While freediving is a lot of fun, it isn’t an activity that you should try out without doing some training first. It’s fair to say that it’s a demanding and potentially risky sport unless you know how to stay safe while under the water and manage your breath during your dive. Fortunately, there are many ways to train for freediving, including doing specific freediving exercises, taking a course, and reading freediving books.
Training On Dry Land
Of course, training in the water is always the preferable option. However, it’s also possible to train on dry land too. In fact, if you’re a complete beginner, it’s best to begin this way since it’s a lot safer. Nevertheless, it’s still important to take some safety precautions whenever you do any exercise that involves holding your breath.
It would be best to start by practicing breath-holding lying down, and then, when you’re ready to practice while walking or standing, ensure you have somebody with you to keep you safe. It’s always advisable to wear a heart rate monitor while practicing on dry land to observe the mammalian dive reflex.
Oxygen and carbon dioxide training tables help the body exercise and adjust to the lower oxygen level and higher CO2 level. To carry out these exercises, you need to hold your breath 8 times. CO2 tables involve you holding your breath for the same length of time each time while reducing the length of the recovery time in between every hold.
O2 tables involve keeping your recovery time the same while increasing the length of the breath-hold. You can use these training tables on dry land or in the water.
Doing Regular Fitness Training
In most cases, relaxation techniques are more important when freediving than actual physical fitness. However, if you’re generally fit overall, you’ll find freediving for long periods easier after addressing issues around technique, relaxation, and equalization. You may also find strength training useful.
You can practice dry walking as part of your freedive training. It involves walking fast enough, so you have to breathe through your mouth. You then begin breathing in through the nose for 4 steps, hold your breath for 4 – 8 steps, then exhale for 4 steps before repeating. Once you’re experienced at this, you can progress to doing it while cycling on an exercise bike or running on the treadmill.
Stretching And Yoga
Yoga can help freedivers enormously by increasing their body awareness, flexibility, and strength. The best type of yoga is Pranayam, as this subsection of yoga pertains specifically to breathing.
Training In The Pool
If you do freediving training in the swimming pool, it’s essential to have an experienced instructor who will keep you safe at all times. Static apnea training can help with all kinds of freediving disciplines, while training no fins and finning techniques horizontally help you to master depth disciplines too.
If you have no instructor, swim training can still be done in a pool to improve your overall fitness and reduce the amount of breath you need in between strokes so you can train your CO2 tolerance levels.
Make sure you’re within your own limits at all times and that you stop straight away if you feel light-headed. Using a dive watch is an excellent way to keep an eye on your progress and ensure that you stay safe while underwater. The best dive watches allow you to see at a glance how deep under the water you are and how long you’ve been under so you can stay as safe as possible.
Rest And Recovery
Freediving involves the muscles working very hard, usually under anaerobic conditions. Therefore, free radicals and waste products are produced in large amounts. It’s, therefore, crucial to drink lots of water after exercising, eat food rich in antioxidants and get plenty of rest. That will ensure greater resilience and better results.
Resting is key to avoiding burnout and to avoiding disease and illnesses. Getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night and finding time for other hobbies is the best way to be in the right frame of mind for freediving.
Learning Creative Visualization
The human brain cannot distinguish between the act and doing the activity itself. Therefore, creative visualization has a vital part to play in successful freediving. Visualize diving whenever you’re feeling relaxed and won’t be disturbed.
You should also practice progressive muscle relaxation, where you tense then relax every part of your body in turn, as this is also good preparation. When visualizing a dive, try to imagine each sense and envisage yourself feeling relaxed and happy. Cover all elements of the dive, from preparation to the feeling of happiness afterward.
Reading Freediving Books
There are many books about freediving that can help you master the different techniques involved. It’s always a good idea to read about the subject. This ensures you discover different viewpoints and learn how professionals do it. It can give you ideas about new techniques to practice and help you hone your skills.
Taking A Diving Course
There are lots of diving courses that you can do to help you learn the basics and more advanced freediving skills. While many people don’t realize that there are specialist freediving lessons that you can take, three separate organizations offer training to help you master the skill of freediving.
PADI is best known for scuba diving courses, but it also trains freedivers. SSI and AIDA are two other types of freediving courses. Both help to improve your safety and skills under the water.
Improving Your Skills
Freediving isn’t something you should attempt without any training or practice. While it’s a great pastime, it comes with its own risks and potential dangers. Therefore, you need to make sure you’ve done all you can to ensure your safety and well-being when under the water.
Training for freediving involves everything from diet and general fitness to relaxation techniques and breath-hold training. That’s why it’s so important to get some official instruction so you can stay safe and within your own abilities.
Read more of our diving articles here.
Follow us on social media to stay up to date with our latest articles
Emma brings over a decade of freelance copy and content writing experience and is our Editor, Social Media Manager, and regular contributor. Specializing in long-form content such as blogs, articles, lead magnets, and white papers, Emma also provides businesses with email marketing, website copy, and landing pages.