Freediving Training – Strength and fitness as a foundation

Starting back in freediving training after a break is always hard. I have just returned from 2 months of snowboarding in France so I haven’t done any breath-holding for a while. I did go swimming 3 times at an amazing indoor pool complex which at an altitude of 2100m I figured would be good training, but then I broke my wrist in a fall in the park and that put an end to any more swimming training. However I am happy that I took a complete break from breath-hold diving for a couple of months and this is the second year running that I have done this.

In freediving this can be an important part or the yearly training cycle, especially if like me you work every day freediving as well as compete. Deep freediving and continual day to day freediving, such as teaching at a busy freediving school, inevitably takes it’s toll on the body, injuries never really get the time to heal whether it’s squeezes sustained in depth training or strained muscles and tendons. A complete break from the freediving gives you a chance to injure other parts of your body instead and let the usual old injuries recover.

I may have broken my wrist but I continued snowboarding every day for 7 weeks and my legs are probably as strong as they are going to be all year which is a good start as I wanted to focus on building more power for coming up from deep constant weight dives but unfortunately other areas of my fitness have suffered. So the aim of starting this blog is to chart my training cycle for this year as I build up towards competing in the AIDA Freediving World Championships 2013 in September.

I myself have searched for what other freediving athletes are doing and found little available, so I thought I would start sharing my freediving training program and maybe others will follow. I have experimented with different training ideas over the last two years and I like to include a lot of fitness and strength training in my program. My progress has been pretty consistent so it may have worked. I went from being 70m+ diver at the beginning of 2011 to being an 83m FIM/90m CWT diver by the end of 2011, and last year in 2012 focusing on CWT I progressed to 96m. I dived to 100m at Vertical Blue 2012 but failed the SP while having an LMC so I need to find more juice for the ascent which is why I will be increasing the strength and power training this year both in and out of the water.

Month 1: April

is going to be a foundation building month. I’ll be diving regularly anyway because I teach every week. However my strength and power training will be mainly dry and my water sessions will focus on technique.

Week 1:

Day 1
Fast pace 7.5 km run (around the island!) – to build cardiovascular fitness

Day 2
7.5km run with intervals. 80-85% effort for 2 mins with jog for 1 min continued for whole 7.5km

Day 3
Circuit: – Rocket jumps (plyometric movement for explosive power) – Pull ups (maximum reps) – Sit-ups – Press ups (legs up on chair/or on ground) – Burpees – Back raises (lying on stomach, raising the head and legs off the floor for each rep, arching the back backwards working the lower back muscles) – V-sits Minimal rest time between exercises, repeat cycle 3 times

Day 4
Gym – Power cleans (5 x 50%, 5 x 60%, 4 x 60%, 4  x 65%, 3 x 65%, 3 x 70%) – Back squats (5 x 50% 5 x 60%, 5 x 65%, 5 x 65%, 4 x 70%, 4 x 70%) – Incline bench press (8 x 55%, 6 x 60%, 5 x 65%, 4 x70%, 5 x 65%, 4 x 70%) – Pull ups – 6 sets – Tricep push downs – 5 sets – Core (Swiss ball sit-ups, hyper-extensions, V-sits) – 200 reps

Day 5
Hill Runs 85-90% effort run up hill (the island hill I use has steps and the ascent run takes approximatey 1 min), jog down slow to recover. Repeat as many times as you can!

Day 6
Same as Day 3

Day 7
Active Rest 35 mins- 1 hour gentle exercise

Week 2

will probably be similar, though I may make some changes depending on how the body reacts to week 1, but the idea of the first 2 weeks is get the body ready for the next phase! I’ll post the plan for Week 2 at the end of Week 1 along with any observations of how week 1 has gone!