I want to skydive but I am overweight…

Each drop zone has set a maximum weight for tandem students.  This is based upon the maximum weight that their particular parachutes (main and reserve) can safely carry to the ground.  They base the tandem student weight (fully clothed because naked tandem students are not pretty) upon their heaviest/average tandem instructors weight.  So it may seem unfair that the drop zones set their minimum weight at around 15 stone however this is all about safety.  Some drop zones set a maximum weight of 13 stone for women.  This is based on an average women’s height of 5’6-5’7.  If a women is taller and heavier then do look at the table below or contact us for more advice.

Height is as important.  It is an indicator of someones shape and fitness levels.  If someone is very short and very heavy they may be under the maximum weight but if they are not able to lift their legs up to ensure a safe landing* they are not going to pass the basic assessment during tandem training.  See below a rough guide to the recommended weight to height ratios.

There is not really a minimum height for a tandem skydive but if you are 5ft you will need to have a realistic weight to match your height – see above. For most of the drop zones they advise that anyone over 6’4 should discuss their potential as a tandem student with us/them.  Someone over 6’1 could legitimately be over the drop zone’s weight limit.

*Fitness is important too.   Although taking part in a tandem skydive is not as physical as a solo skydive and the majority of the work is done by a tandem instructor you do have to take part in a  couple of body positions and these can effect your safety.  The free fall positions are reasonably easy and as long as you don’t start waiving your arms and legs around all will be well.  The most difficult and potentially dangerous part of your jump is coming in to land.  You will need to be able to lift your legs up to about waist-chest height so that your instructor can ‘land’ the parachute without you acting like an anchor potentially breaking both your ankles…  Ultimately do as you are told and you will be fine.

We do accept that muscle is heavier than fat and that if you are like me you are surprisingly heavy for your height but reasonably fit.  It is very difficult to enforce a set of rules.  A 6′ rugby player at 16 stone is a very difficult case to a 5’5, 15.5 stone person who rarely exercises.  Hence the recommended weight/height ratios.  If someone is outside of these recommendations contact us giving us your weight, height age and an indication of your fitness levels and we can consult with the drop zone and get answers specific to you.

When you undertake your tandem training the instructor may check your weight against your form – so be honest! They will also be assessing your ‘fitness’ to take part in the skydive – importantly your ability to lift your legs for landing.  You may be under the weight limit, have a doctors signature on your declaration of fitness but if the instructor decides you are not fit enough to take part then I am afraid you will not be able to take part.

Some people are just not the right shape to skydive….  However with a little work most people can lose enough weight and gain the fitness levels needed to be a safe tandem student.

The important thing to work on is your core strength:  sit ups, planking (grh!), hoola-hooping (yes – much more fun than sit ups!) all help. Work on your flexibility; Yoga, Pilates, or if you prefer ‘manly stretching’ all help. Then of course everyone needs a bit more cardio in their world – 20 minutes brisk walking a day can do amazing things – but if this is hard try getting moreactiv park further away from the supermarket, use the stairs instead of lifts and just be more active in your life.  Me; I need to eat a less sugar, a bit less carbs and stop finishing my daughters meals….

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