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  • Writer's pictureByron Kay @konafreediver

Proven Freediving Techniques: How to Train Smarter not Harder

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

Have you ever been to the gym and seen the people standing around talking? Taking so much time between workouts they might as well be at the bar pumping pints? Sometimes we waste a lot of time doing things that don't really help us progress. If you spend time training cardio when your aerobic fitness is more than adequate and you should really be training flexibility. Stop wasting precious time on fruitless workouts.


-"Once you enter the sink phase in your diving you may continue to try and kick. This is a mistake!"-


  • ​Train to improve your weaknesses not your strenghts

  • Take a freediving course to learn what will benefit you the most

  • ​Get a coach. They can see what you can't

  • ​Streamlining can make a big difference with little effort

Train Smarter NOT Harder

Martin Stepanek spent his youth learning to train. At age 8 he was scuba diving and mono fin swimming. By age 32 he had attained 13 world records in freediving pushing the limits to new depths. At europe's oldest university (Charles University in Czech Republic) he studied the full range of curricula relating to physiological potential. After university he applied this knowledge from the world's top university in physiology to 'crack the code of freediving'. Using his knowledge from physiology he applied the techniques, training, and theory he learned in his grueling university curriculum and began applying it to his passion for freediving. People often commented how he was naturally talented at freediving thusly becoming a huge success. This is not the case. Martin knew something that other freedivers did not. He knew the most effective and efficient way to train and condition the body for deep diving.

Target Your Weaknesses, Ignore Your Strengths

Freediving is all about limits. People always hit a barrier at some point in their diving. Some people's barrier is at 5 meters, others at 30, and many at greater depths. Early in my freediving journey I hit a barrier about a year into my training around 45 meters. I was having trouble keeping air in my mouth so that I could continue equalizing to greater depths. I also had difficulty with the depth. It was causing a reflex that would send my adrenaline pumping and my heart would race. I later was able to overcome this through repetitive diving only to learn later that I could have simply done more intense diaphragm stretching and cured this issue much sooner. It would have saved me many frustrating training sessions. It wasn't until taking my level 2 and then a level 3 course that I realized the importance of education and how it can help cut through the fog and get you on the right track to becoming a better diver much much sooner.

See the unseen

Some of the best Freedivers didn't become the best on their own. Many have coaches. Others will videotape their dives giving them the outside perspective necessary to see the things that need correcting. Not only do you need to know what needs correcting but you also need to know how to correct it and be reminded when you're not doing it. That's where a coach comes in.

​ FII instructor Trainer Bobby Kim watches me ascend while training

Slip past your barriers

Water is dense and unless you are a proponent of the aquatic ape theory humans are not the best shape for moving through it. In level 1 and 2 freediving courses we cover how to streamline your body so you can move more efficiently through the water. The Japanese world record holder Sayuri Kinoshita wears her lanyard under her wetsuit to reduce the turbulence it causes. In level 1 we target head positioning. By simply keeping your head down you can dramatically improve your streamlining. There are many other ways to improve your efficiency in the water and everyone's a little different in this respect. Once you enter the sink phase in your diving you may continue to try and kick. This is a mistake! You will actually MOVE SLOWER through the water at this point in your dive when you kick. 'Impossible' you say. I say try it.

Exceed your limits

If you are really serious about becoming a better Freediver consider taking a course. Courses are great for people who want to improve quickly. You will learn from all of the mistakes other Freedivers have made over the years.


About the Author

Byron Kay is a freediving instructor and the founder of Kona Freedivers and owner of Kona Honu Divers as well as Kona Snorkel Trips. They stand out as Hawaii's top rated and most reviewed businesses among their peers having a perfect 5 star rating on google. To learn more about Byron and his latest goings on visit his bio page.

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