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  Category: Articles » Sports & Recreation » Water Sports » Article

Your guide to the ultimate 3-step free dive training program

By Rick Abbott

There's a good reason Tanya Streeter holds multiple world records for free diving. It's all in the training. Here are a few tips from Streeter's own training regimen:

First, expect to stick with this plan for 14 weeks. It's rigorous but well worth the time spent and you could very well find yourself improving on your time and stamina in No Limits, Constant Weight or Static and Dynamic Apnea events.

Bear in mind that in each phase of training you'll work out for six days and rest on the seventh!

Part I Strength Building

During Week 1 you'll alternate days between 1 hour of cardio and 1 hour of weight lifting. The cardio training should consist of at least 45 minutes of your heart rate between 65%-85% of maximum. When weight training, lift between 60%-75% of your ability. The first and last thing to do each day is stretching and be sure to stretch the muscles you'll work on that day.

For weeks 3-6, you'll alternate between cardio and the treadmill or elliptical machine. Do 2 hours of cardio using interval training on Day 1 of that week, peaking your heart rate at 65%-92%. Follow that with 1 hour of cardio endurance with your heart rate between 75-85%.

Day 3 should consist of 2 hours of intensification training at around 80% heart rate with high intensity and followed by 1 hour of cardio endurance. Start Day 5 with 2 hours of endurance training with your heart rate between 75%-85%. Don't forget to stretch before and after.

On Days 2, 4, and 6, start with a 30-minute warm up on the treadmill or elliptical machine then lift 70-85% of your ability on weight training.

Part II Conditioning

On weeks 7-10, you'll alternate each day between a 2 hour pool session and 2 hours of apnea weight training following some light stretching.

On day when you do your apnea training you'll want to start with a minute of breath-up preparation lifting 30% of your ability. Do as many repetitions as you can handle in apnea, then perform 1 hour of endurance training at a heart rate of 75%-85%.

Pool sessions should consist of underwater laps. Vary your exercises to include restricted breathe-up preparation with increasing underwater distance, decreasing breath-up preparation utilizing the same underwater distance, and limited breathing during an extended swim involving hypoxia endurance training. Don't forget to stretch before and after and include a warm down swim before your final stretching.
If you can fit it in and it doesn't overtire you then include some static apnea training as well.

Part III Diving

Over the next four weeks you'll want to do some actual diving. Remember, though, every time you dive you should take a buddy to keep an eye on safety precautions. Each time you dive increase your depth a little more, but don't overexert yourself. The goal is to improve your free diving skills, not to kill yourself.

Plan some rest days in your regimen. They should fall every 2-4 days. On those days you can maintain your strength and cardiovascular skills by reverting back to the workouts in Parts I and II of this plan. You want to be sure not to tire key muscles.

Also, when training for free dive competitions you want to pay special attention to your diet and sleep habits. Eat right and get plenty of sleep. Above all, be safe and stretch, stretch, stretch those key muscle groups!
About the Author
Rick Abbott is an avid diver, part time author, and consultant in the IT field. Also, visit's Rick's diving blog at
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