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Packing technique question...

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Tom Arnold
Oct 11, 2002
Hi all. Being pretty new to the whole freediving scene (although have been breath-hold diving all my life), I am interested in learning some techniques and doing some longer and deeper dives. I've been trying some of the packing techniques suggested in these forums, but I have a problem. Generally, when I do a dive (just recreational mind you - not going for big times or depths) I take a deep breath, but don't fill my lungs to 100% capacity; only to around 60%, as I find that if I really pull hard to get more air in, my lungs feel constricted and then I can't hold my breath as long. I have the same feeling when I try packing. So how can I avoid this constricted feeling in my chest?
All the best,
Tom Arnold.
hi tom

i´m new to the business myself. this constricted feeling i know rather well. but what i noticed in this one year of freediving is that with doing some lungstretching and breathing techniques the lungs become noticably more flexible.
for me that means i take a deeper breath and i fill my lungs better and i don´t get this sensation anymore. happened after a few months already.

when packing fully before diving there won´t be much pressure to hold anyways since at depth the lungs are getting compressed anyways.

i personally always inhale completely for any dive (packing only for going deeper) cause i rather come up without the urge to breath. it gives me a more pleasent diving feeling.

if i could dive for 3 minutes with only a half breath of course i would.
...but i can´t



Tom, I agree with roland. The uncomfortable sensation you describe as "constricted" is probably tight intercostal muscles that are unaccustomed to being stretched.

Stretching will help a lot as Roland says, but go slow with it - you can actually injure yourself by packing too strenuously.

As Roland says, you'll find that the deeper you dive, the more that constricted feeling will ease, and at some depth, you will feel much better having packed than not. That depth is different for everyone, and I believe you will find that the more elastic your intercostal muscles become (from stretching, for example), the deeper you can go without packing because you can take in more air on a single inspiration. Your lungs don't actually gain much flexibility, but your musculature does.
Hi Tom,

I definitely recommend Pack stretching, even if you don't use packing on the actual dive. After you have 'stretched', your maximum inhale without packing will be slightly more, or you can hold the normal amount with much less strain.

As soon as you dive down past 5m the lungs are compressed anyway and the 'constricted' feeling should go away.

Even without stretching it shouldn't be that uncomfortable to hold a full breath ?
Perhaps your wetsuit is constriciting you ?
I used to try to freedive with a scuba suit, and boy did it limit your breathing. Even with a good suit, I have a Picasso wich is heaps stretchy, it limits my breathing slightly.

Next time before you put your wetsuit on, try some big inhales, then again after you put your suit on. You will know what I mean

this is my stretching routine :

i do all exercises very slowly with 2-3 repetitions. first i start with only a full inhale, the next set will be with 5 packs. that´s comfortable, but when stretching i feel it well.

1 arms above the head. bending backwards
2 arms above the head. bending sideways, left right, exhale.
3 body twisting, left right

afterwards i just practise packing to maximum.

the whole thing lasts maybe 15 minutes.

if anyone should have any other suggestions please let me know.


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