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major variation between static and dynamic

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jun 14, 2002
Hi all

I'm a confident, competent scuba diver.

I identify with comments about the importance of free diving skills as well - even if your major interest is scuba.

So i've been trying to achieve some competency with "snorkelling" recently.

Fitness wise - I'm OK. I do regular laps in the pool with standard scuba fins.

I'm not interested in personal best records or distance through equipment etc - I'm happy to use normal scuba equip for my snorkelling activites also - really just want to get to a reasonable level underwater.

The problem is this:-
* I can breathhold sitting on my couch for 1:30 before what I think are contractions start.
* I don't push it this far in the water - but can make 1:00 easy in the pool static.
* But as soon as I try and fin distance (using either flutter kick or dolphin) - I can only manage ONE 25m lap underwater and am really struggling to hold it! This takes me less than 35 secs - so I'm really "burning it up"

By the end I am "screaming" for air - and cannot face a turn to try for any distance on the 2nd lap.

Can you advise? Is it technique? Experience? Mental?

Please advise - preferably emailing me as well as I don't get online in forums as regularly as I'd like.
Last edited:
as for my goals

as for my goals I guess they are quite simple

I would be happy to be able to:-
* swim the length of the pool (25m) with no equipment underwater
* swim two laps with snorkel equip
* breath hold dive for 2-3 minutes at a time

My training plan is to swim twice weekly in addition to my scuba activites, and get in the ocean whenever I can for snorkel/freedives.

The program currently looks something like this:-
48 laps (12 freestyle; 12 back; 12 breast; 12 freestyle)
weighted treadwater (something you need to do for divemaster and instructor status)
lap - flutter kick breathold
lap - dolphin kick breathhold
20 laps snorkel freestyle
10 laps legs only snorkel
static breathhold (slight movement to maintain depth) up to 1 minute

I will just keep getting longer and putting more underwater laps in.

I will also be doing more breatholds on the couch! (I do this sitting as it is more comfortable for me) and try the technique mentioned of resting before turning for the underwater laps.

thanks in advance for advice

Hi Tony,

There is heaps of good training stuff on this site, you just have to find the posts. Keep in mind these are opinions or techniques that work for the individuals, and can vary quite a bit.

I'm a scuba diver also, I've taught myself to freedive. I've been
where you are and know exactly what you could do to improve, but too difficult to explain everything in a short post.

The first advice I can give you is to try and find a buddy to train with. Not just from a safety point of view, but trust me you will improve a lot quicker. Need to work out safety before hand - eg signals, what to do in case of blackout ect. This gives you a safe enviroment where you can push a little more. Practising dry breatholds is a good idea, to give you an idea of what you can do safely. Make sure you do 3 or 4 attempts in a row, with 2 or 3 minutes rest in between each attempt.

OK quick tips I can think of.
1. Slow deep breathing for 1-2 minutes before trying static or dynamic. Make the last 4 breaths a bit quicker & deeper, exhale as much as you can, then inhale as much on the last breath.
(There are many different breathing techniques in freediving, this is but one and works for me.)

2. At the pool start with statics, then dynamics(swimming underwater), then excercise last, so you have a lower heart rate. You will probably need a wetsuit if practising statics(get cold otherwise), doesn't hurt for dynamics either. Statics are easier done floating rather then at depth.

3. Takes time for the diving reflex to kick in. When doing statics do at least 3 or 4 attempts in a row. I don't get much more then 3 to 4 minutes on my first go, but can do 5:30 - 6:00 on my last.
Same goes for doing dynamics, if you haven't warmed up with statics, it can take many laps before you can really get any distance.

4 Rest between breatholds. Do nothing but concentrate on your breathing for a couple of minutes, no movement. The whole Idea is to bring your heart rate down.

Try swimming a bit slower on your dynamics, that might help. Concentrate on staying relaxed as you are doing it. When practising statics & dynamics it can be very time consuming because you are resting in bewteen attempts. My training buddy and I will spend 2 hours just doing statics & dynamics without doing any normal swimming or exercise.

A 50m dynamic shouldn't be to hard to achieve if you have reasonable fitness already. Just a question of technique, probably your breathing and preperation more then anything. I can do 100m dynamics, but if I just turn up the pool and don't warm up maybe only do 50m on my first try.

UK freediving champion Sacha Dench gives courses on freediving in Manly - Sydney, although may be a bit far fo you.

Can give you more tips if you just want to email me, but please try and practise with a buddy. If you really can't, at least try and get someone to spot you when you are trying a longer time or distance.


5:xx sounds fantastic

3:00 would suit me fine - I'm not remotely competitive - just want to make a dive of it instead of an ascent and a descent!

looks like I'm not too far off on track (I'd just decided to spend an additional session a week concentrating on breathhold - and do the swimming on another day).

will take up your offer to discuss via email!

Good advice from Wally...
remember that if you get to the point where you can do a 50 metre dynamic, then you will be in very good adaptation and conditioning to do the 2 to 3 minute freedives you want to do in open water. If you dive to 10 metres with the right weight, you will exert a little effort to get there, then just float or lie on the bottom, then a little effort to get back up. A 50 metre dynamic takes me almost 1 minute, and that's constant (though subdued) effort. Which means that I can dive to a reasonable depth, spend a few minutes there , then retun safely, since most of the dive is spent doing absolutely nothing :)
And of course we all push the safety thing here, as some of us have lost friends in the sea and in pools. So if you must dive solo, then be very aware of your capabilities and be conservative too ;)
Have fun, and welcome,
Erik Y.

thanks erik

it seems like my goals weren't too bad, and match up about right re: the kind of estimates for times.

I've had a further chat with wal on email - and we've firmed things up

thanks guys!!!
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