FREEDIVING POOL Training – Success Decoded “SWITCH Training”

Mabuhay from the philippines!!

Welcome back to THE FDHQ Freediving Blog! This edition is dedicated to the pool Freedivers, lets face it, living in big cities far from the perfect Freediving grounds can be frustrating, so we head to the pools to get our fix, in reality most of our pool Freediving is for the hope that one day we may get enough time away from work to go to where the real action is in the sea!

pool header

“SWITCH Training” for Freedivers! break through the plateau & set new records.

“Pool Training”, is a term many Freedivers are accustom to, but make no mistake its not only for training, many a fun social session has materialised while hanging around the pool scene, if i really think about it, my own sessions were 80% motivated by the social interaction and friendships developed around my time as a Pool fool.

This is my personal experience, advice & training tips for anyone looking to maximise / break through a plateau where they may have stopped making gains, or simply wish to change up the routine, try something new or make new friends 🙂

I developed this routine while training with long time friend and avid Freediving “Chlorine Clown” Tanguy Crusson back in 2009, Tanguy would mostly complain about being in a pool in the first place but was always there twice a week mad keen for more, I hope that some of you can make sense of the nonsense & maybe even add a new element to your future training sessions after reading.

A Freediver From the 1970s sporting a hairy chest & wearing speedo's :p

A Freediver From the 1970s sporting a hairy chest & wearing speedo’s :p

This exact routine of training has worked for me and many other Freedivers i have trained with, the method is certainly not new to sports, but is not widely used in Freediving, the results for myself and my training buddies have been incredible ( i used this exact routine in 2009 to successfully train up to my AUS record of 7.27 Mins within only a few months and subsequently achieved 8.22mins in Static Apnea quite easily, My Partner & Training buddy at the time Alana Caskey achieved similar results with an awesome 5.27 mins AUS record and a subsequent PB 6.31 mins static dive with quite little training time.

Lotta Ericsson, Linda Paganelli of Freedive Dahab with me in 2010 - 7.27 mins Static

Lotta Ericsson, Linda Paganelli of Freedive Dahab with me in 2010 – 7.27 mins Static

This program will also prepare you for depth Freediving, The stronger Dive Reflex and breath-hold comfort will inevitably lead to far more relaxed dive times and will ultimately allow you more time to work on the Flex and EQ factors during your Depth sessions, as the 02 factor will be sorted from the training – totally cool!

NOTE: this training approach is for Apnea ability / not streamlining or technique, this approach is perfect for the Pool Freedivers, also for the “Timepoor” Freedivers who wish to get results.

Training the “back end” of your apnea abilities (SWITCH Training): The Key point here is to keep the main training focus on the “back end” of our apnea ability, we leave the door wide open for for Front end Success – By this, understand that during our training period we only attempt our max swims when we are already exhausted from our interval training / C02 sessions, hence the term “back end”.

On the flip side or Front end would be a fresh and very prepared Freediver, here we are aiming for the opposite.

EG: Complete The tough Training sessions of Dynamic C02 tables etc, as per the recommended sessions, they should feel awful, otherwise your not putting in the right amount of effort 😉 – Then prepare for a max Swim or Static on the back end, these distances will obviously never be as successful as the fresh front end max swims, in fact that is the point!

Freedivers Training Static in Vanuatu

Freedivers Training Static in Vanuatu

Now to be honest, when i was training, on the evenings of very tough sessions in the beggining i would come up short, but persistence is Key & with time what was once difficult can become quite easy. We “will” see a marked increase in the back end times and distance over as little as a 2 month training period –  my own back end static max attempts were eventually up to around 5-6 mins in a short amount of training time, These Dives would feel terrible, this is where my front end performance’s once were, so here we are performing holds and distances we have achieved on the fresh front end attempts previously.

This is the high time when it is perfect to try your max Swim / Static Fresh on the Front side! NOTE: SWITCH Train your back end apnea for at least a month before returning to a Fresh front side max attempt, that is why i called it “SWITCH Training”.

My most successful normal drill for an evening in the pool was as follows. (you can customise this to fit your own abilities / style)

C02 Table CDYN (Bi-Fins) (yes you can use a mono)

50 mtr (1.00 min Breathe)

50 mtr (0.50)

50 mtr (0.40)

50 mtr (0.30)

50 mtr (0.20)

50 mtr (0.10)

50 mtr (0.05)

Break for 10 mins ( is a good opportunity to watch your buddy complete a similar table)

Repeat the above table ( i would normally be toast by the end of the second table, well toasted and ready for a back end max Dive!)

A short Break of 5 minutes only, then go for your Max Swim or Max Static (This is the Back end of your performance)

Static sessions at the Shangri la 5 stars!

Static sessions at the Shangri la 5 stars!

When the energy has been used, when the Apnea ability is fatigued, when the lactic is high. Do not take too long to prepare for the Max Back end Dive – keep it to 5 mins or under, remember we do not want to be to prepared, we leave this for the front end dives.

NOTE: If you are training specifically for static then directly after coming up from your last swim try this – take a short 1 minute preparation and go for your max static.

I did manage around 4 mins on this approach (keep in mind that it should be as per your normal Static – listen to your body / coach). The results will come.

I hope this adds another dimension to your current approach to pool training for Freediving, Suffering through C02 tables and back end Max attempts is only torture when in the moment, afterwards there is always a much longer period of laughter and reflection on the comedic nature of this style of training, and the great friendships that seem to be made while pool fooling around.

Pool training has a great social aspect where strong lifelong friendships can devlop

Pool training has a great social aspect where strong lifelong friendships can develop

Final Word: Resist the urge to try to many Front end max attempts, this is where you can unintentionally build a wall / plateau for yourself. Train the back end for at least a month before you try a fresh Front side Max.

Alana Caskey, cool as a cucumber after her 5.27 Mins Record Static

Alana Caskey, cool as a cucumber after her 5.27 Mins Record Static in 2010

Enjoy the SWITCH Sessions, they are shorter than a regular pool session but pack a punch and stimulate the DR more than anything i have tried before.

Keeping it real, keeping it fun , Keeping it safe.

Director of leisure @ FDHQ

Mike Wells

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