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Static Apnea - my story & my questions.

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Sea Urchin

New Member
Dec 26, 2020
5
0
1
31
Dear all,

Thanks in advance for your time reading my post and for any replies.

I am not a native speaker and tend to ramble on, so for clarity purposes I structured the post into two parts:

My story: I am new to free diving and I am particularly interested in static apnea. Few years ago I attempted to hold my breath for as long as possible and I remember I lasted 3:02. A couple of months ago I attempted it again and lasted 3:40. Even if I have been regularly playing underwater rugby during the last year I was very surprised about the difference which I considered to be substantial, so I raised my interest and searched on the internet for some information on how to improve. After a couple of weeks of doing C2O tables I tried it again and got a 4:15 personal best. I really couldn't believe I managed to do more than 4 minutes. Then I decided to try it in a swimming pool with a friend, but I got very cold and nervous and decided to stop after a minute as I was shaking. Today, I went to another swimming pool, in fact I went to the kids swimming pool (the smaller pool of the facilities with slightly warmer water), I told the lifeguard I was going to hold my breath and I could last few minutes so he shouldn't be too worried, by the way he reacted he liked something different happening in the swimming pool. I hyperventilated, something (which I had never done before but) I saw in a youtube video a week ago and it was recommended for lasting longer. My first go lasted 3:58, then hyperventilated again for a bit and went for a second go hitting 5:22. I am shocked as it did not feel particularly hard especially for the large increase. Also, while holding my breath I didn't really have knowledge over what time I was hitting, so as I felt OK I just kept going (I knew I had built a small audience at the pool of maybe 3 people and felt some pressure to push myself). Now I am very excited and needed to tell someone, but when I told my family they worried a lot.

My questions: So many!
  1. Is it really dangerous? / and are my family concerns real ones or are they over-worrying?
  2. Can I take some measures to make it safer?
  3. How should I reply to my family if I want to keep doing it without make them worried?
  4. What are reasonable times to start competing? I know hitting 5:22 is not enough but I feel quite motivated.
  5. Is it allowed to hyperventilate in competitions?
  6. Is hard to manage public pressure in competitions? or does it normally help?
  7. Is it normal to hit better time in your second attempt than your first?
  8. Are freediving courses worth it? (I just like static apnea because it is really cheap and would prefer not paying)
  9. How to go from 5:20 to +8:00? - can anyone recommend specific training?
  10. Do you also feel you enter a different state of mind?

Thank you people!
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,006
779
218
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To many questions.

First, what you are doing is crazy dangerous if you do it without a trained buddy in the water with you(life guards are worthless for what you are doing) and you don't follow the correct procedure. Do both those things and have at it, almost safe as a church.

Second, you are gifted in this area. That is not necessarily a good thing for safety.

3rd, take a course. They will teach you safety. and show you how to make much much progress.

4th, hyperventilation seems to work, but is dangerous for most people(probably you). Better to learn how not to need it.

5th. static times typically get longer up to approximately the 4th attempt.
 
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Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
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I reccommend no hyperventilation, supervision, and always paying attention to the urge to breathe. I too am gifted but the contractions start like 2-3 min into 5-7 min, so apparently evolution built me with plenty of warning. your mileage may vary.
 
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Sea Urchin

New Member
Dec 26, 2020
5
0
1
31
To many questions.

First, what you are doing is crazy dangerous if you do it without a trained buddy in the water with you(life guards are worthless for what you are doing) and you don't follow the correct procedure. Do both those things and have at it, almost safe as a church.

Second, you are gifted in this area. That is not necessarily a good thing for safety.

3rd, take a course. They will teach you safety. and show you how to make much much progress.

4th, hyperventilation seems to work, but is dangerous for most people(probably you). Better to learn how not to need it.

5th. static times typically get longer up to approximately the 4th attempt.
Hi cdavis,

Thanks for your reply.

It has made me reconsider few things - I have decided to stop pushing my limits until I am ready to do it safely.

I guess I need a buddy to be on the water with me making sure every few seconds I am alright.

Regards,
 

Sea Urchin

New Member
Dec 26, 2020
5
0
1
31
I reccommend no hyperventilation, supervision, and always paying attention to the urge to breathe. I too am gifted but the contractions start like 2-3 min into 5-7 min, so apparently evolution built me with plenty of warning. your mileage may vary.
Hi Sorandril,

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your help.

Regards,
 

Chris Ellem

Member
Dec 24, 2017
4
2
13
48
1. Yes, your an idiot. :)
2. Always do wet statics with a buddy
3. Do plenty of dry statics without any facial equipment.
4. Just start. But I wouldn't recommend advertising that you HV especially if your a beginner. Keep it on the down low.
5. Yes all the top guys do. World top 10
5. Nerves generally don't help at all. Stay Relaxed..but whatever works for you
7. For most people yes because the dive response is more likely to be kicked in.
8. 100% do as many courses as you can
9. Lots of training, particularly dry statics alternating CO2 and O2 tables.. plenty of phone apps out there.. buy an accurate oximeter to monitor your SPO2 levels.. particularly just after your hold. You will soon realise why it is dangerous to do holds by yourself in water.
10. I don't. Once your contractions come in, it is where the hold really starts.

All that being said..start your apprenticeship.. progress slowly. Getting to 8 minutes is no easy feat. Good luck..
 
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GreatLaker

Member
Mar 9, 2019
7
6
18
Hi cdavis,

Thanks for your reply.

It has made me reconsider few things - I have decided to stop pushing my limits until I am ready to do it safely.

I guess I need a buddy to be on the water with me making sure every few seconds I am alright.

Regards,
Your trained buddy will also know what to do if you are not alright, having learned rescue procedures specific for blackouts.
 
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Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
16
23
40
Well that confirms what Dr. Pollock was saying about HV.... I frankly think you should reserve the HV for pranayama, do aerobic training as well, and then go underwater without hyperventilating...
 
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grarena

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
103
29
43
64
Dear all,

Thanks in advance for your time reading my post and for any replies.

I am not a native speaker and tend to ramble on, so for clarity purposes I structured the post into two parts:

My story: I am new to free diving and I am particularly interested in static apnea. Few years ago I attempted to hold my breath for as long as possible and I remember I lasted 3:02. A couple of months ago I attempted it again and lasted 3:40. Even if I have been regularly playing underwater rugby during the last year I was very surprised about the difference which I considered to be substantial, so I raised my interest and searched on the internet for some information on how to improve. After a couple of weeks of doing C2O tables I tried it again and got a 4:15 personal best. I really couldn't believe I managed to do more than 4 minutes. Then I decided to try it in a swimming pool with a friend, but I got very cold and nervous and decided to stop after a minute as I was shaking. Today, I went to another swimming pool, in fact I went to the kids swimming pool (the smaller pool of the facilities with slightly warmer water), I told the lifeguard I was going to hold my breath and I could last few minutes so he shouldn't be too worried, by the way he reacted he liked something different happening in the swimming pool. I hyperventilated, something (which I had never done before but) I saw in a youtube video a week ago and it was recommended for lasting longer. My first go lasted 3:58, then hyperventilated again for a bit and went for a second go hitting 5:22. I am shocked as it did not feel particularly hard especially for the large increase. Also, while holding my breath I didn't really have knowledge over what time I was hitting, so as I felt OK I just kept going (I knew I had built a small audience at the pool of maybe 3 people and felt some pressure to push myself). Now I am very excited and needed to tell someone, but when I told my family they worried a lot.

My questions: So many!
  1. Is it really dangerous? / and are my family concerns real ones or are they over-worrying?
  2. Can I take some measures to make it safer?
  3. How should I reply to my family if I want to keep doing it without make them worried?
  4. What are reasonable times to start competing? I know hitting 5:22 is not enough but I feel quite motivated.
  5. Is it allowed to hyperventilate in competitions?
  6. Is hard to manage public pressure in competitions? or does it normally help?
  7. Is it normal to hit better time in your second attempt than your first?
  8. Are freediving courses worth it? (I just like static apnea because it is really cheap and would prefer not paying)
  9. How to go from 5:20 to +8:00? - can anyone recommend specific training?
  10. Do you also feel you enter a different state of mind?

Thank you people!
lots of good answers.
1- it’s not dangerous. I do incredibly long holds. Started 2 years ago. First one was 4:10. My best 3 days ago 9:30. Dry holds on land. If in water must have buddy that knows what to look for.
2- have a buddy in water. If dry no issues. No danger.
3- family needs to educate on diving reflex.
4- probably when get to 8 min compete.
5- for static apnea HV is absolutely necessary. For dynamic it’s dangerous
6- no idea. Hope to compete one day. 9:30 puts me in a good spot to do so. Covid hasn’t helped.
7- yes. Normal. Like Davis said 4th or 5th attempt better. I’ll post my last workout. My 8th was when I hit 9:30.
8- never taken. Can’t hurt
9- I can help you get to 8 min. That’s a conversation for later
10- yes. Mediation is a huge part but so is training. Genetics doesn’t hurt.
 

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Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
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40
lots of good answers.
1- it’s not dangerous. I do incredibly long holds. Started 2 years ago. First one was 4:10. My best 3 days ago 9:30. Dry holds on land. If in water must have buddy that knows what to look for.
2- have a buddy in water. If dry no issues. No danger.
3- family needs to educate on diving reflex.
4- probably when get to 8 min compete.
5- for static apnea HV is absolutely necessary. For dynamic it’s dangerous
6- no idea. Hope to compete one day. 9:30 puts me in a good spot to do so. Covid hasn’t helped.
7- yes. Normal. Like Davis said 4th or 5th attempt better. I’ll post my last workout. My 8th was when I hit 9:30.
8- never taken. Can’t hurt
9- I can help you get to 8 min. That’s a conversation for later
10- yes. Mediation is a huge part but so is training. Genetics doesn’t hurt.
I started at 4 minutes myself and would like to hear of this method as well...
 

grarena

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
103
29
43
64
I started at 4 minutes myself and would like to hear of this method as well...
At first did alternating CO2 and O2 tables. Goal to do a 5 min hold. Did this at least once every day. After a month I was at 6:00. Continuing to do 5:00 holds each day but I started measuring per week. Got to about 10 holds of 5 min a week. That’s when I hit 6:45. Now my holds are in the 5:30 - 6:00 range. When I was doing 20 a week. Did 7:43.

then 8:05. 8:45. This was 40-50 holds of 5 min or above. Always took day off before going for a long long hold. Averaging 8-10 holds a day over 5 min.

now. I will be in the range of 50 holds a week over 5 min. Most in the 6-7 min range. I haven’t done any tables in 1.5 years. This is what I do.
Hit 9:15 2 months ago. Now 9:30 on Christmas Day. I’m hoping to get to 10 min in 2021.
 
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Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
16
23
40
At first did alternating CO2 and O2 tables. Goal to do a 5 min hold. Did this at least once every day. After a month I was at 6:00. Continuing to do 5:00 holds each day but I started measuring per week. Got to about 10 holds of 5 min a week. That’s when I hit 6:45. Now my holds are in the 5:30 - 6:00 range. When I was doing 20 a week. Did 7:43.

then 8:05. 8:45. This was 40-50 holds of 5 min or above. Always took day off before going for a long long hold. Averaging 8-10 holds a day over 5 min.

now. I will be in the range of 50 holds a week over 5 min. Most in the 6-7 min range. I haven’t done any tables in 1.5 years. This is what I do.
Hit 9:15 2 months ago. Now 9:30 on Christmas Day. I’m hoping to get to 10 min in 2021.
So practice makes perfect..
 

Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
16
23
40
Im really starting to wonder what a lifeguard is there for anymore if not to rescue people in the case of near drowning.

Liability fall guy ?
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,006
779
218
71
Lifeguards are well trained for the things they normally encounter, drowning by non-divers, heart attacks, etc. Very necessary function. I used to be a beach lifeguard,a very long time ago. There are several people still (probably) walking around because of me or my buddy. What they are not trained to do is safety freedivers. They are worthless at it, much of what they are trained to do for a drowning victim would be bad for a freediving B0, and I know of no convincing reason why they should be any better. Safetying us is too much of a one on one kind of thing.

Doing stupid stuff like prohibiting all breathholding is where liability comes in. Thats mostly administration not lifeguards
 

Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
16
23
40
well if you saw my training thread I’ve actually concluded based on studies of Ama and Tanya Streeter that we can get around this idiocy unless were going to actually test what were made of...

I call it the ninja free diver movement. Think about it, we check into the gym, hit the treadmills and bikes, maybe even work out in the pool with the Masters guys and no one will be the wiser.

I also reserve most max BH attempts for my bed.

still looking for real statistics on swim team practice casualties... or any evidence that suggests that these people were right and my father should be jailed or sued for encouraging me to swim underwater... the new line they’re teaching kids is that it’s too dangerous, like a 1 in 6 chance of dying, none of it is grounded in real science and the whole problem (3500 out of 300 million trips to the pool) could be solved with real swimmer education. But we don’t do that here, we do religion and abstinence.
 
Last edited:

grarena

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
103
29
43
64
So practice makes perfect..
There is no perfect LOL. I have been asked “why don’t you just it longer”? My reply is that’s the most I could withstand the pain of not breathing. I’ve never blacked out no matter how much HV I do before but the limiting factor is the pain becomes too intense to continue. That’s the bottom line so I guess the perfect hold is one you trained for years and stopped just 1 second before you blacked out
 
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Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
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There is no perfect LOL. I have been asked “why don’t you just it longer”? My reply is that’s the most I could withstand the pain of not breathing. I’ve never blacked out no matter how much HV I do before but the limiting factor is the pain becomes too intense to continue. That’s the bottom line so I guess the perfect hold is one you trained for years and stopped just 1 second before you blacked out
I’m about the same way. Still only do that in meditation though.
 

Babyblue

Member
Dec 29, 2020
3
3
8
49
1. Yes, your an idiot. :)
2. Always do wet statics with a buddy
3. Do plenty of dry statics without any facial equipment.
4. Just start. But I wouldn't recommend advertising that you HV especially if your a beginner. Keep it on the down low.
5. Yes all the top guys do. World top 10
5. Nerves generally don't help at all. Stay Relaxed..but whatever works for you
7. For most people yes because the dive response is more likely to be kicked in.
8. 100% do as many courses as you can
9. Lots of training, particularly dry statics alternating CO2 and O2 tables.. plenty of phone apps out there.. buy an accurate oximeter to monitor your SPO2 levels.. particularly just after your hold. You will soon realise why it is dangerous to do holds by yourself in water.
10. I don't. Once your contractions come in, it is where the hold really starts.

All that being said..start your apprenticeship.. progress slowly. Getting to 8 minutes is no easy feat. Good luck..
So is HV freediving’s dirty little secret?



Because, if this is the case, it is a significant paradigm shift, at least from the perspective of someone like myself, an absolute beginner, but somewhat well-read. I have taken a level 1 course, read a couple books, and done lots of casual internet research. My level I course taught that:

-HV is dangerous (by hampering UTB sensitivity)

-HV is counterproductive for beginners and high performers alike bc it raises heart rate, interferes with dive-reflex, etc

-HV is an old-school trick that is now shunned bc we understand the science and danger



Furthermore, typical Internet research (often authored by respectable and well-known free divers) suggests the same attitude is commonly held within the amateur and pro community. Some of those experts would admit that HV maybe a useful training tool at times, and safe when in the hands of knowledgeable, careful, serious athletes, but nonetheless still considered irresponsible and a frowned-upon practice in recreational or competitive free diving.



It was from this perspective that my reaction to Dr Pollocks claims that “the “breathe up” is really just HV” was that “the Dr. doesn’t understand- breath up is opposite of HV. - It’s to relax...” Though, I have never witnessed a pro dive comp, to see myself. What do I know?So, maybe it IS a commonly used technique?



I can understand why seasoned pros and the community in general are reluctant to openly discuss the realities of HV, bc in the wrong hands, in the hands of a novice, Hv and water can be deadly. But when formal diving course instruction, and the general sentiment of the community at large seemingly embraces and promotes one truth, and the truth is entirely something else, for me anyway, it brings into question all the other advice and guidance I have received within the community



There is already so much conflicting information When it comes to free diving theory. But this is a very basic concept;



Is, or is not, HV a commonly used and accepted technique for rec and competitive diving ? If so, why the denial?
 
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grarena

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
103
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64
So is HV freediving’s dirty little secret?



Because, if this is the case, it is a significant paradigm shift, at least from the perspective of someone like myself, an absolute beginner, but somewhat well-read. I have taken a level 1 course, read a couple books, and done lots of casual internet research. My level I course taught that:

-HV is dangerous (by hampering UTB sensitivity)

-HV is counterproductive for beginners and high performers alike bc it raises heart rate, interferes with dive-reflex, etc

-HV is an old-school trick that is now shunned bc we understand the science and danger



Furthermore, typical Internet research (often authored by respectable and well-known free divers) suggests the same attitude is commonly held within the amateur and pro community. Some of those experts would admit that HV maybe a useful training tool at times, and safe when in the hands of knowledgeable, careful, serious athletes, but nonetheless still considered irresponsible and a frowned-upon practice in recreational or competitive free diving.



It was from this perspective that my reaction to Dr Pollocks claims that “the “breathe up” is really just HV” was that “the Dr. doesn’t understand- breath up is opposite of HV. - It’s to relax...” Though, I have never witnessed a pro dive comp, to see myself. What do I know?So, maybe it IS a commonly used technique?



I can understand why seasoned pros and the community in general are reluctant to openly discuss the realities of HV, bc in the wrong hands, in the hands of a novice, Hv and water can be deadly. But when formal diving course instruction, and the general sentiment of the community at large seemingly embraces and promotes one truth, and the truth is entirely something else, for me anyway, it brings into question all the other advice and guidance I have received within the community



There is already so much conflicting information When it comes to free diving theory. But this is a very basic concept;



Is, or is not, HV a commonly used and accepted technique for rec and competitive diving ? If so, why the denial?
I will only give my opinion and not to be taken as fact. It is my opinion that all breath-ups are a form of HV tho most don’t wanna admit that fact. I won’t get into the physiology of why but it’s a modified HV period. Now doing dynamics HV can be extremely dangerous especially severe significant HV. When doing static apnea which I feel I’m very proficient at doing, it is expected and accepted. You always need a buddy but no matter how much HV I’ve done, I’ve never passed out doing a static apnea breath hold. I’m pretty sure people that are breaking world records are doing lots of HV. Let’s get real. They are.
 

Sorandril

Member
Jun 13, 2020
111
16
23
40
I will only give my opinion and not to be taken as fact. It is my opinion that all breath-ups are a form of HV tho most don’t wanna admit that fact. I won’t get into the physiology of why but it’s a modified HV period. Now doing dynamics HV can be extremely dangerous especially severe significant HV. When doing static apnea which I feel I’m very proficient at doing, it is expected and accepted. You always need a buddy but no matter how much HV I’ve done, I’ve never passed out doing a static apnea breath hold. I’m pretty sure people that are breaking world records are doing lots of HV. Let’s get real. They are.
And I’m going to concur with the scientist studying freedivers.
 
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