Freediving No-Fins Technique Guide Part3 | Freedive Earth

Freediving No-Fins Technique Guide Part3

In this part of the guide we introduce the dynamic no fin turn.

Broadly speaking, there are 3 main ways to get through the turn. If you watch some of the top DNF divers: Dave Mullins, Goran Colac (to a certain extent) and Rune Hallum, they’re all doing a kind of 'rollover': Approaching the wall face down, then rolling face up to touch the wall, and bringing the legs underneath to push off. I haven’t got to grips with that, but it looks like a smooth and efficient way to turn, and I think it probably avoids scrunching up your lungs as you bring your legs underneath. The way I’m using currently is based on the competitive swimming breastroke turn: touch with one hand, allow the arm to bend to absorb your forward movement. Dropping the hips below the level of your chest, tuck the knees up under the body and use the hand on the wall to swivel your body round as you plant both feet firmly on the wall underneath you. Then you push off as described above. Finally, the method favoured by new world record holder Mateusz Malina is a horizontal spin: Touch the wall with one hand, trailing the other arm behind you, bend the knees slightly and use the friction between your hand and the wall to pull yourself around in a flat spin before planing the feet and pushing off. This method eliminates any displacement of your head (and the heavy weight around your neck) from the midline, potentially saving you some oxygen, though it's less smooth and fluid than the others, even when executed well. However you turn, you need to try to transfer your forward momentum into and out of the wall as smoothly as possible, and you need to know how many strokes you’re taking each length of your swim. Nail your technique to the point where you know exactly when you’re going to arrive at the wall.

DNF, perform a turn, photo by Daan Verhoeven 

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General Points for Training

Your speed through the water during and after the pull phase and the number of strokes per length are good indications of the effectiveness of your technique. In general I think you should be trying to reduce the number of strokes that you need up to a point but you also need to balance this against the speed that you go at any particular point in the stroke. Drag increases with the square of velocity:

 DNF Optimal speed


which means that the faster you go, the less efficient you are and at very high speeds (like just after you’ve done an armstroke for example) most of your energy goes to waste. Sometimes a larger number of gentle strokes resulting in a slower speed might be advantageous. I’ve found training tables to be a really good way of practising technique. If you set yourself a turnaround time for each length (40 seconds for a length including rest, for example), rather than a set rest period, you’ll force yourself to adapt your technique to make you simultaneously as fast and as efficient as possible. A pyramid table where the turnarounds get shorter and then longer again will mean that you can make a change to your technique when the going is a bit easier and work on maintaining it as you get stressed and tired. As the set becomes easier again you can work on keeping your mind focussed, even though your body is tired and you want to rest. All of these things simulate a competition situation where nerves, hypoxia and fatigue will cause poorly practised technique to break down. In trying to develop technique I’ve always found it useful to pick one single aspect of the stroke (over-reaching at the catch for example) and think about only that for the whole session. The next day you can focus on something different and hopefully the first thing will have improved to the point where you’re doing it at least partly right, without thinking about it. Finally, make sure you get someone to watch what you’re doing and ideally take videos too, that way you’ve a good measure of your progress as well as getting hints for improvement in the future.


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