Monday, March 22, 2010

Why do some athletes not have hair on their legs?

Many athletes remove hair from their legs, arms, back and chest because they believe it improves their speed and agility. Swimmers are the best example of this. Other athletes remove hair because smooth arms and legs make muscles look bigger and more toned. Hair removal can be done by shaving, waxing, or laser treatment.

One article published in 1992 by Johns, Houmard, Kobe, Hortobagyi, Bruno, Wells, and Shinebarger did find that "shaving significantly increased distance per stroke (P < 0.05) by [almost equal to]5%. These data indicate that reduced training specifically improves swim power; however, removing exposed body hair after taper may additionally enhance performance capabilities by increasing distance per stroke"

Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Volume 24(10).


  1. wow this is really interesting subject alot of my friends have shaved their legs too for athletic competitions to improve their times. Glad to know they didnt shave their legs for nothing!

  2. I researched this and I found that as a swimmer it is beneficial to shave your legs. As a cycler or runner it does not help you with aerodynamics. Wind tunnel tests show it is way to small to even matter.