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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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THere Are NO limits!!!
Jun 12, 2002
I see that many of you who visit this forum are experienced freedivers and I ask all of you to describe me your breathing techniques before a freedive.
Far from being an expert


While I'm certainly not the most qualified person to give advice in this area, I'll tell you what I do to "breath-up" before a dive:

Floating face down, being as still and relaxed as I can be, I breath slowly into my stomach until it is filled and then I slowly fill my chest. Hold very briefly and then do a nice long slow exhale. Repeat as many times as necessary for the level of dive that you are doing - the longer and deeper the dive, the more breathing time required (you are trying to totally oxygenate (?) your body). On my final breath, after filling my stomach and chest to capacity, I then gently slip my head-up to fill my throat and mouth with air and then gracefully (in theory) begin my descent. I do not dive to depths that "packing" is required.

Never hyperventilate. Besides being dangerous (beyond the scope of this post), slow deep breaths are much better than shallow fast ones.

Hope that helps,


if im spearing I dont do any thing special just take a breath and go, but if im trying for depth I will breath in the stomach slowly for a while then pack to max, ive just learnt about packing being dangerous so watch out. When doing dry static I do the same but before the hold i do quick stomach breathing followed by 2 packs.

Similar to above.

Slow deep breathing for 1-2 minutes, then 3 or 4 deeper, slighty quicker breaths. The last breath is the most important, exahale to max, then inhale to max.

The max exhale gets the stale air out of your lungs, and makes sure you get a lung full of fresh air. Can take a bit of practise not to force the exhale too much, but still get the air out.

Normally when we breathe on land we might only utilise a third or a quarter of the lungs, with freediving you want to use it all, and then some :D

Guys...or girls,

Why is packing dangerous? And also, when you breath before a dive or statics, do you inhale through your mouth and exhale through your nose? Cause that's what I did today when I practiced the 8 set breathing exercise that Walrus describes in "diferences between statics and dynamics" section.

planned dive;
rest for 2-3 minutes
12-24 80% breaths in 2 or 4 minutes, in through mouth pause out through pursed lips) relax for one second
5 deep fast breaths in 15 seconds
roll onto back (2 min. warning for buddy)
12 more breaths
one deep inhale diaphragm chest head back 2 packs
relaxed exhale no purse
full inhale full pack
roll over lock on rope pause(relax) foot up start to clear count the kicks
Works for me, on a good day I can always make the bottom of the pool LOL

You are putting 6L in a 5L container. Something will give. You might not know how much it gave until the next day. There are two kinds of 'packers', the first, hurt themselves and the second, lied. You'll see some big numbers but, start with five gentle packs and wait until the next day. I know one free diver with awesome abilities that had to take 6 months off.
Last edited:
mouth or nose


I breath in AND out through my mouth - 2 reasons:

1). Tough to do the nose thing with your mask on

2). I have better breath control with my mouth - inhaling/exhaling through pursed lips (even with a snorkel) gives me much more control and force (when necessary) than breathing through my nose.


I should have said that.
Hi All,
I confess my breath up is similar to Bill's - at the end of my breath up I do hyperventilate a bit, and pack if doing a deep dive or long dynamic.

For new freedivers I wouldn't reccomend too much hyperventilation. Thats why I said 3 or 4 quicker breaths at the end. Just doing slow deep breathing for 1-2 minutes reduces your CO2 a lot, hyperventilating on top of this will really reduce the urge to breath. Sure it's more comfortable but for someone that doesn't know their limits it can fool them into thinking they can hold their breath well beyond their limits.

Even without the hyperventilation, long deep breathing for extended time can really get your CO2 level low. My first six minute static I was slow deep breathing for about 5 minutes, until my hands got tingly(Symptom of Extremly low CO2 levels). During my static I felt very good, didn't get contractions until beyond the 5 minute mark. I stopped just after 6, because I thought I was pushing it too long, not because I felt like I had to breathe !

So for a newbie trying the same thing they would think, I don't need to breath, and continue holding until blackout.... :(

By all means try out the different breathing techniques for dry statics etc, but learn your limits before using them in the water. For recreational free diving 1-2 minutes of deep breathing, and a couple of quicker breaths at the end should be plenty.

My 2 cents,

hi mayhem

Im one of those idiodits who forced the packing to much and woke up the next way with a pain in my chest that wont go away and still wont go away ive stopped packing. i think i may have tore my lung. so learn from my mistake.


Thanks guys for the replies .
What means breathing with "pursed lips"?
pursed lips

Pursed lips are rounded lips - place a pen (or straw) in your mouth and hold with your lips - remove the object, leaving your lips in the same postion, and you've got pursed lips (can obviously vary the size). Very effective to control the timing and force of your breathing.

Thanks guys for the replies on the breathing and packing.

Now for another question...a couple of days ago, I did some warm up breathing sets (the 8 set descending thingy which Walrus recommended), and managed to hold my breath for 1:15 each set comfortably without contractions. Then I did 2 dry statics, the first one surpassed my last P.B of 3:10 and the 2nd attempt up-ed my P.B to 4:10. I was surprised..to say the least. Contractions started around the 2 min mark for both sets. This was my 2nd time actually trying to go for a P.B by the way. Very simply, am I on the right track? ANd if I am, is there anything else I should incorporate or add in, in this early stage? I haven't by the way packed as I doubt I know how to do it yet although I've read the posts on it.

Thanks guys...:)

hi mayhem

Thats a big jump in pbs wish I could do that you said contractions start at 2min and you held to 4:10 thats 2:10 worth of contractions awsome, I can only do 1:30 worth of contractions, and they start at 3min or an excellent attempt 3:30.

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