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Holding my breath

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jan 17, 2002
Hello, I am totally new to freediving. I am going to mexico next month and would like to try freediving.
I have practiced holding my breath for the past couple of days and can manage to hold it for 5'12 at the most with my contractions starting at 3'30.
I read a post the other day that explained how to measure lung capacity and my lung capacity is 6.5 litres. I am wondering if that is going to be a barrier for me.

If anyone can give me some pointers, I would be very greatful.


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Lung capacity ....

5'12 ..... goodness gracious !!!!!!!!

As for the 6.5 L lung capacity, it's not too shabby. The average human (not that any of us here is human ;) ) has a lung capacity of 4.5 litres (plz correct me if I'm wrong here, this is what I've been 'told'), so you've got a 'spare' 2 litres.

The only place where lung capacity is going to make a huge difference, IMHO, is when you go performance freediving - ie DEEP. For general purpose / vanilla flavoured freediving it's not going to matter much. It will expand with time, once you get into diving regularly and do the right training.

Other than that, don't hesitate too much - just dive. And don't overextend youself on the first couple of dives - rather err on the safe side. And have a buddy watching you, preferably one that knows what Shallow Water Blackout is .....

Riaan C

PS: Do you know how to equalize ?
Yes, I am able to equalize. I have my PADI open water license and will be scuba diving in mexico, but I really would like to freedive while I'm there.
I am trying to find a club in my area so I can train with a buddy. I didn't realise it was so dangerous until I started reading the threads on this site.

How long have you been freediving? How long can you hold your breath? Is this something that requires alot of practice?



if you can equalize with frenzel technique, you are all set for freediving, since it really works when you are going down fast..I would practise that just in case vasalva dosen't do the trick..
have good time diving!

Hi Elevator man (Otis?). You obviously have a good natural ability, so just get in the water and dive! However, in case you're not aware, we all try to look out for each other on this forum, so please allow me to give you a few safety pointers in case you haven't heard them before.
As SASpearo (is that like the SAS commandos?) says, first and foremost, get a buddy to alternate dives with you....one up, one down, making sure your buddy gets to the surface, then watching him/her for 20 seconds before you dive....he/she can blackout after reaching the surface and appearing fine. If you're buddy blacks out, keep his mouth closed until he's at the surface, then remove his mask and tell him nicely to breath....keep his face out of the water until he wakes up. More than likely he will, but if he does not wake up and breath after a minute or so, then start rescue breathing, which you are trained in since all divers are, right?
Secondly, watch your depth, since you will descend faster as you go deeper due to the collapse of your lungs and wetsuit (if wearing one). Try to wear an amount of lead that will make you positive at 5 to 6 metres so that if you BO on ascent, you will hopefully float to the surface and not sink back down. With the increased descent speed, be careful with your equalizing.....better to be diving on a line or anchor line if you're unsure about your ability to equalise FAST!.
Do not freedive immediately after scuba diving....this is an invitation to a wheelchair. If you scuba with a computer, then wait until the computer clears your nitrogen level. If you dive with tables, then wait 6 hours before freediving.
Fourthly, enjoy yourself....that's the easy part.
Fifthly, and very importantly, post your experiences on these forums so that we can share your experience and steal any ideas you might come up with!;)
Have a good holiday,
Erik Y.
Last edited:
Yep! OTIS (actually a subsidiary of OTIS)

Hey! Thanks for the tips. I hadn't thought about waiting 6 hours after a scuba dive before freediving.

I don't think I am familiar with the Frenzel technique. I don't dive much but when I do SCUBA dive, I usually just let a little air out in my mask. This is usually enough to equalize, as long as I don't wait too long to do it.

I am reading alot of the threads on this site, but am not familiar with all of the terminologies yet.


Frenzel is basically putting the air into your mouth "in reserve" and using your cheeks and tongue to push the air into your ears, mask and sinuses instead of pushing with your diaphragm through an open airway from your lungs. It's valuable for a couple of reasons....1, the chance of overpressurising your sensitive ears is minimalised....2, at great depth, you can not use your diaphragm to push air "down" into your head since your lungs are collapsing and you are inverted (air rises), so at a predetermined point you suck all the air you can into your mouth, close your airway, and use that air for equalising to the greater depth that you would not otherwise have been able to attain. It also reduces the amount of "pushes" that you must do with your diaphragm, saving some energy.
Maybe you could give he "No limits" guys some elevator expertise about their sled designs ;)
Erik Y.
Great information. I have never heard of that method. Thanks!

Imagine trying to equalise at 1000 f.p.m. wow!
Thanks for the link.
I read the article frenzle technique. I have been doing this technique all along and didn't know it.

I am eager to go to the pool and try dynamic apnea but don't have a buddy. I guess I'll just practice on my couch until then.

Is there some ratio that I can expect to see, like 2:1, 5:00min. dry apnea and 2:30 in the water.



Hi E-man,

The water time thing is really interesting, and I think depends on what you are doing in the water. I remember asking that question to Roger Yazbeck about a year ago. At that time my static was about 4:30, and I was wondering about possible total dive times, as I recalled Roger said somelthing like expect about a minute of dive time. A way to check this out is to examine competition results, for example you might look for static times for a competitor and then the times for the dynamic event. I'm sure some of the performance divers will have a good response to your question. For me as an intermediate diver, Roger was about right.

Best wishes,

Hi fd ,
I have found that as a loose rule of thumb you can expect about 10 m. of constant weight for every minute of static.
This is also the way points were awarded at champs. in Sardegna.
Obviously to acheive this ratio you must spend equal time training both disciplines!;)
[Is there some ratio that I can expect to see, like 2:1, 5:00min. dry apnea and 2:30 in the water.
Elevator_man [/B]

E-man, if you're talking about static apnea in the water vs. dry, then the ratio is much closer. Generally, you will see that the times are very close, but in competition, because of the competitive environment, many divers lose some time(30 seconds to a minute or so) on their holds. Also, the diver may want to avoid samba and BO, thereby avoiding disqualification. I find statics to be "nicer" in the water, maybe a "back to the womb" memory, or the same genetic memory from millenia ago that has driven so many of us back to the water.
Erik Y.
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