How to Float on Your Stomach

Underwater photo of young asian boy submerged in water
A child practices floating on his stomach before swimming. (Image: maccj/iStock/Getty Images)

Learning to float is the first step in learning to swim. As an article titled “How to Float for Swimming” on the iSport Swimming website explains, anything with a density greater than that of water will sink. The density of the human body, however, is about one-third less than that of water, making it possible for you to float. People with greater muscle density generally find it more difficult to float, while those with higher lung capacity find it easier, but most people can learn to do it.

Step 1

Stand in the shallow end of the pool.

Step 2

Take a deep breath and hold it. Bend at the waist and lean forward until your face is in the water. Your head should be half underwater, half above water.

Step 3

Lift one foot, then the other, off the floor of the pool and stretch your legs out behind you so that you are lying face down in the water.

Step 4

Arch your back slightly and push your stomach down a bit.

Step 5

Relax your arms and legs.

Step 6

Exhale slowly, blowing bubbles in the water.

Step 7

Turn your head to one side without lifting it out of the water to inhale. After breathing in, turn your head so that you are facing down again.

Tip

triathlete Sara McLarty, in an article about learning to swim on the website Beginner Triathlete, advises against trying to hold yourself on top of the water. She recommends simply relaxing and allowing the water to hold you.

Wear swim goggles if you like, so you can easily open your eyes and see underwater while floating on your stomach.

Warning

If you don’t know how to swim, learn to float in a shallow pool where you can stand on the bottom with your head above water. A swimming instructor, lifeguard or other person who knows how to swim and can assist you in an emergency should be present.

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