Scuba Diving Training Tips: 10 Cardiorespiratory Exercises

March 15, 2023 3 min read

Human Circulatory System Anatomy

Cardiorespiratory exercises are an essential part of any scuba diver's fitness regimen. Diving involves prolonged periods of physical exertion and high-intensity activity, so the body’s ability to process and utilise oxygen efficiently is tremendously important. Improving your cardiorespiratory fitness will not only enhance diving performance but also increase safety, as it enables divers to maintain better control over their breathing, maintain buoyancy, and reduce the risk of exhaustion.

An essential past of scuba diving training, good cardiorespiratory endurance will make every aspect of diving more comfortable and enjoyable, so here are 10 examples of cardiorespiratory exercises to help get you started…

  1. Running & jogging - an excellent exercise for improving cardiorespiratory endurance, Running and jogging require a continuous supply of oxygen to support sustained effort over time. By engaging in regular running, the body adapts to the increased demand for oxygen by improving the efficiency of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  2. Cycling - Cycling is one of the most effective cardiorespiratory exercises as it requires the use of large muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, to generate continuous movement. This sustained effort requires a consistent supply of oxygen, which places increased demands on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  3. Swimming - Swimming helps to strengthen the heart muscle and improve circulation, allowing for increased oxygen delivery to the working muscles. Additionally, the resistance provided by water provides a challenging workout for the muscles, leading to improved muscle strength and endurance. Needless to say, swimming is also excellent practice for scuba divers in general.
  4. Rowing - Regular rowing helps to strengthen the heart muscle, increase circulation, and improve oxygen delivery to the working muscles. It also helps to improve lung capacity and overall respiratory function, allowing for better oxygen uptake while scuba diving.
  5. Skipping - Skipping, or jump rope, requires continuous movement of the arms and legs, similar to running or cycling. This sustained effort places increased demands on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, leading to adaptations that improve overall endurance. It also helps to strengthen the heart muscle and improve circulation, allowing for increased oxygen delivery to the working muscles.
  6. Burpees - The least favourite exercise of a vast majority of people, burpees are another of the most effective cardiorespiratory exercises as they require the use of multiple large muscle groups to generate sustained effort. They involve a combination of explosive movements, such as jumping and squatting, followed by a plank position and a push-up, which work together to elevate the heart rate and improve overall endurance.
  7. Mountain Climbers - Almost as hated as burpees and just as effective, mountain climbers help to improve lung capacity and respiratory function, allowing for better oxygen uptake. The individual moves from a plank position to alternating knee-to-chest movements engages the core, glutes, and legs, making it a full-body workout.
  8. Squat Jumps - Squat jumps involve a combination of squats and jumps, which engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. These muscle groups are critical for performing movements such as ascending and descending underwater, climbing up a boat ladder, or generally walking with heavy scuba diving gear. What’s more, they engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, and elevate the heart rate, placing demands on the cardiorespiratory systems.
  9. Walking Lunges - When performed in a continuous manner, walking lunges can provide a sustained aerobic challenge that requires the body to use oxygen efficiently and effectively. This can lead to adaptations that improve cardiorespiratory fitness, including increased lung capacity and improved circulation.
  10. Battle Ropes - If you’re looking for cardiorespiratory exercises but aren’t a fan of running or cycling, battle ropes are the way to go. They require a high level of energy and engage multiple large muscle groups, including the shoulders, arms, and core. What’s more, they require a high level of energy and engage multiple large muscle groups, including the shoulders, arms, and core.
Cardiorespiratory endurance is an essential component of scuba diving training and by engaging in regular cardiorespiratory exercises, divers will be able to better manage the physical demands of diving. A well-rounded cardiorespiratory exercise program should include a combination of the exercises to ensure the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are sufficiently challenged.

With all that said, it important to note that cardiorespiratory exercise alone are not enough to properly prepare for the unique demands of scuba diving. In addition to exercises like the ones above, divers should also incorporate specific dive-related training exercises, such as swimming with scuba diving fins or carrying heavy equipment. For more on dive-related training exercises or any other aspect of scuba diving, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Noeleen Smith
Noeleen Smith



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