Swimming Training for Freediving

 In Renee's Journal, Swimming Training, Training for Freediving, Training for Freediving

Day four of my training program is: swimming training for freediving


Keeping Motivation with a Program

a-goal-without-a-plan-freediving-quotes-reneeIt’s been great having a program to follow to keep my motivation up. Knowing what I am doing each day keeps me on track and removes all my indecision during the week in regards to what workout I should do, when I should take off, where to workout, etc.

Also because I researched and designed the program myself with my goals in mind, I can be more relaxed knowing that every session has a practical purpose.

Mixing Freediving and Physical Preparation

Right now, because it’s the physical preparation phase of my training program, I’m not able to freedive very much, and, at times that can be tough, especially on sunny days when I just want to skip the workout and head out to sea for some deep diving.

However, as per the Manual of Freediving, the first two months of training should be dedicated entirely to physical preparation; then specific training for freediving is gradually inserted (Pelizzari & Tovaglieri 2004 p.330). Over the span of six months physical preparation gets reduced until it disappears completely to leave space for only specific training in water (Pelizzari & Tovaglieri 2004 p.330). They state that during physical training you can insert one session per week of apnea training (I do two), but that clearly it is difficult to improve your performance in the water during an intense phase of intense physical preparation (p.330), so keep it fun and light and don’t expect a new PB! This is important to note, as many freedivers (myself included!) have made this error, combining physical training with depth/dynamic training.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

As eager as I am to freedive, patience is a virtue and an important aspect of being an athlete. I recently came across this old advert for Guinness which I thought was very apt given my situation, good things do come to those who wait :)

Today’s Training

So with-that-said, today I’m doing interval and sprint swimming training to develop my endurance and velocity. Stade Nautique has a gem of a pool.. It’s a 50m indoor pool, which is very clean and heated to 25 degrees. Although jam-packed with swimmers in the evening, it’s amazing to swim in an Olympic size indoor heated pool. Once I’m back in Dahab I won’t have this luxury so I am enjoying it whilst I can.

I meet my friend, Jean Claude, and he joins me for the 15 minute stretching session (important for reasons outlined in my post Training Season Begins! Day 1: Swimming.)

Then I proceed with the following table, Table B from the Manual of Freediving (page 334):

Table Type of Training Qualities Developed in Percentage
200 m warm-up interval training endurance 80% – velocity 20%
4 x 100 crawl, 20 sec. rest interval training endurance 80% – velocity 20%
3 x 100 crawl, 10 sec. rest interval training endurance 80% – velocity 20%
2 x 100 crawl, 5 sec rest interval training endurance 80% – velocity 20%
5 x 50 arms only, 15 sec rest interval training endurance 80% – velocity 20%
2 x 150, 3 min. rest interval training endurance 80% – velocity 20%
4 x 50 sprints, 1′ rest sprint training endurance 90% – velocity 10%

I pushed my body hard throughout the training, finding the table fun yet challenging. Because there’s no time limit for the swims, I modified the intensity of the training as needed by adjusting my speed, sometimes swimming faster or, if tired, swimming a bit slower, but always abiding by the rest times.

The table was followed by 20 minutes of fin swimming, using short fins. This is a cool-down round, also helping to maintain the form of the muscles specifically involved in finning. (More about fin swimming after swimming training in my previous post Training Season Begins! Day 1: Swimming.). Then 15 minutes of stretching.

Post Workout

After the pool, I headed home and prepared grilled salmon and fresh, sauteed spinach for dinner, with some tomato mozzarella, healthy and delicious. My arms and legs are quite sore from the home workouts and swimming sessions so thank goodness tomorrow is rest / static apnea day.


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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