and less than the average bone density to match the high level of muscle mass, there is a possibility that they will still be able to float well.


  • Saltwater is more suitable for human float:

When it comes to using water as the basis for relative density, pure water is the only helpful type. Adding anything to the water (salt in this case) will weigh more than freshwater of the same size.

Because of this, saltwater has a higher density of fresh water and will float in muscular people better.

The average freshwater density is 1 g/ml, while the average saltwater density is 1,025 g/ml (source).


  • The more you fill your lung with air, the easier it is for you to float:

Believe it or not

“filling your lungs with air makes you like a balloon over water.”

these breathing effects are more critical for people who tend to drown in water.

When an individual fills his lungs with air completely, the lungs act mainly as an air flotation device.

Excess air displaces more water with little or no weight gain. As a result, additional water is available to help support body weight.

Regardless of whether they are muscles or not. In certain circumstances, especially for people who enjoy floating, neutrally breathing can be the ultimate determining factor in their ability to swim.

But well, where’s the problem with that?

The problem is that most people take irregular, quick breaths when they are in a panic, especially in the water, because muscular people are already at risk of drowning.

Their sense of panic may push them towards an unwanted breathing pattern. Thus, they become more vulnerable to drowning.

Breaking this habit can be very difficult for muscular individuals who do not feel comfortable in the water.

However, it is possible to overcome them. In exceptional cases, fixing this problem may be enough for a muscular person to float.


  • Buoyancy becomes more accessible as the limbs of the body expand:

Can Bodybuilders Float & Swim (solved) (2)

Finally, bodyweight distribution is another critical factor in the human flotation process that can allow muscles to float.

The more equal and widespread a person is on the surface of the water, the greater the ability of water to carry that person.

As you know now, this additional displaced water can provide additional support to help lift an individual on the surface of the water, even if the person is neutrally floating.

That’s why swimming instructors teach students to lie on their backs horizontally and extend their limbs as much as possible as if they were trying to make a snowy angel.

When a swimmer puts himself in a vertical position, all his weight is concentrated on a small piece of water. Thus, there is not much-drained water. However, this lack of displaced water is not enough to support the entire body weight, which is why it sinks.

When all those strategies, such as trying to float in saltwater and implementing the proper breathing technique as mentioned, the correct distribution of body weight may even allow a person with vitality and muscle like a bodybuilder to float on the surface water.


it is essential to bear in mind that some muscular individuals may be so massively strong that even a set of all these positive buoyancy strategies will not be enough to overcome their willingness to sink.


Can bodybuilders swim if they can’t float?

With all this talk about the difficulties faced by bodybuilders in the water, people are often curious to see if these difficulties are enough to prevent muscled people from swimming completely.

Contrary to popular opinion

buoyancy and swimming are not the same. There’s a significant relationship between them, but they’re not as hard.

“Bodybuilders can learn how to swim.”

Swimming is an achievable and learnable skill, but flotation ratios are not a skill. It depends entirely on the composition of a person’s body.

Although different methods can be used to promote positive buoyancy

But I have to tell you 

This does not change the fact that some people will drown in water regardless of their strategies to help them float.

Can Bodybuilders Float & Swim (solved) (2)

This does not mean that the learning process will be easy for muscled individuals. Muscular people will have a more difficult time learning to swim because they will have to stay in constant motion to keep themselves above water.


And another point for the fat people.

If you’ve tried learning to swim before, you know how hard it is. Arm-rowing and kicking with legs can become exhausting after just a few minutes. However, most people can take a break from swimming by lying on their backs and floating naturally.

Unfortunately, muscular people do not enjoy the luxury of deep-water comfort. Every second they venture away from the shallows, they have to fight to keep their heads on the surface.

Muscular people may be fit, but entering water is a severe burden on the body in muscle endurance at one point or another.

When we look at a large proportion of individuals with solid muscles and vitality, the lack of rest and the constant and arduous battle may be enough to get them out of this activity altogether.

Consequently, the general public has gradually developed the misconception that muscled people are physically unable to swim.

Luckily, that’s not true.

We can tear down this claim by looking at some of the best swimmers the world has ever known. People like Michael Phelps have shown that muscled individuals can shake the foundations of the swimming world!



In short, bodybuilders usually have more difficulty floating because their body formation is denser than regular people as water cannot withstand heavier density rather than size.

On the contrary, these scientific principles also explain why obese people can easily float over water.

Despite these inherent problems with flotation, muscular people can learn how to swim. It may be a struggle at first, but it can be done. So if you are a strong person, you wonder if swimming is suitable for you.

Sign up for the swimming class and try it as cardio, it can be hard to go, but it’s worth it in the end.

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