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heartrate to 14 bpm ?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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The land of ice and snow
Sep 5, 2001
I have read that Pipin could lower his heartrate to 14 bpm. Was this a misprint? Or was it at blackout? Seems almost to incredible but a lot of this sport is.
7 bpm

Yes it's true.
Some freediver's heart beats fall down to 7 bpm. Not only Pipin, but Pelizzari and other divers including our croatian Iceman "Kike".
This happen at depths and it is more of a reflex then intention.
Once I saw tv document where one made static apnea holding his face in ice-cold water. His heart rate dropped quite soon to approx. 20bpm.

Temperature and pressure make funny things :)
Diving Reflex

The amazing drop in heart beat rate while freediving is part of the mammalian diving reflex. All of us have this reflex in our brain, and technically anyone can drop his heart beat while freediving. This influenced by the pressure, water temperature, vasoconstriction (narrowing of arterial vessels) and training.
The heart beat drop is dependant of the differential temperature of air and water, and if the water is colder the reflex is more intense. You just have to put your forehead or arm in cold water to start the heart beat dropping. This reflex is found even in non-trained non freedivers people, but it´s more prominent in trained freedivers.
When the heart beat is too low, you are at risk of arrythmias, that´s why the security is so important in extreme freediving.

Our aquatic past is in our minds, we just have to find it.


Frank Pernett
Greetings from the Arbian Gulf. The person you saw on TV with his face in the water was Howard Jones from Freediver I believe.
My heart rate drops substantially at depth...at 30 metres its usually around 30 bpm, and during negative dives to 8 metres it drops to 20. The first time this happened I was a little freaked out; your heart is up in your mouth, so you can really hear it thumping....when you don't hear a thump for 3 or 4 seconds, it's quite unnerving!
Some divers have claimed that they are dropping their heart rate by will, but really the depth is responsible (plus cold sometimes).
All of us are capable of relaxing and controlling our heart rate to some degree at the surface, but I think the Yogis are the most well known, with amazing control, up to and including a complete stop.
Cheers, @ 30C,
Erik Y.
a heart rate that low is very possible. during the peak of my mountainbike racing season my resting hr is 60-65 and when i am very relaxed, like when i wake up, i is usually at 45 if i try to get it down using progressive muscle relaxation i can get it down 25-27 and my lowest is 23 bpm. i used a hr monitor so the readings are very accurate. i have never tried in water though i dont think my hr monitor would like that.

but down to 7bpm i dont really think that any 'normal' person could get there hr down that low:( but it would probably help to get longer breathhold times.

peace out
Hey, what's that progressive muscle relaxation you are talking about? I've a resting hr of about 40 bpm, and I'm very interested in gaining control over my body :)

Anybody knows anything about what the yogis do?
Hi Basco,

Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation is a purely western approach to relaxation. It was developed bly Edmund Jacobson, back in the earlier part of the previous century. It works on the basis of tensing a muscle and then relaxing the muscle. When this is done the muscle goes to a more relaxed state than before.

Letting Go of Tension; this is also best practised after a walk or after you have been working on your breathing. The idea is to take a breath and hold it, while tensing some part of your body, perhaps your right hand, then letting go of the tension when you breath out. It is good to go through your whole body this way. First start out with just your right hand, attempting to let the rest of your body be relaxed, then move to your left hand, breathing in and tightening it, hold it briefly, and then letting go when you breath out.Next go to your shoulders, lift them up and hold it as you breath in, then let them go asyou breath out. Next work on your back, pressing it into the back of the chair, once that is relaxed, go to you bum, tighten up your bum muscles, and then let them go, feel yourself sinking into the chair or bed. Now move onto your right thigh, tighten it, then let it go, then move onto your left thigh, hold the tension until you breath out. Next go to your right calf, tighten it and hold it, but only as long as you hold your breath, then let it go. Now do the same with your left calf. Lastly do each foot individually. It may take a bit of practise to do this. It is called Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation. The idea is to only tense the target muscle group, letting the rest of your body be calm.

If you want to give this a try do so, it is pretty non yoga and quite intensional. Do not tighten a muscle group too much, but enough so that you can feel a good solid stretch.

Best wishes,

In December i had my heart rate and oxygen % taken while doing a dry static of 3:30.

During my breath up my heart was jumping between 60 an 62 bpm with my oxygen % at 98%.

1:24 into the dry static my heart rate started going down to 47/48 bpm and at 3:30 my oxygen % was 79%.

At the end as i exhaled and took my first breath my heart rate jumped up to 88 bmp and it took 3 breaths to take my oxygen % back to 98%.

Heart rate took about 1:00 to fall back into the 60's.

Which i was able to test this in water.
80 bpm!?!?!

I just checked my pulse and I got 80 bpm!!!!!! :waterwork

I envy you guys, what can I do to lower it? what kind of training is the best?
I read somewhere that the heart muscle needs at least 10 years of training to show some results in area of lowering your heart beats per minute. There's a term in our language, the translation would be something like "sport heart". It refers to those people who have heart rates of 50 bpm and less. They are, in general, people who have been start with sports very early in their lives. But, they don't all have the ability to hold their breath for long.
I guess you should work with what you got.
10 years?
thats a bit much i think since my hr is 10 beats below what a resting hr should be at my age.(last time i checked during the summer, im sick now so it about 90 bpm)
im only 15 and i tell you now that i have not been training for 10 years.
my pulse seems to jump around alot though, espacially during the winter. some days my resting hr is 90 and a week later it will be 70 and so on.
havent figured out why though.

the hr pattern seems to be the same as mine when holding my breath (hennie) although my hr goes up more during breathup.

i recall reading an article on freedivehawaii that said something about pippins hr going to twice his resting hr when he breaths up

if someone has any info on this i would appreciate it

Vince, once your dive reflex kicks in, especially in the water where you've been doing deep dives or shallower negative dives, your body uses the surface interval wisely....it prepares for your dive by stepping up the heart rate, to absorb as much oxygen as possible. My resting rate is 45, but will go to 100 bpm at surface intervals. Once I dive, or even just breath hold betwen dives, it plummets to 50, then even less at depth. I don't know if this is the case with everyone, but it makes sense, if you believe in the mammalian dive reflex.
Rumblefish, I just posted my training regimen for ickledevil under "Training", maybe take what you like from that. I do not believe the 10 year theory. If you smoke, and quit, your heart rate will drop substantially. If you're fat, and you lose the fat, it will drop substantially. If you stop large amounts of caffeine intake, it will drop substantially. If you follow a training regimen, it will drop substantially. None of these seem to be too easy though, or people wouldn't be spending billions of dollars every year trying to find ways to stay healthy (Flab...I mean Ab machines, gimmicks, stupid diets) while the rest of the world starves. Health is a lifestyle, not a flavour of the month. If you want a 50 bpm heart rate, then you will have to work for it, but I know that that you and everyone else is capable of improving their health, so good luck, and start sweating!
Erik Y.
Originally posted by basco
Anybody knows anything about what the yogis do? [/B]

Hi basco, yogis practice pranayama (among other things), which involves controlling the breath in different cycles, thereby gaining control over their hearts, bodies, minds, and lives. A possible first step towards control of one's life is to start with the most basic and often ignored aspect of living....breathing. For example, modern humans tend to breath from the chest instead of from the diaphragm. babies breath from the diaphragm; it's natural, but some of us lose that somewhere along the line as we become stressed out with our stressful lives. A panicked surface dwelling mammal breaths quickly and shallow. A healthy and happy mammal breaths deeply and slowly.
There are recorded incidents where yogis have not breathed for over 25 minutes, and even longer in more distant folklore. There are recorded instances where yogis stopped there hearts. The thing to remember is that most yogis do not attempt this....ideally it happens as a side effect of achieving samadhi (enlightenment). When this happens, the breath is drawn out of the yogi....their lungs are empty!
Type "yoga", "samadhi", "enlightenment", or "pranayama" in a search engine...you will find lots. Also, there is an article about pranayama on Deeper Blue: Stephan will give you a link, wont you Stephan?
Cheers, Erik Y.
i have never tried my hr monitor in the water (electronics and water, i like it to much to do that to it) but i agree that the heartrate would drop and yes i believe in the mammalian dive reflex (i tell my mom im a fish, and not a mammal so she lets me stay in the water longer:) ) we all come from the sea. any historian can tell you that, so we must have some of that fish blood in us somewhere.
back to hr..... whenever i dive (in the pool since the last time i dove in the ocean was over a month ago) time always seems to slow and i feel my heartbeat not very often, so i guess that it must be slowing down alot. (funny since the pool is to hot 85-90F)
Originally posted by Erik
Type "yoga", "samadhi", "enlightenment", or "pranayama" in a search engine...you will find lots. Also, there is an article about pranayama on Deeper Blue: Stephan will give you a link, wont you Stephan?
Good thing I actually checked this thread, I apologise if I don't always respond as there is now too much traffic on the various sites to allow me to respond to everything :D

Right onto the links. Both articles that relate to Yoga on the main site are by Peter Sheard (courtesy of Howard Jones and the Freediver UK crew):

Breathe; Eastern Style
To Zen or Not to Zen

Now, some useful threads on the forums for you:

yoga/meditation and freediving
Need ANY techniques.....
Pranayama yoga (breathing yoga) excercises with MP3's
Good static apnea bad dynamic apnea
Translating static apnea into dynamic...

I got tired after all that searching but if you use the terms Erik has suggested in the Forums Search Engine you'll find a load of other threads!

Phew - anyway, i'm packed and flying off to Nice, France tommorrow to meet up with Fred Buyle, Loic LeFerme and a new UK No-Limits Freediver Steve Truglia. Full report when I get back!
Heart Rate

Hi all,

I took a clinic with Pipin for a week and learned some of his techniquies. He has lowered his hr to 14 bpm on his last record. He does double his hr during his breathe up. He claims (but not proven) that at extreme pressure the heart could acctually stop beating. So he elevates his heart rate so the decreased hr comes at a deeper depth. I was lucky enough to be able to ride his sled and he tought me how to use his breathe up. It's basically purging for 2 min. then hold your breath. I did just shy of 60m that took over 2 min (due to sled problems) and surfaced with no ill effects. I know that wasn't deep enough to prove anything about the pressure but it did work and I now use part of the breathing routine in my everyday diving and statics. I also did that breathe up for a 4:00 static, at 4:00 I came up took 1 breath and then held for as long as I could. (another of Pipin's training routine) I held for almost 3:00, but as soon as I got my first contraction my hr dropped considerably. I wasn't wearing a monitor, but I could feel the drop. Now I purge for a full minute at the end of my breathe up then hold when I'm deep diving. Another person who does a lot of purging at the end of thier breathe up is Tanya Streeter. I know it elevates the hr, but it's not hurting her performance.

The pressure related hr drops are triggered from you forhead, Bradycardia. I beleave that this is the same trigger that causes a babies heart rate to drop as it travels through the birth canal. The water temp related hr drops are triggered from the sacks under your eyes.

I'm very interested in the Deep Muscle Relaxation stuff. Do tell more.

Thanx Eric and thin_air for your reply.

I just did quit smoking ( about 2 months ago ), been smoking for about 10 years:naughty ...

I have done a little bit more then 35 meters in CW and a little bit more then 4 min in static ( only been freediving for about one year ). And it's going to be fun to se how/if I will get better in a couple of months of training. I started doing Ashthanga yoga for about 2hours/day/5days a week and do some fin-swimming/2 times a week. I also just bought the book Light on Pranayama, ny B.K.S iyengar. Have you got anymore tips on what to do to get in a better shape and to get longer breathholds?

By the way, when you measure your pulse, how do you do it? in the morning/evening? sitting/standing?
Last edited:

could explain "purging"?

I ussually prep for static/dynamic/diving by using the 15/15/15/15 routine.............inhale 15 sec, hold 15 sec, exhale 15 sec, hold negative 15 sec and repeat.

This i do 10 times.I found by doing this my hr stays below 62.

On rep 11 i anhale to the max packing about 5 on the first and exhale.
Rep 12 max inhale, pack 10, exhale
Rep 13 max inhale, pack 15, exhale
Rep 14 max inhale and start breath hold.

Between rep 11-14 hr jumps to 78 but as soon as my static starts my hr comes down to 35/38 at -3m in the pool after 1:45.

I am curious to know more about Pipin's breath up, care to share the info?

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