How Do I Float In Water?

How do I float in water?  That question you keep asking yourself every time you get into the swimming pool. You look around, and others in the water seem like they are floating without trying. Read on and discover why.

Most of us refer to floating as something we attempt to do stationary at the surface of the water. In certain situations in the water, some of us stay afloat, and some of us sink. It is a characteristic of our body, and it is all down to our relative density

Take 2 minutes to watch the video below that clearly explains what this means.

One of the reasons you sink could be due to your body fat - or lack of it. Yes, because fat is an oily substance, it naturally floats, so the more you have of it, the more likely you are to float in water. That means you are more likely to sink if you are lean and muscular because muscle is a more dense substance.

How do I float if it makes me feel anxious?

Floating can be a source of fear and anxiety among beginner swimmers. Learning to relax can seem easier said than done, but it is possible.  First, it is essential to recognise that the water is not trying to pull you down. Instead, it is trying to support you and keep you afloat. Once you get that concept firmly engrained into your head, it is a case of doing your bit to help the water hold you afloat. Learning how to relax and be at peace with the water will help you conquer any fears you may have about floating. Breathing and submerging practices will help massively with learning to relax in the water.

Learn how YOUR body behaves in the water

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

Whether you can do these exercises or not, they will give you an insight into how your body behaves in the water and how it feels to be in these floating positions. The more you practice, the more you will control how your body feels as you swim, eventually slow down your sinking rate, and keep yourself near the water surface as you swim. 

The bottom line is that some people naturally float, and some naturally sink. Only changes in our body composition will change our ability to float stationary.  Remaining afloat as we swim is a matter of relaxing and introducing some simple movements and aspects of a swimming technique to help support our buoyancy and keep us up at the surface.

FREE EBOOK:  all of the exercises below are found in my book 'How To Float', along with all the tips and tricks you will need to keep you at the surface as you move through the water. 

Don't miss out!  Click here to grab a FREE copy of my book. 

4 steps to staying afloat as you swim

Remember, safety first. If you are a beginner swimmer, never go to the pool to practice alone. When in the water, always remain within your depth or at least a part of the pool where you can quickly get your feet back down onto the pool floor and regain standing. If necessary, always practice near the poolside, where you can easily reach out and grab on.

Exercise 1: Face Down Floating

Learn how to float in the water

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

You will most probably find your legs slowly sinking first. See if small movements can slow their sinking rate or help them return to the surface.

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

Exercise 2: Push and Glide

push and glide to a floating position

Take a deep breath and push away from the pool wall, face down. Ensure your body is stretched out and streamlined. 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 can 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 learn how to float

This exercise is the same as #2 but with a push and glide from the poolside.  Add leg kicks to help maintain the momentum and prevent sinking this time.

Use a front crawl or breaststroke-type leg kick.

Exercise 4: Supine Push and Glide

push and glide on the back to a floating position

Perform a push and glide from the poolside in a supine (face-up) position. Ensure your head looks upwards, and your chest and hips are high near the water's surface - this will help enable your legs and feet to be at or near the water's surface, too.  Add a gentle leg kick and hand movement to keep the glide going as the glide begins to slow.

I Try To Swim But I Still Sink.  What Else Can I Do?

Still wondering 'how do I float'?  Discover the myths, tips and tricks in my book 'The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming'.  

No more asking 'How do I float'?  Take the next step to enjoying smooth swimming by downloading your copy of my book today. 


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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

I am unable to swim at the surface when I kick my legs. 'First and most importantly, you must learn at your own pace. There is no standard number of lessons you will learn to swim in.'

My daughter's boyfriend is going to the Navy and needs to know how to float or tread water (he sinks like a rock).  'Not everyone naturally floats, and remaining afloat by treading water comes with practice.'

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 to succeed is to be admired. Learning to swim will open up many pleasurable avenues in life and many health benefits.'

I can't swim because I can't float. How do I learn how to float? 'It sounds like you're stressing a lot about learning to swim and being unable to float.'

I would like to know how to glide further without sinking.  'If you have already established that you are a ‘sinker’, my question would be, how do you know you can do better?'

My body is still not floating on the water? I have just begun to learn to swim. 'Do not be put off just because your body does not float. Your ability to float is determined by your body composition.'

Why do my legs sink when swimming? 'Your problem could be related to a combination of technique and your relative density.'

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

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