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Best crosstraining sport for freediving?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Randy Quimpo

New Member
Mar 13, 2002
What is the best crosstraining sport for a freediver?

I am wondering if some sports make a good complement to freediving, or are ALL cardio-intensive sports good for freediving? is there a sport that simulates the breath-up/breath-hold cycle of freediving?

alternatively, what is the WORST crosstraining sport for a freediver?


I would say:
1 finswimming (doing intervalls in pool), great if you do longbreathold after each pool turn
2 uphill cycling (intervalls)
3 mountainbiking (why? it's like freediving, hard-cool-hard-cool...)
4 skiing (good for quads)
5 swimming
6 smooth weightlifting
7 running
Actually, I was thinking more of out-of-water stuff. Right now, I do tennis and fin-swimming in a pool, and I only see the ocean once every three months or so.

My uneducated reply (to myself) would be:

1. cycling (you can do intervals, plus it doesnt bust the knees)
2. sprint intervals (this is a sprint drill - 100 m sprints with walking in between)
3. basketball (lotsa fun and cardio. Hope knees are ok)
very good question,

for me, i would say

1. cycling (racing moutainbikes, train on both mountain and road though)
2. running(harder on the knees but tones the whole body more then cycling
3. weights (do sets in apnea, but do them with lighter weights and higher reps)
4. swimming(just on the surface, anything else i consider freediving..)

you might want to try running up stair while doing apnea:D its great fun, and works your CO2 tolerance quite a bit (actually thats an understatement)

have fun
thats the key
weights in apnea!?!?!?

Vincent...you really might want to reconsider doing weights while holding your breath! I am a personal trainer and quite simply this is a good way to get hurt, even with light weights and more reps. The biggest part of weight training is proper breathing. The thought alone of someone purposefully holding their breath while lifting makes me cringe. just my advise though....
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thanks for your opinion, i whole heartly agree with it. after a discussion with a friend of mine (who happens to be the provincal downhill mountainbike coach...) asked me about the race, he asked me about things and came to the conclusion that i have a good tolerance for CO2 buildup in my lungs, he asked me if i had any idea where this came from and i told him about my workouts and the apnea sets, and he told me to stop, so now, for CO2 tolerance i just do apnea while running, (lots of fun :D )

my friends think im addicted to lactic acid in my legs and CO2 in my lungs, (i think they might just be right rofl)
Last edited:
Re: weights in apnea!?!?!?

Originally posted by rigdvr
The thought alone of someone purposefully holding their breath while lifting makes me cringe.

I agree with you, but there are some who advocate it here. They usually are using machines with higher-rep weights, but I still think that proper breathing is more important, for safety reasons (ie: hernias).
The best way to improve breath-holding ability and improve CO2 tolerance is to do inhale statics with no breathe ups, and to freedive. Whod' a thunk?
Erik Y.
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I'll chime in here on those who say the apnea weightlifting is dangerous...

I spoke with Pipin Ferrarras about this, since he advocates it. He explained that the idea is to try and keep the muscles from becoming inflexible while lifting - ie; building bulk. Pipin stated that the muscles, when lifting in a state of apnea, will stay more flexible due to the reduction in lactic acid build up from the muscles being oxygenated. There has been much research done on him from major universities on this and I tend to agree that it has made a huge difference - he is the current world champion, so it must have validity.

I have been doing apnea weightlifting for a few months now off and on and it has made a tremendous difference in my CO2 tolerence.

The idea is of course to lift 40% of your maximum capability for a given lift and do as many reps as possible before you take a breath. Recovery should be 5 minutes before attempting the next set of lifts.

My routine is as follows: I ventilate for 2 minutes - with a cycle of 12 breath cycles per minute, hold til the first contraction, then begin lifting. I should say though that I do this only for lower body lifting on machines. The lifts done on a universal machine are quad extensions, hamstring curls, calf extensions and sitting leg press. Try to only do them twice a week with maybe 2-3 sets per session - they are very intense.
apnea lifting

like I said, that was only MY opinion. I've seen the Pipin videos and whatever he is doing obviously works! However I just feel it's not for me. Ive been a weightlifter far longer than I've been a freediver and from the beginning I was taught, much like freediving, that proper technique is essential to safety and success. After training this way for so long i dont know if I could make myself hold my breath if I tried. To an avid weight trainer your recommendations seem as of the wall as me telling Pipin to do a no limits attempt with half a breath of air! Maybe this not so old dog just can't learn a new trick quite yet...anyways good luck to any and all trying to improve themselves and their times.
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good thread !

Hi there,

A good crosstraining sport = kayaking (preferably longer distances, not just surf/whitewater kayaking).
Kayak divers 'll know what I mean.

For the water And weightroom freaks: aquafitness (working w/ paddles, boards and strange-shaped dumbbells against the resistance of the water).

Not to forget plain swimming of course: it's not only good exercise, it also teaches you a lot on streamlining, which is vital if you're doing dynamic apnea etc.

UWH (underWaterHockey) or UWR (UnderWaterRugby; which is more popular in Germany) are fun teamsports and great CO2-tolerance workouts.

For good land-based crosstrainings you'll have to ask someone elses advice I'm afraid...I keep myself to the liquid environment.

Have fun

Not exactly crosstraining this tennis...

I do some cross training by training for tennis, but I now know that freediving is NOT GOOD for your tennis! Here is why:

1. At first, I thought that tennis is similar, because you are basically anaerobic for about 15-20 seconds, then you recover, then do this all over again.

2. However, tennis requires QUICKNESS, while you teach yourself to slow your bodily systems down for freediving.

3. Just the other day, after months of dynamic apnea, I hit the tennis court and my reactions were so, so slow. I was totally prepped for freediving!

One thing for sure - Next time, I will do my tennis workouts while I do my freediving training just to make sure that my body doesn't forget the movements. But I don't know how successful I will be, since these two sports are so disimilar!

In the meantime, back to the topic of crosstraining...


Randy Quimpo
ok, i am now very confused on the topic of apnea weightlifting, i am hearing different opinions from everywhere, spoke to another cycling coach and apnea weight lifting he encouraged

any other ideas that could push me to or away from apnea weight lifting>?


I thought it was dangerous to do weights while in apnea cos they might drop on you if you pass out or something, I dont do weights at all so I wouldn;'t know and the reason I dont do them a) I read somewhere pellizari says that muscle development causes more oxygen consumption.

b) When muscles get bigger may lose some flexibility in dynamic and constant.

ok, i think i will show the pro's and con's that i am aware of for apnea weight lifting

1. helping with CO2 tolerance while doing weights :duh
2. helps keep a leaner body, due to the fact that lower weights and higher rep's are used
3. i get to hold my breath that many more times a day (had to throw that one in :D )
4. gets my muscles to be used to working with high levels of CO2 present (i guess this is just like num. 1 oh well)

1. dropping the weights because of blackout or samba
2. i have heard that it does some weird thing to your blood pressure, which might not be to good in the long run (could someone please clarify this for me>?)
3. i have no idea what proper "procedure" for apnea weight lifting is (could someone also help me with this>? before, when i did some apnea weight lifting, i would do the same thing as Cliff, that is hold my breath till the first contractions and then do my weights)


If you are going to try to utilize apnea weightlifting i would make sure not to push too hard. You see, even with light weights and higher reps there always comes a point of muscle fatigue(same as an all out 1 rep max) It is the threshhold of muscle failure where one is most prone to injury. This failure point often is impossible to predict or detect so use plenty of common sense here...just dont push it too hard. As for dropping weights, that should never happen as you should definately never use free weights to do this. Like Cliff recommended, the best equipment for this style of training would be machines, particularly leg extension, leg curl, and calf press. Hope this helps a little and good luck.
matthieu said:
I would say:
1 finswimming (doing intervalls in pool), great if you do longbreathold after each pool turn
2 uphill cycling (intervalls)
3 mountainbiking (why? it's like freediving, hard-cool-hard-cool...)
4 skiing (good for quads)
5 swimming
6 smooth weightlifting
7 running

I would add roller skating in your list...

roller skating is smoother than running ; the efforts are better spread with no very intense efforts ; the knees receive less shocks...

it is also a gliding sport like freediving which helps you search for your feelings...

another sport similar to roller skating is Nordic skiing...
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