Aerobic and Resistance Training for Freediving

 In Gym / Home Workouts, Renee's Journal, Training for Freediving, Training for Freediving

This is day two and three of my freediving training program:


Day 2: Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance Home Workout

For day two of my freediving training I decided to try-out the Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance workout video. It’s a workout where you don’t use any weights, instead you use your own body weight for resistance, doing some pretty insane moves to get a total-body workout.

I decided to set-up in my living room, clearing away all the furniture to make an open space. As I was doing that, I wondered: Are pulse oximeters accurate? Because I’ve had two of them, different manufacturers, and they showed a discrepancy of about 10 units. I dismissed the thought by reminding myself to discard the old one.

As soon as I pressed play, the workout started abruptly with blood-pumping cardio warm-ups (jogging, power jacks, log jumps, 123 heismans, butt kicks, high knees and vertical jumps). The exercises are repeated several times, without breaks and with increasing speed and intensity. At the end of the warm-up round there’s a 15 second break, 15 SECONDS, which is when I was practically lying on the floor lying in a puddle of my own sweat.

Then, thankfully, there’s about 10 minutes of stretching followed by the actual workout, which is two high-intensity rounds of continuous hellish exercises (power jumps, belt kicks, hit the floor, v push-ups, triceps dips, triceps ball push-ups, hurdle jumps, globe jumps, moving push-ups and floor sprints and hop squats mixed with push-ups). Nic was kind enough to sneak-up on me during floor sprints.

A stretching session at the end, and I was free to collapse once more into a sweaty heap on the ground.

Ideal Interval Training for Freediving Preparation

The Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance workout is excellent for the physical preparation phase of freediving because it uses interval training to increase your aerobic fitness. The program is based on a fitness method called “max interval training.” In traditional interval training, you exercise at a very intense pace for a short period of time, and then rest for longer periods in between. The idea is to increase your aerobic fitness level while burning fat. However with max interval training, you work as hard as you can for 3-minute intervals, with 30-second periods of rest in between, making for an even more intense aerobic workout, keyword being aerobic.

Aerobic Power & Capacity

Aerobic power and aerobic capacity are unquestionably important factors for freediving because your body is able to turn oxygen into energy more effectively. You can read more about this and why it is important for the physical preparation phase of freediving in yesterday’s post, Training Season Begins! Day 1: Swimming.

Weight Training

The Insanity workout killed two birds with one stone, in addition to the aerobic fitness it was also great for weight training for two main reasons. One; although it was mostly lower body exercises which is great for training the muscles involved in finning, it also trained all of the other muscle groups of the body, which is what you want for freediving preparation (Pelizzari & Tovaglieri, 2004 p.337).

And for two; the workout has you do 30-40 fast reps using your own body weight, versus 10-15 slower reps with heavy weights. According to the Manual of Freediving, a freediver should avoid using overly heavy weights with a slow movement, because it’s aimed at increasing muscle mass, which causes an increase in oxygen consumption that is unfavorable to apnea (p. 337) High reps with a lower weight is definitely the way to go for those long, lean muscles.

Day 3: P90X Chest and Back – Home Workout

After yesterday’s Insanity workout, I rolled out of bed like a broken slinky. Broken slinky = sore and lack of grace, bounce and speed. But that wasn’t going to stop me from continuing with my training plan.

I decided since my lower body was quite sore but not so much my upper body, I’d give the legs a rest and work the arms, shoulders and back with the P90X Chest and Back workout video.

The workout was also circuit training but focused more on upper body resistance exercises rather than aerobic and cardio. It consisted of two sets of the same 12 chest and back exercises (a wide array of push-ups and pull-ups with some bent over rows and other variations to keep it interesting). The workout is about 50 minutes long, which includes a 10 minute warm-up and a 3 minute cool down. It left me slick with sweat and knowing that some sweet soreness will be coming my way.

Training all the Muscle Groups of the Body

I was glad to do a workout which targeted the muscles of my chest, back, arms and core, to help even out with the mostly lower body workout the day before. As previously mentioned, for the physical preparation of freediving it’s important to train all of the muscle groups of the body. In the next phase of freediving preparation (in about two months time) I’ll focus on increasing endurance of freedive specific muscles.

Training Sessions Per Week

It’s advised in the Manual of Freediving (on page 337), that the first two months of a freediving training season should have 3-4 training sessions per week with the following objectives:

– General muscular preparation of the lower parts of the body, torso and upper limbs
– Toning of the abdominal and lumbar muscles (postural muscles)
– Maintenance and gradual enhancement of cardiovasular activity (aerobic training)

The most effective way to train for those objectives is with with circuit training (Pelizzari & Tovaglieri, 2004 p.337), which is exactly what the Insanity and P90X workout videos consist of. You can, of course, do circuit training without a workout video (which I’ll be writing about soon) but I very much prefer workout videos, as it keeps me more motivated and focused during the workout, and has me push myself harder than if I were working out without a trainer pushing me. Therefore, I highly highly recommend giving it a try.

Also, I saw this today and it made me laugh…

See you tomorrow for my swimming training review.


Pelizzari, Umberto, and Stefano Tovaglieri. Manual of Freediving: Underwater on a Single Breath. Reddick, FL: Idelson-Gnochi, 2004. N. pag. Print.

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