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Tips for one breath CO2 table

Ms Mer

Active Member
Apr 15, 2012
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I tried my first one breath CO2 table the other day:
1 minute hold
Surface, one breath - as slow and controlled as I could
1 minute hold repeat etc...

I managed 7. It got hard at the 5th breath hold. I could cope with contractions coming early. But what I struggled with was the one breath. By hold 5 my inhale was not controlled and I felt like I was gasping for air and they became too fast. I was hard to slow my inhale down as my natural reaction was to want to breath as after a normal hold, not just one breath.

Does anyone have any advice. Should I be doing something else to slow down/control the inhale? How can I stop myself from gasping and therefore hyperventilating on the inhale?
 

baiyoke

Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2011
485
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Denmark, Copenhagen
Should I be doing something else to slow down/control the inhale? How can I stop myself from gasping and therefore hyperventilating on the inhale?
It seems like you, and many other people, are thinking that the speed of inhale/exhale in itself is what producing hyperventilation. In my view a better definition must be "amount of CO2 expelled (from bloodstream out of body) over time" or something similar. What I'm trying to say is, that as far as I can tell, you can exhale and inhale as fast as you like, it doesn't change anything as long as you are only doing it once (the amount of gas exchanged is the same). Now you could say it violates the above definition, because you do it quick, but as you can only get rid of the amount of CO2 that is in the lungs one time, doing it faster won't get more CO2 out of your body. If doing two breaths speed would be a slightly different matter... and three breaths slightly more so...

You could even do it the other way around: Breathing really fast and deep once every 20 seconds would not be hyperventilating, since not much CO2 would get out of the body...

Speed of breath, depth of breath and hyperventilating are related, but not the same...

That's what I can make of it anyway...
 
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Ms Mer

Ms Mer

Active Member
Apr 15, 2012
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Wellington, NZ.
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how about making the hold a bit shorter first? when you get used to it, then go for 1 minute...
Cheers. I'll try doing 45-50 second holds and see how that goes. I think a standard set of this type of table is around 10-15 cycles.

Should I be surfacing and exhaling whatever I have in my lungs before I inhale? I did try this in the first few holds, but there did not seem like anything in my lungs left to exhale. Certainly exhaling on surfacing felt strange and made the inhale feel more laboured.

What I'm trying to say is, that as far as I can tell, you can exhale and inhale as fast as you like, it doesn't change anything as long as you are only doing it once (the amount of gas exchanged is the same). Now you could say it violates the above definition, because you do it quick, but as you can only get rid of the amount of CO2 that is in the lungs one time, doing it faster won't get more CO2 out of your body. If doing two breaths speed would be a slightly different matter... and three breaths slightly more so...

You could even do it the other way around: Breathing really fast and deep once every 20 seconds would not be hyperventilating, since not much CO2 would get out of the body
I don't quite follow your advice? I want to know how I can better control that one inhale I do before I go into the next hold. My last 2 inhales were only around 5 seconds - which to me seems too fast for this type of table. Others I have watched do such a table do a slow inhale - 10 sec at least. But I was gasping and felt that I was about to do an involuntary exhale after that inhale. I'd then have to do another inhale (which would mean the table was not a one breath CO2 table), so I went into the hold sooner, to avoid that. I certainly don't want to inhale faster, I want to slow it down. Cheers.
 

baiyoke

Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2011
485
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Denmark, Copenhagen
Im just pointing out, that you are not hyperventilating, if you gasp only one time... wich you thought you were doing (from the part I quoted).

Why would a slower inhale be better "for this kind of table"??? A controlled inhale might be good for any other table, except one-breath actually...
 
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Mar 20, 2011
699
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Los Angeles
Any sort of table or exercise that is one breath (or just limited by breath as opposed to time) is I think good for developing mental aspects of breath control, hence the point of doing it slow and controlled. Speed of the breath shouldn't really matter physiologically unless you are doing empty lung type work with one breath--in that case a fast breath would leave you with less O2 than a slow, controlled breath.

One thing to note is that whenever doing breath limited exercises it isn't advantageous to do hook breaths so you should train that seperately and realize that 'one breath' is a drill that emphasizes one aspect...

As far as getting better at it, you could add a dynamic element--you will be generating more CO2. Ie swim 25m underwater instead of doing static holds.
 
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Ms Mer

Ms Mer

Active Member
Apr 15, 2012
175
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Wellington, NZ.
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Any sort of table or exercise that is one breath (or just limited by breath as opposed to time) is I think good for developing mental aspects of breath control, hence the point of doing it slow and controlled. Speed of the breath shouldn't really matter physiologically unless you are doing empty lung type work with one breath--in that case a fast breath would leave you with less O2 than a slow, controlled breath.

One thing to note is that whenever doing breath limited exercises it isn't advantageous to do hook breaths so you should train that seperately and realize that 'one breath' is a drill that emphasizes one aspect...

As far as getting better at it, you could add a dynamic element--you will be generating more CO2. Ie swim 25m underwater instead of doing static holds.
Cheers. I'm not doing them as exhale holds -certainly not yet! Yeah someone else had said to me to avoid hook breaths. What I've been concerned about though is that I end up doing that when my inhale gets "uncomtrolled" , i.e. that it effectively becomes a hook breath. So then, I should worry less about the speed of the inhale, and more about the control?
 
Mar 20, 2011
699
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Los Angeles
Cheers. I'm not doing them as exhale holds -certainly not yet! Yeah someone else had said to me to avoid hook breaths. What I've been concerned about though is that I end up doing that when my inhale gets "uncomtrolled" , i.e. that it effectively becomes a hook breath. So then, I should worry less about the speed of the inhale, and more about the control?
In my opinion, yes... it's mostly a mental drill so you do your best to control it. Hook breaths (defined as a shallow, top of the lung breath that is held for a moment with abdominal pressure) don't exchange much air so they vent very little CO2, so if your one breath is a hook breath then it would make the drill very difficult, and to a lesser extent you might start build up an O2 deficit. When I do those kind of drills I am typically doing very slow, full lung purge breaths (and they are combined with DYN). I would never surface in the ocean and do that kind of a breath.

If you do get into exhale one-breath drills by the way you should do those dry, with a pulse O2 meter, or with very short distances/times and an active safety since you can definitely build up an O2 deficit quickly with one-breath exhale work; when doing one breath full lung holds, you won't vent all your CO2 in one breath but your body will very likely get enough O2 to return to baseline for at least a moment, even if not until after you've started the next hold.
 

Mullins

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Mar 4, 2004
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As long as you exhale fully, it doesn't matter how fast or 'uncontrolled' the inhale is. The aim is just to limit yourself to a single breath.

Can anybody selectively use the "top of the lungs"? I know there is a lot of yoga woo out there about it, but that implies you can change - and maintain while in apnea - the shape of your lungs depending on which inspiratory muscles you use.
 
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Mar 20, 2011
699
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Los Angeles
Re: top of lung
I doubt it is possible to really isolate this. For me it is more like 'top of tidal volume' meaning my typical hook breath is to release reserve capacity (assuming full lung dives) and a little bit of tidal volume, then inhale to just a little more than tidal volume. So in a sense--capacity rather than location--it is 'top of lung'. In the ocean I typically duck my face during the hold portion of the hooks and sort of bob... feels good in our coldish water but a bad bad habit for comp.
 

eNeRGy

Well-Known Member
Sep 6, 2010
137
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Korea
One minute holds are definitely going to be tougher once you start contractions nearly immediately in the dive. The way I learned the 'Wonka Table' from Richard Wonka was to do all breathholds with a set length of contractions, since that's the point anyway.

In your holds the first probably two or three 1-minute holds are probably very easy, and then they get crazy hard. The table I mention above has each hold giving you 45 seconds (this of course you can change for yourself) of contractions. So the first hold you go till first contraction, signal buddy, and they count you down 45. One breath, and then next dive, where again you signal first contraction, and go 45 seconds. Lather, rinse, repeat as long as you can. 10 dives is a good standard, and certainly not easy.

These are also much more efficient since you aren't wasting any dives without high CO2 and contractions.

I also agree that you'll want to work on the control of the exhale and inhale. It helps you mentally so much if you don't do only a couple second hook breathe and then back in the water. Really focus on coming up, slowly exhaling, a nice full and deep inhale, and then the next dive.
 
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Ms Mer

Ms Mer

Active Member
Apr 15, 2012
175
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Wellington, NZ.
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Cheers for this. I'll give that a go. As you say, the first 2 or 3 are easy and get hard pretty fast from there on in. I have also realised that I have to wear a swim cap doing this as the last attempt ended up going pear shaped as water dripped from my hair down my face onto the cord of my noseclip and I ended up inhaling water as I was doing my inhale - not really that helpful and very distracting.

Thanks everyone for you advice and suggestions. :)
 

fabikp

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2010
27
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czech republic
Hello, Ms Mer, in my opinion Mullins´ first two sentences is quite sufficient and complete answer to your original post. I wish you successful training. Pavel
 
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allinapnea

New Member
Aug 12, 2005
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Belgium
Well, I'm going to start to do one breath holds tables too now, I guess! Seems like a great exercise to improve. How's it going, Ms Mer with that?
 

Jo_duiker

Active Member
Jan 16, 2014
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Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
Geeze, one minute breathholds with only one breath in between them? I can only dream of doing 2... Must test with 40 seconds or 45 sec...
How are you doing these days, Ms Mer?
 
Mar 20, 2011
699
144
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Los Angeles
Geeze, one minute breathholds with only one breath in between them? I can only dream of doing 2... Must test with 40 seconds or 45 sec...
One other drill that can help with these sort exercises is just performing a very long breath cycle. I am sure it's a yoga thing, too. Basically just set an interval, likesay 1:30, and the game is that you spend 30 seconds on a single inhale, 30 secs hold, 30 secs on a single exhale, repeat ad nauseum. So one breath every minute and thirty seconds. It probably has some lung stretching benefit but it's mostly mental training, and you can vary the intervals, ie 45 sec inhale, 10 sec hold, 45 sec exhale, whatever. With practice you will get better quickly and times will increase.
 

Jo_duiker

Active Member
Jan 16, 2014
106
21
33
43
Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
One other drill that can help with these sort exercises is just performing a very long breath cycle. I am sure it's a yoga thing, too. Basically just set an interval, likesay 1:30, and the game is that you spend 30 seconds on a single inhale, 30 secs hold, 30 secs on a single exhale, repeat ad nauseum. So one breath every minute and thirty seconds. It probably has some lung stretching benefit but it's mostly mental training, and you can vary the intervals, ie 45 sec inhale, 10 sec hold, 45 sec exhale, whatever. With practice you will get better quickly and times will increase.
Seems like a great idea. But...I just tried and failed miserably during the first cycle already. I tried a 30-10-30 ratio. What numbers do you recommend to begin with? Surely, the 30-30-30 and the 45-10-45 are "pro" numbers, right? PLEASE tell me they're pro... I can't even achieve one inhale of 30 sec, as it leaves me panting for air after 20-25 sec already... Are you sure it's mostly mental? My body seems to take over immediately...
:-(
 
Mar 20, 2011
699
144
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Los Angeles
Dont beat yourself up. When I used to do those intervals i probably had about a 5 min static. Nothing happens overnight in freedive training, keep at it.