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Increasing Lung Capacity

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
May 11, 2004
My name is Joe LeBlanc, I recently became interested in free diving after reading about Tanya Streeter on cnn.com.

I did not know it was possible to push the human body to these limits.

My question is this:

I'm a musician, a wind player. So lung capacity is obviously very important. I'm not a large person and I'm looking for a way to increase my lung capacity so I can play longer without having to refill my lungs.

What kind of training would you recommend? How much lung capacity increase is possible over time?

Thanks for your help.


swimming, right ?

sorry, I am a beginner in this matter, TOTALLY, but I have read a bit, and I couldn't resist making a first 'reply' - swimming. Everything I have read, from posts on this website to articles around the web from army/navy/civilian sources have all said that swimming/diving is by the far the best way to increase your lung capacity, and in the shortest time in relation to other sports/training. And Freediving as a sub-section of this must be even better.

Despite my inexperience, I doubt anyone here will contradict me ... (not that it would be the first time:eek: ))

There is plenty of scientific research to document this, too - I started by doing searches at Google. Most turned up with references to 'deeperblue' pages, but there were others too, which were REALLY interesting. Go search! Use the power of the internet!!
Apart from traditional fitness training (swimming, running, biking, etc.), you can stretch your lungs to become bigger by simply conducting deep breathing cycles and 'over-pack' a little bit, while you hold your breath a short while like that. In short you just take your deepest possible breath, fill your lungs to your max, then 'suck' in a couple of more mouthfulls untill you feel like you gotta explode and then hold your breath like that for a while (f.i. 30+ seconds). Stop if it becomes too uncomfortable, and be careful not to damage your lungs either, but this is a good way to extend your volume.

I recommend reading about traditional yoga breathing exercises (for dictionary purposes, this is called Pranayama in Hindi). There's one classic exercise where you train your abdomen with exhaled lungs, which I myself have discovered works very well with wind music instruments like horns, etc. (Just from training freediving, I have showed a natural talent on the Scottish bag pipe!)

The pic below illustrates this 'belly lock' exercise. Trust me, it's really good.

Best regards,
Chris Engelbrecht, Copenhagen


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If we are talking about lung capacity without packing, then the only thing I've ever done which increased my capacity was pranayama (nadi shodhana).

I can definitely say that when it comes to increasing FVC, learning to exhale extra air has a much greater effect than learning to inhale extra air.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canad
For freediving is better focusing in techniques such as Qigong and Yoga, because they will help you regulate fear and emotions. Mastery of breathing is essential not only for improved performance but also for longevity, health and spirituality.'

Practising mantras prior the meditative state is a must. Also meditation should be carried to all aspects of life not just the 1/2 h you do every day. What counts is what you do after meditating.

All the best.

Some links (only for Yoga and breathing as Qigong is a bit trickier) are:




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