Diving is a sport that engages the entire body and mind. This combination of static and dynamic exercises helps condition divers for both the mental and physical requirements of handling scuba equipment, basic diving skills and transitions to and from buoyant and gravitational environments. Combining exercises for the upper and lower body also helps advance the fitness level of the diver and saves workout time.
When performing Around-the-Worlds it is important for divers to maintain the best possible alignment of the body in every direction. This is a challenging but fun exercise that statically trains the entire body and dynamically trains the back, shoulders, chest and arms. On a bench or floor, the diver first achieves the Superman pose.
Then the arms move in wide ranges of motion while working against gravity. Once aligned on the stomach or back on the bench or floor, squeeze the buttocks and contract the abdominal muscles to protect the low back. Keep the head in line with the spine. Slightly lift the chest and head for freedom of movement. If needed, slightly bend the knees and cross the feet for added stability.
Begin with arms alongside the body. Although divers may not be able to see the arms, use the mind
muscle connection to concentrate on controlled bilateral movement. Raise the arms to the side through the 90 degree angle allowing the shoulder joint to naturally rotate until the arms are parallel beyond the top of the head. Remember to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth throughout the duration of each repetition and the entire exercise set. Reverse the movement of the arms returning them alongside the body and repeat.
Divers new to this exercise may perform it without added weight. If the shoulder joint is not flexible enough to move through the entire range of motion give it ample time to adapt. Do not force the exercise but be consistent and improvement will occur in both strength and flexibility. Around the Worlds seem a bit easier to perform in the supine position (face up). It is important to complete the exercise in both positions. Perform the prone (face down) version first, then rest about 60-seconds and repeat the exercising lying on the back. 10 repetitions in each position is all that is needed to benefit from this exercise. Work up gradually from one-to-four sets. Keep the weight light.
Words & Photos by Gretchen Ashton
Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, NBFE, is registered with the National Board of Fitness Examiners, and is an International Sports Sciences Association Elite Trainer; personal trainer, specialist in fitness therapy, specialist in fitness nutrition, and a world champion athlete. Gretchen is founder of ScubaFit LLC, developed the Comprehensive FitDiver®program, is an advanced scuba diver, nitrox diver, and co-author of the ScubaFit® Diver Course. She is an Expert Speaker for Los Angeles County Scuba Advanced Diver Program and Underwater Instructor Certification Course.