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Beginner Training

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Brian Hamilton

Subsea Sniper
Jun 15, 2003
I began freediving about one month ago when my friend returned from serving with the marines. I have always been into watersports but have fallen head over heels for freediving.
So far I have gone to 40ft and can do a 3min 30sec dryland breath hold.

I am looking for recommendations as to basic exercises which will improve my diving and breath hold abilities. Unfortunately I have perhaps two or three hours a week at most to spare.

There is a staff gym at my work which has an elliptical trainer, exercise bike and weight bench.

Could any of you more experienced divers suggest exercises or breathing techniques to help improve my diving. I am not interested in diving to crazy depths, I just want to hit maybe 25 metres and increase my time underwater.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Welcome to DB Brian! Take some time to look through the threads. There's a lot of information here that might help you, but do your homework with past discussions and build from there by asking some remaining questions. Good luck!

Wellcome Brian, as M-2 said there are threads here that are extremely helpful.. but just basic things breath holding is quite easy exersice.. you can do it when you go shopping when you are walking to your car...you name it.. (don't do it when driving ar anything like that though..:))
I find the best way to exercise freediving is doing it with friends..
So hope you find what you are looking for and wellcome!

Past beginner

I'd say you are physically past the beginner stage. A lot of folks struggle to get past 2 minutes static, so you are well ahead of the game at 3:30.

Taking your statements at face value - that you are not interested in competition, at least not at this point - I would say that you should spend as much time as possible just freediving. Training is good . . . of course, keep yourself fit . . . but I believe your time will be best spent by simply diving as much as you can. Depending on your location relative to good dive spots, I would opt for trading training time for dive time as often as possible. There are few training techniques as good as freediving for becoming a better freediver.

That said, the first order of business is to make sure you know what it means to be safe. Learn about ascent (shallow water) blackout; learn about buddy techniques and practice becoming a reliable buddy; learn about rescue techniques. These can all be fun to learn and can actually increase your enjoyment of freediving. Everything you need to know is probably somewhere on this site, so use the search function liberally.

Next, learn to become VERY comfortable underwater by relaxing and slowing every aspect of physical activity to the point that you waste no motion, no effort, no oxygen. Eventually your conditioning will limit you, but for most reasonably fit folks, there is more to be gained by learning to freedive effortlessly than by increasing your level of conditioning.

Enjoy your diving, and let us know how you're doing.
Two good books are the Advanced and Master Free Diver (IANTD) and Mastering Breathhold Diving by Jan Neal (available thru NAUI). These will make sure you understand shallow water blackout, plus have several sections on training techniques. I do most of my freediving alone but am now very careful about trying for new depths unless I have some kind of safety buddy.
Cliff G
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Check out this site. It's Tanya Streeter's training schedule.

Just a quick guide on preparing your last breath. (It's diffrent for everybody but its a good guide line.) You don't have to follow it. It's pretty much the same thing in the advanced and master free diver manual by wonderful Dodgins, Drack, and Romanica.
when you get to the site

1. normal relaxed abdominal breathing cycles for around one min

2. 60-70% breathing. Go from Stomach to your Chest. Do 5 seconds inhale, 1 sec pause, 5 sec exhale, 1sec pause. 2 min or 10-15 cycles

3. 80-90% breathing Go stomach, chest, and open shoulders. same thing. 2min or 10-15 cycles, 5 seconds inhale, 1 sec pause, 5 sec exhale, 1sec pause.

4. Final Breath. You must breath out ALL the way to minimize the co2 in your body. Take a breath, go stomach, chest, shoulders, throat. Swallow to close your throat and there you go.
If you feel any dizziness, numbness, tingling in fingers, lips, and toes or get iron taste in your mouth its a sign to let you know you are full. Don't continure your breathing cycles, "You are ready".
what about diving

hi Brian,
I've read all the answers to your thread and the only thing I can say is that you should freedive first and worry about the depth after. No matter what people can say if you're doing some good 40ft dives, it's already something good. just try to enjoy diving and you'll see that it will increased naturelly after few dives.
It will probably take time, I agree about that. don't try to go too fast for nothing. enjoy yourself at 40ft because it's better than a difficult one at 25m

enjoy diving

Welcome all enthusiasts of freediving.!!
I'm also interested in freediving, now maybe I have no condition to practice (only swimming pool,
and Polish lakes) but maybe in future I'll dive in open-sea. Now I want to improve my time underwater. (sorry in advance for my mistakes in English, but I still learn it ).
Till now I have never practiced breatholding (my static record that made yesterday is 3.40).but before I was (and I'm still now ) very active ( training, running, and all kinds of sports) .

I have some fears of that sport. I wanted to ask You about right ventilation (not hyperventilation), because I read that hyperventilation is very dangerous for our health. ( in the future it can lead to very serious lungs diseases : emphysema ), and lots of divers who catch pearls have that disease in their thirties.They die very early.
I don' know if it is true, maybe only myth but I wouldn't check this :)
Yesterday I started to practice table A and I have also the same dilemma because I didn't know how to breath correctly, avoiding hyperventilation in rest period. ( long full inhale and exhale ??, I don't know).

The method, that wrote CaymanDiver is not a hyperventilation ?? so can I use that 5-1-5-1 as ventilation ?? Is that safe ? sorry for stupid questions but I'm beginner, and I have very narrow knowledge in that issues.

Best regards,
about breathing:

there are heaps of yoge-related websites. just to get started check out www.holistic-online.com
in the yoga section you'll find some good descriptions on breathing and some breathing exercises.

hyperventilation doesn't cause any damage to lung tissue, emphysema or squeeze. don't know where you heard that, maybe check on it again (and post it, i'm curios).

cayman's breathup is a good one to start out with. just one thing, though:

If you feel any dizziness, numbness, tingling in fingers, lips, and toes or get iron taste in your mouth its a sign to let you know you are full. Don't continure your breathing cycles, "You are ready".

these are signs of hyperventilation. i wouldn't recommend starting your breath-hold right then. if you ventilate too heavily until you get these symptoms then you have blown off too much co2. continue breathing more slowly until those symptoms disappear and you feel fine again. then go for a breath-hold.

i'm sure you found articles and posts on shallow water blackout. very important!

about depth and rapid improvements:

aude's post sums it up pretty nicely:

you should freedive first and worry about the depth after

have fun


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