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Advice for a beginner....

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Phat not fat!
Feb 12, 2002
I am new to this sport, but it is something I've wanted to do for AGES!! I am a keen SCUBA diver and until recently a competitive swimmer. I do weights 3-4 times a week and get in 2-3 aerobic sesions on top. I am very keen to take up this sport and am currently searching for clubs in the E. Sussex area.

Until I find a club, is there any training I can be getting started with. Obviously I will have to train my body to last longer without O2 but is there a particular way to do this (any training tips???). I am sure safety is paramount and wouldnt consider training without a buddy present.

I am grateful for any advice offered.


You are correct - first, BE SAFE. dive with a buddy who knows about SWB and how to treat it.

Spend some time perusing this very training forum. You will pick up a lot in these threads even after sifting though all of our BS.

Also check out <http://www.freedivehawaii.com/training/matt_briseno.asp> for training ideas.

Joining an underwater hockey club is a good way to improve your snorkeling skills and build up some CO2 tolerance.

First, I think that being a competitive swimmer, you want to concentrate most of your efforts on learning breath control and relaxation. You are probably already in sufficient cardiovascular condition that you will see the most improvement by learning to slow your heart rate and relax your overall muscle tone in order to reduce oxygen consumption. Try Yoga. The little I've done convinces me it is the most productive use of training time. Remember that unlike competitive swimming, freediving is not about exertion . . . it is about minimizing exertion and maximizing concentration. I think you will find that many others on this forum agree with this priority . . . and although I am not one of them, there are some AMAZING freedivers who participate in this forum.

I'm also a former competitive swimmer and would suggest that you continue your aerobic training, but incorporate more apnea into the sessions. For example, at the end of a swimming workout, I typically do a set of 50-yd. kicks with fins (training fins, not long blades) on 1:00 or 1:10 with the first 25 underwater and the second 25 on my back recovering. Then I might do some 25-yd fin sprints underwater concentrating on the streamline and on powerful kicking, resting 25 seconds or so between each repeat (mostly to help my UWH). Finally, I might do some slow 50 - 75 yard fin kicks underwater trying to make the entire 75 yards on one breath. I rarely make it, but when I have to surface, I allow myself only one breath and then finish the 75.

I also incorporate 3-4 minute bouts of breath-hold intervals when I jog. I do 15-20 seconds breath-hold each with an equal amount of free-breathing between. So while jogging, I hold for 15 seconds, breathe for 15, hold for 15, breathe for 15, etc. for a period of 4 minutes; walk for 1 minute, then I jog normally for another 4 minutes, then repeat. Don't overdo the breath-hold . . . you don't want to get dizzy and kiss the pavement . . . tends to mess up the way your mask fits!

hope this helps. good luck, and dive safely.
Ahhh....very good advice as usual from CJ. Hang about here; we like the company, and can learn things from you too! You are a swimmer, and we've been talking about swim technique lately, particularly streamlining, which is SO important in freediving, and there's not much data on how it pertains to freedivers, but there should be.
Check out the search engine at the top of the forums....try "static" "training", "equalising", and "breathe-up"...see what comes up. There is a lot of good info that's archived, plus the articles on the front page are good.
Welcome Porky (what's with the name dude?).
Erik Y.
ps, if your in the UK, look at www.freediver.co.uk as well, they have a message post that might help hook you up with a club. Oh, and go and dive the Dolphin SETT tower, and give us a full report;)
Last edited:
Originally posted by porky
I am very keen to take up this sport and am currently searching for clubs in the E. Sussex area.


Hi Porky, I am sorry that my knowledge in geography is poor, specially here in Merry COLD England, but if you want to train and are doing it around somewhere close Exeter I am ready!
It is good to practice in pool and where ever...Like I do when ever, but untill you actually get into the great big blue, there is nothing that can prepare you to the feeling of boing part of such a beatiful and powerful thing as the sea..
Wellcome to the forums:)
Last edited:
Originally posted by Erik
Porky (what's with the name dude?).

Ahh the nickname from Uni days. Doing some skinfold stuff and calculations really messed up! said I was 55% body fat! Ouch! Irony then followed with the name as I was a beanpole at the time! Went through many "who ate all the pies..." chants! All fun though.

Thanks for all your help guys I look forward to getting started ASAP. Excuse my ignorance cjborgert, but what does the abbreviation SWB stand for?

Planning a beginners visit to HMS Dolphin. Will keep you all posted


Welcome to the forums and Deeper Blue in general!

Howard Jones and Freediver UK do run training sessions at HMS Dolphin/Blockhouse (although Howard has told me that it is not a "course").

If you are near Richmond, Surrey then the BFA do Thursday night training at a pool near there, check out the BFA website (http://www.britishfreediving.org) for more info on that.

Finally, we're doing a couple of articles on the HMS Dolphin course later next month so if you want to get the low down on it before you book - check out our articles coming soon :)

PS. Tell Howard you came from Deeper Blue!

SWB=Shallow Water Blackout. It is the most serious risk to freedivers, in my opinion (IMO).

This is somewhat of a misnomer - see article by Peter Sheard at <http://www.deeperblue.net/content/2001/freediving/swb/1.shtml>

Also see <http://www.deeperblue.net/content/2001/freediving/sambaandblackout/1.shtml>.

The website I listed in my previous reply <http://www.freedivehawaii.com/training/matt_briseno.asp> contains an article by Yasemin Dalkilic (sorry if botched the spelling) on treating SWB;

Cliff Etzel wrote an informative article on the same subject <http://www.deeperblue.net/content/2001/freediving/rescueprocedures/1.shtml>.

In fact, you will find informative articles on a number of topics, including weight training for freediving, at <http://www.deeperblue.net/freediving/index.shtml>.

Happy reading.
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