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Advice on training and diet- Freediving

Morgan Storm

Member
Jun 24, 2016
4
2
13
24
Stuart, Fl
Hey all, so I'm not super new to freediving, I've always done it while going lobstering or spearfishing(never deeper than 20ft). But I want to go deeper. I plan on taking a few classes in the fall to learn the techniques and stuff, and the first class said most students can achieve 60ft depth, and that the longest breath hold is 3 minutes. Well, I want to get in a lot better shape before doing that, and work on how long I can hold my breath. My static hold(out of water?) is a little over a minute. I've yet to actually time myself underwater yet, but I plan on doing that soon-whenever the next time I'm at my parent's house is(They're the only people I know with a pool). But I was just looking for some advice on training/conditioning your body for deep dives.I plan on cutting dairy and grains out of my diet(I guess that's called the paleo diet..?) and pretty much just eating lean meats with lots of fruits and veggies. I've started trail jogging again, I figured getting better at my cardio will help out a bit. If anybody has any advice, good workouts, diet tips, or breathing exercises, let me know. Thanks much!
 
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jaritter

Member
Apr 14, 2016
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Eilat
Welcome. Before I started freediving I was in the same boat as you in terms of experience. Been snorkeling/swimming all my life but never any deeper than 30 feet. There is a very good series of 20 articles on DeeperBlue that details most everything you'll need to know starting out.

https://www.deeperblue.com/category/freediving/the-beginners-guide-to-freediving/

Otherwise I can give you a few thoughts. I am no OG by any stretch of the imagination, but I've picked up a few things. One important thing to be aware of is that there are a lot of different opinions on how to do things with freediving. We are just beginning to learn about the physiology of freediving and deep diving so you will often see even veterans of the sport advocating very different techniques. My advice to you is to learn what you can online but take it all with a grain of salt and get into the class where they will teach you most importantly how to dive safely (and yes they usually go to around 60 feet if you're comfortable). Slow and steady wins the race in freediving. There are no magic tricks that will instantly make you better (with the possible exception of relaxation).

You've got the first part with the cardio. Heart and lung health are paramount to what we do so cardio is important. The second part will be to do some apnea specific training. There is debate on the merits of static breath holding but I think it's good to do so you can learn to relax and get comfortable with the sensations. Look up CO2 tables and O2 tables. Do them 2x a week each and if you're wheezing and panting after finishing a breath hold shorten the time to where is challenging but not desperate. You want to train you body to be calm and relaxed even when under stress. You can absolutely overtrain breath holding just like with any other physical activity. Dry dynamic apnea aka: walking apnea or stationary bike apnea is useful because it simulates kicking while holding your breath. Again, challenging not wheezing, since passing out while walking or in the gym can lead to bad things like less freediving for a while.

Personally I find the alkaline apnea specific diet a sham. At best it is beneficial only to professional level athletes and has little relevance recreational freedivers. At worst it is dietarily equivalent to hyperventilation. That said, cleaning up your diet to be healthier is never a bad thing (ie: more veggies, less soda and cookies). Paleo is solid, not necessary and pretty expensive but keeps you with plenty of vitamins and minerals and all of the macronutrients you need. Excessive caffeine (or stimulants) will make your heart rate be higher than necessary and dairy causes increased mucus production which can make equalization trickier. You don't have to get rid of them, but no/light caffeine and no/light dairy on dive days can make the dive more pleasant/successful.

If you start working on those things a little each week you will be more than ready when you reach the class without ever getting into the water. In the 30 to 60 feet range most of the people have trouble going deeper either due to problems equalizing or because it scares them, not breath hold time.

Two final things: 1) Have fun with it. Don't sweat the numbers, be consistent, and you will get better. 2) If you are in the water doing any sort of breath holding activities bring a buddy that you trust. This is not optional.

TLDR: Relaxation is everything don't force it. Enjoy the process and take it slow, it will come. Always have a buddy in the water.
 

Daniella

Member
Jul 30, 2016
7
1
13
27
Birmingham
I started doing hot yoga last year, before I started freediving and I was very relaxed and managed my breathing really well! It's great for the lungs, but also then entire body and renowned to be beneficial to freedivers. I'd never managed to hold my breath for more than 60 seconds and achieved a 4 minute breath hold doing static apnea my second time in the pool during my AIDA course.
And as nowayout has mentioned, DON'T try pushing yourself under any circumstances. If you 'force' yourself to hold your breath longer, the Co2 buildup will give you a sense of euphoria and you won't know what's happening so you can stop, and it's extremely dangerous. Even some world class divers have drowned while attempting record depths...
 

Jo_duiker

Active Member
Jan 16, 2014
106
21
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Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
In the 30 to 60 feet range most of the people have trouble going deeper either due to problems equalizing or because it scares them, not breath hold time.
Yes, that's most of the people. They are rare, but there are others and I'm one of them. I did my required depth for AIDA 2* four times and EVERY single time, I got contractions around a depth of 8-10m. On my way DOWN. The breathhold time IS restricting me. I'm even starting to think I only have half a lung instead of two full ones. :)
 

Jo_duiker

Active Member
Jan 16, 2014
106
21
33
43
Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
I started doing hot yoga last year, before I started freediving and I was very relaxed and managed my breathing really well! It's great for the lungs, but also then entire body and renowned to be beneficial to freedivers. I'd never managed to hold my breath for more than 60 seconds and achieved a 4 minute breath hold doing static apnea my second time in the pool during my AIDA course.
And as nowayout has mentioned, DON'T try pushing yourself under any circumstances. If you 'force' yourself to hold your breath longer, the Co2 buildup will give you a sense of euphoria and you won't know what's happening so you can stop, and it's extremely dangerous. Even some world class divers have drowned while attempting record depths...
Four minutes on your second try ever? Are you a machine?! Wow!
 

Jo_duiker

Active Member
Jan 16, 2014
106
21
33
43
Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
I only did 3:11 on my third attempt in my AIDA 2* with contractions starting around 2 min. But as they say: never compare yourself to others! (In that context I fail to see why they have a ranking of first, second and third in apnea competitions. ;-D )

I suck terribly in apnea walks or dynamic apnea with fins. Do you have any specific exercise / routines for apnea walking?
 

hteas

Well-Known Member
Mar 9, 2005
912
113
148
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Anchorage, AK
Jo
Just keep doing them. it may take up to half an hour for the dive reflex to kick in on a given day. That time shortens as you do it longer. I've read on a blog from Natalia Molchanova that the clamps that close sections of chromosomes (epigenetics) change with continued breathhold practice, changing your response.
 

Daniella

Member
Jul 30, 2016
7
1
13
27
Birmingham
I only did 3:11 on my third attempt in my AIDA 2* with contractions starting around 2 min. But as they say: never compare yourself to others! (In that context I fail to see why they have a ranking of first, second and third in apnea competitions. ;-D )

I suck terribly in apnea walks or dynamic apnea with fins. Do you have any specific exercise / routines for apnea walking?
Exactly, making a competition of it won't help improve technique so don't worry :)
As I'm located in possibly the least freediving city (Birmingham), my techniques aren't much to be honest. I try to do longer breath holds on each walk. I do the same route, so that I can assess better the duration, but on the hunt for a freediving buddy to get into proper training...
 
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Jo_duiker

Active Member
Jan 16, 2014
106
21
33
43
Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
Exactly, making a competition of it won't help improve technique so don't worry :)
As I'm located in possibly the least freediving city (Birmingham), my techniques aren't much to be honest. I try to do longer breath holds on each walk. I do the same route, so that I can assess better the duration, but on the hunt for a freediving buddy to get into proper training...

No, you don''t live in the least freediving city. I do, really! (Ieper, Belgium, lol!)
Thanks for the idea about the walks, must try. And start easy. I always demand too much of myself, which is NOT a good motivator. :)
 
Mar 20, 2011
699
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Los Angeles
Jo
Just keep doing them. it may take up to half an hour for the dive reflex to kick in on a given day. That time shortens as you do it longer. I've read on a blog from Natalia Molchanova that the clamps that close sections of chromosomes (epigenetics) change with continued breathhold practice, changing your response.
I would like to read that, do you have a link? I could not find anything with Google.
 
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