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Alternatives to traditional O2 and CO2 Tables


Jan 29, 2020
I have just recently read about alternatives to traditional O2 and CO2 tables in the book "Freediving" by Simo Kurra, Kimmo Lahtinen, and Ari Nissinen. Here is the cover of the book, and a link to it on Amazon:
freediving book.jpg

I'm familiar with classic O2 and CO2 tables, but some alternatives for more advanced divers are mentioned on page 58. For CO2 tolerance it says that a lot of CO2 builds up in tissues during a long breath hold. Oxygen gets replenished with a breath or two. It suggests that a diver could hold her breath for a while (perhaps to the point where relaxation is compromised), then take one or two recovery breaths, then repeat the breath hold. I tried this for about 15 minutes as an experiment. I found it to be much more time effective than traditional CO2 tables.

Here is what is suggested for O2 work and getting the body more hypoxic. It says, on the same page, that this is only really practiced in the final moment at the end of a max or near maximum breath hold. It suggests that partially filled lungs should be used instead because a full breath would only make the entire breath duration much longer. So, start with partially filled lungs, hold it to near maximum, then inhale just a little bit, and continue to do this until lungs are full and we are near our limit.

The book, on the same page, also stresses the importance of not doing these kind of exercises too often.
I would like to know if there are names for these exercises or if anyone else does them or practices them.

I'm not looking for instant results and I'm not trying to overdue it because I've experienced burnout with tables before. I find traditional tables to take way too much time when there are other areas in fitness I'd like to do as well.

J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
Annapolis, MD, USA
The CO2 method you describe is similar to the "one-breath" CO2 table. Hold your breath for a set period (for example 1 to 1 1/2 minutes), then exhale all your air, inhale again, just once, hold for another cycle, repeat. As you do a series of these, each hold becomes harder and harder because your CO2 is building up.
Another fun way to do it is to see how few breaths you can take in 15 minutes - just hold your breath as long as you can, then take one breath, repeat until 15 minutes have passed.


Jan 29, 2020
That's what I did the other day when I tried this. The first breath hold was about 2-2.5 min, after that it was consistently 1:15ish, then it went down to a minute until the end. It seemed to get better (not compared to the first one of course).
I wonder who coined the term "one-breath" CO2 table.

Any idea about the one I described for O2/hypoxic training?


Feb 22, 2014
1. drill is a one breath table. Wildly discussed at deeperblue and the 2. is the Crazy Tavle by Herbert Nietsch i think. Better do the second one dry.


Active Member
Jun 13, 2014
1. One breath CO2 table, also known as Wonka table (Google it, very interesting).

2. I've seen the O2 exercise called intermittent hypoxic training.

I've only done the CO2 exercise (and dry, never in the pool!). I didn't find it very effective for DYN/DNF so I stopped. But my goal is also to hold longer during spearfishing. After a while I just did standard O2 tables and eventually I was able to hold long enough to get 10+ contractions, so didn't see the need for CO2 tables. - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


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