Today in Canada, thermometers dipped as cold as -51C. Minus fifty-one. Ouch. It's a tough pill to swallow. I find myself landlocked and freezing, thousands of kilometers from the sea and even further from the Caribbean (aka, the only sea warm and nice enough for my liking), but yet, I wouldn't hesitate to say that my freediving training is going well. Wait, what? That's right...lately, I've delved quite seriously into alternate forms of training, and I gotta say: in many ways, I'm training better now than I was when I was diving daily. There are many ways to not only complement your depth training but to perhaps do better if you find yourself in a similar situation. Here are some ideas.

The Gym

Log onto Instagram in the "off" season and you won't have to look far to find freedivers posting gym selfies. You can do heaps of work in the gym to better your strength, cardiovascular fitness (not just aerobic but also anaerobic - and you need both), flexibility, mobility, and more. There's so much possibility in the gym, it can almost seem overwhelming. A good place to start is with those that are experts in this area: personal trainers. Discuss your goals, have an assessment, make a plan, and follow it. Your plan could include weightlifting, HIIT exercises, sprints, longer runs, mobility exercises, and more... the possibilities are infinite. Check-in regularly, track progress, adjust as necessary. You'll get further than if you simply show up and engage in a series of somewhat random exercises for weeks on end.

The Pool

The obvious choice for a freediver, but this comes with some huge caveats: you need a trained buddy if you are going to do apnea - a lifeguard is not a buddy. Also, many pools don't allow apnea (my experience). So, how to proceed? If you're lucky enough to have a local freediving club or group that rents lanes and organizes training sessions, well, take advantage of it! If not, don't despair - there are still some options.
Swim training and coaching - these folks were workin' it in the pool long before we ever were. Many of the drills in swimming can be beneficial to freedivers, and many of them can be adapted for us, as well. See if your pool has a local swim training group. There's a lot to be learned, here...

Apnea without apnea - bring your fins, your mask, your snorkel, and have at it. Perfect your technique. Find ways to add resistance, and you could soon be training lactic tolerance, strength, cardiovascular fitness...

The Home 
(or another warm, indoor place)

Oh, there is so much to be done indoors! Here are just a few ideas:
Apnea exercises (apnea walk, apnea stairs, apnea squats, etc.) You know the ones, popularized in recent times as a form of base training. Get creative and enjoy!
Dry static training. Do yer tables! Or better yet, hire a coach who specializes in dry static if you want to really progress in this area. I've had but glimpses of what's possible in dry static training; there is much you can do not just for CO2 tolerance, but relaxation, hypoxia tolerance, and more.
Stretching/flexibility work. Yoga, mobility, restorative stretching...all you need is a yoga mat and perhaps a few props. Build a daily routine that addresses your weaknesses. Consult the experts or follow a guided program if you need ideas.
EQ work. Drills with the nose clip. Drills with the EQ tool, if that's helpful for you. I'm practicing my mouthfill, keeping the muscle memory, and tweaking things here and there, plus playing with exercises to increase the number of EQs I can do with the same amount of air. For me, this has always been more efficient than practicing EQ in the water.
Visualization. This is huge! Visualizing yourself doing something successfully can actually increase your chances of doing it. It's a form of mental practice and recruits the same mental pathways that you use when you actually do it. You can visualize dives, visualize yourself solving problems before/during dives, visualize environments, visualize your breathe-up, visualize EQ...the list goes on. Train that brain.

Hopefully, this very short, very brief article will give you some ideas and spur you to get going! I didn't delve into specific exercises because I highly recommend consulting experts in each area for relevant exercises if you're serious - the benefit will be much greater than doing random activities and exercises that you read about online, or that were prescribed by individuals with only very surface-level knowledge of each area. Start and keep a training log to track progress and help you (and your coaches) make adjustments along the way. And, quite importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy the process!

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