Skip Nav

Why Do Swimmers Slap Their Muscles

Can Someone Please Tell Me Why Swimmers Slap Their Muscles?

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08:  Cate Campbell of Australia competes during the Women's 50m Butterfly Final on day four of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Optus Aquatic Centre on April 8, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Have you ever wondered why swimmers do some of the weird things they do before starting a race?

If you've been watching The 2018 Commonwealth Games, you've probably got a few questions about some of the interesting rituals the swimmers and other athletes — practise pre-race. In particular, we've been curious to find out why all the pro swimmers seem to be slapping their muscles before diving in. Are we missing out on something here?

After further investigation, there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer as to why a lot of swimmers opt to muscle slap. Most professional athletes do get into the habit of forming a specific pre-race ritual, even if just for the psychological benefits. Technically muscle slapping could assist in "waking" up the muscles, by improving blood flow, however most swimmers will have already participated in a through warm-up before they get to the starting blocks, so this can't be the only reason.

According to Row2K, "slapping, hitting, or self-induced pain may be a pre-adrenaline physiological pump." Additionally, personal trainer Marc Nowak made comment that this sharp stimulus "may increase muscle tone and heighten sensation for a brief period of time, but most likely has no significant carry over for the start of the race, or while racing . . . it may simply shake his awareness and heighten his sensation at the starting line."

All in all, we'd say this case of muscle slapping is more ritualistic than directly performance enhancing. However, when all eyes are on your performance, you've got to do whatever works.

Image Source: Getty
More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Which Country Will Naomi Osaka Play For in the Olympics?
Simone Biles Wins 2019 World Gymnastics All-Around
Italian Women Get 1st World Gymnastics Medal in 69 Years
Watch Olympic Divers Perfectly Imitate the Avengers
How Many World Championships Medals Does Allyson Felix Have?
Simone Biles Breaks World Championships Medal Record
Simone Biles Gets Beam Dismount Named After Her: 2019 Worlds
Allyson Felix Wins Her 12th World Championship Title
The Best Moments in Sports of 2019
Simone Biles Talks About Her Goals Before the Tokyo Olympics
Simone Biles Breaks Records Without Realising It
Warmup Videos You Can Follow Along to on YouTube

From Our Partners

Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds