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deep with no contractions...

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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neoprene dreamer
Aug 22, 2001
I read and posted on the thread about personal bests...I would like to know how the hell could one dive as deep as 50m with no contractions..... When I dive below 20 meters It is almost sure I get some cantractions on the way up...and when I go below 30..I usually turn because I get contractions and it feels bit scary to be so deep with such feeling...
Is it the relaxing on the surface or just a trained thing that one can resist cotractions? Or am I just less equipped to dive deep??
I am just amazed..thanks in advance

I think preparation, relaxation, not being anxious about the dive, and carbon dioxide tolerance are all factors.

And also, everyone is different. My friend Stephanie Ortlepp gets "contractions" on the way down at about 10m on her way to 45+m.

My comments

Ah...the science of contractions...unfortunately it doesn't tell you much.

The deepest I have heard anyone make (successfully) with no contractions was Alejandro Ravelo with -60m.
The deepest I made (successfully) with no contractions was -57m. I will also share the contraction patterns I have experienced during many dives in my short career:
1999: Had been diving for less than a year. -38m with first contraction on the descent at -25m.
2000: -62m with first contraction on the descent at -58m.
2001: 57m with no contractions.
2001: 88m with first contraction at -60m on the ascent.
2001: 71m with first contraction at -20m on the ascent.
2000: 54m (hyperventilated) 1st contraction on the ascent at -30m, but I blacked out at the surface
2001: 51m (hyperventilated, 1/2 inhale) 1st contraction on the ascent at -15m, samba

I heard that Brett LeMaster, on his 80+m dives, would get contractions on the descent starting at 45m. I have also heard of several divers getting rapid contractions on the descent after 30m, but still making 60+m successfully.

It depends on so many variables (as Laminar mentioned). Generally, if you hyperventilate, you get contractions very late in the dive, huge contractions, and you usually won't make it. If you don't hyperventilate you get contractions much earlier, even on the descent, but you make it much more often, and the contractions are MUCH more pleasant. I also know that it is possible to black out without ever getting any contractions.

Eric Fattah
black out

Yep, one day friend of mine blacked out when doing dynamic apnea without fins, and he hadn't got any contractions.
Thanks...I get contractions about -20m it feels weird..but I guess one can take numerous contractions when diveing... how many does it take for you guys before you black out... I haven't had the guts to try....yet.;)
Hi Pekka, my blackouts had nothing to do with contractions. I have sustained 50 contractions in a 6:10 breathhold, but have also had less contractions in the same amount of time that were stronger and more intense. My contractions in static usually start around 4 to 4:30, after the prerequisite warm up.
I blacked out in 1:45 at a 46 metre dive, with only a few contractions....it had more to do with my mental state than anything.
Erik Y.

Don't get confused by the replies you get. Everyone of them is right. Do what works for you. Try changing your breathe up. If that doesn't feel right go back to what you were doing before. Your physical make up is different from everybody elses so what you feel is unique to you. Experament with your routine until you find something that works for you then stick with it. I personally don't get contractions any more because I changed my breathing routine. I've done -51m with no contractions and I've done 6:31 static with no contractions. My only suggestion is to pay very close attention to the way you body feels. It knows best.

Don't dive alone, it's boring!

Hey Guys,

I think that what people experience as a contraction at around 30-50m aren't really contraction in the sense that it's the accumulation of CO2, but it's the sensation of the vital capacity (VC) equaling your residual volume (RV).

When your lungs squeeze to the point of decreased volume one of the physiological aspects is the diagphragm moving upwards into the thoracic cavity because the chest is resisting further collapse. This with any form of the muscles in a tensed state (intercostals, diaphragm...) the resistance of collapse is increased and therfore a sense of a contraction.

I find that I get this sensation from around 50-55m last time I was out (was around 45-50m earlier) and if I relax, ignore it and continue descending that it disappears (thoracic filling) becasue of the altering physiology to counteract the negative pressure in the lungs.

Brett had experienced contractions around 45m occasionally, but more often than not it was just before reaching the bottom, usually 3-5 m from it when he was in the zone and things were going well.

Contractions from CO2 for me start usually within the first 10 seconds or so of ascent from depth usually. It's never really excrutiating becasue of the decreasing PCO2 due to decreasing pressure (ascent).

I have however felt contraction upon ascent where I thought my guts were going to blow out my ass. Bad warmup, too much exertioin prior to the dive (increased CO2) and other factors that didn't help me relax and prep. Last thing I remember is seeign the surface and thinking, "I'm going to make it", wrong :>)
This isn't actually about deep with no contractions, but has lot to do with contractions anyway. Erik already writted about 50 one of those in static, and I was wonderin how to move contractions starting point further?

My best static (dry) is 4'50", and if I remember right, contractions started at 3' or just little before. This one was done without any special breath-up, just deep and relaxed breathing before hold. That was 5th hold 'in row', before that I had done 3', 3'30", 4' and 4'20".

So I think I have to be able to move contractions starting point furhter to get more apnea time? Also, of course, have to learn to handle more contractions, but if they start later and I can handle more of them, finishing time will be better.

I've tried few kind of x-x-x routines but with no serious help. Maybe the right pattern is still missing? 4'50" has been my PB quite long time, and I would be happy to push it better :)

Thanks in advance
Thanks guys for your answers...I hope to get in the water and do some experimenting with my breath up before dive, since I really don't like contractions when I am still descending....it makes me feel like this is the limit...:confused: no matter what causes it..
Perhaps I do some experimenting on just breath hold...
thank you all!:D
No contractions

A deep salute to everyone.
On my trainings, of static apnea, when I get over 6'15" I realized a strong voluntary contraction and felt a cardiac arrythmia, at 6'45" I did it again and felt the same, when I reached 7'22" I did a smooth and slow voluntary contraction and nothing happened with my cardiac rythm.
On my training without packing nor hyperventilation, I reached 3 row static apneas of 7'06" with 1 minute surface interval. I avoided completely the contractions, and you now the results.
I think that contractions are not good, but if you can´t avoid it at all, try to make smoother and slower than usual, and try to reduce the frecuency of them. A strong contractions consumes a lot of oxygen.
I don´t have experience with contractions in constant ballast, because I only descend to 51 meters. I have never experienced a contraction at that depth, and neither at my 2 minutes hanging at 38 meters. I focus in my heart beat and avoid voluntarily the contractions.
The difference that divers experience in the onset of contractions is due to the CO2 threshold, that is different between individuals, your O2 comsumption is what gives you the performance. Ofcourse the O2 comsumption and the CO2 threshold are variables that improve with training. If you have a low CO2 threshold your contractions will come sooner.
Try to avoid the contractions, initially with low static time and go further as you feel comfortable with it. Try to focus on your feelings and your heart beat. Forget the watch and don´t set an arbitrary goal.

Nice times! :)

What kind of static training you do? Have you ever felt contractions when doing apnea, or is that no-contractions-result achieved with training?


For over 25 years I could do a 4 minute static by hyperventilating and a couple warm ups. About two years ago I took the 'Performance' course and have slowly improved. Now I do one ocean workout, one pool and one dry static per week, all under an hour.
The static workout that seems to work best is;
2 min rest/ 2 min apnea/ 3 and 3/ 4/4 5/5 6/6 and last. During the rest periods, I breathe with the diaphragm, about 60% volume and 7 times per min. I let the clock run and time my rest to allow two deep breaths before apnea (at 02 07 14 23 and 34). I always take three deep ones when I start to breathe again. On the last rep I've been doing 5 purges in the middle of the 7 min rest period and getting very uncomfortable at about 6:40 apnea.
A word about contractions. I've tried everything and now I ignore them as much as possible. If they start at one third of my target time, then I'm going hurt a lot. They usually start about 3 min. into the last set and become continuous by 5.
I hope that's a little help. I suggest that you give it a try at 1:20/1:20 2/2 2:40/2:40 3:20/3:20 4/4 5/4:30 and 6/?? No hyperventilation no super ventilations get comfortable and concentrate on relaxation ( I don't know if that qualifies as an oxy-moron).
best wishes


Seems to work :) On the 1st try I made easily 4' hold (usually 3'30" has been hard), then had to stop because had no time. Contractions were quite mild, but came continuously. Also, on every hold contractions started later than when I was using my ex-technique.

But I keep on training.

Thanks very much.


Glad to hear you tried the routine. I forgot to say that I'm just the guinea pig. 90% of the credit goes to Kirk and Bret.
[. I've done -51m with no contractions and I've done 6:31 static with no contractions.

DSV, would you care to share your training techniques?
Erik Y.
Well I think the most helpful training for me has been the Co2 tolerance training. Lots of anaerobic training. Of course aerobic training is good too. I can't run so I do a lot of swimming and anpea swimming. I also ride the stationary bike (sit down model so it's not to far to fall). I warm up ride for 5 min. then start holding my breath for 25 to 30 sec. off and on for 20 min. then warm down ride for 5 min. I don't train to do statics by doing statics. I have just been able to do them and have gotten progressively better at them. When I first started I would do them maybe twice a month. Then it was once a month. The most I have ever done was in Spain and I did 4 in two weeks. All of which were personal bests. I did 6:26 then a week later I did a 6:31. That same day I did a 6:21 then in comp. I did a 6:04. I didn't want to push it and samba. My routine for doing statics is this. 5 min facial immersion, 3 min. breathe up, 2:30 static. Rest 5 min, 5 min. breathe up, 3:30 static. Rest 7 min. breathe up 7 min. static as long as I can.

Remember this works for me and may not work for you guys. My breathing technique is a bit different than others and that plays a roll in not getting contractions. So try what I did, experament with different training and breathing techniques until you find one that works for you, then build on that. I'm still a rookie. It hasn't been a year yet since I started doing this deep diving crap. So I still have lots to learn. I appreciate all the input from all you divers out there on this list. I read them almost every day.

Listen to your body, it knows best.

  • Like
Reactions: Erik
Many thanks DSV for your info. I agree that we all have individual physiologies, etc, but do appreciate seeing how other people are accomplishing things (especially if they're doing it better than me). I have learned a lot of technique from this forum, for which I am grateful. I have learned by trying other methods plus my own experience.
Congrats on being on the US team and good luck!
Erik Y.
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