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How to Float in Water

By Suzanne S. Wiley

Floating in water is valuable not only for survival, but also for relaxation and for improving swimming skills. Both front and back floating let you become much more comfortable in the water. Front floating is especially important because proper float form will enable you to swim for longer without becoming exhausted.

Dead Man’s or Jellyfish Float

For the basic Dead Man’s Float, or jellyfish float, extend your arms and hold your breath. Bend over, placing your face in the water and stretching out your abdomen, as if you were trying to lie facedown. Let your legs drift. Stop floating when you need to breathe.

The "T" Spot

As your front float improves, raise your legs and feet to the surface of the water. A swimmer must place his entire body on a relatively level plane as he swims. According to the Waterblogged Triathlete website, if he doesn’t, the drag on his legs from the water can make it feel like he's swimming uphill. The site suggests finding your “T.” Stand up straight and draw imaginary lines along axes from shoulder to shoulder and head to toe. The "T" is the point at which those lines cross. If you “press” that spot down when you swim, your feet and legs should rise to the surface.

Back Floating

Back floating allows you to relax in the pool or rest after vigorous swimming while keeping your face out of the water. Stand in the shallow end and lean back, lifting up your chest, abdomen and hips. Hold onto the edge if you need to. Pulling your head back and lifting your chin up might also help. Extend your arms to your sides, and gradually lift your feet and legs up. Don’t let your hips jackknife downward. You might feel water lapping at your face; stretch out a bit to raise yourself up more. Gradually move into deeper water as you improve.

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