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No Contractions

scuttlefish

New Member
Jan 17, 2010
6
0
0
Hi All,

I'm fairly new to freediving (less than a year) and don't get contractions. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this or has any idea why or how this happens - and whether it's advantageous or not : )

If I try a no warm-up hold, when it gets tough I sometimes force my diaphragm to contact as it seems to ease the discomfort for a few seconds, but it's a voluntary movement.

I'm also having trouble gauging when to come up from a dive because of this. Any suggestions would be great.

Scuttlefish
 

JCooke

New Member
Feb 24, 2008
171
3
0
Im new to it also and havent had contractions...i think. My first event that hits me is a huge edrenalin blast when the Os are getting low. I can get another half to a full minute by doing the inhale movement but no air. Im guessing im moving the air around in my lungs.?.
 

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
473
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Lie on a bed or sofa relaxed, with a hand resting on your stomach. Hold your breath. Do your feel your stomach move involuntarily? If not, hold your breath longer!

I think they are hard to feel for some people, but they do happen! Please prove me wrong.
 

scuttlefish

New Member
Jan 17, 2010
6
0
0
Hi JCooke,
Nice to know someone else fakes it :eek:
I also push air back into my cheeks and re-pack it (so long as I haven't packed too much)! I feel it helps relieve the stress as well. Don't know if it mixes anything, but it may. Does anyone else do that?

Hi Azapa,
I've gone as long as I can (BO) and still nothing. I'm certain I don't get them. My training buddy is pretty experienced so I'm not just being stupid ;)
Do you know anyone else who doesn't have them?
 

ericvrp

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2006
196
29
68
Hi,

Yes I know of three people that have no contractions. One of those started having contraction when he first crossed the 6 minutes mark in static. After that day I think gets his contraction like mere mortals. And if I'm not mistaken our current static world champion Stephane Mifsud doesn't get contractions, but I'm not 100% certain about that.

Eric
 

StefanoMizzi

Active Member
Aug 22, 2009
17
3
43
I used not to have contractions, for more than one year after I started freediving. Probably this was due to a mixture of factors:

- I did not breathe properly before (not rising my CO2 level).
- I wasn't very relaxed, so I had a contracted diaphragm. I've been told that Yogi know how to avoid contractions by using the tongue, the diaphragm, and the anal sphincter; I'm not a Yogi but probably did involuntarily something like that.

One trick to experience contractions is to do static CO2 tables, i.e., to repeat breatholds with shorter and shorter breathing time. You can search in this forum, and you find for instance:

An example of a CO² Table:
1. ventilate 2:30 static 1:30
2. ventilate 2:15 static 1:30
3. ventilate 2:00 static 1:30
4. ventilate 1:45 static 1:30
5. ventilate 1:30 static 1:30
6. ventilate 1:15 static 1:30
7. ventilate 1:00 static 1:30
8. ventilate 1:00 static 1:30
total duration 25:15

(adapt it to your PB: usually statics at about 50% of PB is ok). It worked for me: I learned what contractions are by sitting on my sofa and playing with tables and relaxation.

My two cents,
S.
 

Bill

Baron of Breathold
Oct 17, 2001
1,805
332
188
81
Contractions defy any logic. After diving for 50 years, I started free dive training and it still took years before I had one. There are a few other divers that I know who did six minute holds without getting them. I think that it is a good sign but I can almost guarantee that your time will come. Most divers can delay them but the methods probably reduce their times.
Don't worry about it and don't fight it. Just relax. My personal best is almost six minutes, of contractions that is.
 

JennyWren

Well-Known Member
Mar 25, 2009
272
45
68
When I took my first freediving course there was a guy there that didn't get contractions. He actually blacked out during a static (while face down) and he hadn't had a single contraction. He was fine, of course, since we were using proper safety. Sometimes you just don't get any warnings!
 

scuttlefish

New Member
Jan 17, 2010
6
0
0
Thanks for the replies.

Bill, I've done a couple of 6 minute holds and not gotten them, one of which was the BO. Is there any chance being a swimmer growing up has anything to do with it? I used to do a fair bit of hypoxic training (restricted breathing rates and worked very hard on my turns) and a lot of breaststroke (which is pretty lung busting). But that was over a decade ago. I'm pretty sure I'm a bit over-sensitive to hyperventilation, my buddy thinks relaxed breathing through a snorkel contributed to the BO (I didn't get the urge to breathe until about 4.15). I generally don't breathe up much before a static or dynamic because of this, just relax and maybe three breaths before I go.

I've done some harsh (for me!) CO2 tables without getting them. One was:
hold 2.10 rest 1.45
hold 2.10 rest 1.30
hold 2.10 rest 1.15
hold 2.10 rest 60
hold 2.10 rest 45
hold 2.10 rest 30
hold 2.10 rest 15
hold 2.10 single breath
hold 3.05 toilet break... :eek:

Eric, do you know much about how they approached apnea? was it just heaps of practice to learn when to come up? When I had the BO, apart from the hold being tough then becoming easier as I began to pass out I didn't really have a sign. In dynamics my head gets a bit dizzy towards where I think is the end of the dive but I don't really know!
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,013
782
218
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The few divers I've known who don't get them (or very little) are also a threat to B0, so be careful. I train with Nalyd, who does not get them and almost B0ed early in his training. He is working on what it feels like, etc, trying to develop a reliable system to avoid B0. PM him and see if he can help. It may be a few days as he doesn't check the board all that often.

Connor
 

scuttlefish

New Member
Jan 17, 2010
6
0
0
Thanks Connor, I'll drop him a line.

I did some 5m work in the local diving pool. I got a the urge to breathe at depth which included the physical movement of trying to inhale. I could stop it, so had some control, but I wasn't consciously doing it. Happened twice in 5 dives. Is this a contraction??
 

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
473
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i still hold my view that everybody has them, but for some they are hard to tune into.

Scuttle, yes they sort of sound like "upper" or throat contractions. I'll get a little foggy here, but I feel two kinds: first a sort of throaty urge to breathe, I call these, and have heard them called "pretend contractions". They feel like small wanna-be gulps that are not happening. Martin Stepanek spoke of these in his course, and said they were due to pressure (of the water) separating the diaphragm and base of lungs (sketch bit, sorry, please fill in) and that this separation provided the tickly pretend contraction. The advice was to ignore them. I do.

The second is the full-on contraction, an involuntary diaphragm spasm that is intended to draw air into your lungs. I understand that for some these are slight. They "are strong in me".

Dive safe.
 

ericvrp

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2006
196
29
68
@scuttlefish I think they indeed, like everyone else, needed lots of training to feel when to come up. The two guys I know seem to have no real difficulty with that. Coming up when contractions are at some level of difficulty is in OMHO not the way to go. I think one should really try to concentrate on mental clarity and changes in you body. If your dive get harder and harder then that part is still ok :) . When things become easier it is probably because you are getting (very) hypoxic. This should be clear sign for you to come up. Other reasons might be feeling light (in your head), changes in your vision. The point is - whenever something changes it's time to come up. How hard it is or if you have 0 or 100 contractions is no indication of when to surface.

Eric
 

scuttlefish

New Member
Jan 17, 2010
6
0
0
Thanks Eric, probably a very good point. I need a lot more practice doing longer dives so I can guage these things better.

Thanks for the input. Anyone else feel free to add to the thread, particularly regarding how this affects the dive reflex, if at all and any training advice.
 

Phil C

Still Wet Behind The Ears
Nov 12, 2006
160
19
108
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On an inhale dive I get contractions like clockwork. They come in at about 1:30 to 2:00 on a static (depending on breathe up) and just after the first turn in a 33m pool on DNF, at about 1:00 on a CWT or spearfishing dive. The contractions are with me for the rest of the dive. On a static they speed up from 1per 10 sec to 1 per 1.5sec at the end. On a dynamic they fade into the background as I get past 100-120m. I am psychologically comfortable with contractions, they are part of the normal process. I can hold them off for a while on a dive but don't because it involves tensing up muscles that wouldn't otherwise be tense.

When I do exhale statics of dynamics I do not get any contractions. I am not fighting them off or delaying them, I simply have no urge. I feel the vasoconstrction come in, I get lactic burn but contractions are absent for 80+m DNF or 2:00+ STA.

Interestingly there is a clear threshold in terms of inhalale/exhale that differentiates between contratcions/no contractions. If I do a passive exhale I get contractions, if a exhale maybe only 250ml to 500ml more: no contractions.

Phil

Auckland Freediving Club
http://www.aucklandfreediving.co.nz
 

JCooke

New Member
Feb 24, 2008
171
3
0
Scuttle I wonder if the uncontrolable inhale urge has anything to do with sleep apnea, I have that pretty bad and wake myself sometimes with the same feeling as that and the bod is having some kind of apnea reflex...???...

Or am i full of BS

Jason
 

scuttlefish

New Member
Jan 17, 2010
6
0
0
I don't know if I hold my breath during my sleep. Do most people?

I got a pulse oximeter which is fun. My resting SPO2% seems low: 93-94, but only takes a few deep breaths to get to 99, though I feel a bit like I've hyperventilated...

I did a max attempt in dynamic the other week. It was a bit further than my previous best. I don't know how well I judged it but came up clear without any BO signs. I kind of just thought "Have I gone too far?" and came up. I was pretty uncomfortable and a little lactic though. Still no contractions!

Guy
 

Pato22

Active Member
Dec 23, 2010
6
2
38
Hi All,

I'm fairly new to freediving (less than a year) and don't get contractions. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this or has any idea why or how this happens - and whether it's advantageous or not : )

If I try a no warm-up hold, when it gets tough I sometimes force my diaphragm to contact as it seems to ease the discomfort for a few seconds, but it's a voluntary movement.

I'm also having trouble gauging when to come up from a dive because of this. Any suggestions would be great.

Scuttlefish
Hi Scuttle,
thanks for starting this thread... I am looking for info regarding 'having no contractions' - in my case related to static apnea.
At first I thought it's great not to have them (...) but then I started doubting as I do not have a warning mech then, before an eventual BO would happen.
I am not a typical freediver (do not train really besides doing spearfishing only) but like to occasionally do CO2 tables and some static apneas on the beach (being watched).
I can do 5 mins easily (after some prewarming static apneas) - and can happen as described below that sometimes at the end of the longer apneas (more than 3 minutes at least) I feel even more relaxed.
Do we have some additional information on top what I read in this nice thread?
Did you get any additional feedback as well?
Thanks in advance!!
 
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