top of page

Building Strength for Scuba Diving: Posterior Chain and Core Exercises

By: Shae Mayan

Although going “under the sea” is a peaceful endeavor, it takes a great amount of strength and requires your body to use muscles that you may not normally use on a day-to-day basis.

An example of this is using your legs and core to kick and stabilize, either to swim towards that beautiful turtle or to (hopefully not) try to escape a tiger shark while it is feasting. Research has shown that you can burn between 400-700 calories per HOUR while scuba diving, so it is important to be prepared, fit and ready to take on that tiger shark! In this blog post, we will discuss some exercises that you can do to strengthen these muscles. We'll also provide a few tips on how to incorporate these exercises into your workout routine.

What is the Posterior Chain?

Scuba diving fitness and exercises

The posterior chain are the muscles that make up the back side of the body such as the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. If you are looking to improve your scuba diving skills, one of the best things you can do is focus on strengthening this muscle group. It will help stabilize your body while diving and help you stay safe underwater.

Scuba diving gear is anywhere from 40-60 pounds, with your back carrying most of that weight (no pun intended). If you have a weak back or core, you will be more prone to injury while putting your gear on and getting in or out of the water.

How is the Core Involved in Diving?

The abdominals (core) are involved with balance, stability, and overall movement of the body. Swimming with O2 bottles, a weight belt, and other scuba gear involves the core with each stroke and kick. Although dive gear becomes weightless underwater, it still challenges the body with stabilization.

In summary, posterior chain and core exercises are important for scuba diving because they help to:

- Improve posture and alignment

- Reduce the risk of low back pain

- Increase strength and power

- Improve balance and coordination

- Increase endurance

Exercises to Strengthen the Posterior Chain

Some exercises to incorporate into your workouts include:

- Squats

- Wall Sits

- Romanian Deadlifts

- Glute Bridges

- Superman’s

It is suggested to start with 3 sets of 10 each, 3-4 days per week. Once you gain strength and that becomes easy, add some free weights or machines into the mix!

Exercises to Strengthen the Core

- Planks

- Bird Dogs

- Dead Bugs

- Shoulder Taps

- Flutter Kicks

Start with 3 sets of 30-45 seconds of each exercise. Be sure to engage the core and use good form. Once that starts to become easier, increase the time and try to work up to at least 1-2 minutes of each exercise.

Now that you know why posterior chain and core exercises are important for scuba diving, be sure to add some of these exercises to your workout routine! You should start to notice your body more at ease and have the ability to make your O2 bottle last longer while underwater. Give these exercises a try next time you work out!

Happy diving!

Shae has a bachelors degree in Animal Science and has spent the last 10 years as a personal trainer (NASM and Corrective Exercise Specialist Certified). Currently she is serving activity duty in the Unites States Navy. We thank her for her service.


Adams, J. B. (2021, April 27). Core body strength. Divers Alert Network. Retrieved September 18, 2022

Fulbrook, P. (2022, July 25). How heavy is scuba gear? Retrieved September 18, 2022

Walsh-, B. M., By, -, Martin WalshPADI IDC Staff Instructor Martin, Walsh, M., Martin, P. A. D. I. I. D. C. S. I., & -, M. W. (2021, November 12). Workouts for SCUBA divers & fitness requirements for diving. DOWN TO SCUBA. Retrieved September 18, 2022,


bottom of page