Basic Training for Beginners – Part 2


Designing your training

This is the most interesting part of freediving. The ideal thing is to have a professional trainer follow the athlete carefully so that a training system can be designed specifically for that diver, taking into account all the particularities that define such person. This is what I do with Yasemin and that’s a big reason why we have obtained such results, but a general outline can be followed where the diver can achieve some progress, even if it is not the maximum that can be expected. For example, I would recommend those who are really interested to follow a training regime of 5 days per week. 3 of those days should be in the pool and the other 2 in the gym, the other 2 days of the week should be of rest, which is a VERY important part of all training. The pool and gym days should be alternated, so that each day the person is doing something different, which will allow the body to use different areas and react in different ways and the mind not to get bored, something also very important.

A minimum of 45 minutes and a maximum of 90 minutes are good for pool sessions, and a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 60 minutes are recommended for gym/weight workouts. During those times, you can design your training so that you start with the easiest things, then move to the hardest, and finish the workout with something easy again. For example, you can swim 25 meters u/w with long fins 5 times while breathing for 2 minutes before each dive to start the workout, and then you can move to swim the same distance but with short fins and the same prep time for another 5 times. After that, you can then swim the 25 meters but without any fins for 3 times, and then you can swim without fins for another 3 times but this time with only a preparation of 1 minute instead of 2. After that, you should go back down in intensity and finish the session with another 5 sets of 25 meters with long fins and a 2 min prep time. This is just an example, your sets should be longer or shorter, depending on your capacity and your goals. How do you determine how long to swim? Remember, start with a distance that is very easy and then start moving up VERY slowly, keeping it always easy. That’s the key.

When you go to the gym for weights, you should work on your lower body one time and the next time on your upper body, and make sure that you never tire yourself. All the machines or exercises you do should be performed at no more than 70 % of your maximum capacity, and each machine should include 3 sets of no more than 15-20 repetitions each. To find your 70 %, you first need to find your 100 %, and this is just the weight that you can lift only one time, because of how heavy it is, so if this weight is for example 50 kilos, then your 70 % will be 35 kilos. You should then train for 5 days and then rest for the other 2 days. If you can train less times per week, that’s fine as well, just make sure that you follow the same procedure, 3 times pool + 2 times weights, and then 2 rest days and you start again. If you need to stop in between training days, treat it as if you never stop and continue exactly where you should, including at least 2 rest days at the end of the whole thing. Those who have the time and commitment to train 5 times per week will be the ones who will reach the quicker results, but it is important that every person trains at their own pace, according to their possibilities. How do we test our progress?

Performing a diving test

When are we ready to dive? The most amazing thing people find about Yasemin’s training for example is that she trains on land for 5-6 months and then dives only for the last 20 days before the World Record. This is actually how it works with many sports, and it has its advantages and disadvantages. Yasemin is a very good, natural diver, and she is very comfortable in the water, so once she gets back in it, she finds her form right away. Other people may need a longer time to get used to the feeling of diving again, but in general, diving everyday is not needed to improve your diving abilities. Every person should set a goal, a result that they want to achieve at the end of their training, instead of just going out there and diving as deep as they can to see what happens. This can be very dangerous and that’s why when Yasemin does a record, we decide the depth of that record right before she starts training for it, 6 months in advance. You should set a logical goal for yourself, not something impossible. Remember that not everybody can be a world champion and that we can always improve next time we dive, but if we dive too deep or too long, that might be the last thing we do while being alive.

Set yourself something easy to start with, for example, a depth that is one quarter of your stature, or the same number as your age, etc, etc. So, if you are 150 cm/ 5 feet tall and 24 years of age, you can either choose to dive to a depth of 37.5 meters/ 123 feet or 24 meters/ 79 feet, whichever is easier. Or if those numbers still sound too big, then choose whatever figure your mind is comfortable with. Once you pick this goal, you need to train for 4 weeks for every 10 meters you wanna do, and you should be able to reach a distance in the pool which is at least 2.5 times the depth you want to dive to. So, for example, if you want to dive to 24 meters, you should train for around 9-10 weeks and you should reach a distance in the pool of at least 60 meters before you try that dive to 24 meters. Sounds easy? Not really, it’s actually very difficult, and this can change for every person, so my advice is that you set yourself an easy goal first and then go from there. Once you have reached your first goal, you can then plan your next training cycle and set up bigger goals, but move step by step. Remember, be patient. NOBODY becomes great in one day, especially in freediving. Lastly, you can freedive without wanting to reach any particular depth, just for the fun of it. That’s great as well, and in that case, training can help you enjoy the underwater environment even more and you don’t have to set yourself any training goals, just train whenever you can so that you become a better freediver.

This article continues on Part 3.

Safe dives to all,

Rudi Castineyra

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