Cardio Activities for Diving

Diving does not require a lot of cardiovascular movement. However, the benefits of cardiovascular exercise are well documented, and any diver will benefit from adding cardio into a workout. Additionally, getting your muscles warmed-up before any exercise regimen is a good idea. In order to start your practice session off right, try incorporating some of these cardio activities.


Running is one of the most prevalent forms of cardiovascular exercise. The reasons for this are simple: It does not cost a lot and just about everyone can start a running routine. For divers, adding even 10 minutes of running into a workout can contribute greatly to your overall performance and endurance. Here are a few ideas you can try:

  • Walk/jog: If you are not used to running, consider starting off by walking, but adding short bursts of jogging to your routine. Perhaps start by walking for five minutes, and then jogging for two. Increase your jogging time slowly.
  • Short sprints: If long distance isn’t your thing, try shorter distances at faster speeds. It will build your fast twitch muscles that are needed to power off the board or platform.
  • One mile: Try to work up to running a mile several times a week. Start slow, but keep pushing yourself over the course of weeks and months. As your training progresses, your speed will increase.

Fun Fact:

Running is beneficial to divers for two reasons: It increases coordination and it elevates your mood.

Jumping Rope

Jumping rope is a great exercise for all athletes. It works your heart and your fast twitch muscles. These muscles are important to the quick reflexes you need off the springboard or platform. Here are some jump roping skills you can include in your training:

  • Forward/backward: Jump with the rope moving in front of your body (forwards). Then jump with the rope swinging behind your body (backwards).
  • Double-jump: Have the rope swing over your body twice before your feet touch the ground.
  • Mix: Mix it up and jump any way you like for one minute. As you get more experience, try to gradually increase both your technique and the time you jump.
  • Knees up: While jumping, try lifting your knees to your chest. This is a difficult act. Try to do a set of two knee lifts, and gradually build from there.

Jumping Stairs

Jumping stairs is a good plyometric exercise for divers. Jumping stairs really works the quad muscles, the hamstrings, and the fast twitch muscles. In order to do this exercise, you need to have a stadium with adequate stairs to jump — preferably a stair case with at least 10 steps. Here is how:

  • Stand erect with your hands on your waist, and your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Bend your legs deeply and jump into the air.
  • In the air, try to point your toes before landing on the next step.
  • Land with your legs bent and ready to rebound to the next step.
  • Try to jump at least five stairs in a continuous motion before stopping.
  • Once you have reached the top of the staircase, run down the stairs, and repeat the exercise.

Plyometrics help you achieve explosive power in your vertical jump. When you do these jumps in a continuous motion, run down the stairs, and repeat the exercise: You get a great cardio workout too!

Hot Tip: Turn Up the Music

When jumping rope or stairs, consider turning on some motivating music. Upbeat music can energize you and make an otherwise dull workout seem enjoyable.


Trampoline is another great form of cardio exercise for divers. Trampoline workouts help a diver raise his/her heart rate, and also contribute greatly to a diving program. Just try to jump or bounce continuously so your heart rate is elevated. A jumping session of approximately five minutes is a great cardio workout. Here are some skills to try:

  • Sets: Try linking a set of tricks into one movement. For example: Do a seat-drop, to a stomach-drop, to a knee-drop, and then back to your feet. Add any series of movements, and continue jumping for at least five minutes.
  • Jumps: Do a set of 10 continuous jumps in various positions: Tuck, pike, straddle, and straight.
  • Flips: Do a front flip to your back and then to your feet. Then try a back flip to your stomach, to your feet. If you are advanced enough in the sport, try to do a back one and a half (landing on your back), and bounce back to your feet. Have fun with this and only do what you are able to physically perform.

Cardio Benefit

Just because the sport of diving doesn’t inherently require lots of cardio work doesn’t mean that it’s not important or helpful. Cardio work will add longevity to your workouts, and give you an endorphin boost. Try to incorporate some of the cardio exercises mentioned above, and enjoy the tremendous benefit you will feel in your workout.

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