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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
Apr 13, 2004
My first post here, hello all, I was trying to find a duscussion board for apnea and it seems I have found a very good one:)

Anyway, I am 19, I live in the UK, but I am originally from Greece, I have been trying to dive since I was pretty young, around 11, and its a passion that I always have the urge to follow. Unfortunately, litle did I know when I was young about pressure and equalising it, so one sunny day I burst my ears, in a way, ever since that I have been having problems when I get just a common cold, but I guess its worth it. I started hyperventilating, not because I read it somewhere but its something that come to me naturaly, and something that helps me go pretty low. With it I can hold my breath for max 3mins and 10 or so seconds, and the most I'v been is around -20meters. I bought a book on hatha yoga, but I am not sure if thats what I really need, I am looking for a technique to help me calm, I can feel that my heartbeat doesn't slow down so I guess if I can manage that I will last even longer?

That's about it about me, I hope I did make sence :)
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Hi Pyro welcome to the forum.
You may know this already but hyperventilation is the biggest cause of deaths in freediving. Some experts use this technique in a very controlled way and with lots of safety, but if you are beginning I would recommend keeping well clear. A quick search on this site will tell you why.
But, without it I can't go deep, or if I can I won't be able to stay down at all. What other methods do you suggest?

Just did a search and found this how can you guys hold for 6, even 7 minutes?! I feel pretty bad with a low 3..
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Where in the UK are you?
Hyperventilation is the worst thing you can do pyro, dont do it! It confuses the Medulata Oblongata a gland in our brain that tells us when to breath. Hyperventilating will flush CO2 from this gland which in turn tells our brain we dont need to breath, in the mean time our brain gets O2 starvation without knowing it :( then we die from drowning as a reslt of SWB :(
Up north in Bradford, I joined the scuba diving team of the university, and the people there did tell me that hyperventillating is pretty dangerous, but I never ever had any problems, I am reading about samba and all that but I'v never experienced anything alike. It's just that hv'ing makes me last much longer, what other tecnique can I use?
Hyperventilation actually makes your blood less reluctant to give away it's oxygen to the tissues, and thuss you'll actually black out earlier when otherwise had enough oxygen in your blood to come clean. So it actually doesn't make you last longer, it just makes you feel you can last longer when the opposite is true. Risky sh*t.

As to how to begin, I'de say training for CO2 tolerance, since that what seems to keep you back now by your description. The first urge to breath usally comes from CO2 build up at your blood, not the lack of O2. Hyperventilation reduces the CO2 levels in your blood dramatically, that's why it makes you feel you can last longer but that's usally a lie.

You can use the 'search' option (one of the blue buttons on the top of the page) and get loads of information, since there's a chance that most of your first questions have been asked before. Some of the threads you'de find would be basic, some of them would have advanced information and technical lingo. There should be some technical glossary (sp?) laying around somewhere here... in anycase, you can always post spesific questions in the begginer forum.

Happy diving and welcome to DB. :)
Hi pyro,

Welcome to DB. 3 minutes and 20 meters is excellent for where you are at. You are doing great. You don't need to hyperventilate. That technique is the "easy" way to staying down a long time but you can end up dead.

Relaxing is the key to staying down a long time. Here is one way to practice relaxing. Try diving in a moderate (easy) depth, go slow and think about relaxing every muscle in your body. Start at the head and work down to your toes, relaxing eveything. Then do it again.. and again. You will be surprised at how much unnessary tension you find. Come up a little early, take a few recovery breaths then breath deep and slow for a minute or so, whatever feels right to fully recover and be relaxed. Take 3 fast deep breaths and dive. Do the relaxing thing again, stay down a little longer. Repeat 5 or 6 times. You will find your bottom time going up fast as you get better at relaxing and your dive reflex kicks in. This carrys over into other diving. The 3 fast breaths blow off some co2 but not enough to get you in trouble. If you ever feel tingles or light headed while breathing up, that is a symptom of having blown off too much co2. Don't Dive. Stop breathing until it goes away and a little longer. Then start your breathup again but less of it.

Another breathing technique is 3/4 breaths, fast in (1sec), slow out (15 seconds). Follow with 3-4 fast full breaths (called purge breaths) when you are ready to dive. This is very relaxing and slows your heat rate.

There is a ton of stuff in the various threads. Read a bunch, learn to use the search function and enjoy getting educated. Just remember that some of this stuff is from/for guys far better than either of us. It takes a little sorting to figure out what applies to you.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Remember that all types of deep or fast brathing is a kind of hyperventilation in the way that they blow off different amounts of CO2. The only way to avoid hyperventilatin IMO is to let your body breath the way it wants to.

So then I will have to train to surpass the urge to breathe when co2 gets too high?
Just remember that there is actually a good reason for the urge to breath... You actually need to breath. So dont push it too hard.

So then I will have to train to surpass the urge to breathe when co2 gets too high?
CO2 offers also some advantages. It makes your blood more acidic which helps you remain conscious on lower blood O2. It helps to trigger bradicardia - the slowing of the heart rate and trigger other metabolical changes to make your body more oxygen conservative underwater. When training to surpass this urge you're traning yourself to be a better diver.
That's how I figure it atleast.
Any apnea practice you do will help surpress your urge to breath. The more you practice, the better you get. Co2 tables are designed just for that.

Ulf had a good point. Any time you change the bodies natural breathing pattern, you need to be careful. Especially as you get better at apnea. For example, deep slow breathing done just a little too fast can turn in to hv real easy, especially if followed by a series of purge breaths. That is why I prefer the 3/4 breath, fast in slow out technique. Hard to abuse that one.

I tried searching but couldn't come up with the co2 tables, where do I find them, and what do they do?

Thanks again, to everyone, I have just realised what apnea was all about, 11 years after supposetly diving..!
The CO2 table is a few short statics with decreasing rest time. You'll get high CO2 levels without geting to low on O2...

You can download them here: http://www.freediver.co.uk/ click on: Static Apnea Training Tables. Table A is CO2 and Table B is O2 table...

The time of breathold should be changed to fit what seems reasonable for you.
People usally start doing the CO2 table with every breathold being 50% of your max (if I remember correct), and the O2 table with the last breathold being 85% of your max. Start with those, and play with the numbers, I think that you'll discover you're improving quite fast at the begning.
ah thanks a lot mate, do i just do that for training? i do swim as well, and play waterpolo three times a week, i got exams in a bit so its not the best time to do the training but i guess it will help.

thanks again m8

deepthough i just saw your post man, i have realised that in the first few days that i spend on the island that i go every summer, my times are pretty bad, but within a couple of days i get back upto my pb, i am thinking if its best to start training now, or if i should start when i go to the island, what do you think?
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Definitly before. :) So you can dive better while at the island.
Inorder to improve you are required sometimes to stretch your limits a bit - to makes such apnea activity that is sometimes hard for you. And since you wanna do as much diving as possible while staying on an island, stretching your limits while diving (not to mention if solo diving) might prove dangerous. But while training dry you can train with no such worries.
Regarding the type of training, there's more than just tables, these forums are full with different ones. If you can find a spotter that knows what freediving is and can concetrate only on you (not the pool's lifeguard), doing dynamics at the pool might also work wonders for your vecation.

I don't know what's water polo, does it invlove horses? :D
shalom :D

hahahahahahahahahaha, yeah sea horses given growth iv's :p nah its like handball only you swim

see i always chickened out when my body started shouting for air, but i pretty much knew if that would happen when i was deep down, so in a way, even tho i always used to hventilate, i never got to a point of being in danger. the only thing thats keeping me from practise is this damn cold, when i get better tho i will try, when i just hold my breath dry i try not to breath before i pass the 3:20 so i think that i should be able to push myself when it comes to the damn co2 making me breathe.

oh one more thing, i really hate swimming pools but theres nothing else around, they use too much chlorine as well, so could that be bad while training?

cheers man :D

Yeah, I think you shouldn't train while fighting a cold.
As regarding to pools, I hate clorine as well, maybe becuase I'm asthmatic (or ex-astmatic, somewhere on the border) I'm more sensitive to it, not sure.
This is one of the reasons I avoid pools usally, though if given a tempting opportunity I usally can't resist jumping in the water.

Other places are the sea and fresh water resevours/lakes/rivers.
Or you can do dry dynamic training - apnea walking (lots of previous posts), apnea cycling (on bicycle trainer - what I intend to try soon), apnea weight lifting (I've read some posts about it, use the search option if interested) etc.

In anycase, I suggest you should wait till you'll get back to health.
Till then, play with the mutant sea horsies. ;)
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