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Poll: Cross training activities

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


  • Running (cardio)

    Votes: 8 32.0%
  • Heavy weight lifting

    Votes: 7 28.0%
  • Light weight lifting

    Votes: 3 12.0%
  • Swimming (cardio)

    Votes: 8 32.0%
  • Yoga

    Votes: 4 16.0%
  • General calisthenics (Push-ups, Sit-ups, etc..)

    Votes: 4 16.0%
  • Cycling (cardio)

    Votes: 8 32.0%
  • Circuit training ( cardio+ strenght)

    Votes: 5 20.0%

  • Total voters


New-born freediver
Aug 1, 2003
What are your most rewarding (from a freediver perspective)
cross-training activities?
Oopps that must be hard!!

So, you do apnea intervals while hiking?
like, say 30 secs breathing, 30 secs hold,
all done while hiking? What are your aproximate patters for hold/rest?

I like the idea! Specially in the trails with my Mountain Bike (far from traffic hehe). Enjoying nature, cardio, apnea exercising
and outdoors meditation, all in one :))

Oh, another question.. How does your cardio-apnea gains transfer to cardio alone? i.e: Do you think running/hiking/whatever doing apnea intervals makes you better at it (without the apnea intervals)?

I for my sins run ultra marathons, and in the past experimented with occassional apnea running(eg contimous 20 sec holds, rest until recovered). It made inuitive sense that my cardio ability would increase (ability to run at a quiker speed with less stress on the body). This however was not the result. I experienced dramatic cumulative muscle fatigue wich I found hard to shake. Must be the lactic acid/free radicle build up. It may still benefit, but one would have to take more rest days. (I was running twice a day, but mostly non apnea running). The fatigue effect was far more pronounced than for instance daily hard sprint interval running (which one also needs to space out).

Developing your muscles is not such a good idea... when your muscles are bigger, they start to want more oxygen. This is bad because during your dives you want to conserve your oxygen instead of using it all up quickly (obviously). That is why most proffesional freedivers you see are tall and skinny.

For me I think it would be a mixture of running (no sprinting whatsoever, only aerobic work) swimming and cycling... cycling and running preferably in higher altitudes. I went skiing for a month (including racket walking) and when I came back down, I had noticed an improvement in my apnea times... (nothing drastic like in the minutes but I broke my previous record easily with 45 seconds)
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I disagree with that. :D

I agree that for constant weight increasing muscle size of the upper body would probably be detrimental. But I don't see how having larger leg muscles would be a disadvantage ?
I think you will find that most of the deep freedivers will have pretty strong legs. Coming up off the bottom on a deep dive does require leg strength, it's not a casual kick up, it's hard kicking for most at least until a third to halfway up.

I also wouldn't call Martin or Carlos skinny. You should see the size of Martin's legs!

If you were diving deep with bi-fins then leg strength is even more important. Perhaps with a monofin you use more muscles then just your legs but it is still important. A constant weight dive is both Aerobic and Anaerobic so I think you want to train both.

That was going to be my answer Walrus!!
I think Martin Stepanek is a very solid guy (at least that's what he seems), but only in his legs.. have you seem his shoulders?
Must weight trained, or so does It seems.
The day I weight lift, I feel more potent and less tired in my next day run/bike wo

This debate resembles the one at cyclingforums. Thay are always talking about if weights benefits cycling. Of course,
for elite riders not, but for the average guy
(who, BTW, cycles to be fit, NOT the reverse) is most important an overall health than only cardio work on the bike.

Or at least that's my humble opinion :D
A combination of cycling (and intensive spinning on a trainer), swimming, and running (apnea & square), with a couple of specific heavy weights (45 degree leg press & leg curls) and all round light weights.
Served up 4-5 times a week, mostly at gas mark 7-9 for 2-3hrs, left simmering on a gentle heat for the weekend! :D

I find the apnea running the most rewarding but find it has the tendancy to dehydrate very quickly so high fluid intake necessary, particularly if doing it frequently for extended periods. It certainly makes you feel strong on the bike and in the pool if you do it as a warm up!!:D

Oh.... and running around the mountains chasing yak for dinner!!:p
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My experience with apnea exercise is that it is extremely stressful, and also very beneficial, but great care needs to be taken to avoid overtraining. Even with my good diet, lots of rest, and TONS of antioxidants, my body can barely handle two 45 minute apnea hiking sessions per week, and that is with no other training.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
enzo maiorca already trained repetitive apnea stair walks over 30 years ago to improve apnea dive time. he also took lots of omega-3-fatty-acids ... there must be something to it.

Developing your muscles is not such a good idea??

I don't think it work for the unassisted where we use both arm and legs -and we need a powerful arm kick- ect

not even for classical swimming
Saludos -

i was doing sprints on the bike and the odd leg extention when i was back in cape town. that was over 9 weeks ago. in the last 9 weeks i havent done an ounce of apnea, fitness or strenth training and my diving is still improving by the day. in theory all training gains would be gone after 9 weeks. makes me wonder.

another thing i dont understand in martins leg fatigue. his legs are, literally, twice the size of mine. it must be to do with his excessive blood shift together with a painfully slow ascent time??

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i heard that he used a very stiff fin too... maybe it was a little too stiff? it seems logical that the stiffer the fin the faster you should swim. swimming at slow speeds with a stiff fin is probably rather inefficient... and vice versa.

(BTW- unrelated topic - just dived in the sea here in the UK. first time in nearly a year. the viz was about 0.6m. the colour of the water was literally brown and the plankton was so thick i could feel the "chunks" against my face. oh, and i had to watch out for jetskiers!... not much fun!...)
I think the best possible training you could do is just diving, and do nothing else. ;)
I notice it myself after 2-3 weeks of just deep diving and doing nothing else is by far when I dive my best. Problem is most freedivers don't have access to the ocean 2-3 times a week.

To me the whole point of cross training is
so all of us land locked freedivers don't lose all of our diving ability after a long time out of the ocean.
rethinking my post it might not be true to say i'm diving better just because i'm diving deeper. it wasnt that i previously had problems at shallow depths, it's been a year now without samba or b/o. so maybe i could have been diving deeper of more comfortable 2 months ago than i am now?? dont want it to sound like i'm advocating sitting on ones arse and doing nothing. but it does show that with just diving one can dive well enough.

the other question i have is, if i'm only going to dive, what would be the best form of this? the specificity principle would suggest max or near max dives, and there is much to learn from these, but i'm not shure if doing one dive every 2 days would be training enough if one were wanting to train seriously. there is that other training principal of 'progressive overload' that might suggest that something more taxing(but without DCS risks) is required. so i'm thinking of something like 20x40m on half lung, of whatever depth or lung volume would simulate the hypoxia, squeeze, bloodshift etc of a very deep dive.

wal, hi. diving ones best 2-3 weeks after stopping training might be because that is when ones training gains will peak(according to theories of tapering and supercompensation etc), and because of increasing confidence at depth obviously. maybe cross training as well as diving every day with a 2-3 week taper would be ideal.
and i would agree that a minimum level of cross training during dry months would help keep one in diving shape. what i'm questioning is all the training i did that was designed to get me into states of fitness far in excess of any normal 'diving fit' state. cheers

I agree with Walrus, but to clarify, I would say that gains from diving mainly come if you are significantly blood shunting and operating under those conditions for a considerable amount of time per dive (40-60+ seconds?). I am finally consistently achieving blood shunts on my ascent, and two dives after my last PB both myself and Aniko recognized physical development in my legs, even though I had not been doing much else, exercise wise. As well my legs felt stronger and dives were consistent without fatigue.

So, my idea is that my previous diving to ~40m was not giving me much benefit towards deeper dives, even though I was diving often. It assisted in other ways, but my confidence was lowering, since I was generally not feeling like they were easy dives. Due to no blood shunt, I believe. Now my dives are extremely easy and I think the largest gains are coming from regular deep dives where I reach blood shunt. I believe as well that cross training can achieve the same/similar results, and I am continuing to do so, but truth be told, I would much rather be diving! ;)
While I do a lot of different athletic activities, the two that seem to make the biggest difference are swimming and running.

The running that I do is usually with a heart rate monitor keeping my HR in the 70-75% of maximum range. The swim workouts are a combo of aerobic distance work, and hard, high intensity intervals.

Any workout will help (to some degree), but those seem to be the best that have worked for me. But all the non-diving workouts need to be part of a program that actually gets you in the water, and heading down.......
Hi all,

I am a big supporter of the ideas of the Solomons regarding crosstraining. If you combine activities like yoga (stretching and breathing), stressed breathhold training (dynamic, apnea walks) and finswimming (for technique and style) with depth work (getting used to depth and equalising) that to me is the key to advancing your freediving abilities. Unfortunately usually I don't have a lot of access to deep water so my progress is not as fast as I would like it to be but progress is there nonetheless.
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