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Best preparation for Static

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.

Fred S.

New Member
Sep 22, 2001
Hi there,

I'm really interested how all of you do your preparations / warm ups for a max. static (in competition or for testing yourself in training, etc.)
So how do you do your breathing, warm up dives, mental relaxation, etc. How do you work your way up to the "Ultimate Static" ???
I ask this question because I'm still experimenting what would be the best preparation for me personally.

Fred S.
The most common phrase you will hear in freedivng is "What works for me, may not necessarily work for you" or a derivative there of. I start with negative pressure dives to 12 feet. Generally I do between 3 and 6 dives. Then I do deepwater statics, about 3 of them.

Keep in mind that I am not a competitive freediver, and your dry statics may not translate well into the water. The information you receive from others may involve medetation or yoga, which I do also, but not as frequent as I do anything else. Also, like everything else, you are going to have good days and bad days.

Ok, to get this thread on the way, I write down what I do for preparation at the moment.

I do 3 to 4 warm up statics with empty lungs. These also function as an indicator of how I will perform for a max. static. Usually I get these results: 1'.00" / 1'.20" / 1'.40" / 2'.00". All with 2 min. recovery time in between. I don't push too much in preparation because I notice that going too deep into the suffering gets me frustrated and this results in mental resistance in a maximal attempt. The reason why I choose empty lungs is that the preparation time is shortened. Also doing a full lung static after a few empty lung statics gives me a very comfortable feeling of having plenty of air.

Lately I like to do a CO2-series of: 1*2'.00" / 8*1'.00" / 1*2'.00" or more. All with just one breath in between of course. This helps me to get used to being relaxed and slow down the thinking process while being in the "comfort zone" of a static. Usually the thinking is hard to control, even if I try to do visualisations etc.
After this CO2-series I do one empty lung static, then take about 3 minutes to recover and go for a max.
What's your max full-lung Fred? I ask because I'm a big believer in one or two full-lung warmups with lots of contractions to get the spleen drained.
Cheers from Bali,
Erik Y.
Splenic contractions

My Pb in water is 5'02" and dry it's 5'.18".

Interesting point about draining the spleen. I have read some articles about it, but they are not too clear on how it works.
The only thing that is for sure is that it is caused by repeated periods of hypoxia for about 20 to 30 minutes. But I can't find if the draining goes faster if you max your warm up statics instead of doing 80-90% warm ups.

Perhaps it is more beneficial to be in the hypoxic zone as much as possible during 20 to 30 minutes. Most people enter this zone after their first contraction I think, except for me because I never get contractions... :confused:

Fred S.
My routine

I made 10 minutes of warmup, with empty lungs:
1 min ventilation
1 min static

3 minutes ventilation
3 min static

3 minutes ventilation
4 min static

4 min ventilation
5 min static

8 min ventilation
Performance (this is in training for PB and competition)

About the spleen, it's drainage has been seen in other disciplines and species it's seems to be inducted by factors like exercise, hypoxia, diving, low arterial pressure.
There is a splenic contraction at maximal exercise as with maximal breath-holding. Some studies had shown the same response in both freedivers and not-freedivers, but others did.
This effect can be seen with just 30 secs of apnea. But the main contraction occurs with maximal apneas. It's possible that it forms part of the diving reflex.
This effect is due to we have smooth muscle cells in our spleen and it's via sympathetic nerves that is achieved.
empty lung statics

Are you saying your first 1-minute static is with empty lungs? What about the next? The empty lung warm up static concept that Fred S. and you brought up intrigues me. I know Eric F. said he was doing an empty lung warm up static, but I thought his reason was to reach Samba sooner, not just for the sake of putting the body in O2 conservative state. If empty lung warm up statics give good results and require less time, I’m excited.
Don, for me the big advantage with empty lung statics is that I can skip the boring comfort-part of the preparation statics and get into the hypoxic stage much quicker and more often. And just like I said bedfore, the wealthy feeling of full lungs after a lot of empty lung statics is great. :p

Frank, do you have some documentation or links about the things you wrote concerning spleen contractions? And why do you take so much time to ventilate in between the last two statics?

Fred S.

Yes, my first 1 min. static is with empty lungs and I made that until I complete 10 mins. (1 min static and 1 min. ventilation). For me this is the most comfortable part of the training (perhaps is because empty lung I went to the pool bottom), the main reason for this is to maximize the diving reflex (including spleen contraction), but I think is important to do long full lung statics after that.
This is a good article about it: J Appl Physiol 92: 2071–2079, 2002
I make long ventilations for the maximal apnea because I think that after the warming up, I must have an oxygen debt, I don't hyperventilate that 8 minutes, I breath deep 6 min, and increase the respiratory frecuency to 20 in the last 2 mins.
too long recoveries

Frank let my share with you my personal point of view. Don’t you think that by doing so long ventilation in the 2 last recoveries before the big one you lose all of your diving reflex? At least it happens with me. If I take so long recoveries I need to warm up again. It is truth that you oxigenate more your body with an 8 min recovery but it is also truth that you lose all of your diving reflex or at least part of it. To me it takes only 3 min to start decreasing and at 5 - 6 is mainly lost, so I never make recoveries longer than 2 min after the warm up when I want to go for a max attempt.

But the truth is that I don´t use to do max static attemps because I'm not very interested on it. My training routine is addressed to achieve what I call “apnea base”. That means building up the apneic condition of the human body to be able to make physical and physiologically comfortable several apneas in a row. What I do is different series of apneas that specifically train the hipercapnea, the hypoxia, and both together.

A decission

Hola Agustin,
You are right, I took that decission (maximal diving reflex or full oxygen stores), what I notice is that I can induce again my diving reflex while making the performance, and it works for me.
We all have our own techniques, and I think is important to experiment to find out the one that best suits to you
avoiding sugar on the diet

Hola Frank,

In the translation you made of your brother’s warming up routine for his max. attempts (thread: static PB´s), Karl says:

“The only diet is to avoid sugar like colas and candies.”

Can you please be so kind to ask to your brother why he avoids sugar on his diet? There is any real reason for that? Congratulations to your brother for his new mark.

Thanks in advance.

Saludos Agustín.

This empty lung technique is fantastic!

I've never really acheived anything in statics as I find it almost impossible to warm up. I find the full lung warm-ups leave me completely breathless, but if I wait too long before my final attempt then I lose the benefit of the warm-ups...

Anyway, I tried the following :

1 minute good ventilation

5 x empty lung static without discomfort (usually 30 seconds for the first, 45 for the second, 1 minute for the 3rd and then 1.25 minutes for the final 2). Inbetween these I made only 15 seconds of ventilation.

1 minute good ventilation

1 full breath including maximum packing

1 full exhale

1 full breathe until comfortably full

Max static attempt.

Considering I'd really never gone more than 2 minutes before, I was shocked to acheive 3 minutes, 3.5 minutes and 4 minutes in my first 3 attempts.

Thanks for the tips - it's a great feeling.

I have found that once I'm fully relaxed, all statics feel exactly the same length. I have a few seconds of anxiety at the start, then a period in which I have no concept of time passing, and then the end bit with contractions.

If I want to go longer I guess I should either increase the warm up, or the ventilation, or both.

Thanks again to all the advice I've read (not only in this thread), and a Happy New Year.

I've been working on the Pellizari / Solomons table A and table B series. ( These are a couple of spreadsheets someone sent me: Table A works out a series of repetitions divided by decreasing ventilation times from 3m to 1m15s, where each repetition is 50% of your PB. Table B is a series of repetitions divided by ventilation times of 2m, where each repetition increases from 50% of your PB up to 90% )

This morning I worked on a modified table B. My actual wet PB is 5m23s, but I worked on 5m. Also, I finished with my last hold at '100%' ( i.e. 5m ), not 90% (4m30s).

What I'm really not sure about, is whether to use either of these tables as a warm up to a PB attempt. This morning, I felt that I could have extended by more than 23 seconds to get a new one. The only reason I didn't, was that the advice on the tables is to establish PB's no closer than 6 weeks apart ( I've no idea why ), and my last PB was set about a month ago.

Anyway, I'll give this empty lung technique a try and see how that compares. If anyone has any opinions on using the Table A/ Table B's as a warmup, please share. :)

PS - I haven't attached the spreadsheets in case someone has done it before, but if anyone wants me to I can.
i've used those tables. my opinion about them is this:
they're good for <5min PBs
ok for 5-6min PBs
and not very good for >6min PBs.

i found it difficult to progress much beyond 6min when i was using them. as soon as i started developing my own training and preparation, i began to progress very quickly... in 20-30sec jumps! to me, it seemed that the tables were actually holding me back in the end.

i very much disagree with the 'do a max once every 6 weeks'.... the reason is that you dont get used to doing long statics. you just train yourself to do statics to 50-80% effort each time. when the day comes to set a max, you dont have the experience of pushing yourself to 95-98%. without that experience, it's much harder to know your limits.... the end results could be samba... :naughty

my advice to anyone doing over 5'30" in static is to stop using tables and start developing their own training and preparation.

i wouldnt do completely empty lung statics, because you'll be inducing a negative pressure within your lungs- which could damage them... better to do a passive exhalation then hold, so that the pressure inside you lung is 1ATM. doing empty lungs when diving to depth is ok, because of the blood shift.

I learned on the forum about the difference between passive exhale, empty lung and reverse packing. In my warm-ups I just exhale until I feel 'comfortably empty'. I think this is somewhere just past a passive exhale (which I find leaves too much air in the lungs and doesn't give me the rapid progress that I've come to expect).

Thanks for your note about negative pressure - I'm very new at this and want to be safe. As a matter of interest however, is the blood shift into the lungs mainly a push from the pressure or a pull from the vacuum in the lungs? How does the negative pressure damage the lungs?

I totally agree with you that a person should find his/her (are there any girls posting?) technique rather than follow someone elses regime. I seems to have made some good progress recently just by doing what I feel needs to be done. This is a little bizarre, and somewhat in contravention of Eric's good advice to always follow a pattern, but I feel you really need to 'listen' to what your body is telling you and breathe-up a bit more or less as required. I do however think that once you reach 'that place' of complete relaxation, you should stop buggering about and pull a long one.

On this note, I am finding that I get so relaxed that during the max static I lose track completely. During my last max-static, the contraction stage (with me this is always the last 20% of the static - so the length of the comfortable stage actually dictates the length of the static...) didn't hurt at all as I felt that somebody else was experiencing it. It wasn't quite an out of body experience, but almost. Do you all stay in touch with reality or do you really drift off too? Can you afford to this is a wet static - or does it become too dangerous? I didn't shake, so I guess I didn't Samba, but I don't think I could have walked in a straight line.

I do believe that a competition must be soooooooo different to at home on the living room floor. My wife seems to delight in asking me irrelevant questions during the warm-up and it throws me completely. I have to start all over again. I reckon it must be just as difficult to learn to do well in a comp as it is to learn to hold your breath in the first place.


Last edited:
If you do a full exhale static on land, and you hold your breath for long enough, the blood shift will happen on land.

Just like when you exhale, close your throat, and then 'inhale' against your closed throat; you produce a negative pressure in the lungs, which is all that is needed for the basic blood shift.

Having said that, someone with fragile lungs could still experience injury on dry land.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada

Please post or e-mail the tables. I'd like to do some comparisons.
For a wet static, simple seems to work best. The tables make a better workout and still get you over 95%. One max hold per week (and little else) got me over six minutes but, it takes more to maintain seven. Almost every session I like to ride the last one to border-line samba.
Andy LeSauce held world static records for longer than anyone else by far (despite being beaten by Stepanek).

On his webpage, he gives a detailed manual in French. Contrary to the Solomon/Pelizzari tables, LeSauce writes "7 séances poussées par semaine , d'1h30 chacune , pendant au moins 6 semaines sont nécessaires, selon moi , pour obtenir un grand résultat".

'Seven training sessions per week, 1h30 each, for at least 6 weeks are necessary, in my opinion, to reach a great result.'

He also gives the precise routines that he practiced.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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