How to Train for Freediving

Freediving instructor coaching another freediver underwater in light blue water.

Freediving is a perfect way to explore the wonders below the sea's surface. It’s a great way to get fit and have fun while you’re at it. But  learning how to train for freediving can be daunting if you’ve never done it before.

It’s a challenging sport that can take your breath away, both figuratively and literally. That’s why it’s necessary to have the proper training before you take the plunge.

Our step-by-step guide takes you through everything you need to know, from choosing the right gear to learning breath-holding techniques, mastering buoyancy, and diving deep. 

We even have tips on how to stay safe when freediving. So what are you waiting for? Start your training today and see how deep you can go!

How to train for freediving

Why Freediving?

The first question anyone new to freediving will ask is, “Why freediving?” 

There are many reasons; some people enjoy the challenge of pushing their limits and testing themselves in an exciting environment when you take on deep diving to explore the unknown. Others find the meditative quality of freediving calming and relaxing

And for some, it’s simply a way to enjoy the underwater world in a new and different way.

No matter your reason for freediving, you need proper training to ensure your safety and enjoyment of the sport. 

Freediving can be challenging and rewarding, but it takes some training to do it safely and properly.

How To Get Started in Freediving

You can start by working on your static apnea or static breath hold when in the water. This is simply holding your breath for as long as possible while floating or swimming in place. 

You can gradually increase the time you hold your breath as you get more comfortable with the exercise.

You can also increase your anaerobic capacity by doing short, intense bursts of physical fitness activities followed by rest. You can learn about this in more detail by taking on freediving training or signing up for a freediving course. This can be done through fitness training that includes sprints, weightlifting, or any other exercise that increases your heart rate.

You can safely free dive to depths of over 30 feet with proper instruction and training. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting you started in freediving, from choosing the right gear to learning breath-holding techniques and mastering buoyancy.

We will also review training methods so you can explore the underwater world to your heart’s content.

First Step: Get Yourself Freediving Equipment

To start your freediving adventure, you must get the proper equipment. 

When choosing your freediving equipment, it's crucial to ensure everything fits properly. 

This includes a mask, fins, snorkel, freediving line, and wetsuit. You might also want to invest in a freediving weight belt and line to help you reach greater depths.


The most critical piece of freediving equipment is your mask. Choose a mask that fits snugly with tempered glass lenses to prevent them from breaking at depth.

When choosing a mask, ensure it has a good seal around your face so that no water leaks in. 

A low volume design is essential when choosing a freediving mask—this will make it easier to clear water from your mask if it should leak. 

Choosing a mask with a wide field of view is also essential for seeing underwater.


A snorkel allows you to breathe continuously while swimming on the surface. Choosing a snorkel with a comfortable mouthpiece that does not irritate your gums is important.

When choosing a snorkel, look for one with a purge valve. This will make clearing water from your snorkel easier. A flexible snorkel tube will allow you to store your snorkel in a small space, such as in your BCD pocket.


Freediving fins are different from scuba diving or snorkeling fins. They are designed to be long and thin to minimize drag while swimming. They are also much more flexible than scuba fins, which makes them easier to kick.

When choosing freediving fins, ensure they are the correct size, snug but not too tight. You should also ensure the fins are comfortable to wear for extended periods.


A wetsuit is essential to keep deep divers warm underwater. Choose one that fits properly. A wetsuit should provide good insulation and buoyancy—a thicker wetsuit will provide warmth but might be more difficult to swim in.

Weight Belt

A weight belt is recommended for deeper freediving because it helps you to sink. However, it is not essential for beginners.

A weight belt should only be worn if you are comfortable swimming with one and have tried freediving before.

Purchase one made of durable materials. The belt should fit snugly around your waist and adjust quickly.


A freediving line is vital for reaching greater depths. It is also helpful for safety if you need to be pulled to the surface.

When choosing a freediving line, make sure it is made of strong material that can withstand the pressure at depth. 

The line should also be long enough to reach the bottom of your dive in deep water.

Second Step: Master Breath-Hold Techniques

There are many different techniques that you can use to help you hold your breath for extended periods. It helps to start with breath hold training in the pool to ensure that you're completely relaxed and focused.

The most important thing is to find a method that works for you and practice it regularly. Some of the most popular breath-hold techniques include:

Valsalva Maneuver

This technique involves closing your mouth and pinching your nose shut. Then, take a deep breath and exhale without letting air escape your nose while pool training. 

This will raise the pressure in your chest and help to keep your airways open. Once you have exhaled, hold your breath for as long as possible.

Pursed-Lip Breathing

In this method, you breathe in and exhale through your mouth.

You can control the airflow and get more oxygen with each breath.  Oxygenation is vital because it helps your body and mind function correctly while holding your breath. 

Relaxation Response

This technique involves focusing on your breathing and relaxing your body. Start by taking a few deep breaths and then exhaling slowly. 

With each exhale, try to let go of any tension in your body.

Relaxation is key to freediving as it allows your body to use less oxygen—it’s essential to train your body to relax mentally and physically. 

You can do this by practicing yoga or meditation. 

Third Step: Focus on Fitness

Freediving is not only about breath-holding; to train for freediving, you'll need to build aerobic and anaerobic endurance. 

Aerobic endurance is the ability of your heart and lungs to work together to supply oxygen to your muscles for long periods. 

Anaerobic endurance is the ability of your muscles to continue working even when your body lacks oxygen. 

You can build both kinds of endurance by doing cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming, or biking. Interval training, in which you alternate between high and low-intensity periods, is especially beneficial for freedivers. 

Weightlifting and other forms of resistance training will also help you to build the strength and power you need to free dive.

Breathing exercises are another important part of training for freediving. These exercises will help you improve your lung capacity and control your breathing. 

Fourth Step: Become a Master of Buoyancy

Buoyancy is one of the most important skills for freedivers. You must control your buoyancy to descend and ascend at the speed you want. 

You can improve your buoyancy by exercising static apnea (holding your breath while floating motionless in water) and dynamic apnea (swimming horizontally while holding your breath). 

Static apnea training will help you become more comfortable staying underwater for long periods. Dynamic apnea training will help you to move through the water more efficiently. 

Buoyancy control is also imperative for safety. If you cannot control your buoyancy, you will descend too quickly and risk lung barotrauma (damage to your lungs caused by changes in pressure).

Buoyancy And Weighting

Proper buoyancy and weighting are essential for freediving. You need to be able to control your descent and ascent, and you should neither sink nor float too quickly. 

To find the right amount of weight, start by wearing a wetsuit in the pool. Then, add weights until you can descend to the bottom of the pool and back up again without floating or sinking too quickly.

You can also adjust your buoyancy by wearing a weight belt and adding or removing weights. 

Weight should be placed on your body so that they are evenly distributed and will not interfere with your movement in the water.

Some freedivers use a weight belt, while others prefer to wear weights around their necks or on a weight vest. You should experiment to see what works best for you.

Safety Tips and Tricks to Master Freediving

Here are some safety tips and tricks that you should keep in mind:

  • Never Freedive alone. Always do freediving with a buddy and follow the one up one down rules. This way, someone will be there to help you if you do run into trouble.
  • Follow the Diveplan and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t free-dive to depths that are beyond your training or experience level.

By following these safety tips and avoiding the common freediving mistakes, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Final Thoughts 

Freediving is an exhilarating activity that can take you to great depths and allow you to explore the underwater world in new and exciting ways. 

While it may seem daunting initially, freediving can be an enriching and safe experience with the proper training and safety precautions.

Follow the steps above, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful freediver. Happy freediving!

About the Author Gerrie van Niekerk - Apnealogy

Gerrie is a passionate Freediver, Spearfisher, Digital Marketer, and author for the Apnealogy website. Gerrie is an SSI Level 1 certified Freediver who loves geeking out about freediving and spearfishing gear and lives for his family and adventure.

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