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Anaerobic capacity

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Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2001
Hi all,
I have a problem.
When I'm doing dynamics the first 50 meters are very easy and felt plenty of Oxygen, but after that I feel like all my Oxygen have burned out, around 60 meters my legs get so weak that sometimes I had to stop for a while to finish at least 75. When I make it without fins I made easily 70.
What do you think is the problem?.
I think I have to work on the anaerobic capacity of my leg muscles. What will be the best exercises for that?
Hi Frank,

I am not sure that I know how to increase anaerobic capacity, and I'm not an elite diver by any stretch. However, I can say that my dynamic stats are well beyond my static stats. I do a lot of weight training and this may be a factor in the discrepancies between my aerobic vs anaerobic fitness. I think that there may be a few mechanisms at work and I'm grateful for the chance to run these past a physician:

(1) Weight training of large muscles to volitional failure probably increases ATP stores and other anaerobic substrates because the rate of energy consumption is far beyond the rates at which aerobic mechanisms can supply power (else we'd be doing a lot more reps). As a result, intense weight training causes anaerobic stress. Supplementing w/ creatine phosphate might help augment this effect?

(2) The fact that the exercise results in frequent and relatively intense O2 debt seems to result in rapid recovery (i.e. rapid recovery to baseline heart rate etc. noted from some stress tests on an ergometer). Not sure thy this is so.

(3) Hypertrophy and a predominance of short-twitch muscle may help with O2 conservation since oxygen cannot diffuse as rapidly to these muscles (i.e. a marathon runner will suck O2 out of his blood more readily than a weight lifter when performing an equal amount of work). I think that this might also imply that big guys might be slower to recover from a breath hold.

(4) There may be cardiac benefits. Supposedly power lifters end up w/ impressive cardiac ejection fractions. Not sure of this is beneficial to freediving, but thought I'd mention it (if only in the hopes that someone would respond and satisfy my curiosity on the point).

I occasionaly do apnea walking and it is interesting that you can feel when your body has transitioned over to a primarily anaerobic mode -- you actually get a 2nd wind and the urge to breathe suddenly declines (but only for a short time!). At about the same time, you feel the characteristic burning of lactate in the legs.

So that's my $0.02 -- weight training (to develop capacity) and apnea walking (to develop a feel for how your body responds).
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That's it!!
I will start colecting this cents!!! If i would have start it two monts ago i would be rich by now!!! :D

You are wright. I wish you didn't say that ($1.66 ain't much ;) )
So start writeing :D

Thanks Pezman,
I agree, partially with you ;) , I think that the feeling is due to poor anaerobic capacity. I don't think that big muscles are good for apnea. If we rely on our Oxygen muscle stores (as Myoglobin) a bigger muscle means a longer distance to travel so less O2 availability. I'm sure that weight lifting could be helpful, but I don't like it. Any other options like sprints?. I'll start apnea walking too.
Did you feel something similar?
Sprints rule!

Sprints are an awesome exercise -- far better than weight training in many (most?) respects. Unfortunately, I am too lazy to do them.

My statics went way down when I stopped weight training my legs. Not sure if it was a coincidence or not.

The apnea walking was the biggest breakthrough though. I never would have pushed that hard in the pool and therefore never would have experienced the 2nd wind phenomenon. If you end up experiencing this 2nd wind effect, I would be very interested in any ideas that you have about the underlying physiology.
2nd wind

I have experienced that.
I train on sunday climbing a hill, start at 2600 meters and finish at 3100, in the last meters I felt like I was going to faint, but suddenly I felt strong again and can make and sprint to the end.
At the end of the climbing my heart rate is about 95-100% of the maximum, in this type of exercise you rely mainly in aerobic metabolism, but when the work exceeds the supply you have to start using anaerobic metabolism, this is known as anaerobic threshold, that new energy (I believe) is our 2nd wind. I started that kind of training to improve my anaerobic capacity.
As you say I think sprints are helpful too, because in a sprint the only source of energy is from anaerobic metabolism.
I changed a little my training hope it help.

I don't know if this is a solid way of increasing anerobic performance but this is what I have been up to.

1. Aerobic bike ride 5 minutes (using Heart Rate Monitor to keep HR down, remove lactic acid)
2. Anerobic ride 4-5 minutes (keep HR high)
3. get off bike and breath for a minute
4. Do a breath hold for about 30-45 sec or as much as I can.
5. Repeat

Repeat 3 times. That is pretty much what I do for anerobic training 2-3 times a week. currently.
Last edited:
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Hi Jeremy
I think that will be helpful.
I use to do something similiar:
3 minutes of normal cycling (60-70%Vo2max)
1 minute sprint (85-95 Vo2Max)
30" apnea at the same cycling rythm.
I made this for 30-45 minutes without stopping, I finished with a extreme headache and after a while I noticed a permanent High Blood Pressure (I'm living at 2600 meters over sea level).
Your "brake time" of 1 minute to breath can help to the bad side effects of this kind of training.
Next week I'll give it a try
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