Your Pre-Dive Warm-Up Guide
In between all the excitement, gear checks and dive planning, it’s easy to forget that warming up before starting a dive can be vital to your body’s mobility. But diving takes a lot of work. Balancing, turning, breathing, communicating — it’s the ultimate test of multi-tasking capabilities. Before you jump in, take a moment to prepare your muscles and do a quick self-check to make sure everything feels alright. Not sure where to start? Here are three steps you can implement in your pre-dive warm-up.
Sit on a bench and stretch one leg out straight in front of you. If you’re already wearing fins, grab the blade of your fin and slightly pull it toward your body until you feel the stretch. It should not be painful. Hold this for 60 seconds and then release gently. Repeat on the opposite size. If you’re not wearing fins, you can achieve this stretch just as easily by placing a small towel around your foot and holding each end with your hands, pulling toward yourself gently.
Your shoulder muscles play a larger part in your dive routine than you think. You’re constantly using them as you balance, swim and reach for gear and equipment. To make sure your muscles are loose and mobile, extend one arm straight up over your head and bend your elbow, reaching down in between your shoulder blades. Use your opposite hand to grab your elbow, slightly pulling just enough to get a good stretch, and hold for 60 seconds. Repeat with the other arm.
Squats are a great way to activate the muscles in your legs and glutes and prepare them for diving. To do this, stand with your feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your hips down into a seated position without allowing your knees to pass over your toes. Keep your back flat as you lower, then stand up straight. This is one rep. Keep in mind that you should only do enough squats to warm up — around 10 reps should do it; you don’t need to push yourself like you do in the gym.
While it’s healthy to warm up your muscles before an activity as physically demanding as diving, the DAN® recommends not doing strenuous physical activity for 24 hours before your dive. With this in mind, doing these stretches before a dive are meant only to loosen up your muscles and joints, increase oxygen flow to your muscles and reduce your risk of injury. They are not meant to be done extraneously. Now that you’re loose and limber, you’re ready to dive in!