How to float on back step-by-step guide
Danila Novikov
All- American swimmer owner of Danswim
Do you keep sinking when floating on your back? Let me show you how I was able to help learn back floating to a considerable number of adult beginner swimmer clients at NYC-based swim school Danswim.

Disclaimer! Floating on your back might be the most chill swim you will ever learn. This knowledge might stay with you for the rest of your life. Please, learn the most chill swim at your own risk. ✋

How to float on back?

Ready to effortlessly float on your back? Our step-by-step guide makes it easy to learn how to float on your back. So go ahead and give it a try. You've got this!"
Position yourself the right way in the water.
Take a deep inhale before starting your float.
Start your float the proper way.
Position your body in the water correctly.
Keep breathing.
Propel yourself in the water; consider using props.
End the float in good order.
Before we can go to the pool and learn how do you float in the water, we should understand how it works. Floating makes your body stay on the surface, thanks to the buoyancy force.

Since we are still on Earth, gravity pushes any object inside the water. Suppose the object is your body. Your body submerged inside of the water displays the water with its mass. The water you displace with your mass will push your body toward the surface. ⛴

The more water you displace with your mass, the easier it is for you to stay close to the surface. You can displace the most water by fully submerging the body inside.

Since we are trying to be buoyant while floating on the back, we should let our entire body stay inside the water, excluding our face. We need to keep our faces dry for a couple of reasons. One, so we can breathe. Two, to keep the water out of our noses.

Learn how to float on back

I have learned by teaching beginner adult swimmers that everyone has a different buoyancy level. Your buoyancy depends on physiological factors such as bone density, muscle structure, fat percentage, and lung capacity.

While someone floats naturally, another finds it more challenging. Regardless of your predisposed buoyancy level, you can learn how to be buoyant and float on your back.

Bring your goggles and a swimsuit! Let's go and learn how to float on back ✌️

Step 1. Position yourself the right way in the water.

    Bend your knees down to submerge your chest and shoulders inside the water. Keep your feet separated at the bottom of the pool. One leg stays in front of another 2-3 feet apart. It should look like you are about to start the race.

      Step 2. Take a deep inhale before starting your float.

        Even though you have access to all the air in the world when you float on your back, you should inhale with your mouth before you start.

        Filling your lungs with air will make you more buoyant. You will position yourself higher in the water.

          Step 3. Start your float the proper way.

            Lean back while your feet are still at the bottom of the pool. Make sure you let your head get inside the water before you can take off with your feet.

            The oval of your face should stay out of the water, so you can breathe while floating on your back.

            Gently push off the floor with your feet to position yourself close to the surface while floating.

              Step 4. Position your body in the water correctly.

                Your entire body should stay aligned. Your legs, hips, torso, arms, and head should remain on the same level.

                Otherwise, you would feel your lower body fall, dragging the rest of your body, including your face, under the water.

                Keep your entire body close to the surface. Keep looking up. Your head, excluding the oval of your face, should stay in the water.

                You can keep your arms on your side or beside your legs. As long as you keep your arms relaxed and inside the water, you will experience buoyancy.

                  Step 5. Keep breathing.

                    You have access to all air on planet earth, so please keep breathing. Use your mouth to inhale. Use your nose and or mouth to exhale.

                      Step 6. Propel yourself in the water; consider using props.

                        Not all of us built the same. Don't worry if you don't float as easily as your friend does. If you can't float naturally, start moving in the water. Kick and pull.

                        If you need more confidence in the water, use floatation devices like kickboards, nuddles, aquatic bars, and barbells. Keep the floaties inside the water as you float to help yourself to stay buoyant.

                        Eventually, you will be swimming comfortably without them.

                          Step 7. End the float in good order.

                            Transition from a horizontal to a vertical position to end the float. You need to bend your knees and pull them towards your stomach.

                            At the same time as you move your legs, get your head and torso out of the water so that you can see your legs.

                            Please note that this process takes some time. Keep pushing your head above the surface until your legs fall.

                            You can use your arms to speed up the process of recovery. Bring your arms out to your sides. Retract them back beneath your back. Press the water with your palms and forearms pointed toward the surface.

                            Move your arms simultaneously as you tuck your knees and bring your head and torso out of the water.

                              Mistakes to avoid while learning to float on back

                              You might ask me: "Dan, I followed all the recommendations. Why can't I still float on my back? Let's look closer and try to identify some of the most common mistakes beginners make while floating on the back. ⚓

                              Starting your float too high above the surface.

                              If you begin your float with your chest and shoulders staying out of the water, you will be affected by the gravity force. You might fall beneath the surface. Snorting and swallowing the water is not pleasant.

                              Make sure your body is submerged in the water before starting your float.

                              Exhaling instead of inhaling right before you start your float.

                              Pay attention if you are filling your lungs with air or letting it go out. Keeping more air inside your lungs will make your body more buoyant.

                              Floating with any part of your body staying above the surface.

                                Whether you are keeping your head above the surface or letting your hands come out of the water, you are not helping yourself to be more buoyant.

                                You will eventually sink if you are not keeping your entire body submerged inside the water.

                                  Floating with your muscles and joints locked.

                                  The tenser you are, the harder it is to float. Expect less mobility and balance as well. Try to relax your body and float closer to the surface.

                                  Yes, I know. It's easy to say; Relax! But the more time you spend in the water, the calmer you are. Just give yourself some time.

                                  Not keeping your body aligned while swimming.

                                  Suppose your shoulders stick out of the water while your stomach stays a couple feet beneath the surface. Then you should expect yourself to sink unless you can align your body.

                                  Allow your legs, torso, arms, and legs to stay on the same level. Call it the streamline body position.

                                  Bending your knees and pointing your toes up.

                                  It will affect your position in the water. Your lower body will sink, eventually dragging the rest of your body under the water. Having your legs extended will bring your heaps higher.

                                  Releasing the tension off your ankles should help you to keep your legs aligned with the rest of the body and kick effectively.

                                  Holding your breath while floating on your back.

                                  Don't make your life more complicated than it already is. Breathe. You have access to all of the air in the world. Breathing will help you to swim longer and stay closer to the surface.

                                  Breathing in with your nose while floating on your back.

                                  It's not a fatal mistake, but you better get used to breathing in with your mouth because...

                                  A. Water will less likely get inside your nose and burn it while you breathe with your mouth.

                                  B. You breathe deeper when you inhale with your mouth.

                                  Do not extend your legs too soon while ending your float.

                                  Let's figure out the mistakes you might make while ending your back float.

                                  Keep your knees tucked until your legs drop down and reach the floor. It takes some time. Otherwise, you are risking dragging your body under the surface.

                                  Don't push your head under the water while ending your float.

                                  Unless, of course, you enjoy the water getting inside of your nose. Let your head rise above the surface so you can safely end your float.
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