How To Hold Your Breath Longer Underwater? Guide For Freedivers

How to hold your breath for 5 minutes in just 1 month?

In the first place we would have to define what apnea is, apnea is the suspension of breathing for a limited time, both inspiring and exhaling. Once this term is defined, we show you a useful guide on the freediving technique to be able to hold your breath for longer in your diving and spearfishing dives .

How To Hold Your Breath Longer Underwater? Guide For Freedivers
How To Hold Your Breath Longer Underwater? Guide For Freedivers

Security measures

  • Never dive alone, always dive with a partner.
  • Dry training is much safer than training in the water.
  • Don’t hyperventilate.
  • Always dive within your limits. Set yourself small goals and make steady progress.

If there is one thing that is clear, it is that freediving training and increasing it is not an easy or fast path, and even more so if your goals are to achieve an apnea of ​​more than 4 minutes , but with the appropriate apnea technique, perseverance and work can lead you to achieve it. 

There is no magical freediving technique or secret breathing technique that could add 75% more to your freediving capacity in a short time. Freediving training is about conditioning your body step by step until your body gets used to dealing with the lack of O2 and the increase in CO2.

Preparation

The first thing is to check how your apnea is in the dry.

You have to know where you are starting from in order to predict how far you can go with freediving training.

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down on a bed.
  2. Breathe slowly slowly for 2 minutes. No deeper or faster than you normally would.
  3. Take a deep breath in, then exhale all the way out, then take a very deep breath, as deeply as you can.
  4. Then hold your breath, relax and think about other things, try to abstract yourself and disconnect.
  5. When you can no longer hold your breath, take a few deep breaths to recover.

How did it go, how long were you able to hold your breath?

We will use this time as a reference or prediction of what we will be able to obtain using the apnea technique in just a few months.

  • Initial test: 1 minute or less = Prediction: 3 minutes
  • Initial test: 1:30 minutes (approx) = Prediction: 4 minutes
  • Initial test: 2 minutes or more = Prediction: 5 minutes

You could have done better or worse, that doesn’t matter, from now on we have a reference time to start from and we know our initial state. Some people respond to freediving technique training better than others, there are no hard and fast rules that we can use to accurately measure your potential, but the reference times described above are a good guide to start with.

breathing techniques

The next step to work on is your own breathing technique. It can be divided into 3 main parts.

1 – The preparation:

There are three main things to focus on during your preparation. The relaxation of the muscles, the relaxation of the mind and the relaxation of the breath .

  • All your muscles need to be inactive, any muscle that tenses will use oxygen.
  • Your mind must be calm, if your mind is stressed, nervous or even afraid, your apnea will not go well. You must find something that calms your mind.
  • Your breathing should be relaxed, not forced, not deep, not fast, just normal (by doing this we are also avoiding hyperventilation).

2 – The final breaths before the apnea:

Your last 3 breaths:

  • The first inhale 75% of your capacity.
  • The second exhales 100% air.
  • The third inhales 100% of your maximum capacity.

and… KEEP!


3 – During apnea:

  • Keep the escaping air in the glottis or the back of the throat, not in the lips or mouth.
  • Never release your breath until you intend to breathe again, either underwater or on the surface. Your exhalations will include oxygen, so don’t waste it.
  • Relax your mind and body. Don’t think about anything.

Training sessions

The next step is to work on the frequency, location, and quality of your breath hold training.

1 – Types of freediving training and its frequency.

It will consist of making our Oxygen and CO2 tables , we will point out the apnea and recovery times, where at the beginning the tables that we make are not too hard but not too easy either, since then our training will not be 100% useful. By doing this training our body will tolerate higher levels of CO2 (hypercapnia) and lower levels of Oxygen (hypoxia).

Hypoxia (low O2) would be our first stage, it consists of performing series of 8 static apneas , in which we will increase the respiratory apnea time in each series but we will maintain the recovery times in each of the 8 apnea series. It will be done every other day for the first 2 weeks.

Hypercapnia (high in CO2) , in our second stage, it is proposed to work in 8 series as in hypoxia, but this time the training will consist of maintaining the apnea time and gradually reducing the recovery time in each series. This is a good exercise for fishermen since in many cases spearfishermen do not recover enough time on the surface and accumulate CO2 in the body. During the last two weeks of work, this training will be carried out every day.

The basic idea here is that we are working on reducing the need to breathe with the CO2 tables in the first place (as an increase in CO2 makes us want to breathe). With our increased tolerance to CO2 in the blood, we can then start working with the O2 tables.

2 – Freediving training location.

A dry workout is 10-20% harder than a wet workout . It is also much safer. This increase in difficulty is due to the fact that the diving reflex of mammals is activated by the immersion of our face in the water, therefore, when it dries, we suffer a drop in performance.

Think that if you can do well on dry land, you will do much better in the water. It is interesting to try to do at least one wet session a week, to get our body and mind accustomed to the aquatic environment.

3 – Quality of freediving training.

Like any sports training, quality should be more important than quantity . Doing freediving training every day but hating every minute of it will get you nowhere.

Focusing on doing the session properly gets you in the right mindset to get the most out of freediving training.

anaerobic training

Aerobic and anaerobic training are fundamental to your success. All the freediving training sessions detailed above are anaerobic (oxygen deficient) training but they are one type, being relaxed and focused on time and not effort. Now we want to incorporate a more physical training.

Anaerobic training literally means “out of breath,” so you can see why it can help you with your training. When your body is exposed to high-intensity physical exertion, your heart rate is very high, your breathing can’t keep up, and your muscles are deprived of oxygen so they start burning phosphates and glycogen. This type of training is not long or prolonged, but on the contrary, they are short and intense, between 90% and 100% of your maximum . You can do interval running type of training and alternate it with freediving rides. Use this type of training 2-3 times a week.

Curiosities

As of November 2015 , Miguel Lozano is the current Champion of Spain and National Record in the Constant Weight category with 100 m . He is also the holder of the Spanish Record in the AIDA Free Immersion modality with a depth of 122 meters .

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