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Question Correct breathing for longest hold?

Homerkp

New Member
Sep 21, 2018
4
0
1
31
Greece
#1
Hey everyone, I've snorkeled my whole life and only recently discovered what free diving is. I live in Greece and basically just wanna check out the sea life. I've been researching a lot online to find the safest and most effective way to increase my breath capacity but my own experience is conflicting with what I'm reading/watching. I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction so I can improve my breath and not do anything stupid.

It's been a couple weeks now that I'm doing C02 and 02 exercises with the help of an app on my phone. This led me to a personal record a few days ago of 3 minutes (lying down on my bed). From what I gather you're supposed exhale slowly when preparing for a dive, as demonstrated here:
A little while ago I followed that video but was only able to get to 2 min 30 sec, so I tried something else which may be wrong but it works so much better.

A year ago I started doing "Wim Hof" breathing, which I believe is a variation of prana breathing. I did 30 big inhales with very short exhales (essentially the opposite of what I've read you're supposed to do for free diving), and at the end I took a big breath. This time I got to about 3 min 10 sec. I did another 40 big breaths with short exhales and this time before taking my last big breath I exhaled everything. I made it to 4 min 5 sec!

For me that's already mind boggling. But I'm afraid this may be unhealthy or incorrect in the long term. Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong?
 

SubSub

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2015
469
173
58
41
Stockholm
#2
Well, the Wim Hof breathing is hyperventilating. You don’t want to do that when freediving.... ever! It will increase the risk exponentially, and in freediving the risk is death.

I suggest you find a way to train the proper way, excluding all kind of hyperventilating.

Freediving is like all other sports, you can’t cheat, there is nothing else to it than slow constant progression. It is not meant to be quick.
 
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Homerkp

New Member
Sep 21, 2018
4
0
1
31
Greece
#3
I'm trying to find a way and that's why I posted here! I had an inkling that hyperventilation is cheating, but how come I can reach 4 minutes by doing that as opposed to 2.5-3 with the correct method?
 
Aug 6, 2017
18
1
13
30
London
#4
To my understanding, hyperventilation is bad because you oversaturate your body with oxygen, so your body gets confused about when it has too much co2 accumulated and it is so much easier to black out...

but on the other hand I was always wondering.... When you're a total beginner, you're coming up due to urge to breathe loong before you'd actually run out of oxygen due to not being used to contractions and urge to breathe being so uncomfortable... Is it really so bad to hyperventilate a bit if you know you won't be diving for hours pushing yourself on each dive?
 
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Homerkp

New Member
Sep 21, 2018
4
0
1
31
Greece
#5
Well another reason I posted was because I was snorkeling the other day and I would do a minute or so of relaxed breathing before taking a big breath to dive down. I could only hold my breath a few seconds. Then I tried hyperventilating for maybe 20-breaths before blowing most my air out and sinking to the bottom effortlessly. I was also able to swim around for maybe 10-15 seconds comfortably. I wouldn't do that to the point of getting lightheaded but I wondering why you can't tap into that. I guess it just takes conditioning to do it safely like sub sub said.
 

Vanruj

New Member
Sep 2, 2018
6
0
1
35
Malta
#6
Well another reason I posted was because I was snorkeling the other day and I would do a minute or so of relaxed breathing before taking a big breath to dive down. I could only hold my breath a few seconds. Then I tried hyperventilating for maybe 20-breaths before blowing most my air out and sinking to the bottom effortlessly. I was also able to swim around for maybe 10-15 seconds comfortably. I wouldn't do that to the point of getting lightheaded but I wondering why you can't tap into that. I guess it just takes conditioning to do it safely like sub sub said.
Hi, im also beginer but few seconds is realy short period, was that your first try to dive? Also div8ng without any weight makes you use a lot of o2 while kicking to maintain yourself underwater thuz resulting in extreme short dive :( . Do you have fins? Better fins means less o2 used to go down also. Dont drink coffee few hours efore dive because your heart will not be able to slow down to preserv o2.
What else.... dont give up, in one week your body will go from reaction -omfg what are you doin we gona die (panic) - to reaction ... here he goes again into water, lets zlow everything down so we preserve self :)
I could also hold only 30 sec max in begining, now after 1.5 mo th of doing it i can stay 1min 40sec u derwater easy.
But please do not hypervent, yoj ca try metod of 2 min calmly float on zurface and take 3 very deep breath, when you take third go down. Rinse and repeat ;)

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 
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Homerkp

New Member
Sep 21, 2018
4
0
1
31
Greece
#7
Yeah a few seconds is really short considering I've gotten up to 3-4 minutes lying on my bed. It's not my first dive, but I've really only snorkeled. For every summer for years, but it never really involved me diving deep and staying under a long time. 10 seconds is more than enough to catch an octopus by hand.

I don't use weights and my flippers aren't quite as big as the ones I see free divers/spear fisherman use. I will try and keep doing the exercises and researching until next summer. Tomorrow will probably be the last day of the season that I go to a spot where you can actually dive deep and look at stuff.
 

cdavis

Supporter
Supporter
Jan 21, 2003
3,801
658
218
68
Sarasota, Fla
#8
Homerkp,

Here is why hyperventilation appears to work so well. Your "need to breathe" reflex is controled primarily by c02 content of your blood. Hyperventilation blows off c02, reducing the blood c02 content without having much effect on 02 concentration. You feel the need to breath much later. However, if you blow off too much co2, your 02 concentration(what keeps you concious) can drop below whats needed for conciousness before your c02 level gets high enough to force you to the surface to breathe . The details are way more complicated than the above, but you get the idea.

For a beginner, a bit of hyperventilation isn't going to hurt you, but as you gain skill (and c02 tolerance) too much hyperventilation can get you in fatal trouble. The problem is "how much is too much?" Its darn near impossible to determine. Much better to learn to dive without it, and practice makes for huge improvement. For example, I regularly do 1.5-2.0 minute dives in 60-80 ft with half a lungful of air and a breathup that is the opposite of hyperventilation. Its not that hard, just takes technique and patience.

Once you are a serious expert, you might try experimenting with Mr Hoff. Some really expert divers do, see the link below.
I strongly suggest you do not follow Nathan's example any time soon.

https://forums.deeperblue.com/threads/the-actual-impact-of-low-co2.111310/
 
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