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breath up pattern.

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jul 23, 2004
I'm still experimenting with my breath up pattern.
I usualy do something like 4:4:8:4 (inhale, hold, exhale, hold), deep inhales and deep exhales, and I do that for about 2 minutes.

Now I just tried something like 4:1:4:1 for one minute follwed by 4:4:8:4 for another minute. With this pattern I just made a dry negative (full exhalation) table and could easily increase my PB from 1:45 to 2:20.
The struggle phase began at 2:05. At 2:20 I thought I felt a little bit dizzy. I'm not sure about the dizzyness, 'cause i was lying, but I aborted the breathhold.

My question is: Did I increase my PB because I was already hypervantilating with the 4:1:4:1 pattern? Or better: is a 4:1:4:1 pattern 'safe' if its followed by one minute of 4:4:8:4?

I know this stuff depends on many factors, but I have to admit that I'm realy astonished about the effect of the increased breathing rate.

Kind Regards,
Sascha aka Rico
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I think hyperventilation is more than 15 complete breaths /minute.
If you hyperventilate, you'll notice light headness, even tingling
at the extremities, because as you blow more CO2, the blood vesels constrict, which is the natural response of the body to low blood CO2. So, find at which rate you begin to feel this and you'llknow your hyperventilation rate. If you feel this, don't dive!! Just take about three slow breaths to normalize things until you stop feeling the hv symptoms

A 5:1:5:1 is fine, but they recommend better 5:1:10:1
This allows the heart rate to drop down, because of the long exhale (in which the heart rate drop, as oposed to the inhale, in which it increases)

Anyways, is a personal thing, so share your progress... I think
in first stages, the progress is due to better ventilatory technique
more than apnea progress. At least it was my case :)

my thoughts are I try not to get into the habit of hyperventilation. 4 seconds in/out with full breaths is a pretty fast rate and I I'd be close to passing out doing that for 2 minutes. doing dry statics its "safe" however still not a good habit.

heres a good resource on it, http://www.vnh.org/FSManual/01/04Hyperventilation.html

I find slow deep breaths are effective for me.

Originally posted by BlueIcarus
I think hyperventilation is more than 15 complete breaths /minute.
As somehow supported in Spike's link, I think hyperventilation is defind by any kind of breathing that lowers your blood CO2 level. Just wanted to point that, because I think putting a number on it is wrong.
I know I am definitly hyperventilating when I breath even 10breaths a minute, if I'll do it for 2 minutes, assuming I was relaxed and wasn't creating too much CO2 whie breathing up I would probably feel already warning signs and will abort the dive.

For somebody else, it might not be true since he/she is creating more CO2 while doing the breath up (bad sea conditions, not relaxed, new to this etc...).

Anyway, generally a good breathup will have a longer exhale then inhale, sometimes twice as long, sometimes more.
I usally breath at a rate of 4 breaths per minute in a good day.
sometimes 3 per minute.
If i'm not in a very good day, it could also be 6 per minute, but then I know I create CO2 while breathing to compensate for it.
Which also means that I'm going down with a bit less O2 then I could've, and will probably burn it faster. But it's ok 'coz "magically" those dives tend to be shorter than my good ones :).
I just read this in the 20 safety rules
by the Solomons, looong time ago, so I wasn't sure :)

10) Never hyperventilate

* Hyperventilation is more than 15 deep breaths per minute. This predisposes a diver to begin the descent in tension with a high pulse rate and decreased CO2. An improper balance of O2 and CO2 can prolong the "easy phase" of breath-hold at the expense of the "struggle phase" and could lead to SWB. Proper ventilation has the following objectives; maximum O2 saturation and minimum pulse rate. This is achieved by slow , deep strong ventilation, relaxation and concentration, and this not overdone.

I agree with both opinions. This number must be some king of "average", so It's a general guideline. As a general guideline, ok, as a personal guideline, wrong. I also get light-headed even at 4:0:4:0 for 2 minutes, which is 7 breaths/minute.
The ideal is 12 ventilation cycles per minute for two minutes.
In my opinion, when a person is motionless and relaxed, even four extremely deep breaths per minute will eventually put you in a 'hyperventilated' hypocapnic (low CO2) state.

It may even be less than that.

I can keep up one breath per minute forever, when relaxed, or even less than that. So, in theory, for me, anything more than one deep breath per minute will eventually make me hypocapnic.

So, for me, 1.5 deep breaths per minute for 10 minutes might make me hypocapnic.

This is why the word 'hyperventilation' is quite meaningless. The idea is better stated as: don't dive when hypocapnic.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Of course, I rather play it save and have a slow breathup pattern, espeacially in the water.

Sadly, the only symptom of hyperventilation,or better: beeing hypocapnic, that I can sense (yet) is this dizziness. I just hyperventilated to test it and the first signs of dizziness occure after 6 to 7 deep breaths.
Maybe when I learn to better sense the symptoms, I can find a breathup pattern that fits to me without risking to dive hypocapnic. Although I think my C02 tollerance is still too low and I can barely become hypocapnic (without very fast breathing). My struggle phase is always short (<1 min) and the contractions come in quick succession.

Well, I'll try to find some infos about hypocapnia.

Wanted to check.
After 3 breaths of full in full out, not purging, but fast enough, I already felt a slight sginal.
After the 4th I started getting a bit dizzy.
I'm still feeling like I'm swaying a minute after while writing this post.
I agree to Michael and Erics opinion..


Better to begin with a simple breathup and focus on relaxation than complicate it with some formula of X:Y:Z.

I use belly breathing (not complete breathing) with an active inhale and a passive exhale as a base, that seems to be the best for me this far. I take 1-2 complete breaths then pack and hold.

Maybe I'm doing something (or everything) wrong because I have over 3min to the 9'24'' made by Tom Sietas:D
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