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Thread: Breathe ups. Breathing exercises for freediving

  1. #1
    Senior Member Euro Pod Nicky-Katz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Germany, Hannover

    Breathe ups. Breathing exercises for freediving

    The topic came up in another thread about tips on breath holding. So I've dicided to share what I've found out about breathing on the surface and before the dive. Here are three exercises I'm doing almost on daily basis. Practice makes perfect and all, so give it a try.

    I went from about 40 seconds in static to my last 2 minute record in about a week of practice.

    My advice would be pretty long and consists of diverse methods I've picked up from a lot of videos and a book I'm currently reading ( "Apnoetauchen" by Dagmar Anders-Brümmer - I'm not sure if the same book exists in English, but there are several other books which contain the relevant information. E.g. Pranayama). Anyways, here are a couple of things I use:

    My usual wake-me-up Dragon Breath a.k.a. Breath of Fire:

    What it does:
    - wakes me up almost every morning
    - activates stomach muscles and diaphragm
    - active exhale and passive inhale (yes, that's right). These help

    1. Strengthen your exhale-muscles (upper stomach and diaphragm)
    2. Improve concentration
    3. Minimize your need to breathe
    4. Turn your perception inside you
    5. Improve emotion control

    How to do it:

    I've found a good explanation video that describes the exercise just as I'm doing it.

    WARNING: due to hyperventilation danger NEVER EVER EVER EVER do this exercise right before the dive. It is meant to train your breathing muscles, not ready you for the dive!

    Another exercise I'm doing is Triangle Breath or Alternate Nostril Breathing:

    Waht it does:
    - it is basically meditation and helps to calm down
    - slows down breathing rate

    How to do it:

    Yet another video. It'd be a lot of text to type, and the video gives more clear instructions.

    Note: I sometimes do this exercise before going into the water, just to calm down, lower my heart and breathing rate.

    The last, but most helpful and in my case also most used is what I call Snake Breath. I did not find a video extra about that, so I'll type.

    Waht it does:
    - slows your heart and breathing rate,
    - activates diaphragm, stomach and rib musles,
    - calms you down,
    - helps inhale more air.

    How to do it:

    I'm using this technique either for static dry practice or on the surface, pool edge etc. before the dive.

    1. Lie down on your back. I like to raise my knees to ease tension on my stomach. Or lie down flat. Just as you like. Use flat or no cushion for your head - you have to make way for air through your throat, so knick in your neck is not an option. You can put your arms either on the sides of your body (or one palm on your belly and the other on your chest for starters) or you can stretch your arms overhead. Close your eyes if you like.
    2. Exhale completely.
    3. Inhale with your diaphragm first and then widen your chest to stretch the lungs and pump more air inside.
    4. Put your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
    4.1. Exhale through your mouth under pressure. You should be making a prelly loud snake-like sound: shhhhssssssssss!
    4.2 Your exhale time should be twice the time you've inhaled. Inhale slowly, exhale even more slowly. E.g. I usually inhale for about 6 seconds. That makes a 12 second exhale for me.
    Continue with 3.

    Continue the exercise for several minutes. Inhale with your diaphragm and then your chest. And hold. See if your time has improved.
    At some point you'll feel the contractions of the diaphragm. That's your body telling you you need to exhale, as your CO2 level has risen. Ignore it. Ignore it longer and longer gradually. But don't forget you'll eventually need to breathe sometime soon.

    Same exercise on the water surface:

    You'll need a snorkel and a mask. And a buddy to watch over you! NEVER EVER EVER dive alone! NEVER EVER EVER hyperventilate!

    1. While floating on your stomach, grab a hold of the pool edge so you don't float away.
    2. Breathe in the same way through the snorkel.
    3. Continue for several minutes.
    4. Hold. Important: take the snorkel out of your mouth!!

    Note: your hold time in water static might probably be longer than your dry static due to mammalian diving reflex.

    Another important thing about freediving is to practice often. I needed just a week to make a huge improvement. Also it can be helpful to write down your practice log. It is also useful to have a swimming trainer. I'm lucky to have joined the DLRG (German Life-Saving Association) and my boyfriend is one of their trainers. So no skipping training for me

    In any case, keep practising, have a lot of fun and be safe while diving!

    Be one with the world

  2. #2
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    this is super interesting, even free diving aside. Thanks for sharing!

  3. #3
    What a great reference! Thanks!

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  4. #4
    great tips! I will incorporate these into my daily breathing for swimming!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Euro Pod Nicky-Katz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Germany, Hannover
    I'd like to hear from all, who have tried this if it helped them improve
    Glad I could help

    Be one with the world

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