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new to freediving

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Sep 15, 2001
hello all

im a 15 year old kid:) that is new to freediving and i would like some clarification on some of the terms that you commonly use

what do the following mean:
negative pressure dive
full packs
negative reverse-pack dives
reverse packs(same as above or not?)
pack stretches,
negative pack stretches
and what are pack streches

also any training tips/techniques would be greatly appreciated
i usually just breath deep for a couple of minutes and see how long i can hold my breat and i can usually get 1:50-2:10

oh and i cant do any pool or open water work due to a biking accident (i am also a mountain bike racer/freerider)


I can't answer all of your questions, but there is an informative series on this forum (freediving training) entitled "what is 'pack stretching' before a dive?" posted by sickboy.

As a newcomer, you should familiarize yourself with Peter Sheard's articles on various forms of blackout, some of which pose a risk for freedivers.

Although various training methods exist, a good cardiovascular fitness foundation is a good idea, regardless of how you achieve it. I'm not sure what your injury allows you to do, but I prefer lap swimming, running, jumping rope, cycling and rapid, light weight training because I can do all of these on my own on my own crazy schedule. Underwater hockey is great, if you can find a local club and practices fit your schedule.

After those, various techniques can be used to increase your tolerance to carbon dioxide in the blood, which is your major trigger to breathe, and will also increase the tolerance of your muscles to carbon dioxide and lactic acid accumulation. One such exercise, for example, is to do a series of breath holds - start with a static (no activity) breath hold for a set amount of time, say 1:30, followed by as much dynamic activity as you can do while still holding that same breath - i.e., as many squats (also called deep knee bends) or pushups as you can do while still holding your breath. Do these on a carpet or soft mat just in case you get dizzy and fall or black out. Then rest for about 3 minutes and do it again. Repeat 3 - 5 times. Increase both your static and dynamic times as you progress, i.e, try to work up to a 3 minute static followed by a full minute of dynamic or beyond. Countless variations exist. There are various websites that discuss specific training regmines - start by reading some of the posts on this forum.

Many divers practice Hatha Yoga to increase the power to relax and to breath deeply. A device exists called a "Power Lung" that allows you to increase the power your diaphram muscles for inhalation and exhalation (but it's not cheap).

That should get you started. Good luck. Frequent this forum - these folks are very nice and have a great deal of knowledge to share. Reading their discussions have helped me greatly.
[what do the following mean:
negative pressure dive
full packs
negative reverse-pack dives
reverse packs(same as above or not?)
pack stretches,
negative pack stretches
and what are pack streches

Welcome to an awesome hobby, pastime, or extreme sport, whatever you want to call it!

Negative pressure dive- exhale all air, then dive...usually 5 or 8 metres max. This is to simulate depth and speed up the kick-in of the mammalian reflex.
Full Pack- this is where you pack as much air as you possibly can into your lungs after your full breath. When I learned it, I could pack about 20 times.Now I can pack up to 60 times. Definitely look at "what is packing" as suggested by cjborgert.
Reverse Pack- exhale completely, then use your mouth and jaw movements to suck air out of your lungs, one at a time. It is the opposite of packing, and will help stretch your lungs and organs for deep diving. It can be used in conjunction with shallow dives to simulate great depths. Be VERY careful with this one.

Pack Stretch- Take a full breath, then pack x amount of times. Hold it, then do side stretches, back stretches, and other stretches that will work your intercostal muscles, etc.
Negative pack stretch- to me, this would be to reverse pack as much as possible, then suck your diaphragm up into your chest....very similar to a yoga technique.
Be careful, proceed slowly, and get a friend to watch you. If you blackout in a pool with nobody specifically watching you, chances are good that you wont see 16, which means no cars, no girls, etc, etc! Please be careful as we lose people every year, even very experienced people. People who freedive with a buddy who knows what to do, have a much better chance of surviving. I hope that's not a lecture, it's not meant to be.
Cheers, and good luck Vince,
Erik Y.

i really appreaceate the input i am i am going to start back on my training for mountainbike racing in a few day when my back feels better

so from what im understaing i should try to hold my breat for x amount of time while i am on the bike or doing pushups or...

if im going about this wrong please tell me
Not on the bike! Not in any situation where there is danger of falling over or losing control of a vehicle, etc.
Practice at home by yourself or with a partner, and in the water with a partner. Sitting watching TV, or better yet, no tv is a good place to practice breath holds.
I wouldn't want to blackout riding down a single track on my bike. Or in traffic. Yikes!
Erik Y.
i meant on the stationary trainer at home

cause as soon as i can ride my bike outside i will be in the pool training for breathholding..

i have to do it inside sitting up straight on the stationary bike at home cause of a serious back injury i got biking so now i cant do anything for 19 days(im counting)

Oh well, my intentions were good, even if i misunderstood.:head
Cheers amigo,
Erik Y.
Probably my favorite exercise is to hold my breath as long as I can, then climb a tree as high as I can go. I think the leg workout and feeling of vertigo really simulate freediving about as closely as anything. [sorry, I got carried away and told a small lie].

Anyway, the exercise I was speaking of is to hold your breath while relaxing in a chair or lying on the floor for 1:30, or 2:00 or 3:00 - whatever is within your limit - then do as many pushups or deep knee bends (I call them squats) as you can until you have to breathe. DON'T DO ANY EXERCISE THAT YOU COULD RESULT IN A FALL ON A HARD SURFACE!!! The idea is to extend both your static (resting) breath hold time as well as your dynamic (exercising) breath hold time. So if you can do 1:30 resting followed by 15 squats this week, try to get to 2:00 followed by 25 squats next week, and so on.
Last edited:
Hi. Mind if I tag along to this conversation? I'm very new to free diving, but I just can't stand being out of the water any more and need to start training.

I've been practicing holding my breathe in Biology lessons at college, managed 1min40. Am hoping in 8 weeks to get my equipment from my dad's place in France, and then to start free diving here. Will this be long enough for training do you think?

I'm also worried that being a girl with rather small lungs any way that I won't ever been able to hold my breathe for two, let alone three minutes whilst swimming underwater.

Anyway, thank you for all.. well... being here talking to each other and giving advice.

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