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can't hold my breath longer.......

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 25, 2004
I can't seem to hold my breath longer than 1:30, i have been trying diffrent techniques for 6 weeks. Could it be my age 14 or my height which is very small or do i need to pratice longer? :( could i get some tips that you guys use also?

I don't think your size or age has anything to do with it, I'd done 3:17 at 14. It's all in your mind. Relax, and fight that urge to breathe, you've got enough air to go past 1:30 no problem. Just fight that urge, it's like a barrier, once you break through it, it's a whole new world. Hope this helps!

Find a quiet place, without distractions. Get comfortable, some people like to lie down. Take slow breaths, pulling the air deep down with your diaphragm first, then filling your chest. Exhale slowly, at least twice as long as your inhale. You are aiming to be really chilled, as if you could fall asleep.

It may help if you build up your times slowly. Maybe start with 0:45 breath-hold, then go up in 15 second intervals. Allow yourself a good period to recover between holds.

If you can get hold of a copy of the apnea tables (http://www.freediver.co.uk/finalsite/dsbolt/satt/satt.htm) they may help.

Try and practise as often as possible, I do something every day. It really does get easier…

I'll have to try the apnea on an empty stomach.... BUT, anyway... keep trying, I was hung up at 1:30 for the longest time; finallly the other night I really relaxed and found out what breaking through that barrier was like. I almost doubled my time, I made it to 2:45 (it was 2:30 before i even though about looking at the timer).
It really was just a matter of changing focus, concentrating on my breathing and then my heart rate; everything else just started to blank.
it's a good feeling :D
Maybe it's also a good Idea to train without using a watch, I know a bunch of people who get focussed on beating or making a certain time. As you have experienced, time only fires up the heartrate and stress.
Instead I go out to explore the fealings and processes in my body. As I lay down I check every part to be relaxed, including my heart and face muscles. My buddy tells my times afterwards, and I take them lightly.

Good luck, and safe training!

thanks, i got up to 2:30! is it bad or unsafe to hold for to many contractions???
Hey Chris... Before, I was a lot like you... I could not hold my breath too long! I was always looking at a clock and stressing to beat another time... one day I lied down on my bed and took out my phone and played a game (battleship heheheh :p) I just kept on playing until I started to feel slightly uncomfortable and the conractions were about to start, I then looked at my watch (bedside table) and it really shocked me to learn that I had already held my breath for 3 minutes! Of course all this shock made my heartbeat higher and I quickly lost it, for an impressive 3:15! What I am suggesting is that you try to take your mind of something... try your phone (try and play something boring which doesnt make u stressed.. like cards) or gameboy or whatever and see what happens!
It's not dangerous to hold on over contractions, but you should try to learn to relax these muscles as much as you can, before and while your heaving them.
My contractions evolved into a roll of the belly, They have become very mild these days.

Another tip is to do some good stretching before.
The way the muscles are more prepaired and relaxed an have more room to move. Stretching can make a big difference.

Furthermore about your progress.
It's likely that you'll move on to the 3 min or maybe even 4 in a few weeks or a few months, but do expect a sort of platform time-wise.

Cornholio's advice: "Try and practise as often as possible, I do something every day." may not work for you, and may even work against you.

Statics are a heavy training, heavy for mind and heart and body. It's better to have a few day's of rest in between.

Furtermore there are many exercises that improve your underwatertime. Go swimming, cycling, running. Make yourself flexible, were many easy repetitions are better than once a week a "big" stretch.
Practice your focussing skill, this can be done anywhere, eating, walking, breathing etc. It's very hard to be very focussed on ONE thing for a longer time.

In general, if you want to change something in your paterns do so gradually, your body needs time to addapt. Take a step back and enjoy the journey, it's more fun than the "numbers".

I whish I discoverd freediving at 14 years, well I did a bit, but didn't realise how much I loved it, I quess I was to busy with school and stuff.

Love, peace and water!

I agree with kars ditch the watch practice some tables and dont put to much presure on yourself your body will get used to it and youll improve give it time ..cheers Nathan
I do think your age will affect your performance a bit, your heartrate and metabolism will be a lot higher then a 20-30 year old. You will definitely be better at static when you get older, even if you don't practise between now and then. Likewise lung volume tends to go up with height, which is usually an advantage in static. Still the static times that you are doing doesn't sound like it should be any where near your physical limits.

Lots of freedivers, lots of different aproaches.
Personally I've never found any type of exercise has any positve effect on static, and know quite a few people likewise. I know people that have done a lot of swimming at an early age tend to have larger lung volumes and good CO2 tolerance so may be beneficial. As for overtraining I know many people that set PB's by doing statics often ie daily. But in most cases this was doing a lot of training in a short space of time, ie 2-3 weeks leading up to a competition. I think the overtraining that Kars talks about is much more of a mental thing then physical. Not using a watch can be good, but if doing a dry breathold by yourself is a bit hard to do. Try perhaps a timer or an alarm ?
What helps me is having someone tell me the time from about halfway thru, every minute or 30 seconds or so. To me it doesn't break my focus, I hear it and then go back to being relaxed again and don't think about it. That makes my feel like the time is passing by. If I don't know the time at all I start to wonder about it. You could try a tape recorder or use your PC to record your voice anouncing the intervals, then mix it with some music ? Music really helps me doing dry breatholds.

You could try some exhale statics in your warmup, ie breathe up, then exhale and hold your breath. Will be a lot shorter, ie something like 20-30 seconds, then breathe up 2-3 minutes 30-40 seconds exhale static, breatheup 2-3 min, 40-60 seconds exhale static, 3-4 minutes breathe up, go for max static.
Also can try a little more hyperventilation. You will probably need to do that if trying exhale statics. For a dry breathold is ok, but don't try that underwater.

In the end it comes down to being as relaxed as you can during the breathold. You can hold your breath longer then you think, you just have to believe it.

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I NEVER look at a clock when doing statics, knowing how much time has passed just makes it harder, I like to forget about time. The first time I did over 4 minues, I would have sworn it had only been about 2:30...
Listen to Wal, Believe in yourself.

Hi Chris

Kars spoke of 2 area's which I believe are very important.
Firstly - Apnea, even though you are relaxing and slowing your heartrate and 'physiology' down, takes a lot out of you, and it's not a good idea to do static every day.

The other thing is to work on learning to focus. Even if everything is perfect in terms of conditions and your fitness etc, on a day that you are struggling to focus, you will not be able to get anything done.

Most importantly, the worlds best freediver is the freediver who's having the most fun !


I couldn't agree more with those who disagreed with my advice to ‘practise as often as possible’. I should probably apologise as I knocked out my post quickly and without much consideration.

It works for me to practise each day. However, I only do a single ‘moderate’ static. At the moment, it’s either a 3:15 (four times a week) or a 4:00 (twice a week), but I’m slowly inching them up. I would certainly never consider going for a max this often (in fact, I hardly ever go for a max as it’s not my thing). Just because I find this routine good, it’s certainly not right for everyone. It may not even be the best for me, but it’ll do.

My wife is an excellent musician. I’ve known her pick up an instrument that she hasn’t played for twenty years and it’s sounded like she only played it yesterday. If I don’t play my guitar three or four times a week, my hands become weak and I loose a lot of technique and tone. I have the same thing with apnea; if I miss a few days it takes me a week or more to get back to where I was.

I set a countdown timer on my watch, then close my eyes and wait for the alarm. In the early days I’d sit and watch the seconds count down, but that certainly doesn’t help!

Best wishes,

In addition to all the good advice already presented, I would like to add that in front of a computer, while doing the tables, a computer game can help immensly.

Set the table with voice countdown and load up your favourite game. No more boredom waiting for time to pass!

For me UT2003 works great. Fast and frantic action game that leaves no room for quiet contemplation. 2 mins pass like 30 seconds...
Walrus when you said
"Also can try a little more hyperventilation. You will probably need to do that if trying exhale statics. For a dry breathold is ok, but don't try that underwater." I would like to know when hyperventilating how many breaths should I take? thanks
I'm sure I'm going to get in trouble with the hyperventilation police now ! :t :D

Well it's basically breathing faster and/or deeper then you need to and this lowers your CO2 levels. A common technique for competition divers is to do several minutes of relaxation breathing, then a number of "purge" breaths right before the dive/static. "Purge" breathing is deep breaths with a fast inhale & fast exhale something like 12-25 breaths per minute. Purge breathing is a form of hyperventilation. The relaxation breathing has a very slow exhale, at least twice as long as the inhale, ie in 4 seconds, out 8 seconds. All up perhaps 4-8 breaths per minute. Truth is most competition freedivers use some hyperventillation. Some a little, some moderate and others a lot. It really depends on the person and their own aproach. For someone like me that gets a lot of contractions I have to use a little more Purge breathing then others. (a few weeks back I did a static without a warmup, a good 20+ Purge breaths and contractions started at about 2.30, and I came up at 6.03)

For static 5-10 purge breaths is fairly conservative. (This really depends on the person.) So you can try a little more, if you are doing them dry. If you do a lot of big Purge breaths it can really raise your heartrate and sap your energy. If I do more then 10 then at first I make my Purge breaths smaller. ie medium deep breaths, but still fast. Only using the diapraghm and it takes little energy. So perhaps 10-15 medium deep purges, and then 5 deep purges.

I'm not saying everyone should go out and use at least 20 Purge breaths, to some this would be exessive hyperventillation. Everyone is different. We are talking dry statics here so really doesn't matter. When I do dry exhale statics I hyperventilate more then normal because I use reverse packing, and get very empty and it just hurts getting contractions. It really has little benefit for training CO2 so I see no reason not to do it. I train CO2 tolerance seperate.

With a lot of hyperventilation it brings your CO2 levels very low and this can make contractions come later and the breathold easier. Sometimes to the point that the diver will not feel the urge to breathe at all before they blackout. That's why it's seen as dangerous because it's harder to judge when you really do need air. Divers will feel like they can stay down longer, but will run out of air the same time therefore is greater chance of blackout. When you are out there in the ocean, spearfishing or fun diving you do want to be conservative so stick to normal 4-5 big breaths and go.

I started out at 1:30 thinking that I owuld never see 2 minutes click by, with deep breathing exercises and the twice a week use of Static Apnea Tables (link> Static Apnea Tables by Freediver.co.uk and Freedivers.net :: Graphics by Mozzi) I WOULD RECOMMEND USING TABLE B AND SET YOUR current MAX TIME FOR THE SECOND TO LAST APNEA HOLD, SO THAT YOUR ARE PRESSING INTO A NEW pb BY only 15 SECONDS.
I EVENTUALLY made a PB of 3:30. That is nothing great or huge really, most of the people on here are 4+ mins static, and unofficialy rhumored (public bragging) world records claim to approach 10+ mins. Keep in mind that static and dynamic times vary depending on your ability to process oxygen, and it may have less to do with your vital lung capacity. (Jaque Mayol for example has a relatively low lung capacity somewhere around 4 liters, while Pezzillari is a little over 6 liters, Lance armstron is 8 liters by comparison) Yoga, Calmness, Familiarity with your surroundings, and your overall peacefullness may have more to do with direct Apnea performance.

If I could recommend one thing for you to focus on I would say that your Exhale is the most important.
when you breath normally you have a comparitivley large residual volume of unexhaled air remaining in your lungs. (perhaps it is an evolutionary artifact against getting a collapsed lung in the event of a sudden impact).
Inhale, and make sure that your exhales take twice as long (will reduce your heart rate).
as you exhale and get to where it seems like there isnt anymore, press harder in your diaphram, letting air wheese out your throat, you will see (if you use a lung expander muscle trainer and your diaphram correctly), that there is alot more air to expell that you thought before.

once you get in the habit of making practical use of your residual volume, 2 minutes will come with no contractions (urge to either swallow or VOMIT, or GAG depending on your personal reflexes)

it is always great to surpass what you thought personally possible while still being comfortable, and depending on your tenacity, it will come sooner than you think as long as you can relax and maintain a slow steady heart rate, and have a partner to assist you in the event of an emergency.

best of luck, abd be safe.
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I found the tables useful. The voice countdown one on freedive.co.uk is especially useful because I could distract myself by surfing the net and not worrying about time and let the voice tell me when to stop breathhold. Saying that, I know most people say dont look at the clock, but for me it helped. I found that if I set myself a time target, I could usually hold my breath till that time whereas if I don't set myself a target, I'll cave in as soon as it starts feeling a bit uncomfortable. Find out what's detering you from progressing. If it's a mindset issue like mine, setting a time target helped me.
I Think that almost any distraction would help you.
Perhabs you have some nice tunes to listen to?