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I´m needing dry statics breath hold improvement plan

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Mar 14, 2020
I know I´m only writing about dry statics breath hold and most people in this forum focuses more on freedive, but for breath hold I came to notice that this breed of athletes (which I´m not!) are the ones that care and understand and know of it.
I´ve wrote my entire journey for you to have a complete picture of my background, but if the lenght of the post is annoying, the last paragraph is dedicated to the question. I´m new to forums so I´m not familiar if a long post is good manner. Also I´m from Argentina so excuse my english!

Here we go: I used to be natural good in static breath holding, purely amateur, always winning my teenage friends back then, measuring times long past the 2:00 at the pool. Never wanted to lose that challenges!

Quite some time has passed and by remote dot linking (calisthenics, Wim Hof method, Stig Severinsen, Breathology, BHC -breath hold challenge-) I ended reading one UK page about freediving and discovering something called O2 and C02 tables two and a half weeks ago. It was an article showing a method to “hold your breath for 5:00 in a month”.
On febreaury 26th at night, being in bed lying down with my belly to the matress I felt the urge to test my breath hold, awkwardly positioned as I felt: it was an impressive 4:12min, I was really happy with myself. The only 4:00min time that I´ve measured was like 20 years ago, again dry. So I tried again early the next morning, this time lying with a comfortable “face-up” way and: 4:16… (already improving!) and next day: 5:00 (holly sh#t this number was beyond my dreams) this was a Friday, so I did it again next Monday morning: 3:32 (I´ve lost it all!) but pushing every day I reach that Friday with 4:55.

From that week I´ve started to count how many contractions I could handle since I´ve read Richard Wonka´s article about doing “wonka tables” instead as the normal C02 ones (I´ve done twice reaching 12:30min with 7 breaths). My max contractions number ranges between 60 and 70.

Long story short, today is my birthday -37 years old-, yesterday I read about packing, so I´ve gave it a try for a PB: 6:10 (I never thought it possible to reach to 6min, nor in such a short time… also my PB without packing was 5:30 from two days ago).

However, I´ve subscribed to Deeperblue forum to learn more about and came across the notion of “overtraining” and I understood that doing max holds every single day (expect the weekends) is not a way to go. I feel the need to follow a consistent method of training, I´m really excited with my results but I think a sustainable improvement should come with proper methodic training, and what I did in this couples of week was pretty chaotic.

My question to you experienced ones is if someone can point me one direction or path regarding breath holding technics (some good book, blog, youtube channel, free resource) something that one already tried and know it worked, I know it may not work for me, but if someone trained benefited from it is a good start for me. Take in consideration I don´t know even the basics –yes I know to inflate my stomach and lowering my diaphragm and then the rib cage, but stop it there!-

I´ve watched what freedivers can do and is absolutely gorgeous, I would love to go meters and meters into the water but that´s a hole different movie.
With your 5 minute holds you are already way past most people. I'd say you already are on the right path with all the internet seacrh you seem to have done. Many of us here have taken a course but many have not. There is a lot of information right here on deeperblue.
As for over training, yes you can over train. And an enthusiastic beginner probably does have that danger. But you have to find you own groove. If you train intensely everyday you will probably find that it's too much. It's best not to try for personal best in every session. Normally just do breath holds that are difficult but not really your best, adding seconds or as you feel you need to. Then occasionally, say once a month try a couple sessions where you push to a personal best. Then back off again. A really true maximum static is very menatally and physically exhausting - if you do that too often you will burn out.
For myself, I do tables on again and off agin. I get bored with them and stop for months. Then I get inspired and start again. When I'm in the groove I do tables every 2 or 3 days, about 45 mins. If I can find a spotter I do them underwater, otherwise laying down in bed.
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J Campbell, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience! I agree with "find your own groove" philosophy, I know that training is a personal thing.
What you said about personal inspiration and boredom cycles is gold to me, I think I'm the same kind of person. It's cool to know that experienced ones deal with related issues.

Really apreciate your dedication in answering.

A question: do you try packing when trying to reach PB?
For me (purely personal) PB talks about how I've delt with contractions, I know I have good times for a begginer but plateau is a possibility or maybe I have bigger lungs than the average... the mental part of dealing with the hold is the essential of this dicipline.
I never learned packing. I’m a recreational Freediver and packing seems like an advanced technique that might give an edge in competitions. But I might try sometime. Are you thinking you might want to compete?
Not at all, but you never know, right? maybe in two years i´m reaching 8min and I want to show off, haha... never know!

But to tell the truth I´ve watched some cool stuff freedivers can do and liked it so so much (deep dives, long distances), but don´t have the amount of free time to learn the skills to start it... I love going to a pool and verifying how much I can go underwater... when I´ve watch freedivers do dynamic I realized my swim style is absent.
Also regarding the deep dives I guess it´s not an easy task preparing your body to bear with the preassure or passing the barrier where your body starts to sink like dead weight... I picture it in my mind and feel it could be really awesome, but also scares me a bit (and I´m not a scared person by nature).

I´ll stick to static, apnea walks with my dog (post coronavirus asignment), wonka tables, and then lets see where this journey goes!!
Glad to see you do wonka style CO2 exercise.. In my opinion they are the best way. The idea is to build up a lot of CO2 and one-breaths do that fast and efficiently. I actually enjoy them.
Totally agree, I think I was really lucky with that early finding... I've downloaded a O2/CO2 app and never get to start with a complete co2, stop in the middle and then I came across the Richard Wonka article and thought it's as efficient time-wise as you can think off! It's tough! But I can handle... I'm counting 20/25 contractions for now, that is as far as I've pushed both times I've done it.

Good to hear you concurr!
A question: do you try packing when trying to reach PB?
For me (purely personal) PB talks about how I've delt with contractions, I know I have good times for a begginer but plateau is a possibility or maybe I have bigger lungs than the average... the mental part of dealing with the hold is the essential of this dicipline

Hi Leroy,

Here you find a good strategy to slowly but systematically progress your static breath holds over time:

As you mention that you (i) just started training and (ii) you (wisely) try to prevent hitting an early plateau in your progression, I agree that that packing (just as hyperventilation in statics) would not be advisable at this stage. If you still want to do so, consider increasing the amount of packs very gradually over time.

Note that there are some advantages and disadvantages associated with packing. The obvious advantage is that you can substantially increase the total volume of air in the lungs. This increase is induced by lung volume expansion (~2/3 of increased volume of air) and increased air pressure in the lungs (~1/3 of increased volume of air). Potential disadvantages, however, include (i) increased tension on the chest during statics making it difficult to relax, (ii) (subclinical) transient barotrauma of the lungs, and (iii) transient inhibition of proper heart function. I won’t touch on potential effects on DCS, nitrogen narcosis, and delayed blood shift, I know too little about that. Very brief, subclinical barotrauma (pleumomediastinum) is quite common, you don’t feel it, but some air has leaked towards the cavity between the lungs and in proximity of the heart. This kind of subclinical barotrauma will however solve itself in a matter of days. With regards to hearth function; stroke volume acutely decreases because the left side of the heart receives less blood (+ inefficient contraction due to pressure-induced aphysiological geometry) due to impairment of function of the right side of the heart. The right side of the heart experiences difficulties to pump blood due to increased arterial pulmonary pressure, aphysiological geometry, and reduced filling, the latter because of intrathoracic pressure on the major vein providing blood to right side of the heart. This is the reason why your heart rate will go up with packing, it is compensating for the low stroke volume...

You seem to have a natural talent to hold your breath, enjoy the journey towards your full potential!
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SDS, that is so good quality info, thank you so much for the comment!

I'll try to stick to the basics and leave packing for later... Maybe dont reaching the 6min in possible new attemps would discourage me, but I'm serious with what I've said: methodic training.

I'll check the video attached asap, thanks a lot!
SDS, now that I've watched the video I can say its a great advice, I think my contractions start at 1:30min, didnt measured at the 5min holds or more, but when i was hitting between 4min and 4:30 I've had it measured. Pushing the confort zone through this gentle training sounds very sustainable, very far from PB or exiting moments, but could work. Its a challenge, I'll take it, and for some stress needed I'll keep wonka tables or walking apnea in a mild way.
Wow. Where to start? Our stories are the same. I always could beat the other kids underwater. I didn’t know how long I just know I never lost. I’m now 63 years old tho but I still noticed over the years I could hold a long time but never trained. There are some that are genetically able. You are as well. So I would say when I finally did time myself it was 3:00-3:30 over the years. Again no training. I have read a lot of info on this and I don’t dive....yet but I feel I wouid be good at it.

exactly 2 years ago I decided to see how long I can hold. I did a 4:10. I was so happy. That was great and I had never been over 4 min. I thought it would be great one day to do 5 min. I did nothing tho for 6 months. So 1 1/2 years ago I went on a serious journey to test myself and see if I had talent let’s at least see what’s the limit. I read the same thing you did 1 month to 5 min. I started my training. Here’s what happened.

day 3 of the 30 day plan I did 5:00. Day 15 5:30
Day 30 -6:00. I added some walking apnea. Lots of CO2 training. 3 months later I did 6:45. Now I was hoping for 7. I was told don’t expect big jumps. I was getting PBS by 30-45 sec but usually 3-4 months between each attempt to break my PB.

at this point I’m doing less CO2 and more long holds. Most days I always did at least a 5:00 hold no matter what. I decided to increase the number of 5:00 or more holds. I was doing about 7-10 holds over 5:00 a week. I bumped it to 14 holds of 5:00 or more. Sometimes 6:00. Overall tho 14 holds over 5:00 a week for 5 weeks. Then I attempted to break my previous best 6:45.

much to my surprise I did 7:33. I was elated. Now it’s time to keep pushing. I trained for at least 4 months and attempted again. This training was intense. I was still counting the number of over 5:00 min holds. I was doing 30 a week. I did it for at least 4-5 weeks sometimes I was at 6:30. Most between 5:00 and 6:15 tho. I might have had a 7:00 but rare. I attempted and did 8:05.

only 1 month later I continued this difficult training and did 8:45. This was 3 weeks ago. I’m still doing 30-36 holds a week over 5 min. This means some days I do 8 or more.

recently I did a session after 2 days off.
18 holds over 5:00. Most over 6:00. 4 were 7:00. 1 was 8:00. This was the best session ever.
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Garena - you did 18 breath holds in a single session - with most over 6 minutes ? What is your lung capacity?
Good day to you all! I did answer each member comment or advice you gave me but since I moved from my starting point I wanted to recap, so for starters say that this was my first post and my expectations were far from exceded. Thank you experienced guys!

J Campbell, you talked about finding your own groove, avoiding burn-out and recomended keeping up with wonka tables. I´m not doing those right now because when I did those were outside, I´m mentally programed to do it outside my house! But I will be doing those in the future because are challenging and also fun, also I apply wonka 1-breath-style to walking apnea while walking the dog, that is insanely powerfull (thought I don´t know for sure if this helps to static long holds... I guess everything matters at the end but don´t know if is the more efficient way)

SDS, when I´m at ease I do some of those gentle breath holds, maybe not as many as it should be but is quite relaxing, also your info about packing was determinant. I left the packing out from my trainings and attempts... maybe in the future if I want to set a true impressive PB, I´m not sure I didn´t think about it yet, maybe I will feel tempted. But for know I say goodbye to packing just for STA

Nathan Vinsky, thanks for aproaching to me and give me confidence on the trainings I´m at debt for the unique info you share with the community

grarena, You are the MAN, the breathless MAN! your method is ROCK SOLID, the only disadvantage is that the commitment somebody needs is quite high, but well... one method won´t suit everybody. I relate to your story and look up to yours achievements so I´ll try to keep up with your aproach as the principal one and mixing when feeling exahusted.
Let me say that I did what you say and I have great improvement already. Attempting long holds in a comfortable way (+5min or so) each day is demanding but very doable with proper warm up, I don´t think I´m ready to do long holds in a "uncomfortable" way (+6min or so) each day (meaning stressing yourself a little to near full potential). It´s too early to say that I will keep up the pace but I´m mentally in the zone right know!
Cheers Leroy, good to see you found some answers you were looking for.
Just reread my answer to your question and wanted to add the following:
- Typo, should have been pneumomediastinum in stead of pleumomediastinum of course
- Check out this video as well; explanation on the mental part of statics by Augusto Vegas:
Cheers Leroy, good to see you found some answers you were looking for.
Just reread my answer to your question and wanted to add the following:
- Typo, should have been pneumomediastinum in stead of pleumomediastinum of course
- Check out this video as well; explanation on the mental part of statics by Augusto Vegas:

Will do as soon as I ge a minute!!!
I'm 38yo, i started freediving 2 years ago, i wasnt good at swimming at all, in my twenties, and i didnt practice much sports,
i strated bicycling and weight lifting after in my thirties, after a middle-life crisis ^^;
, also i have respiratory allergy

because i live like 400km away from the sea, i practiced in the local swimming pool 2 times per week
i found about the static O2/CO2 tables from free-divingUK's blog too

My dry training was on and off, depending if i was doing pool sessions or not (sometimes i was busy or had no money for it)
last year, i had the chance to dive once every month because i started studying close to the sea, by this time my dry static was 5min max
and i remember one time i became scared of SWB, because in one long pool dynamic i felt like i was close to sleep while swimming
and i thought CO2 tables ruins my bodys' ability to feel contractions and prevent a BO, so i stopped them for a while
last month i decided to pick dry training again, because i miss diving, and i hadnt done any dry static training for 9months, i heard that after 6months ou usually get a reset
but no, i did 5min from day one, i did the classic O2/CO2 tables for a month and half and now i'm at 7min, my current PB,
and my contractions now starts at 2:30-2:50
i had 10years old spyrometer results saying i had 7L TLC, but one time i did try to measure my VC my exhaling in a water bottle. and i was hugely disappointed by 4.5L, the measurement method wasnt perfect, but it was a far cry from 6L VC + 1L RV from an 10years ago
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