David Colturi's strength in numbers

Strength in Numbers: David Colturi 

Photography: Eric Klein

The American cliff diver twists and turns his way to success thanks to a winning formula in and out of the water


The Weight in kg that he can shift on a leg press machine 

As well as a strong and lean overall physique, Colturi needs explosive leg power to achieve the necessary height when launching himself from the platform.

“On the gym’s Agaton machine,” he says, “you can add weight to a leg press on the way down. I’ve done 136kg on the raise, then added another 136kg for the return. I can manage three to four reps of that.”

Set a limit of 272kg to build leg muscle without straining your lower back.

Watch the interview with cliff diver David Colturi

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The number of spins he’ll perform in 10 minutes while suspended above the floor 

Cliff divers train in the pool, in the gym and in mid-air. “We use rooms with sprung floors and foam pits, like gymnasts. Some of these have apparatus with ropes and pulleys so we can suspend ourselves in the air to practise rotations and learn spins. The biggest competition dive, the back triple with four rotations, has three somersaults and four twists – that’s seven spins in one dive. I might practise 15 of those in a row.”


  • Discipline: Cliff diver
  • Age: 27  
  • Height: 1.73m
  • Weight: 68kg
  • Roll of honour: Fifth place overall in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015
David Colturi's strength in numbers


The Top speed in kph he will have reached by the time he hits the water 

The height of the platform in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series can be up to 28m. Divers accelerate from 0-85kph in three seconds, then drop to 0kph less than a second after making contact with the water (which has a minimum depth of 5m). “Because we only do four jumps in a competition, people say we have a 12-second work day, which is kind of funny. But you go over the dives in your mind so many times – hundreds of times a day. It’s a mentally exhausting sport.” Colturi notes down his thoughts and responses on paper as a way of dealing with the brain strain.

Red Bull Cliff Diving

The world's best cliff divers compete from up to 28m in the most respected World Series around the globe


The duration in minutes that he can hold the ‘hollow body’ pose to improve core stability 

“For this exercise, you lay down so that only your lower back touches the ground, with your shoulder blades and legs a few inches off the floor. It’s like the Plank [face down, forearms and toes on the floor, spine straight], but tougher.”

By increasing core strength, full-body co-ordination exercises like these give cliff divers the balance they need to maintain body position in the air, and they’re a tough-but-simple addition to any fitness routine.

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08 2016 The Red Bulletin

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