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Question How full should last breath be?

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

New Member
Mar 27, 2021
6
2
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51
Accidentally posted this question in introduction forum-apologies for the duplicate.


I’m a beginner, practicing using STAmina app. Goal is to improve lung function for general health and to help my running. Only doing dry holds, no plans to practice in water anytime soon. Question is about the final breath before a hold, either as part of training or as a maximum attempt. Should it be the absolute deepest breath I can take, filling lungs completely, or slightly less than 100% so there is less strain while holding?

Thanks!
 

J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
605
186
148
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The short answer is you want full lungs but not uncomfortable. The pros in competiton do a super huge inhale and then "pack" on top of that. But most freedivers just want a safe comfortable breath hold. As a beginner I suggest you play around with it and discover the different feelings you get with different breath hold methods. Do this dry, on your bed or sofa.
Try this: stand up next to your bed so if you fall you won't get hurt - pull your arms up and out to the sides so you look like a T and also inhale as fully as you can, pull your arms way back and up a bit like you are doing a swan dive to get as much stretch in your chest as you can, try really really hard to get as much air as you can, when you think you are full, try to get more. If you do it right you will almost be shaking from the effort - and the pressure in your lungs can make you pass out too - so be ready to fall on your bed. Hold you breath like that for 10 or 15 seconds. Take note of how you feel. So, the point of that is to show yourself what a really deep inhale feels like - probably really uncomfortable! Most recreational divers DON'T inhale like this. A good breath hold is done when you are relaxed.
Now try a few inhales where it feels full but not tight or uncomfortable. Hold longer this time. Then try it with a little more, a little less, a lot less inhale, etc. After doing breath holds over many sessions you will get a feel for it and you will learn just how much you need to inhale to get a good breath hold. Eventually it becomes second nature. Do you know about breathing up and "belly" breathing before a breath hold?
 
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barnesjohn

New Member
Mar 27, 2021
6
2
3
51
The short answer is you want full lungs but not uncomfortable. The pros in competiton do a super huge inhale and then "pack" on top of that. But most freedivers just want a safe comfortable breath hold. As a beginner I suggest you play around with it and discover the different feelings you get with different breath hold methods. Do this dry, on your bed or sofa.
Try this: stand up next to your bed so if you fall you won't get hurt - pull your arms up and out to the sides so you look like a T and also inhale as fully as you can, pull your arms way back and up a bit like you are doing a swan dive to get as much stretch in your chest as you can, try really really hard to get as much air as you can, when you think you are full, try to get more. If you do it right you will almost be shaking from the effort - and the pressure in your lungs can make you pass out too - so be ready to fall on your bed. Hold you breath like that for 10 or 15 seconds. Take note of how you feel. So, the point of that is to show yourself what a really deep inhale feels like - probably really uncomfortable! Most recreational divers DON'T inhale like this. A good breath hold is done when you are relaxed.
Now try a few inhales where it feels full but not tight or uncomfortable. Hold longer this time. Then try it with a little more, a little less, a lot less inhale, etc. After doing breath holds over many sessions you will get a feel for it and you will learn just how much you need to inhale to get a good breath hold. Eventually it becomes second nature. Do you know about breathing up and "belly" breathing before a breath hold?
J Campbell - thanks for the ideas. I did dig in to relaxation breathing and breathing up. On the O2 tables I'm using in the app there's a 60 second break between holds. I've been experimenting with different breathing patterns and breathing up before the hold. I've found that once I started experimenting with different breathing techniques during those 60 seconds my ability to hold dropped in half. I think it's due to the stress and concentration required to try new timing/breathing during that minute vs. just breathing slowly and staying relaxed with no particular plan or timing.

The thing I'm tinkering with now is how full to make my full but not uncomfortable lungs. For example, seems that part belly breath and part chest breath seems to be the sweet spot.

If anyone wants to offer advice I'm struggling with two things:
1. What is the best thing to do during those 60 seconds on my O2 tables?
Just breath comfortably with no particular pattern OR try to develop a routine that I could use if I do someday begin diving. Would love to do that someday and I've read that having a consistent level of CO2 in your body by having a consistent breathe up is best.

2. Any suggestions about what the best tables are for a beginner trying to increase breath hold? I've been doing daily O2 tables for two weeks then 2 weeks of CO2 tables (done every other day). Found a video from "Freedive Passion" about more personalized CO2 tables where you stick with a time/pattern until you can hold same period with no contractions. This is different than the standard CO2 tables that come with the app; decreasing breathing period between identical hold period. But I'm also seeing number of different tables and techniques. A bit overwhelming!

Thanks!
 
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