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High residual volume

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Feb 7, 2005
After almost 40 years away from freedive spearfishing I have decided to get back in the water for some healthy exercise. But I have hit a snag.

A few months ago I was diagnosed with asthma. My Doc said I had had it all my life. Hmmm. I never knew it. I thought everyone breathed like I did. So now I am taking medication for the ashtma and shots for allergies that I also never knew I had. While those are not good they are not the problem.

The problem is that after all these years with undiagnosed asthma and allergies, my body has adapted by expanding my lungs and ribcage. Now that might sound like the ideal situation for a freediver. Larger lung capacity and an expanded ribcage are what everyone wants, right? Well, not in my case. With all that expansion my ribcage and lungs have lost elasticity and I am stuck with a high residual volume. What that means is I cannot clear the air out of my lungs very well and you know what that means.

Of course, if I could be able to regain some of my old flexibility I would be in pig heaven. Anybody here with the same problem and with a solution to reduce the high residual volume of a long time asthmatic?

I spoke to my Doc about it and he said there is nothing that can be done. But, he is neither a dive doctor or a diver.

Thoughts anyone?


Last edited:
well, im no expert on the subject and im sure many people could tell you a lot more but.......

i know stretching will help a lot. I dont know if you know about negative packing, but you could try hyperventilating a bit (out of water of course, and just to make the hold easier:)) and doing a few negative packs and then while your doing the hold, suck in your gut as much as you can, feeling your abdominals and chest muscles stretch out. I find it helps me if im lying flat on my back, or even a little bit bent back, as your stomach is more stretched out. i do this for 30-60 seconds, and let out when i feel contractions coming on. Do this a few times a day, and i think you will start to see a difference:) if you have a pool and a buddy, you could try the same thing and then sinking to the bottom of the pool, but it probably wouldnt be a good idea to hyperventilate as much. I know Will on here does a lot of this stuff, shunting his ribs around and such:), and Seb Murat also knows a ton of info on this as well.
hope that helped you out a little
rory west

ps, if you dont know what negative packing is, try doing a search on the board, im sure you'll come up with a ton of stuff:)
I'm a (former?) asthmatic. My last spirometry test was done before I really started freediving - only a buch of statics and some 6m deep snorkeling. My TLC was a bit larger than the expected for my body type (forgot the percentage) and my residual was 24% which is ok to start with I think.
Althogh I have no numbers to prove it, I'm pretty sure that my RV has decreased and TLC has increased since then. Puting emphasis on proper breathing and doing the occasional *'udayana banda' + stretching is all I did for lowering the RV.

*'udayana banda':
Empty lungs as much as you can.
"Pull" diaphragm up.
Exhale a bit more.

I see no contradiction between being asthmatic and being a freediver, don't take this asthma thing too hard as long as you feel ok.
What kind of medications did you get?
Hi guys,

Thanks for the suggestions.

I am already doing dry diaphram exercises while trying to reduce my ribcage expansion at the same time.

CDAVIS suggested empty lung dives to help compress the ribcage. I will try these as well. Especially since he is my diving buddy and will be watching me in the pool!


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