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Pushing the limits

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Fabio Toyama

Well-Known Member
Jan 2, 2004
Need advice!

3 weeks ago I broke my previous PB of 5’20” doing 5’45”.

When I told my wife she did not like at all as I was doing my trials unattended with no supervision so I agreed to practice not pushing to much and trying my PB only in her presence.

Today I woke up feeling very well and relaxed and thought would be ideal for a PB trial.
I was aiming for the 6+ by the end of the year, but with the improvements I was having I started to get a bit greedy about it and decided was going to be today.

Well, started with a warm up of 1’30” hold, waited about a minute, ventilated and went for 2’30”… and so on… next 3’30”… next 4’10”…next 4’50”… and finally with only 8 contractions I stopped coincidently exactly on my PB of 5’45”.

At that moment I gained confidence and thought… if with only 8 contractions I reached my PB, it’s going to be on the next trial I’ll reach my so desired 6+ (only 15’ for my goal).

Had a rest of nearly 10’ from my last trial and started breathing again. Ventilated for quite a while and went for it.

Started counting my contractions but don’t remember counting them more than 15 to 20 times because I passed out.
At this moment the stop watch I was holding in my right hand dropped but my hand stayed in the same position. (just know that after what my wife told me…)
Well, poor her. She had a terrible image of me with my eyes wide opened and pupils dilated and my face nearly blue and I was still having the contractions and not breathing. And to get things worse, because I was holding the stop watch, when it dropped on the floor I kept the same position of the fingers and she thought I was already having contortions in my hand.

She panicked and removed my nose clip and started to shout my name when I woke up but somehow I still remembered I was trying a PB and stopped the stop watch which was on the floor. The time showed 6’37”.

My questions are:

After how long after you pass out (that’s what I think it happened) your body starts to breath again? Just for reference of what would be a possible PB as this one does not count as I passed out and don’t know how long I was unconscious for.

I would guess that if in the last trial with 8 contractions I was on 5’45” and on the PB trial I might have counted to about 15 that I remember, so a potential real PB would be more than 6’, wouldn’t it?
Is it normal for your pupils to dilate only passing out for a short period of time? Or even before you pass out if the amount of oxygen is too low?

If I was already unconscious (not sure) why haven’t I started to breath again but was still having my contractions?

Are all these reactions of my body I described above normal of when you pass out pushing the limits or it could indicate something more serious?

What are the chances of having a heart attack practicing statics?
My plan was to start a training program when my times stopped to improve (I’m just trying harder and harder with no formal training).. but the times are still improving. But to avoit stressing too much my body woudn't be better to start some sort of training now?
I like pushing the limits, but sometimes the body does not respond according to planned.
To be honest with you I got a bit scared with this experience... don't know if that's the way it is..

I need some advice to regain confidence and specially regain the support of my wife on my training and PB trials

I’m looking forward to hearing from you
All the best for all of you!
And take it easy sometimes…
A couple of answers:

- When you blackout all motor function ceases. Therefore the nerves that control retinal contraction will also stop working and the pupils will dilate. Entirely natural

- When you black out during a dry static it is very common to take a small sip of air, then continue holding. I frequently blackout in negative statics, take a small breath without realising, then come round again, still holding my breath and unaware that I've blacked out and very confused as to why it seems like I've broken my PB by a minute.
So in a dry static you will start to breathe very soon after a static. If underwater, you will laryngospasm for about 20 - 40 seconds before inhaling. This reflex is provided by hydrosensors on your lips, so if your head is brought above water within this 20 - 40 second window then you will resume breathing normally.

- With 10' ventilation your CO2 would have dropped out the bottom. Therefore less contractions, less pain and easier to blackout. If this scared you then I would advise training tables and only going for a PB once a fortnight (Pelizzari recommends once every 2 months). Also a short breath-hold soon before your max attempt will give you enough CO2 to ensure that you will stay awake.

Your bodily reactions sound perfectly normal and as far as I know the risk of a heart attack during apnea is less than during strenous exercise.
Good luck for the 6'

Oops I put the wrong stuff here previously. Now it is correct.

Well I do not know if this is a very well studied area. I think the most useful question to be answered regarding this is:

"Is recovery from a dry blackout a potential danger?"

What Fabio seems to be concerned with is whether there is potential for a person to not naturally recover from a dry self-induced blackout. I have had many dry sambas during max statics and I have had a handfold of blackouts due to standing tests (exhale and crouch near the floor; suddenly stand up and inhale to the max; pack a few times; tumble to the ground).

My beliefs to date were that a dry induced blackout without the influence of trauma, was a temporary safety measure by the body and guaranteed (except under freak incidents) under normal conditions to only be temporary. Meaning the body would always reinitiate breathing after a period of time. On all my blackouts due to standing tests, this has been the case. And in general I think this would almost always be the case since people, myself included, have blackouts from standing up suddenly all the time. Not necessarily the same people all the time, but with all the people on the planet, I think we would have heard of the dangers of standing up suddenly if it were a life threatening danger all of its own.

Now the only difference I can think of between these standing blackouts and static blackouts, would be the nature of the body prior to the blackout. During static you have entered a very static body posture, activity, mindset. Meaning everything after blackout is pretty much the same as while doing the static. Therefore maybe due to this the body might not realize any change from the danger that shut it down, to encourage it to release the blackout. That is all I can think of at the moment that would give the possibility that they are different categories of danger.

Beside this unknown potential danger I can share the following potentially relevant information.

1. Is it possible that your wife mistook you having contractions for you having a samba. I have had sambas where my torso twitches sporatically and it can look like mild contractions.

2. After a static I have noted memory loss for periods of up to 30 seconds prior to ending the static, without having a samba.

3. If you can remember having dreams then you have had a blackout most likely! I regularly have dreams during a few seconds of blackout after a standing test.

Well that is all I can think of for now, but I have never thought of doing dry statics as dangerous and it still strikes me as unlikely. But heed that not until we hear more opinions on this possibility. However, I have come across no warnings about doing dry statics, and with such a community you would think this would have been addressed if it was a normal concern. Look forward to ideas on this.



Last edited:
I did a nice blackout several months ago - I wrote about it on another thread. It happened in the pool with a buddy, and it wasn't a bad experience for me, but I felt sorry for my buddy who had to see me with wide open eyes, blue lips etc.

I did not attempt to breathe or let go of any air while I was in the water (there are about 40 seconds in the water which I don't remember, but I still gave signals!), but I started breathing immediately when rescued.

Fortunately it did not put me or my buddy off freediving, and I can now do much longer times while remaining conscious. :duh

Take care,


I think I was more scared of her reaction than what exactly happened to me.
I quite like to push the limits in everything I do. Never know when to stop until I get hurt. That's what hapened when I was training for the jiu-jitsu european championship. Was training too hard and hurt my neck in a fight. The recovery was hard but did not want to miss the championship. I fought and got first place in my category, but after that my neck was much worse. Took me a while to recover with all sorts of physio, medications, massage...
Just don't want something similar to happen with my apnea trials..
But if that's normal, it's the way it is.. Here I go again!

Thanks for the support
All the best
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