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fitness / training plans for diving (with the help of fitness trackers)

Discussion in 'Dive into Fitness' started by wstorms, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. wstorms

    wstorms ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Netherlands
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    Hi all,

    In order to optimize my diving, I have been working out, while watching what I eat. I alternate cardio workouts with strength training, and so far it has been working well. I lost about 10 kg (20 pounds) since the start of the year. A few more kg to go before I am at target weight. All good so far.
    However, I do notice that certain activities are really different from others (duh); I am a lot stronger on a bike, compared to running. With both workouts I can get my heart rate up, but my body clearly favors cycling over running. It probably doesn't help that my running technique is pretty much non existing, but whatever, running is a means to an end for me so I don't care too much about form.

    However, this did make me wonder, obviously a body can be optimized for certain activities, but what would be the best way to optimize for diving? Running? Cycling? Some other form of cardio training? Strength training of the legs? A certain combination?
    For now, I just try to add some variety to my workouts, and use my fitness tracker (Garmin descent mk1) to monitor the performance stats. This leads me to the second part of my question, are there specific performance metrics to track / target in order to optimize the body for diving? For example a certain heart rate range, VO2 max, lactate threshold stuff like that?

    There is no specific (diving) goal that I want to achieve. I do understand that general fitness is beneficial / required for a diver for many reasons, and for me that's enough to keep working out. However, if there is a way to tie fitness training more directly to diving, I am all ears, it will only strengthen the motivation to work out.
     
  2. Scraps

    Scraps ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
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    Good question.

    I would start to answer it by inventorying the activities involved in diving--everything from hauling your gear to the boat or beach to donning it to entering the water to conducting the dive to emerging from the water to returning gear to where it came from. I'd also inventory movements made in emergencies.

    From that inventory, it would seem we'd want a training program that produced good aerobic conditioning, strength throughout the posterior chain and lower body. and good mobility of the hips, shoulders,and neck.

    I would think any competent personal trainer could design a workout program to achieve these goals or you could google around to create your own plan. My version would be built from a foundation of squats, deadlifts, and stair climbing or rows.
     
    wstorms likes this.
  3. wstorms

    wstorms ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Netherlands
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    Thanks. I am doing squads, dead lifts and rows (and lunges, side chops, mountain climbers, core crawl and push ups) for my strength routines, so that seems to be covered. But what would be "good aerobic" for diving? Obviously a descent general aerobic fitness level is a good thing, but how (if at all) can you optimize it for diving?
    So far, the trainers I have spoken to, are very good in optimizing for common goals (running, cycling, swimming, weight loss for example) but know very little about diving. It seems to be an unusual request (or I haven't talked to the right trainer yet), or maybe there simply isn't a specific way and variety is the best way to go. After all, the very best way would be to dive all day every day (unfortunately not an option for me at the moment)
     
  4. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    26,525
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    Burpees
     
    Scraps, NothingClever and wstorms like this.
  5. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
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    First, I think Scraps gave some great advice for strength training and it sounds like you're squarely on track with that. Keep up the good work.

    Second, I don't think there really is a perfect aerobic activity but rather learning how to most efficiently breathe is the paramount goal (skill). 70% of one's effective gas exchange happens in the lower part of the lungs where diffusion happens most efficiently. So I think any aerobic activity where one must sustain a thorough cardiorespiratory exchange to complete the exercise is going to benefit you. Perhaps the focus of decision making should be which aerobic activity you enjoy most (sounds like cycling). You can learn to belly breathe (TDI calls this "ideal breathing" or diaphagmatically-induced breathing) while running, cycling, rowing on an ergometer (not a weight machine), cross country skiing (or using a ski ergometer), etc.

    If someone made me limit myself to one single aerobic activity, I'd pick swimming because one has to relax to breathe properly, belly breathing is encouraged and it reinforces flutter and frog kick strength. However, even though I swim a lot I don't feel that it's exponentially more beneficial than the row ergometer and ski ergometer workouts that I do. To borrow some of Scraps sage principles above, I get excellent "aerobic conditioning, strength throughout the posterior chain and lower body. and good mobility of the hips, shoulders,and neck." through my rowing and ski ergometer sessions.

    Regarding HR training, that is a really important topic. You didn't say how old you are and that's a critical start point. I'm in my 50s and think I have reached the point to start staying out of Zone 5 for extended periods of time. I think most of my PBs for speed are behind me. Through work, I have access to professional-grade strength and conditioning coaches, rehabilitation therapists and world-class physician's assistants. What I have learned from them is even though I have a low perceived exertion level, sustained periods in the upper zones can overtrain the heart, expand the muscle and thus increase resting blood pressure. So, I've switched from fast 10km sessions where I invariably end up in Zone 5 to 20-30km sessions where I never leave Zone 3. I still get into Zone 5 but it's for much shorter periods and as part of intervals where I quickly get my HR back down into the lower zones.

    I think you're approaching things pretty well and asking good questions. Keep up the great work.
     
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  6. David Novo

    David Novo DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Porto, Portugal, Europe
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    Have you checked "Fitness for Divers" by Cameron Martz? You can buy a pdf version in GUE's website (probably elsewhere too).
     
    wstorms likes this.
  7. wstorms

    wstorms ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Netherlands
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    Thanks for the advise. Seems to be in line with my thinking, so that's a bonus :)

    That is a really good point. I am 35 years old, and have no perceived issue staying in zone 5 for a longer period of time. So far I considered it an excellent workout, but your comment about overtraining the heart is a really good one and makes me reconsider. Thanks!
     
  8. wstorms

    wstorms ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Netherlands
    220
    246
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    Don't think I have, but will do, thanks
     
  9. lowwall

    lowwall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago
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    Swim!

    Great for general cardio. For dive specific, use your fins (or the closest full-foot version) and do lengths of the pool underwater. Use frog and flutter. Do some fast to simulate working against a current. Experiment to figure out what combination of speed and kick allows you to travel the farthest without a breath.
     
    wstorms and Protondecay123 like this.
  10. JimBlay

    JimBlay Divin' Papaw ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Florida
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    When it comes to cardio fitness I'm of the opinion that ANY cardio is great. Your cardiovascular fitness isn't unique to an exercise assuming you're not talking about a competitive-level athlete. It's your heart, lungs, blood vessels, etc. Your engine if you will. So doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to improve your cardiovascular fitness will help you for diving. This is just my opinion and I have ZERO training or certifications in exercise physiology so take me opinion for what it's worth.

    I am one who loves cardio. I grew up a competitive swimmer, got into running in a big way, got back into swimming, love to hike, love to bike, etc, etc. These days I get my cardio primarily from very fast walking (15-16 min miles) combined with segments of running plus I do alot of cycling. I get in 6 days a week of cardio. I then add in strength 2 days a week. The strength work is the exercise I hate but I do it because it's important.
     
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