How Do I Float In Water?

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How do I float? The most common question you have asked yourself each time you've been to the swimming pool.  That depressed feeling as you watch others around you swimming seemingly without effort.  . 

learning how to float when swimmingDo you float or do you sink?

Most of us refer to floating as something that we attempt do in a stationary position at the water surface.  In any given position in the water, some of us float and some of us sink.  It is a characteristic of our body and it is all down to our relative density.  Click here to understand more about relative density


Learn how your body behaves in the water

Everyone's body shape and size are different and the following exercises will help you to learn how your body responds when it is in the water.  

Whether you can do these exercises or not, they will give you an insight into how your body responds in the water.  The more you practice, the more you will be able to control how your body behaves as you swim.  

If you naturally sink, you will eventually be able to slow down your rate of sinking and keep yourself near the water surface as you swim. 


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4 steps to staying afloat as you swim...

Exercise 1: Face Down Floating

Learn how to float in the water

Take a deep breath and submerge your face whilst bringing your legs up to the surface.  Lay face down with arms and legs wide to cover as much surface area as possible.  Lay there for as long as you can hold your breath and feel how your body behaves in this stationary position. 

You will most probably find your legs slowly sinking first.  See if there are any small movements that can slow down their rate of sinking or even help them back to the surface. 

Try performing a very slow breaststroke, feeling your way through the water. 

Exercise 2: Push and Glide

push and glide to help prevent sinking in the water

Take a deep breath and push away from the pool wall, face down.  Ensure your body is in a stretched out, streamlined position.  Glide as far as you can in one breath. 

You may find you begin to sink as your momentum slows.  See what small movements of the legs, feet and hands are able to keep you moving and afloat.  

Feel your way through the water using a gentle breaststroke or front crawl action.

Exercise 3: Push and Glide With Kicking

Push and kick to help remain at the water surface

The same exercise as #2 with a push and glide from the poolside. 

This time add leg kicks to help maintain the momentum and prevent sinking.   Use a front crawl or breaststroke type leg kick.  

Exercise 4: Supine Push and Glide

push and glide on the back face up supine position

Perform a push and glide from the poolside in a supine (face up) position.  Ensure your head is looking upwards  and chest and hips are high up near the water surface.  This will help enable your legs and feet to be at or near the water surface too. 

As the glide begins to slow, add a gentle leg kick and hand movement to keep the glide going. 

I Try To Swim But I Still Sink.  How Do I Float?

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 The essential elements of swimming without sinking include: 

  • relaxing in the water
  • knowing how and when to breathe
  • gliding through the water
  • learning how to submerge

Discover these vital skills by instantly downloading my book 'How To Float'.  

No more asking 'How do I float'?  Take the next step to enjoying smooth swimming by clicking

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I was recently asked 'why does my body sink when I swim?'  Click here to read my response...

A lady having swimming lessons was worried because she was not able to float

Are You Learning How To Swim and Have A Problem With Floating?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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How To Glide Further Without Sinking? Not rated yet
I would like to know how to glide further without sinking? I can only glide a very short distance, maybe 2-3 body lengths before I start sinking. I am …

Can't Swim Because I Can't Float Not rated yet
I'm 13 years old and trying to learn how to swim. I can't swim because I can't float. How do I learn how to float and can you give me some advice for …

I Sink Like A Rock Not rated yet
I have tried to learn to swim a few times but I sink like a rock. I want to succeed this time so any help would be greatly appreciated. Your determination …

How To Float Or Tread Water Not rated yet
My daughter's boyfriend is going to the Navy. In 2 lessons he can manage a decent crawl stroke (hasn't mastered the breathing) but needs to know how to …

Unable to Swim At The Surface Not rated yet
I just attended three classes of swimming and I am unable to swim at the surface when I kick my legs. I can breathe inside the water. But for kicking …

How To Float During Swimming Not rated yet
My body is still not floating on the water ? I have just begun to learn swimming. Do not be put off just because your body does not float. Your …

My Legs Sink When Swimming Not rated yet
Why do my legs sink when swimming? I am a 75-year old male who has gone back to swimming after 60+ years because arthritis doesn't allow me to do much …

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