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Underwater Help

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 30, 2003
Greetings DB

Here's the gig: have been accepted to compete for a US military special forces position. Our training requires us to spend ample time swimming and performing tasks underwater (equipment recovery, tying ropes and knots, successive 25M underwater swims at rapid intervals, etc...). I have been reading these threads for days now. I would be thrilled and appreciative if some of you could distill what drills/exercises would pay the highest dividends for these activities. We have our own forum and it is frustrating when someone asks a question that has been answered many times before. With that in mind, if you could just list what you believe would be the most beneficial drills for someone who isn't worried about depth, but is concerned with extending active time underwater and I will execute the search based on that input, I would be thrilled. Any other input is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your assistance!
Hi livin..,

Sounds like you need two things, 1. kick in your mammalian dive reflex real quick and 2. build up CO2, 02 and lactic acid tolerance. I'm not the most knowledgeable person to answer, but here are some ideas.

The timing and strength of the dive reflex can be speeded up by negative preasure or empty lung dives (search for these) and by breathing through your snorkel with your face in the water, no mask for about 2 minutes. I do 3 or 4 short negative dives to a max of 30 ft, 10ft in the pool works fine too. Be very careful at first. Slow your heartbeat by breathing 1-2 seconds in diaphram only , 10-15 seconds out. On exhale relax your chest and diaphram and restrict the outflow with your tongue or lips. 10-15 reps. This makes an astonishing difference in my heart rate and dynamic swims. It is a yoga technique, search yoga, breathing, breath up or similar.

For repetitive dynamics , probably the best training is to do lots of them. Dry land training with apnea walking or running (search) and static training using CO2 and 02 tables (search). Lots of stuff in many threads. I do some apnea walking and it seems to build tolerance to all three things pretty well.

Good luck on the special forces position

After reading lots about contractions, dive reflex, breath up, static and dynamic apnea, etc...it occurs to me that all of your activities are planned. We may get back from a ruck march, told to hydrate, immediately get in the pool, and 30 seconds later be surfacing from a 25M underwater while wearing shorts, a t-shirt and mask. No relaxing, no hyperventilating, no yoga, no pre-breath...the man says GO, we GO. Any advice given those scenarios as far as how to quickly get relaxed and in the zone or specific training that may help in that type of environment?

Thanks for the reply Connor and I'll take all the good luck I can get.
I think that anytime you get in the water, you should be doing whetever kind of method that works for you to relax. Trance or meditation or prayer or visions of tropical islands or anything that helps slow you down inside. Eventually after years of using a technique like this, the water and/or holding your breath becomes a trigger that can induce deep relaxation.
From what you descibe, you're being pushed in the opposite direction to test that ability to focus on the task and remain in control, so in my opinion your primary goal is mental. You're obviously in better shape than most people on the planet if you're in this selection process, so more physical techniques are not really the road you need to go down. It's all good of course, but in my opinion you must "train your brain" :)
Best of luck on the course,
Erik Y.
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