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What do you think about this?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New-born freediver
Aug 1, 2003
From http://www.divingfree.com/ask/ask02.htm
Cardiovascular Training

Another point which is very important, and about which I get countless questions as well is to use of cardiovascular training for freediving. Cardiovascular activity is basically a continuous activity we do for a somewhat long period of time, where our heart is beating at between 45% and 90% of its maximum rate. In simpler words, this means things like running, cycling, rowing, swimming, skating or even skiing for at least 15 minutes and a minimum heart rate of 45%. This will make your whole body fitter, and it’s an essential part of training for those who are aiming to loose weight, lower their body fat or just stay generally fit. However, performing too much cardiovascular exercise while training for freediving will have negative effects on your freediving. Why? Well, cardio training “teaches” your body to work with a lot of oxygen, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve in freediving, so we need to keep cardio training to a minimum if our first priority is to improve our freediving. You should not do cardio more than 2 or 3 times a week, and each of those times, do it for a maximum of 15 or 20 minute.Also, do it at no more than 65% of your maximum heart rate."

This is from Rudi Castineyra...so it's a very expert opinion!!

I always thought cardio was THE way to get a good base for apnea.. So I'm extremely confused

In the other hand... If this is true I'll be happy to know I can trough away 60% of my training :p

Any experiences or thoughts?? Eric? :D


Maybe a shift to anaerobic training (like 30% 70%), could be a solution?
Rudi has explained it perfectly. I couldn't agree more. I think cardio is the worst training for freediving. Don't get me wrong, cardio training CAN help (it is better than nothing), but among all possible training methods, I think it is the least beneficial, for exactly the reasons Rudi explained. To summarize the negative effects of cardio:

- Increases mitochondria in muscles (promoting utilization of oxygen in muscles): UNDESIRABLE
- Increases microcapilleries to muscles (promoting flow of blood to muscles): UNDESIRABLE
- Increases activities of aerobic enzymes, promoting utilization of oxygen all over the body: UNDESIRABLE
- Decreases 'vascular resistance' (i.e. less resistance in blood vessels), causing global systemic decrease in blood pressure, which decreases the amount of O2 available to the brain: UNDESIRABLE
- Increases basal metabolic rate: UNDESIRABLE

Personally I never do any cardio of any kind, nor do I recommend it. In my opinion, training should be made up of either apnea exercise, or purely anaerobic breathing exercise.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Cristal clear :)

When asking people like Stig or Martin about their
routines, the answer usually includes "lots of cardio"... (or at least that was one year ago).
I guess it's for pure health reasons. I do cardio
for health reasons... so maybe I will shift my "lots of cardio" to.. "a bit of cardio" :)

Could you explain "purely anaerobic breathing exercise"?

Thanks for the quick answer, Eric. I'm just redifining my training for the upcoming summer season. Some yoga for health and lungs, plain dynamic apnea training and light weigth lifting.
LOTS of rest instead LOTS of cardio hehe


I disagree somewhat with Eric on one small point. :) I wouldn't do away with cardio all together...

It all depends on your fitness level, what stage of training you are at and how much time you have until you want to peak (if you are training for a pb, competition or record).

I believe Rudi would agree that having a certain foundation of cardiovascular fitness is important to be able to train hard anaerobically (traditional exercises) and in apnea. I agree that if you ONLY did cardio, then it is very likely that you would run into problems such as the ones that Eric mentioned.

If you are starting out and want to improve general conditioning for freediving, cardio is a good start, especially for beginners who can benefit from greater blood buffering capacity, increase in blood volume, general health, etc. It also protects against overtraining and injury.

When I do cardio, it is done at 80-93% max heart rate pretty much exclusively, always on the edge of lactate threshold or above it, for short and intense sets. I don't really see any point in doing long 'aerobic" cardio sets that last more than 30 min for the very same reasons Eric mentioned. So can we call this kind of exercise "cardio"? ie. 80-93+% MHR. For most people, probably not.

When it comes time to prepare for a peak performance, then I stick with maintenance cardio, short sets of 10-20 minutes, at about 85% MHR, once or twice a week. This is important for me as it seems to keep my chest and breathing muscles loose and, in theory, keeps my blood volume up (to protect against chest squeeze).

With a "cardio" foundation and weight training, specific exercises that mimic apnea and diving have given me the best results so far.

My three cents,

Pete Scott
Vancouver, BC, Canada
So is heavy weight training bad for freediving/spearfishing? I mean most of the best freedivers are slim guys. Then again there's Pipin. Also by heavy weight training I mean power lifting with high weight, low reps. Also am I shooting myself in the foot by working out like this? Power lifting and 20 minutes of light cardio four times a week, wrestling practice twice a week, diving when its flat and hunting when its not. Thanks for the input.

Power lifting in the muscles you use to propel yourself, is very beneficial in my opinion. Fast twitch fiber is highly beneficial.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Is it ok to do weight training exercises while holding your breath? Or can it damage your heart? A lot of pressure...:p
So, the general line is go anaerobic (and thus for lot less training time) to improve (CO2 tables only , Fast twitch fiber, 85-93% HR "aerobic" training...)
I'll stick to classic lifting. The old way: 8-12 reps. Neither 15-20 (resistance) nor 6 (pure power)

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