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Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jan 3, 2002
I am relatively new to freediving. I have gone abalone diving a few times, and that is about it. I have been "training" in an ametuerish manner i'm sure. I can walk about 45 seconds while breath holding, swim (without freediving equipment) about 40 meters, and can hold my breath while sitting relaxed for 2 minutes. I have just been reading some posts that talk about contractions. What is this?:confused:
Welcome aboard Kristan

Kristan, when you reach that 2 minute mark holding your breath something is telling you to breath.. most likely a burning in your chest. If you were to get beyond that burning, your muscles in your thoracic region would start to "contract". They'd be trying like crazy to get air into your lungs but if you keep your mouth shut and don't breath through your nose, that muscle reflex is the "contraction" that you read about here. Just try holding your breath beyond that initial burning desire to breath and you will experience a contraction.
Contractions ... dealing with ...

I think that it's a nice place to extend original topic with following questions :

- What are basic methods used to deal with contractions to extend "non-breath" period for both static and dynamic dives?
- Is there any training pattern dedicated to "contractions handling" ?
- Can we expect any typical conractions patterns (timing, repeating cycles and so) ?
- ... don't see more questions but maybe it's a metter of night hours :confused: I'm sure there are few more to ask :) ..

... I know that some of the things about contractions were said in previous posts on Forum but maybe it's a good point to join it all toegether.

Best regards from still snowing and frozing Poland
What others do I'm not sure of but what I have found on my own and what works for me is when I have a contraction it helps to physically move or to get distracted, anything to keep my mind off of the urge to breath. Doing dry apnea I'll walk to another room, maybe lay down on the floor or during wet apnea swim a different direction or move towards something I can focus on such as the pool ladder. I also found that contractions are much less violent after just a short time of conditioning. Movement is what really helps me fend off the contractions the most.
One technique that has helped some people experience contractions firsthand is:

- Sit quietly (in front of a computer screen, for example), breathing normally.

- At the end of a normal expiration (i.e. at the neutral or relaxed point in the breathing cycle), just stop breathing.

- Hold your breath for 1 to 2 minutes. By this time, most people will start experiencing these "contractions". In this case, they should be well balanced (equally inward or outward), since your lungs are neither full nor empty.
what actually causes the contraction....
is it just your brain telling your muscles to squeeze or is it the elevated level of CO2 that causes an electrical signal to be sent from the brain to the muscles you use to breath
i know the urge to breath is caused by built up levels of CO2 in your body...

anyway i found that during static i can fend off contractions by flexing another muscle (i either flex my bicep or my quads) and i get the same kind of "good" feeling i get after a normal abdominal contraction.

c ya
hard part

When the 'contractions' start is the hard part of the apnea. The longest times during static apnea comes from the control of this part. As thin_air says it´s a normal response for the build up of CO2 that tells your brain to breathe.
My personal experiences to control the contractions are:
- Prefect breath up (for static apnea I do some hyperventilation) that delays the coming of contractions
- Count the number of contractions: Thats help me to focus in something and 'forget' the urge to breath. I usually count until I get 30 contractions.
- Voluntary control of abdominal muscles: I try to control my abdominal muscles to avoid strong contractions, I try to make it as smooth and slow as I can.

My brother, that holds the air for 7'30", try to avoid contractions keeping tension in his abdominal wall, and frecuently makes funny movements of his face and lips (that works for him).


Frank Pernett
I have found that with regular pool training I can extend my breathold to double the time of my initial contraction.
I get my first at roughly 3:17 and have managed a best of 6:32 with lots in the 6:00 + range.
However I believe it very important not to move in the least , but just "ride" it out , since any movement will consume vital oxygen and cut your total time.
For the first 30 seconds I concentrate on relaxing all muscles systematically , after that I blank my mind out - brain activity also sucks up oxygen - and have on occasion been able to "fall aslep" with no recollection of this period.
The onset of contractions brings me back , and then conditioning takes over.Needless to say you need a good communication system with your babysitter.
Hope this helps.
Last edited:
I ussually stop my static attempt after the 3rd contraction and this is usually between 3:20 and 3:35.

As soon as i feel the contraction starting to build up, i swallow.

Propably why my pb is still only 4:15.

it's such a good contraction it's such a sweet sensation cmon cmon feel it feel it you can sing that song (good vibration word changed into contraction) i love to change the words to songs to fit my practice of apnea and breathing.
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