Walk on Water: The Secret to Treading Water Effortlessly

Walk on Water: The Secret to Treading Water Effortlessly

Walk on Water: The Secret to Treading Water Effortlessly

WHILE YOU TREAD

Nothing helps treading water be more fun and strengthens your endurance as much as listening to music while you do it. Underwater Audio’s variety of waterproof headphones, combined with a waterproof iPod Shuffle, will bring hours of enjoyment through music, podcasts, and audiobooks. Try our Swimbuds Sport headphones for premium sound quality and a choice of earbud sizes to find that perfect fit.  Combine that with an Underwater Audio waterproof iPod Shuffle and get treading like a pro!

 

What’s the most important thing to stop yourself from drowning?

Getting OUT of the water…

But treading water is a close second!

 

Treading water is the first thing everyone should learn before swimming, but sadly lots of people learn the wrong techniques.

There IS a correct way to tread water.  It’s the most energy efficient and could save your life later if you practice it NOW.

 

Body Position

treading water tread

Photo courtesy www.swim.iport.com

 

When treading water, your body stays upright, head above the surface.  If you aren’t vertical, you’re technically swimming, not treading!

Your arms and legs move to keep you afloat, although you can tread temporarily with just arms or just legs.

It is important to stay calm and slow your breathing, since this will increase your energy efficiency and slow exhaustion.

You know you’re doing it right if your body is barely bobbing up and down.  Your torso should remain motionless as your arms and legs work to keep you afloat.

 

 

Arms

Move your arms horizontally in the water, back and forth. Moving them up and down will make you bob around, which wastes energy!

Your palms should face the direction that your arms are moving.  This is called “sculling”.

PUSH the water out of your way!

Use those muscles!

 

 

 

629px-Tread-Water-Step-11

Image courtesy Wikihow.com

Legs

There are lots of different ways to kick your legs when treading water.

You can try using a flutter kick (freestyle), frog kick (breaststroke), or even just moving your legs in circles really fast.

All of these will work to propel your body upward, counteracting gravity.  But they waste a lot of energy!

The right technique is the rotary kick, moving your legs like an eggbeater, with each leg rotating a different direction.

Timing is everything!  When one leg kicks out, the other should be coming in.

This motion is the hardest to master, but once you do, I promise you can go for hours without feeling a thing!  Well, maybe not.  But close. At least with your iPod playing your favorite tunes you’ll be good to go for as many hours as your legs can handle.

 

About the author

Melanie
Melanie graduated from Dartmouth in June with a degree in Linguistics and works at Underwater Audio because she loves music and swimming! She is a newlywed and enjoys hiking, tennis, and playing with her dog in her spare time.

» More blog posts by Melanie

Posted by Melanie

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comments

    Feb 28
    2014

    Qadir

    When I keep air in my lungs I afloat but when exhale I start sinking. Is keeping sufficient air in lungs essential or normal breath in and breath out can work in water treading?

    I have seen people talking normally when treading water and they are like ducks and do not go down in the water. What is the secret?

    Regards
    Qadir

    Reply
      Jun 26
      2017

      Hi

      keep trying

      Reply
    Mar 03
    2014

    Melanie

    Qadir –
    Great question! This happens to me sometimes too. Yes, you should be able to breathe normally while treading water. While it is true that you’re more buoyant when your lungs are full, your legs are strong enough to keep you up while you empty.

    One other helpful tip. Try to breathe naturally. Shallow, tense, fast breathing will make you sink deeper because your lungs never get as full, so you’re less buoyant. Long, slow, relaxed breaths will fill your lungs (and empty them) more effectively.

    Some people are simply more (or less) buoyant than others. If you happen to be less buoyant, you might always feel like you’re struggling a little bit! But honestly, the key is still leg technique. If you have the leg motion down, you won’t need your arms or even to breathe hard! I still have not gotten to that point, but I have seen people go for an hour or two without seeming to be out of breath just because they know how to kick right!

    Reply
      Jul 03
      2014

      An

      The eggbeater kick propels swimmers in an upward direction. The swimmer rotates his or her legs circularly while keeping their feet arched and angled, causing water above their foot to move faster than the water under their foot. Due to Bernoulli’s principle, the faster-moving water has a lower pressure than the slower-moving water. This difference in pressure between the moving water and the surrounding water creates a force, propelling the swimmer upwards.The faster the swimmer’s feet move, the more upward propulsion he or she receives.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggbeater_kick

      Reply
      May 08
      2015

      Treehugger

      Great tips…

      Reply
      Sep 23
      2015

      Filip

      Hi, the secret here is to keep most of the air inside your lungs, and breathe only a small part of it . So make diaphragma keep the air and while doing it breathe with chest. Hope this makes sense. Also, when verticaly floating – try inhaling more air somehow. After 15mins of exercise I do vertical float with head OVER water, I can breathe (if only done fast enough) and stay this way for as long as I want. (and I do really sink when doing it casual way) The air is the key. Good luck 😉

      Reply
      May 15
      2016

      Austin

      Hi, I’m applying for the RAF and am up to my medical. Next comes my fitness and skirmish test and I’m required to swim 200m and tread water fir 2 mins straight after. I can barely tread water for 1 minute fresh! I’m not a bad swimmer but it doesn’t come naturally and I’ve always forgotten to use my legs properly. Can you tell me more about this rotary kick or of any tips that will help me stop drowning! Not afraid to try but am getting limited success, and I feel it’s my lack of clarity/understanding as to what to do with my legs which is hindering my progress. Please help?!

      Reply
    Sep 01
    2014

    Fran

    Just wondering if anyone ever heard of someone staying afloat vertically in the water without treading water. ???????

    Reply
      May 02
      2015

      Cathy

      I can float vertically without moving a thing. I have been able to do it all my life. I thought everyone could do it when I was younger. I always wondered how people drown because I never needed to move anything to stay afloat. Now that I am older I realize it’s not a “common” thing that people can tread water vertically without moving a thing

      Reply
        Oct 13
        2015

        Taqeah

        Haii.
        May i know how you do the floating without any part of ur body moving? Is it you control your breathing? Thankyou.. 🙂

        Reply
          Dec 17
          2015

          HIia

          He probably stands in the shallow end

          Reply
        Jul 11
        2016

        Lenore Sander

        I have discovered I can also float verically for as long as I want. I love doing it because it is so relaxing. My hsband tells me it’s because I am overweight. I lost 25 pounds and it made no difference. I am also a shallow breather and wondeed if that is why. Do you know why we can do this? Everyone I have talked to has never heard of it. I am so thankful to find your comment. on this subject. If it is our weight I won’t lose any more because it is the most relaxing and pleasurable thing for me to do. Plus if we fell off a cruise ship or run our car into a lake we won’t drown. lol Please write back. Lenore

        Reply
      Nov 09
      2015

      Trish

      I can float vertically without moving anything. My friends and family think it’s weird. I can do an aqua jogging class without using a flotation belt.

      Reply
        Jul 11
        2017

        Swimlikeafish

        I experience the same and live by a lake where I can swim for hours in deep water without fear of drowning. I would be horrified to lose that ability! It seems like it’s a matter of both body fat% and distribution, where having a pear shaped body with fat around the hips and legs is most helpful. I am honestly terrified for other people and wonder how they can get on boats lol

        Reply
    Jul 26
    2015

    David Spargur

    I will have to try the eggbeater kick – interesting! but readers might note that even though it is not “treading”, the backfloat will keep you on the surface the longest with the least energy. The energy required goes up with the amount you are supporting above water so a vertical posture is not a plus for endurance.

    Reply
    Oct 22
    2015

    cordell

    could someone come to my house and teach me to do it correctly because no one in my family seems to know how to do it either … please!!

    Reply
      Feb 18
      2016

      Eileen

      Hi look for learning how to tread water for beginners on you tube..then get a noodle and practice in a pool…this is what I’m doing..I’m getting there..first I had to teach myself how to swim?????I can now swim in the deep end without panicking ..Thank You ..people on You Tube…

      Reply
    Nov 15
    2015

    Enrique

    My insights to keeping your head above water: Many years ago I played waterpolo and the eggbeater kick is like running is to basketball. It’s great for resting and when perfected and maxed out can raise you up to your waist for a few seconds (see waterpolo goalies). As punishment for goofing off our coach used to have us eggbeater treading water in the deep end of the pool holding a sledge hammer above our heads. Ten minutes of that and you learned your lesson.
    On another note having spent a lot of time in water one thing I have learned is that fat floats! Finally an upside for the hefty person. I have had ultra marathon type friends with hardly any body fat struggle to float. While my corpulent body just lies relaxed on the top of the water. There you go, my lifetime observations of water wisdom.

    Reply
    Nov 23
    2015

    Anup Sinha

    I am doing classes but as I am 40 I guess too late to learn,i can swim a bit but not able to inhale while swimming can hold my breath an swim for a bit and exhale from nose for a bit. Tried to tread water but not able to keep my head above water.My body is stiff while treading water.Is it cause I work out with weights? heard swimming is a best exercise for whole body and also to burn fat

    Reply
      Dec 01
      2015

      tofumarketing

      It is never too late to learn a new activity, and swimming is no different! It is a wonderful way to burn fat and exercise your whole body. Have you tried water aerobics? It involves doing a choreographed aerobic routine in the water and it gives great results. I think it would be a great way for you to start exercising in the pool.

      Reply
      Dec 01
      2015

      Javier

      We are on the same page… I’m 38, very little body fat and work out with weights often. How are classes coming for you? I have a goal to learn asap

      Reply
    Jul 30
    2016

    SphynxMinx

    I’m new to “swimming.” In Nov of 2015 I first treaded water. Six months later, we purchased a new home with a 40′ pool. After much hesitation I started treading water again. Now, three months post purchase I’m comfortable with the pool and I can vertically float, without moving either hands or legs, effortlessly. It’s as if I’m on a float. I can, easily, tread water for up to two hours…. no big deal. I get out because of skin pruning.

    My husband can’t do it although he’s a good swimmer.
    What allows some people to vertically float effortlessly while others cannot?

    Reply
    Aug 19
    2016

    Jax

    I love and hate the backstroke. I hate water up my nose but I can’t tread so this backstroke along with holding air in my lungs is the best I can do but I don’t bring my hands out of water. I agree fat floats but in my case I’ve rarely been in water that was deep enough to need to tread. I practice all the other stokes and I carry enough body fat but I’ve never established a comfort level. Fat may float but fear sinks to the bottom. My body stays in pain in my joints. Water feels the best.
    Soooo, wish I was a better swimmer. Couldn’t save a fish from drowning

    Reply
    Aug 28
    2016

    Chris Jarocki

    Yesterday at the pool my daughter’s 10 year old friend effortlessly treaded water for 30 minutes!!! I was very happy for her because that is a heck of an accomplishment. At the same time I was incredibily frustrated!! can’t even do it for 2 minutes!! I was never properly taught how to tread water. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t using the egg beater kick. A lifeguard told me the techniques I am using are ineffective. I want to master this kick so I can tread water like that. Please help with this!!

    Reply
    Sep 08
    2016

    Ahmad

    I tried many times but I sink .
    ?

    Reply
    Jan 06
    2017

    Brett

    Dear Melanie,
    I can float on my back & breathe (still need more practice). I’m not a good swimmer & want to build my confidence more in the water, so thought of checking out “how to tread water” & came to your blog. In saying that, I am more confident when snorkeling (- am still working on that too) 🙂
    I have good lung capacity & am able breathe normally (or better) when snorkeling.
    You say that if you are able to use your legs it is easier. There’s my problem: I have difficulty kicking or using my legs & coordination isn’t easy but when snorkeling in a pool I am learning slowly how (even with my disability) to move in a relaxed way with mask, snorkel & fins. But back to my question:
    Do you have any ideas how it might be best for me to try treading water with my disability?
    Any help would be great.
    Kiwibloke

    Reply
    Mar 17
    2017

    Esmelding Paling

    Awesome advice. I never heard of this and now i’d really like to try. thank you

    Reply

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