Before we start to compare neck weight vs the weight belt, let’s make sure everybody understands why we need additional weights.
In the swimming pool, when a Freediver swims underwater, he needs to be at 1-2 meters deep and not to sink or float up. As the majority of people are positively buoyant (float up) at such depth, they need to put some extra weights on to be neutrally buoyant (stay on the same depth without floating up or sinking). This is even more important if you use a wetsuit.
Buoyancy is a personal feature and two freedivers with similar weight and height may have different buoyancy and need a different amount of weights.
If the amount of weights influences the buoyancy in general, then the location of weights impacts the streamline position. And a good streamline position helps a lot in conserving oxygen.
If all your weights stay around hips, then, after a freediver makes deep inhale and starts swim underwater, the chest area will be more buoyant (float up) and legs are less buoyant (sink).
I am not saying that the weight belt is not practical in freediving – you can see that many freedivers, especially beginners, prefer to use it, instead of the neck weight.
First of all, it is more convenient to wear weights on hips rather than on a neck, especially if its 3-4 kilos heavy. It takes a while to get used to a neck weight and be comfortable with it.
The second reason, weight belts are more popular in freediving centers as they are more multi-functional and durable, so high chances that you get it if you rent equipment from the Freediving center.
And the third reason – it’s not so long time ago freediving brands started to manufacture neck weights. Before, if you want to have a neck weight – you have to make it by yourself.
But what are the advantages of the neck weight?
The first one – you can adjust its weight more precisely.
Weights for the weight belt have a fixed amount of grams – 500, 800, 1000, etc. For example, in our school, we use 800 and 1200 grams. In contrast, you can make your neck weight to match your buoyancy much more precisely.
The second advantage – location of the neck weight improves body position and provides more streamlined (horizontal).
Nowadays you have a choice – you can either buy a branded neck weight or make it by yourself as in old good times. All you need for the handmade option is a bicycle tire, some filling, pair of clips, and insulation tape.
This is the cheapest solution and you can use it both for a pool and for the ocean.
But if the water temperature in your pool varies and sometimes you need to wear the wetsuit and sometimes you don’t, then you need to adjust the amount of the weights as well. This is pretty difficult to do with a handmade neck weight. What you can do in this case – make several neck weights, which would fit every wetsuit you have.
Or you can buy the adjustable neck weight.
Lobster at the moment is probably the most popular brand in a freediving market. They created a very comfortable and good looking weight system, which spreads the weight not just around the neck, but also along the spine. The only minus of Lobster neck weight – it is not convenient for depth diving, despite the manufacturer still recommends it.
By Svitlana Gaidai