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Lactic acid

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Sep 1, 2010
Hi forum

For the best performance it is actually desirable to have as much lactic acids in the muscles as possible during the dive. Lactics just mean that your muscles are working anaerobically and not consuming much oxygen, which is a good thing. If you don't get any lactics, it's a sign that your muscles are working aerobically, i.e. using oxygen, which is the last thing you want when doing dynamic apnea. If the problem is that you can't stand the lactics, you could do some strength training and anaerobic interval training to get used to it.

I was reading an older thread and found the above about lactic acid. I think I´ve never felt it. If its the same feeling someone gets when hes extensively using a muscle (burning feeling), I have never felt it during a dive or apnea. Does that mean that my muscles work in aerobic mode? Is it possible to change it or it depends only on the type of the muscle fiber?
you need to list some specifics for a post like this--times distances etc. everyone has different limiting factors --some lactic, some co2, mental, equalizing and tons of other factors but I would say in general if you've not felt it you just havent pushed that far yet
Ok, maybe Im asking too much without having tried too much. The only max dynamic I have measured is 60m FRC + 1/5 of the remaining volume and i do this to have less buoyancy because I do not use weights till i find a buddy. My static is 5.05
I start feeling it around 75m with bi-fins, with mono I dont feel it till well past that if at all I suppose its thier but its spread out instead of all in the legs so its not as noticaeble-then again I'm only at 100m, finally have a buddy now for the pool so I'm shure I'll find out soon were I currently burn out at
The amount of lactic acids in dynamics depends mostly on the mammalian diving reflex, as it reduces the blood flow to the muscles. When the muscles don't get much blood, they don't get much oxygen, so they have to use more anaerobic energy producing mechanisms which produce lactic acids.

If I do a max dynamic without warm-ups, I often start to get lactics already after 25 m, even if I go very slowly. But if I'm doing lots of shorter dives or for some reason my diving reflex is not working very well, I don't get that much lactics.

Good way to train the diving reflex is to do maximum FRC dynamics with no warm-up.
Thank you Mikko for your advice! I will try no warm up FRC. Seems i havent find the way to activate the diving reflect given I have never achieve lower heart rate during static or dynamic.
I have the same 3xpr1ment.

Appart from the suggested no warmup and FRC dives, what helps for me is to build more muscle mass.

Also I noticed in my apnea run experiment last Sunday (260m - 1'12"), that shifting into sprint mode just before the contractions start, helped to have my muscles go into anaerobic mode. Normally when I just apnea jog the whole way, I don't get much burn and I do not manage longer than a ~170m jog. I still need to test this in a pool, to see how it relates and translated in a dynamic dive.

The other thing is that in deep diving I get a bit more burn, as I think the bloodshift, bradicardi and pressure helps to into anaerobic mode.

Ok, I finally got to the pool today, still weak from the flu like illness I endured last night, I did test my new approach.

Did swim, after some muscle warm up swimming twice a 100m dynamic.
First 50m was 'slow', second half of the dive was 'fast' (near sprinting). I noticed that though the HR is up and the body is doing a good workout, there was plenty of O2 left for more. These 2x100m were done in a 25m, and I would love to go for a 150m dive (PB) when I get some decent buddy and a free lane, and I am fully recovered from the flu. - I still feel pretty weak.

Did you got any results from your testing Experiment?
I have a sligtly different question about lactic acid - having spent a couple of hours earlier in the day cycling up and down hills for a bit of 'power' training on the bike, my legs were like jelly when i went in the water last night and defo still quite lactic in spite of stretching. I was wondering if there is any direct connection between lactic content breathhold ability?
Hi Kars, Hope you are better now :)

No results for me yet but i think I have to make a step back. I think I´m looking for the fine points while I havent understood the basics yet. For example I did a max attempt with max speed and the result was PB. It doesnt make sense to make PB with max speed right?There is a lot to try and find out yet, and I like it :)
Jonny 250

Your jelly legs are probably a aresult of a lack of food for them, not lactic acid buildup. It takes a while to remove the waste products from all the cells and replace the exhausted fuel supplies.

But to answer your question, lactic acid buildup makes you want to breathe. The more lactic acid, the greater the desire to breathe. So yes it does affect breathing. It makes it harder to keep holding.

It also has another side effect. After a long workout your body temporarily becomes less sensitive to the increase in lactic acid telling you its time to breathe. This can allow you to push too hard. My personal blackout was at the end of diving for over an hour in a very strong current (strong enough that I had to pull myself upcurrent using my arms to grab rocks to the start of the next drift past the pinnacle I was hunting)
Very true Hteas, it's easy (er) to BO after a good workout / training.
One of the reasons I like to the max apnea just after a very gentle muscle warm up, not after the whole training is done.

To Jonny, Indeed like Hteas said, take a good look at the hydration, carbon hydrates and proteins you take after training. Many freedivers enjoy a protein shake right after the training while they are showering. In general the quicker you allow your body to recover and replenish the shorter the recovery time.

To Experiment,

Well in a way it does make sense, and does give me hint what your current level/phase is. Maybe if you get around, and have a good buddy you can try my approach, I would love to hear of some more feedback on the idea.

Don't worry to much about the speed, not everyone has a near 16L lungs and a slow pace swimming for over 4 minutes over a World Record distance of 265m in a 'slow' style. Some are very successful with a high speed (30 seconds a 50m!) doing the previous WR with 255m. Yes I'm very happy to see different successful approaches, it makes for a much more interesting colourful sport!
Good news, the new approach seems to work!

Did a new Personal best today, 150m Dynamic. Shifting the very old pb of ~137m with a solid dive in a 25m pool. The preparation was poor, with just 5,5 hours of sleep, and a bad sleep deprived week, starting with flu on Monday.
Anyway I did some warm up swimming, talking and when the pool was near empty gave it a go, not expecting much and embracing the very successful intention of: "we will see". After 5 minutes of slow breathing, exhale, inhale, some packing, and go.
First off a gentle slow swim to 50m, expecting contrations to start at 30 is because I felt the effects of a lack of sleep.., but those only came after I started swimming fast at ~60m. The turns were bad, a sucking blade effect ruined 2 or 3 turns, but the swim it self felt good and not too strenuous on the muscles.

I'm looking forward to trying for more when I'm rested and I think the fast swimming part should be even a bit faster.

Anyway I'm happy to have reached the 150m. Now I have a feeling for what direction I need to work and train on, and what apnea tactic works best for my body.

Thanks for you questions and ideas,

Last edited:

Way better than my best.

Did you use a neck weight?
If so, how much?

I almost never do, but realized how much they help on a max attempt when I used 5 kg in the pool in Kona last winter with the local crew. Much better glide. Normally I exhale enough that I'm neutral, and do 25 m lengths with little time between, but almost never try for greater lengths. No buddy, and I try to focus on being able to spend several hours in the water rather than the one big shot.
Thanks Hteas!

Yep I use a neckweight, 3 KG. Not very heavy, but fine for me.

I recommend you make your own, the glide will indeed be much nicer, and you'll have a better position in the water as well as more air to swim further and or enjoy a longer dive.

You really need to find a buddy, it's so much cooler to have one allowing you both to experiment and grow. Here we have an expression, "shared fun is double fun".

I don't do max performances every week, though most trainings I do have a few moments where I like to challenge myself. The challenge could also be style, endurance, CO2, etc. Also things like trying to swim the most relaxed way, or the most streamlined way. Almost every training I have those hang loose moments where I just get in and enjoy a easy static and crawling, swimming, floating moments, just enjoying the feeling of my favourite molecule.

Today I also spent about an hour in the water before the attempt, though I did not do any big apnea as well as kept the intensity of the swimming low, as well as the distance. I did focus on staying warm and brushing up my poor monofin technique.

Dong a pb with the lack of sleep makes me wonder how much better I can do, so I think I'll try another max in 7 or 9 days. Hopefully have a cam to record so I can see what can be done better, and what the divetimes were etc.
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