Cold Water Immersion Tips


Over the past few months we have received several emails wanting to know how to deal with cold water.

They are asking about dealing with the ice bath at SEALFIT 20X Challenge, Kokoro, Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and Bone Frog Challenge events.

This is also good on how to prepare for the cold during the BUDS wetsuit appreciation swims.

Check out these tips to get you on your way to working around the obstacle of cold water immersion.

You will become one with the water like a frog.

TIP #1

Take a cold shower. Get used to being in cold water in a familiar environment. Time how long you can stay in. Each time add an extra minute.

A real life example is that the water in the showers at the Alcatraz prison was kept warmer then usual so that prisoners could not acclimatize to colder water and use that during their potential escape.

Check out this video on tips how a soft Florida boy survived cold water in BUDS


Control your breathing. Breath deep slow breath. In through the noise and out through the mouth.

TIP #3

Visualize. Think about something warm. My swim buddy in Navy SEAL BUD/S training taught this one to me. He said “think about the chow hall and drinking a warm cup of coffee”. That was all it took to take my mind off being cold by just thinking about something warm.

QUESTION: What is a good book about BUDS to let me know more of what to expect?

Answer: We like the book Freak Frogman as it was written by a Navy SEAL for his son.

I wish I would have had this book at 19 years old when I decided to go to BUDS.

The book is great but you will still have to go out and train really hard and of course not quit.

Video: Acclimation to cold water and mud

TIP #4

Practice with the ice bath get bags of ice and put them in your home bath. Try to sit down and stay in for 30 seconds or more up to your chin. Submerge your head. If you can do it – breathe through a snorkel or cut the end off a water bottle. This is much harder.

Video – 25 Minute Cold Water Sit

Swim in the bay or lake Sign up for a local triathlon or just go for a dip in a nearby lake. If there are no lakes then find a ditch like the guys in the video above. Get creative.
Another good method is to sign up for a local polar bear swim. These groups get out during new years day and take a dunk in the local water spot.

TIP #6
Swim in the ocean for a short distance then longer. Always swim with a buddy, never alone. Slowly build up your distances until you are more comfortable in the cold water.

Questions from athletes in our gym and readers online.

Question: “how do you prepare for cold water in special forces and obstacle course racing?” Check out the tips on cold water above.

Question: Coach, what is the wetsuit appreciation swim at BUDS?

Answer: That is where they make you swim without a wetsuit no matter how cold the water is. Several candidates will get chilled and quit (or not complete) that evolution.

Question: What is the 20X ice immersion test?

Question: What is the wetsuit appreciate swim at BUDS?

About the Author:
bradBrad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness after being kicked out of a top tier Spec Ops training unit. He failed out of BUD/S the first time after failing a math test (made it through Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp). He came back a year later and graduated and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams with a total of 6 years of military service.

Today he coaches athletes around world traveling to training camps in Ireland, Canada, Puerto Rico and Southern California. Contact Brad

Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals.

Related Articles:
What is the Goon Squad at BUDS?
BUD/S and Special Forces Questions and Answers

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