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Can't hold breath or exhale slowly after freediving

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New Member
Dec 22, 2019
Hey all, this is my first post on the forum. I'm on holiday right now getting some excellent dive time in. I get to freedive about 10 days twice a year in warm water. Typically it takes me a full 2 weeks to get relaxed enough to spend 1 minute underwater at about 20-30 feet. This time I started doing breath training about a week before going on holiday, and was able to pick up at nearly my max depth and time as it typically takes me 10 days to work up to.

The breath exercises I do are about 10-15 minutes of 4-7-8 breathing (Andrew Weil method) to relax, and then I do some breath holds both with and without air in my lungs before doing diaphram stretches that Ted Hardy teaches. I'm just getting serious about training and starting to learn the proper methodology.

The problem I run into is after a heavy day of freediving, the next day I can't hold my breath much or even breathe out slowly. I can do extended inhales nearly like normal, but my diaphram starts to contract stronger on the hold and involuntarily contracts on exhale, so my exhales end up being 2-5 seconds, if I really fight it, rather than 10 seconds or more that I'm trying for. Basically, the day after a longer session of freediving I'm breathing exactly the opposite of what I want to, longer inhales and shorter holds and exhales.

Come to think of it, when I do too many diaphram stretches I have the same problem.

Are there any tips for this? I can't tell if this is just an extended recovery time, poor technique or training, or if it's seriously abnormal.
Ok, this is not coming from a level of great experience, only my experience. Last night I did an easy Co2-table, followed by 2 max hold attempts. Today I woke up sore in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle and I guess it to can get spent after a workout, and I am certain I once read that a tired diaphragm triggers the contractions faster than a rested diaphragm.

What you describe can to some extent be compared to going on hikes two times a year, and only then. Your legs and feet will hate you for it in the beginning as they are unprepared for the abuse.
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