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Pool Training

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2003
I have finally found time to start practicing apnea.

I start off with a pulse rate of 80-90, and warm up with:
1. 2 min breathold, packing and 5 deep breaths, stop on first contraction.
2. 3 min breathold, stop on fifth contraction
3. 4 min breathold,
4. 4.5 min breathold, my current limit

I have around 4 minutes in between each breathold attempt, lie in a pool, floating face down.

Is 4 mins between breatholds about right?
Is the number of warmups right?

after this routine I do 3 negative dives (full exhale, leave air in mouth for equalizing) down to the bottom of the pool (5m), first 30 sec, 50, and at last 70 sec. I go up after around 20 contractions (one every second after 50 secs).

Should I do reverse packs to maximize the effect of empty lung dives?
Is 70 seconds a terrible time?

I do 10x50 m runs along the bottom of the pool with 3-4 minute intervals.

Is this too little to be effective?

500m crawl.

All in all, this takes me around 60-90 minutes.

-Is the training "dosage" sufficient for progress?
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Holy Crap! I thought i was gettting somewhere with 30 seconds before i feel like i am going to die! I really need to learn how to hold my air right. i just take in a bunch and go down..... that's probably not to good for you. How do you learn to hold your breath like that?
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Hi Bernt, you may find that there are a few different opinions on the "best" routines and warmup/breathe-up patterns out there.
I suggest this: Do your first breathold to as many contractions as you can stand...try 20, maybe. Then breathe up for the same amount of time that you just held your breath. Do it all again, 3 or 4 times, breathing up always equalling your last hold.
Contractions get your haemoglobin count up- don't limit them too much on warmup holds.
Be careful with contractions on negative dives. If you've really emptied your lungs with reverse packs etc, then you wont have much of a buffer before BO. Be careful amigo, and have fun.
Erik Y.
Also Bernt, reverse packing is a must for negatives in the swimming pool. You will notice a huge difference in the blood shift and compression of your chest cavity compared to a regular (not reverse-packed) negative dive. It's good training to prepare for open water deep diving. You may find that you will compress to the point where you will want to cough...again be careful. In a 5 metre deep pool you can simulate 50 metres+, and you can easily squeeze your lungs- especially since the compression happens so quickly, compared to the slower timeline in a 50 metre dive.
Erik Y.
Sounds scary risking squeese and stuff ^^.
I think i should be careful doing that hard with just a swimminpool lifeguard casually watching after I ask him to watch me when I go for it a bit.

Thanks for the replies :)

Another question. When monofinning laps in the pool, a professional diver was watching and commented that I should not pack my lungs swimming as shallow as i do as I would simply spend more effort staying down than what i gain in O2 from the packing. I am fairly boyant with full packed lungs, floating straight up from 5 m in the pool.
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By the way would reverse packing while at the pool floor reduce the chance of getting a squeese (as it will no be as fast as when i drop to the bottom)?
I used to train with a lifeguard standing by as well. When I say standing by, I mean right beside me in the water one on one. He wasn't watching anyone else. Now I don't even do that anymore. The lifeguard at your pool might really be paying attention to you when you do your breathholds, but even if he is, how will he know the difference between you holding your breath, and you unconcious? I had a Samba/LMC the other day at 4:52, the scary thing is although my spotter said I pulled myself out, I don't remember anything after the 4:30 signal! Apparently I returned the 4:45 signal, but I wasn't ok. Having someone who is familiar with freediving spotting you one on one in the pool is a must.

I do negative pressure dives as well. My pool is only 4m deep, and even with reverse packing I don't feel any pressure at that depth. I usually don't start to feel any pressure on negative dives until around 8m or so, but that's me. Do be carefull with these dives! I've reverse packed at the bottom as well, you can usually get your lungs a little emptier that way, but I'm not convinced it's safer than reverse packing on the surface before the dive.

Sounds like you're progressing well! 4:30 is a very respectable time indeed!

When you do dynamic do you wear weight? I sink like a stone empty lungs, but when I pack it takes 4lb/2kilos to bring me close to neutral in the pool. Your friend is right in a way, when I'm playing UW Hockey, I don't take a full breath as its too much work to stay on the bottom. But in dynamic you can wear weight. The extra air is nice! I have a nice 4lb. neck weight that I use now. That works nicely for me.

Keep us posted, and dive safe!

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You wont be able to remove as much air while at the bottom because we just aren't strong enough. You need the crushing weight of the water to really compress your lungs.
Start out with a full exhale, then dive. Come up, then try with a few reverse packs, then maybe try again. Feel what's happening and don't push too hard. Do proper tuck dives and practice the Frenzel/Fattah equalising technique too.
As for packing for dynamics, try a neck weight. I also find that I'm really buoyant, but I believe technique (which I lack) and streamlining have more to do with a good performance. Look at Stig and Herbert: they've got big lungs and are doing the big distances with very small neck weights.
Erik Y.
Have listened to the advice here and followed it for two training sessions now.

-Weights: I don't have a neckweight so I put on 2kg on my waistbelt instead. With no suit I float up from 5m with full packed lungs ^^ That cant be normal can it? Guess I either have large lungs or a lot of hidden subcutanous fat :) For statics at the pool bottom I guess I need 3-4 kg. Dynamics with 2kg on the waist was ok however.

-Reverse packing: Spitting out as much air as I can negatives are even more challenging. Fully reverse packed (to my ability) I find 1 minute exhaustive.

-Did not find a good "flow" the last two sessions. Pulse rate did not drop down to 80-90s very fast, and I did not feel as relaxed as I have previously. This may be caused by many things, but I did eat a fairly large meal a couple of hours before training, may this be a factor?

-Hyperventilating: I know I should not hyperventilate. I do however take 6-8 slow deep breaths before going down, would you define this as hyperventilating, and dangerous?

-Statics at 5m, should I be able to hold my breath for longer than lying on the surface?
Originally posted by Bernt
With no suit I float up from 5m with full packed lungs ^^ That cant be normal can it? Guess I either have large lungs or a lot of hidden subcutanous fat :)
This may be caused by many things, but I did eat a fairly large meal a couple of hours before training, may this be a factor?

-Hyperventilating: I know I should not hyperventilate. I do however take 6-8 slow deep breaths before going down, would you define this as hyperventilating, and dangerous?

-Statics at 5m, should I be able to hold my breath for longer than lying on the surface?

:) your floatation is normal. I float from deeper depth (don't know how deep) than 5m with lungs full and no suit, and don't have impressive fat reserves at all. though no harm in thinking it's your huge lungs that cause that. :)

yes, meals before apnea are counterproductive. digestion takes significant amounts of O2, and might raise metabolism.

6-8 slow deep breaths sounds to me like the begining of a proper breathup, not hyperventilating. how much time does it take you for one breath? for most people, 4-6, for some even 8 breaths per minute is ok, and not considered as hyperventilating, it also depends on how efficient is your breathing.

In theory, if not fighting bouyency, statics at 5 meters might be longer at depth than on surface, because the concentration of O2 in your lungs is higher due to the pressure. and personally I also feel more comfertable at depth.
This reason can also make you out-do your limit, so be carefull.
I hope you have a partner, especially with all those empty lung statics.
I have just teamed up with the local freediving club (OFK) and can now finally practice pushing my limits safely.

I recently did statics with an unexpected result:

1. 2 min
2. 4 min
3. 3 min

It seems taking a lot of contractions on the second breathold wore me out to the point where performance diminished rather than increased. I therefore wonder if it may be better to warm up gently rather than hard. Perhaps i should not take a lot of contractions on the warm ups after all?

Statics at 5 m seems a bit easier than on the surface, 4 min not being too hard. 4k belt with no suit there :)

Negative dives are real rough with negative packing, really have to motivate myself to do those consisently. I have the impression doing negatives before regular statics may increase breathold time.
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Pools in the Broward county, Florida area

anyone know of any good public pools for freedive training near Deerfield Beach.

the Swimming Hall of Fame seems good, i was hoping for something closer
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