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Stretching and Exercise Tips for Scuba Divers: Prepare Your Body for the Dive

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As I get older, I appreciate the importance of stretching before any activity, and scuba diving is no different. It’s essential to prepare your dive gear and your body properly before a dive.

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Mark explains how to stretch before scuba diving

The Importance of Stretching for Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is a full-body workout that involves heavy lifting, repetitive movements, hyper-extensions, and aerobic exercise. It’s not all about blowing bubbles. This blog post is inspired by a channel subscriber, Kyle Fleming, who asked for stretches and exercises that would help with diving. There are a few exercises that you should ideally do every day, but it’s particularly important to run through these stretches at the start of your dive day to get your key muscle groups ready.

This guide is sponsored by Shearwater, one of the most highly regarded diving brands today. Shearwater has just released a new dive computer, the Peregrine TX, which features an air-integrated colour screen and a wireless rechargeable battery. Shearwater developed technical dive computers when the owners couldn’t find what they needed on the market. Now, they offer a full range of top-quality dive computers, from entry-level recreational to extreme technical dive computers. Ask around online, and you’ll struggle to find anyone who doesn’t recommend Shearwater.

Key Stretches and Exercises for Scuba Divers

Shoulders

  • Shoulder Stretch: Point one arm to the sky and then touch the back of your neck. Use the other arm to gently push your elbow more vertical and reach your hand as far down your back as comfortably possible. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch sides.
  • Rotator Cuff Stretch: Bend over at the waist with straight legs and windmill one arm forward 30 times, then backward 30 times. Repeat with the other arm, starting with small circles and gradually making them larger.
stretch before scuba diving
Mark demonstrates a shoulder stretch

Back

  • Twist Stretch: Sitting or standing, straighten your back and cross your arms in front of you. Slowly turn to face your shoulders as far left as possible, hold for a few seconds, then return to the center and turn right. Smooth movements are key; avoid jerking or bouncing.
  • Planking: Get into a press-up position with your back in line with your legs. Hold for as long as possible, aiming for 30 seconds. Use your knees if needed and go down to your elbows if it hurts your wrists.

Legs

  • Squats: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, heels on the ground, back straight, and bum slightly out. Bend your knees without letting them move forward of your toes, as if sitting in a chair, then stand up straight.
  • Glute Stretch: Lie down and bring your knees to your chest. Cross your right leg over your left knee and pull your left leg towards your chest. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Quad Stretch: Lying on your side, grab your top foot behind you and pull it towards your butt while keeping your knees together. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides.
  • Hamstring Stretch: Lying on your back, stabilize yourself with one leg and lift the other straight, pulling it gently towards your chest. This can also be done standing with the leg braced on a bar.
  • Calf Stretch: Sit and straighten one leg. Use a towel to pull your toes towards you and hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs. If wearing fins, grab the tip of the fins and stretch your calf similarly.
  • Ankle Stretch: Find a raised platform about knee-high, plant your foot flat, and lean your weight onto your knee to stretch the back of your ankle.
stretch before scuba diving
Hamstring stretch

Final Tips

Remember to lift with your legs, not your back, and make your preparation as easy as possible. Place your mask and gear within easy reach before putting on your BCD and weights. If you anticipate struggling with something, ask for help.

Look after your body just as you do your gear. Before your next dive, do some stretches and keep warm. Scuba diving is a full-body experience, so focus on range of motion in the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles while warming up all major muscle groups.

Stay hydrated, but not overly so. Look up “immersion diuresis” for more information. Check out today’s sponsor, Shearwater, for top-quality dive computers. Their Peregrine TX is highly recommended by divers worldwide.

For more scuba diving tips and gear reviews, visit our website and consider subscribing to our magazine. It makes a great gift that keeps on giving. Thanks for reading, and safe diving!

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Picture of Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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