Core Quickie

Scuba divers use the muscles of their legs, glutes, core and back to maneuver through the water. When these muscles are strong, divers can glide through this dense medium with relative ease. By strengthening these muscle groups on land, divers can move through the water more efficiently, reserving more energy for focusing on their surroundings.

The almost weightless environment of the underwater world requires more core engagement than many activities on land. This is because the core serves as the stable foundation from which movement originates underwater. For example, when kicking (from the hip), the hip flexors pull on the lumbar vertebrae and pelvis to propel the diver forward. This is one reason that strengthening the core can limit lower-back pain.

Regular participation in the following exercises can improve your scuba experience. And scuba diving is an excellent excuse for maintaining lifelong fitness. A strong core means a reduced risk of injury when lifting and moving dive gear, and it promotes years of pain-free diving.

One of the greatest barriers to exercise participation is time. The exercises that follow can be completed in short snippets, and they may not even cause you to break too much of a sweat, which might permit several sessions throughout your day. This approach also breaks up your sedentary time, which has many health benefits (see “Step Away from The Computer”).

To accommodate various fitness levels, each exercise includes challenges and a range of repetitions. The ranges and challenges will also allow you to progressively overload your body as your fitness improves.

Bent Knee Timbers

Female personal trainer lies on back with knees bent and brings them to chest one at a time

10-20 repetitions per cycle

  1. Lie on the floor supine (on your back) with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet on the floor.
  2. Raise your feet off the ground until your knees are over your hips.
  3. Slowly alternate tapping the toes of each foot on the floor.

Tips: Press your lower back to the floor. Continue breathing throughout the exercise. Don’t move your knees past the vertical plane of your hip joints.

Challenges: Do double toe taps instead of alternating each time. Straighten your legs.

Full Body Stretch

Female personal trainer lies on back with arms above head

Hold for 30 seconds.

  1. Lie supine with your arms overhead.
  2. Elongate your body by reaching out with your fingertips and pointing your toes.

Supine Trunk Rotations

Female personal trainer lies on back, knees bent, and is rotating bent knees away from face

5-10 repetitions per side

  1. Lie on the floor supine with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet on the floor.
  2. Raise your feet off the ground until your knees are over your hips.
  3. SLOWLY rotate your hips to the floor (or as close to it as you can) without allowing the opposite shoulder to come off the floor.
  4. Look over the opposite shoulder.
  5. Hold this position for 3-10 seconds.
  6. SLOWLY return to the starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.

Tip: Put your arms out to the sides for increased stability.

Challenge: Slow down and/or extend your legs.

Female personal trainer lies on stomach and is performing jumping jacks

Prone Jumping Jacks

10-20 per side

  1. Lie prone (on your stomach) with your arms and legs extended.
  2. Raise your right arm and right leg off the floor and bring them toward one another as if doing a jumping jack.
  3. Repeat on the left side.

Tip: Empty your bladder before trying this one.

Challenge: Try both sides simultaneously.


Female personal trainer in sports bra is on hands and knee and slowly rounding back

10 repetitions each

  1. Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Arch your back and look down.
  3. Drop your back and look up toward the sky.


Female personal trainer is on hands and knees and has one leg up behind her

5-10 repetitions per side

  1. Start on all fours.
  2. Lift your left leg while keeping your knee bent.
  3. Reach back with your right arm and grab your left ankle. Hold for 3-10 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.

© Alert Diver — Q3 Summer 2014