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Question Height/weight advantage?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Joelyn89

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Dec 16, 2023
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If I weigh the same as someone who’s a few inches shorter than me, is it more likely that I, a young man, will be able to hold my breath longer than her, a young woman? We have about the same amount of body mass, but I guess different capacities and probably a different ratio of muscle mass.
 
All of those things you mentioned come into play. Plus individual mindset, ability to relax, and shear determination. Among elite freedivers, two physical traits do stand out: being lean (there are no obese freedive champions that I know of), and having large lungs. But other than that, there really is no way to guess who will be better at freediving. You just have to learn the skills and do your best.
 
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All of those things you mentioned come into play. Plus individual mindset, ability to relax, and shear determination. Among elite freedivers, two physical traits do stand out: being lean (there are no obese freedive champions that I know of), and having large lungs. But other than that, there really is no way to guess who will be better at freediving. You just have to learn the skills and do your best.
I see, thanks!
Are there any professional short freedivers xD
 
There are so many things that tie into breathhold, even from day to day, that it's unlikely anyone will make accurate predictions when comparing between people in reasonably decent health and with similar training/experience/confidence/motivation. Things such as height, weight, muscle mass, even age & gender, may have some little influence somewhere, but, unless there is something that's to the point of being a clear contra-indicator, the stronger influences will very likely be such things as listed by J Campbell above.

However, when it comes to depth, probably an even greater factor than breathhold is ability to equalise.
I reckon you'll find many freedivers (even pro, not just beginner, and all sort of shapes & sizes) end up being constrained most often by equalisation during many of their deeper dive attempts, rather than by breathhold...
 
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There are so many things that tie into breathhold, even from day to day, that it's unlikely anyone will make accurate predictions when comparing between people in reasonably decent health and with similar training/experience/confidence/motivation. Things such as height, weight, muscle mass, even age & gender, may have some little influence somewhere, but, unless there is something that's to the point of being a clear contra-indicator, the stronger influences will very likely be such things as listed by J Campbell above.

However, when it comes to depth, probably an even greater factor than breathhold is ability to equalise.
I reckon you'll find many freedivers (even pro, not just beginner, and all sort of shapes & sizes) end up being constrained most often by equalisation during many of their deeper dive attempts, rather than by breathhold...
Thanks for the reply :)
You mentioned training/experience/confidence/motivation. All of these have to do with the amount of time a person can hold their breath voluntarily as far as I know, but what about the actual, physical limits? The point where a person can’t hold their breath even if they wanted to.
 
Not sure exactly what you're asking...? What do you mean by "physical limit"? Losing consciousness from hypoxia? (At which point autonomous respiration would usually begin - though that's not 100% guaranteed under certain rare circumstances, so...)

The vast majority of those without much training will end breathhold when it gets 'too uncomfortable' (usually due to high CO2) - there are some studies on apnea breaking point, for example see here. Some who have trained breathhold a lot are able to continue until blackout (though would only do so very occasionally).

So are you asking about the factors that influence the time it takes to reach hypoxia/blackout? If so, I'm curious why you want to know...?

Even then, the answer is pretty similar to before: given two people with reasonable health, and no current major contra-indicators, it's very hard to tell who will black out first, and could even vary hour to hour, and day to day, depending on the state of the body at the time.

In the end it's all to do with keeping a supply of oxygen to the brain - and that depends on the initial amount of O2 in lungs and bloodstream and rest of body at start of breathhold, how quickly that O2 gets used up by the body during the breathhold (activity, heart rate, constriction of blood flow to various parts of the body, relaxation, metabolism, maybe even fighting off some mild unnoticed infection, etc.), the diffusion of O2 from the lungs into the blood (affected by partial pressure of O2 in lungs, which comes from current ambient pressure and percentage O2 remaining in lungs), diffusion of O2 from blood into the body (affected by amount of CO2 through the Bohr effect), and any constriction of blood-flow to the brain. There's also the extra oxygenated blood cells stored in the spleen and released by spleen contraction - and probably numerous other things I've forgotten just thinking off the top of my head.

I suspect the only way you would have any chance of a half-decent prediction between any two people with decent health would be to take lots of medical measurements just before the breathholds (lung capacity, blood gases, heart-rate, maybe recent nutrition, metabolism, spleen size, etc. -perhaps even doing numerous tests for signs of that mild unnoticed infection I mentioned! And even then you don't know how well their dive reflex will kick in to decrease O2 usage throughout the body, and how effectively the spleen will release extra O2 into the blood...)

Does that help at all? (And I'm still curious why you're asking...?)
 
Not sure exactly what you're asking...? What do you mean by "physical limit"? Losing consciousness from hypoxia? (At which point autonomous respiration would usually begin - though that's not 100% guaranteed under certain rare circumstances, so...)

The vast majority of those without much training will end breathhold when it gets 'too uncomfortable' (usually due to high CO2) - there are some studies on apnea breaking point, for example see here. Some who have trained breathhold a lot are able to continue until blackout (though would only do so very occasionally).

So are you asking about the factors that influence the time it takes to reach hypoxia/blackout? If so, I'm curious why you want to know...?

Even then, the answer is pretty similar to before: given two people with reasonable health, and no current major contra-indicators, it's very hard to tell who will black out first, and could even vary hour to hour, and day to day, depending on the state of the body at the time.

In the end it's all to do with keeping a supply of oxygen to the brain - and that depends on the initial amount of O2 in lungs and bloodstream and rest of body at start of breathhold, how quickly that O2 gets used up by the body during the breathhold (activity, heart rate, constriction of blood flow to various parts of the body, relaxation, metabolism, maybe even fighting off some mild unnoticed infection, etc.), the diffusion of O2 from the lungs into the blood (affected by partial pressure of O2 in lungs, which comes from current ambient pressure and percentage O2 remaining in lungs), diffusion of O2 from blood into the body (affected by amount of CO2 through the Bohr effect), and any constriction of blood-flow to the brain. There's also the extra oxygenated blood cells stored in the spleen and released by spleen contraction - and probably numerous other things I've forgotten just thinking off the top of my head.

I suspect the only way you would have any chance of a half-decent prediction between any two people with decent health would be to take lots of medical measurements just before the breathholds (lung capacity, blood gases, heart-rate, maybe recent nutrition, metabolism, spleen size, etc. -perhaps even doing numerous tests for signs of that mild unnoticed infection I mentioned! And even then you don't know how well their dive reflex will kick in to decrease O2 usage throughout the body, and how effectively the spleen will release extra O2 into the blood...)

Does that help at all? (And I'm still curious why you're asking...?)
Yeah, I was basically asking what are the factors that influence the time it takes to reach hypoxia or a black out. Asking that as I’m a relatively short person, but fairly skinny as well. So I’m wondering what advantages or disadvantages I might have and how will I perform in comparison to other types of people, both in static apnea, but also in dynamic, and if there are some physical limits, cause I’m sure there are.
Thanks!
 
You say 'relatively short' and 'fairly skinny', so it sounds like you're not *extremely* far away from typical height and decent weight. I'm in exactly the same situation myself (I often fit clothes for age 14-15), and I'd say don't worry about it at all for static breathhold.

As for dynamic, well...

When I was a young teen I did a lot of swimming - and I was good at it, winning quite often in local club with peers of similar ages. However, once we got towards later teens, the others started growing faster than I did, and I stopped winning so often. It then became far less enjoyable (I hated losing, even second place!), and that's when I stopped swimming. :(

From this experience, I do suspect shorter arms (and legs?) and smaller hands (and feet??) could give a very slight disadvantage for dynamic no fins. But technique and streamlining (i.e. efficiency) are more important, so those are the things to work on (along with relaxation).

As for dynamic with fins, it's not clear to me how much of a disadvantage we might have - I can see possibilities either way, so it may pretty much even out in the end. But I'm still sure technique/efficiency/motivation/relaxation/practice/etc. would be the biggest factors.

TBH, unless you're planning to be an elite competitive freediver (are you?), it really isn't going to make a significant difference - so just get on and enjoy it! :)
 
You say 'relatively short' and 'fairly skinny', so it sounds like you're not *extremely* far away from typical height and decent weight. I'm in exactly the same situation myself (I often fit clothes for age 14-15), and I'd say don't worry about it at all for static breathhold.

As for dynamic, well...

When I was a young teen I did a lot of swimming - and I was good at it, winning quite often in local club with peers of similar ages. However, once we got towards later teens, the others started growing faster than I did, and I stopped winning so often. It then became far less enjoyable (I hated losing, even second place!), and that's when I stopped swimming. :(

From this experience, I do suspect shorter arms (and legs?) and smaller hands (and feet??) could give a very slight disadvantage for dynamic no fins. But technique and streamlining (i.e. efficiency) are more important, so those are the things to work on (along with relaxation).

As for dynamic with fins, it's not clear to me how much of a disadvantage we might have - I can see possibilities either way, so it may pretty much even out in the end. But I'm still sure technique/efficiency/motivation/relaxation/practice/etc. would be the biggest factors.

TBH, unless you're planning to be an elite competitive freediver (are you?), it really isn't going to make a significant difference - so just get on and enjoy it! :)
Thank you so much for all the replies!
 
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