CLEARANCE DIVER Selection – Lets talk about FINNING

CLEARANCE DIVER Selection – Lets talk about FINNING

The military diver uses a method called “finning” as a mode of transportation and to conserve gas from their dive set. There is a fine art to finning as the risk of being compromised is a concern. Here are our tips to becoming more efficient at finning.

What is finning? You may ask.

Basically you are lying on your back in the water with fins and dive gear on. Hands are by your side (stream lined) and you commence kicking. Easy right?

Well if you are training for the notorious RAN Clearance Diver Selection Test then this method “finning” will be put to the test.

There are many selections within the Australian Defence Force with various military fitness requirements but there is only one that requires the candidate to “fin”.

If this is a something you want to go for in the future or even if you want to train this for general fitness, then take note of the following basic finning techniques. These have been trialled and used on operations and previous selections.


Think “High speed, Low drag”. Your body needs to be as straight as possible to create minimal water resistance whilst moving. Bring your arms close to your side and your head down to a neutral position.

Knees remain under water. Every time your knees breach the surface they will act as a “break”, therefore decreasing your precious momentum.

Kick from the hips. This may feel weird at the start as muscle groups haven’t really been used like this. If going longer than 1 hour your ankles will love you for this.

Vary your load out. A great way to get better at finning besides better technique is to increase drag in training. This can be achieved by wearing coveralls to create further friction within the water.

Injury self – management. Its best practice to protect against any thing that will comprise your success in passing an evolution or selection. A common problematic “hot spot” or rubbing can be caused by the constant movement of rubber against skin on the feet from your fins. To combat this firstly, finding the perfect sized fin for your feet is a must! And secondly, know where you rub and use waterproof strapping tape to reduce the wear and tear.

Mind/Muscle connection. This may sound like a load of sh#t but it works. When your are engaged in the activity think about the muscle groups you should be firing. We have a lot of people mention sore ankle or shins, this can be associated from not using the major muscle groups for example, hamstrings, glutes, quads and core. Try to connect with at least one of these groups in your next training session and let me know the next day if you feel that they were worked. My best bet is that they will be sore. Eventually the groups will grow stronger and with practice you will be able to recruit all major muscle groups therefore increasing your efficiency and performance.

Flexibility/Mobility. These two categories play a major factor in mechanics and performance when finning. Trigger point release with a lacrosse ball underneath the soles of your feet is a must. This can reduce muscle tension with the ankle, calf and hamstring. Stretching out the hip flexors and psoas is also crucial for proper hip movement and will help prevent any lower pack pain.

Basic Clearance Diver Class 79. Photo Credit: Ben Mitchell

Summing this up, finning is an art practiced for many centuries by military divers all around the world. If you take the time to understand these techniques and implement them into your training then this will turn into confidence and strength you can draw on in training, selections and operations.

To improve your finning, check out Navy Diver Prep program. To see a FREE intro, fill in your details –

EDIT: In January 2017 some Frogman Members got together in Rockingham WA to put these lessons into practice. Check out the footage HERE or watch below.

Want to know more before diving in?