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Training for Proper finning

Oct 26, 2017
8
2
3
29
Egypt
#1
Hello Everyone,

I've been using the long fins for a few months now but today I let my buddy film me while diving and I found my knees bending too much and the toes are pointing towards each other causing the fins to sometimes hit each other.

Have you experienced the same issue before? How did you overcome it? Is there a dry training a I can do to increase the strength of my legs and decrease the amount of knee-pending?

Appreciate all the help :)
 

Nathan Vinski

Active Member
Apr 19, 2015
162
96
43
22
Canada
#2
Hey Mohammed,

Yes, I've experienced the same issue before and it is fixable. When I first started my fining was absolutly horrible, and now it's probably one of my greatest strengths in deep diving. It does take a lot of time to fix the issues but it's worth it and will take you to the next level with your diving.

Knew bend is an issue with many freedivers but it is most often caused but a bigger issue, that's less obvious and harder to fix. That is ankle collapse. This is when your ankle muscles aren't strong enough to keep your foot straight and your ankles turn in. The biggest sign of this is that our fins hit each other, and the way we compensate is by bending the knees.. fix the ankles and you'll fix the knees.

So how do we do this?

In terms of dry exercises all you can really do is strengthen the leg muscles with basic strength training. This however, isn't the best way to fix issues with finning technique, until lactic acid starts to play a roll later on during deeper/longer dives.

The most effective way to fix fining is to start by removing the fins. Lots and lots of laps with a kick-boad + snorkel, and no fins will help you develop the correct flutter kick technique and also help condition the proper muscles. Muscle memory will also come into play as you are doing so much of the same movement. Practicing surface laps and DYN with short training fins is the next step as it will teach you the proper mevement with fins, without the effort of using long fins. Once this is perfected and you can do long DYNs with short fins maintaining perfect technique the whole way through you can then move back to long fins.

The main focus in all of finning and flutter kick drills that you do should be do lead the movement with your big toes. This will ensure that your ankles are straight, and will help keep the knee straight as well. The other point of focus should be to kick as far back and you kick forawd. This will keep your body straight without rolling shoulders, and is only possible with straight ankles and knees.

Hope that helps,, although it's not a quick fix.. don't give up and keep at it.
 
OP
OP
Mohamed Said
Oct 26, 2017
8
2
3
29
Egypt
#3
Hey Mohammed,

Yes, I've experienced the same issue before and it is fixable. When I first started my fining was absolutly horrible, and now it's probably one of my greatest strengths in deep diving. It does take a lot of time to fix the issues but it's worth it and will take you to the next level with your diving...
Nathan,

Thank you for taking the time to reply, what you said makes sense, trying to focus more on my leg movement I find that the ankles bend as a self-preserve action since it's not used to carry that much tension, I'm glad you could point it out in that simple way.

I'll follow your instructions and will update this thread with any progress.

Thanks again :)
 

Kodama

Active Member
Jun 20, 2016
249
78
43
Belgium - California
www.eastwind.be
#4
Hey Mohammed,

Yes, I've experienced the same issue before and it is fixable. When I first started my fining was absolutly horrible, and now it's probably one of my greatest strengths in deep diving. It does take a lot of time to fix the issues but it's worth it and will take you to the next level with your diving.

Knew bend is an issue with many freedivers but it is most often caused but a bigger issue, that's less obvious and harder to fix. That is ankle collapse. This is when your ankle muscles aren't strong enough to keep your foot straight and your ankles turn in. The biggest sign of this is that our fins hit each other, and the way we compensate is by bending the knees.. fix the ankles and you'll fix the knees.

So how do we do this?

In terms of dry exercises all you can really do is strengthen the leg muscles with basic strength training. This however, isn't the best way to fix issues with finning technique, until lactic acid starts to play a roll later on during deeper/longer dives.

The most effective way to fix fining is to start by removing the fins. Lots and lots of laps with a kick-boad + snorkel, and no fins will help you develop the correct flutter kick technique and also help condition the proper muscles. Muscle memory will also come into play as you are doing so much of the same movement. Practicing surface laps and DYN with short training fins is the next step as it will teach you the proper mevement with fins, without the effort of using long fins. Once this is perfected and you can do long DYNs with short fins maintaining perfect technique the whole way through you can then move back to long fins.

The main focus in all of finning and flutter kick drills that you do should be do lead the movement with your big toes. This will ensure that your ankles are straight, and will help keep the knee straight as well. The other point of focus should be to kick as far back and you kick forawd. This will keep your body straight without rolling shoulders, and is only possible with straight ankles and knees.

Hope that helps,, although it's not a quick fix.. don't give up and keep at it.
Thank you for your reply it's very well explained.

What would you suggest to freedivers who can only train in the pool once a week to improve their finning. It seems like long repeated training sessions with a board or not an option for everyone.


Sent from the abyss
 

Nathan Vinski

Active Member
Apr 19, 2015
162
96
43
22
Canada
#5
When I focused mainly on improving my fining I only had 1 session per week for 7 months.

Before starting apnea practice we did around 200-300m on the surface no-fins flutter kick. Then for the dyn drills I used short training fins, Even for max attempts.

It took 5(ish) months to recondition myself to change my bad habits and at the end of the winter season I noticed a big difference. It was only fully engrained after another 2 months of 2per week sessions in the pool the following winter with short training fins for 1 hour & long fins for 30mins of the session.

Obviously more sessions per week will reduce the time in months it takes to recondition and engrain technique..
 

Kodama

Active Member
Jun 20, 2016
249
78
43
Belgium - California
www.eastwind.be
#6
When I focused mainly on improving my fining I only had 1 session per week for 7 months.

Before starting apnea practice we did around 200-300m on the surface no-fins flutter kick. Then for the dyn drills I used short training fins, Even for max attempts.

It took 5(ish) months to recondition myself to change my bad habits and at the end of the winter season I noticed a big difference. It was only fully engrained after another 2 months of 2per week sessions in the pool the following winter with short training fins for 1 hour & long fins for 30mins of the session.

Obviously more sessions per week will reduce the time in months it takes to recondition and engrain technique..
Thanks again very helpful!


Sent from the abyss
 

MAKO Spearguns

MAKO1
Supporter
Mar 22, 2009
489
147
98
USA
www.MakoSpearguns.com
#7
You've gotten some good advice already. Another consideration may be the fin blade stiffness. Matching the diver's strength and technique with the proper stiffness, will often improve performance.

The question was raised about what kinds of exercises can be done on dry land. One exercise which may help with "ankle" strength is a reversed calf raise.

You stand on a step with only the heel on the step - maybe 2/3 of the forward portion of the foot is hanging in the air. Then you lower your toes as much as possible and then raise them, bringing your toes up toward your knees. At the top of the motion, when the shin muscles are undergoing maximum contraction, you can pause for a moment and squeeze and hold and flex the muscle. It is basically like tapping your toes.

This is a somewhat strange motion to learn, you can keep your knees slightly bent, but do not let the knees move at all. You really want to try to keep your body from rocking front to back. You will need to hold onto a hand rail gently to help balance. especially as it takes some time to learn.

You may need to do 75 or 100 repetitions, before you feel any work being done, but each repetition can be done quickly in a second or two, so after a minute or two, you will begin to feel a burn. You will may want to do 3 sets or so, per session. During the "rest" phase, you can spin around and do calf raises, (the opposite motion) and strengthen those (opposing) muscles as well. The exercise itself is pretty easy, so don't jet discouraged after 40 repetitions and not feeling anything. If your rest periods are short, maybe 60 or 75 seconds, the later sets will cause you to fatigue much quicker and you should be able to feel a burn.

Another "dry" exercise you can do is to lay on your back, raise your feet about 6 inches, point your toes and then perform a scissors kick with the knees straight or nearly so. This will work the abs and the top of the thighs, which are definitely called upon when you are doing the long, nearly straight legged kick from the hips.
 
OP
OP
Mohamed Said
Oct 26, 2017
8
2
3
29
Egypt
#8
You've gotten some good advice already. Another consideration may be the fin blade stiffness. Matching the diver's strength and technique with the proper stiffness, will often improve performance.

The question was raised about what kinds of exercises can be done on dry land. One exercise which may help with "ankle" strength is a reversed calf raise.

You stand on a step with only the heel on the step - maybe 2/3 of the forward portion of the foot is hanging in the air. Then you lower your toes as much as possible and then raise them, bringing your toes up toward your knees. At the top of the motion, when the shin muscles are undergoing maximum contraction, you can pause for a moment and squeeze and hold and flex the muscle. It is basically like tapping your toes.

This is a somewhat strange motion to learn, you can keep your knees slightly bent, but do not let the knees move at all. You really want to try to keep your body from rocking front to back. You will need to hold onto a hand rail gently to help balance. especially as it takes some time to learn.

You may need to do 75 or 100 repetitions, before you feel any work being done, but each repetition can be done quickly in a second or two, so after a minute or two, you will begin to feel a burn. You will may want to do 3 sets or so, per session. During the "rest" phase, you can spin around and do calf raises, (the opposite motion) and strengthen those (opposing) muscles as well. The exercise itself is pretty easy, so don't jet discouraged after 40 repetitions and not feeling anything. If your rest periods are short, maybe 60 or 75 seconds, the later sets will cause you to fatigue much quicker and you should be able to feel a burn.

Another "dry" exercise you can do is to lay on your back, raise your feet about 6 inches, point your toes and then perform a scissors kick with the knees straight or nearly so. This will work the abs and the top of the thighs, which are definitely called upon when you are doing the long, nearly straight legged kick from the hips.
I've tried your exercises and I seem to understand how they can help, the burn starts after 50 repetitions so it seems like my muscles aren't very strong, so I'll definitely will focus on this exercise.
 
Mar 10, 2018
6
5
8
37
Louisiana
#10
The best thing to improve your finning.. is to swim with fins. I would suggest getting into a pool with some snorkeling fins.. or even some soft scuba fins to begin with, softer fins are going to be easier to work with and give you a gauge of how far you're progressing because there will come a point where those soft fins will get you nowhere because you've become too strong for them. Here's what's helped me (I also had to the ability to dive everyday for work so I had time to work on it). If you're a visual learner.. first go on youtube and watch videos of proper technique, it makes it easier to visualize yourself doing it.

You kind of want to concentrate on the movement coming from your hips and almost swivel them in a figure 8 and just let your legs swing out like a can can dancer.

Since I don't work as a diver right now I practice at a local lap pool with a pair of cheap Seac speed fins for snorkeling. Laps with a kickboard is great, concentrate on keeping your legs underwater. I do a couple laps as a normal pace then really push myself to swim as hard as a can for one or two laps, then go slow for a few and repeat. If you really want a challenge.. take a kickboard and hold it like a plank in front of you (grab the front and back, and make sure the widest part if facing you). You want to create as much drag as possible so it's basically like swimming into a wall. Hold it like this a bit underwater (good arm workout too) and make sure to keep your feet underwater. The harder you swim, the more resistance you'll get. Your legs will burn I guarantee it, but you'll get stronger.

A couple other good exercises to try is wear a weight belt, ideally heavier than normal (or hold a weight) and go in the deep end. Stay vertical as if you were going to tread water. The weight will pull you down so fin against it without using your arms. Do easy kicks mixed with hard ones and have fun seeing how far you propel yourself above water. And then there's swimming against the wall or the bottom of the pool. Hold your arm out and swim against it. Obviously that's going to be less heart pounding since you'll be holding your breath. Also try swimming laps on your side. Work both sides, add weights or hold one above your head as you swim.


Hope this helps
 
Likes: Mohamed Said
OP
OP
Mohamed Said
Oct 26, 2017
8
2
3
29
Egypt
#11
The best thing to improve your finning.. is to swim with fins. I would suggest getting into a pool with some snorkeling fins.. or even some soft scuba fins to begin with, softer fins are going to be easier to work with and give you a gauge of how far you're progressing because there will come a point where those soft fins will get you nowhere because you've become too strong for them. Here's what's helped me (I also had to the ability to dive everyday for work so I had time to work on it). If you're a visual learner.. first go on youtube and watch videos of proper technique, it makes it easier to visualize yourself doing it.

You kind of want to concentrate on the movement coming from your hips and almost swivel them in a figure 8 and just let your legs swing out like a can can dancer.

Since I don't work as a diver right now I practice at a local lap pool with a pair of cheap Seac speed fins for snorkeling. Laps with a kickboard is great, concentrate on keeping your legs underwater. I do a couple laps as a normal pace then really push myself to swim as hard as a can for one or two laps, then go slow for a few and repeat. If you really want a challenge.. take a kickboard and hold it like a plank in front of you (grab the front and back, and make sure the widest part if facing you). You want to create as much drag as possible so it's basically like swimming into a wall. Hold it like this a bit underwater (good arm workout too) and make sure to keep your feet underwater. The harder you swim, the more resistance you'll get. Your legs will burn I guarantee it, but you'll get stronger.

A couple other good exercises to try is wear a weight belt, ideally heavier than normal (or hold a weight) and go in the deep end. Stay vertical as if you were going to tread water. The weight will pull you down so fin against it without using your arms. Do easy kicks mixed with hard ones and have fun seeing how far you propel yourself above water. And then there's swimming against the wall or the bottom of the pool. Hold your arm out and swim against it. Obviously that's going to be less heart pounding since you'll be holding your breath. Also try swimming laps on your side. Work both sides, add weights or hold one above your head as you swim.


Hope this helps
Thank You! This was really helpful, I tried some of the suggestions listed in the thread and I can feel progress, will try the pool drills you explained and see if I can get the hang of it.

Thanks again :)
 
Likes: TFeatherly