Mastering the front dive into a swimming pool builds a foundation for more advanced moves like pikes, flips and twists. The challenge for many beginner divers is fear. Entering the water headfirst from a higher point, such as the side of the pool, a platform or a springboard, can be a scary experience. Advancing in progressions can help you to become acclimated to the headfirst position as you perfect your body alignment and technique.
Warm up by swimming laps for five to 10 minutes at a slow to moderate pace. Choose a stroke that activates both your lower and upper body, such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.
Dive from a seated position on the 3-meter platform to practice entering the water headfirst. Sit on the edge of the platform and tuck your knees into your chest. Wrap your arms around your shins. Tuck your chin in toward your knees as you slowly lean forward. Allow your body to fall off the platform when your head is pointing toward the water. Unfold your body by extending your arms above your head, keeping them in line with your ears. Extend your legs behind you so that your body is in one straight line; keep the legs together and toes pointed as you enter the water.
Try the standing basic front dive once you are comfortable entering the water headfirst from a seated position. Stand tall on the edge of the platform facing the water. Lift your arms out to the side to shoulder height. Stack your shoulders over your hips and the hips over your toes. Engage your abdominals, slightly lift the chest and push the shoulder blades down your back. Bend at the waist and lean your torso forward until the top of your head is pointed toward the water. Roll through your feet and push off of the platform with your toes. Extend your feet toward the sky until your legs are in line with your torso. Move your arms straight toward the water. Press your palms together and maintain a straight body as you enter the water.
Stretch for 10 to 15 minutes after your diving session to help with repair and recovery. Focus on the muscles that are regularly used in diving, such as the hamstrings, hips, back and shoulders. Perform a wide-legged forward bend to target the hamstrings. Stand with your feet parallel and separated by approximately 3 to 4 feet. Bend at the waist and bring your torso toward your thighs. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders; use the assistance of a yoga block if you are unable to reach the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
Tips & Warnings
- Practice dives with either a lifeguard or certified diving coach present.
- Consult with a physician before starting a new sport. Inform your doctor if you have any medical conditions or issues that would interfere with diving.
- Photo Credit moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images
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