Floating on your back is a great way to get more comfortable in the water and have more fun relaxing on your back without all the effort of swimming. To float on your back you must position your head, upper and lower body correctly. Doing so is not only a great trick to add to your swimming repertoire, but it's also an excellent safety measure if you're stuck in a body of water. If you want to learn to float on your back and enjoy your time on the water even more, just read the Steps below.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing to float backwards
Step 1. Get comfortable with the water
To be able to float on your back without panicking, you must be calm and relaxed in the water, even if you are not an accomplished swimmer. You must learn to float on your back in a pool, not in the sea or a lake with waves. Ideally, you should be reasonably comfortable in the water and be able to swim from one edge of the pool to the other without needing help.
If you are floating on your back as a way to learn to swim, then you should take extra care and always be with your observer
Step 2. Get an observer
Do not try to float on your back for the first time alone. Even if you have mastered other basic swimming techniques, if this is your first time trying to float on your back, you should not only have an observer, but be in a place that has a pro ready to help.
The observer will place a hand on your back and let you make the necessary adjustments to your body until you are comfortable to try it yourself
Step 3. Try using a float
Wearing a life jacket or float on your arms or chest can make you more comfortable in the water. If you've trained with an observer but aren't ready to try floating alone, try using the equipment until you get used to it and no longer need it.
Step 4. Align your body with the surface of the water
Before you start floating on your back alone, you need to align your body with the water - ideally, your body should start in a position almost parallel to the water or the bottom of the pool. You can even stand on your back and start at the edge of the pool until your body naturally glides with the surface of the water.
Once your body is in line with the surface of the water and your back is relatively parallel to the water, it will be much easier to make adjustments to the rest of your body
Method 2 of 3: Adjusting Your Head
Step 1. Put your ears in the water
Although at first it may not be comfortable to put your ears in the water, just tilt your head back until your ears are completely submerged. If your ears are sticking out of the water, it means your neck will be tense and your body won't float so easily.
Step 2. Lift your chin
When your ears are submerged, lift your chin. You can gently lift it an inch or two out of the water, or even more, until it points to the ceiling or sky. This will help you tilt your head back and make your whole body more buoyant.
Step 3. The water should be halfway down your face
As you put your ears underwater and begin to lift your chin, the waterline should be in the middle of your face. It can be a little lower if you lift your chin high.
Step 4. Stay centered
Keep your head centered so you don't lean to one side or the other. Keeping your head centered will keep the rest of your body centered.
Method 3 of 3: Adjusting Your Body
Step 1. Position your arms correctly
There are a few ways to position your arms when you are floating on your back. If you are a complete beginner, you can bend your elbows and place your palms under your head as if you were doing sit-ups; bend your elbows down to force your body up even more. Here are some things to try as you position your arms:
- If you are more comfortable in the water, you can put your arms straight behind your head, mimicking the diving position, this will change your center of gravity and better balance the weight of your legs.
- You can also put your arms straight out, or keep them at your sides just a few inches apart.
- Whatever you do with your arms, your palms should always be pointing towards the ceiling or the sky.
Step 2. Arch your back a little
This will help you lean your body up. Just arch your upper back a few inches up.
Step 3. Elevate your chest
As you arch your back, lift your chest higher until it's out of the water.
Step 4. Elevate your belly
You should also lift your belly until your abdomen is above the surface of the water.
Step 5. Bend your knees
Bend your knees to open your legs a little. If your legs are completely straight you are more likely to sink.
Step 6. Let your legs loose
After bending your knees, keep your legs light and with at least a few inches of space between them. Your legs will not naturally float on the water. For many adults, the legs are heavier than the arms and upper body, so the legs can naturally sink. This might be different for a small child.
Step 7. Knock your legs
If you feel your body sinking in close to your legs, just tap your legs a little to keep your body afloat. You can float on your back and kick whenever you feel your body sinking, or just gently and continuously tap your legs to avoid sinking.
Step 8. Make small adjustments
As you continue to float on your back, pay attention to your body and see if it's sinking somewhere. Continue kicking if you are sinking near your feet and legs, and gently move your hands and arms in the water if you feel your upper body slipping out of position. You can also try lifting your chin or arching your back a little more to make your body float better.
If you come out of the floating position just line up your body with the surface of the water and try again. Learning to float backwards takes time
- Try to push your hips up and keep them elevated.
- Also try arching your back to find a point of balance.
- Don't tell your friend you want to float; just think that you're already floating and when your friend lets you go, there's no problem.
- Maybe it's obvious, but it's worth pointing out that it's important that you know how to swim before you even think about learning to float. Doing so is an added security measure.
- Don't be on a full or nearly full stomach when you do this.
- First, know how to swim underwater, as you can sink at any time.
- If this is your first time trying to float, don't do anything alone. Look for a swimming teacher.
- Practice with an adult near you.
- Be careful! Don't do this in the deep end if you're learning, and don't do it without other people around to help you.