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Old 08-13-2009, 06:16 PM   #1
David Reynolds
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Breath Holding Techniques?

Anybody know any specific exercises to aid me in holding my breath longer under water? Besides just swimming underwater
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:46 AM   #2
Mark G Griffin
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Re: Breath Holding Techniques?

Strange place to be asking about static breath hold The best answer is to get proper training from these guys (link work safe) http://www.performancefreediving.com...0april%203.htm

A friend of mine is an instructor with them and she holds the continental record for static breath hold, 6:53 secs. Personally 4 mins is my max.

First do not do any breath hold work underwater by yourself, period. Insanely easy way to kill yourself. To actually improve your breath hold you have to work on your breathe up technique. This is really hard to explain and it is something you really need instruction on. Quick explanation, and I hope I recall it all, is you start by doing deep, slow breaths to saturate your body with o2. You do this for x number of mins where x is twice the time as your target breath hold time. After this slow build up breathing you start breathing deep and fast for 10 or so breaths. This is to begin dumping Co2. Be careful not to hyper ventilate as this will build up co2 tolerance which can lead to bad things underwater. After this you do one super deep final breath and hold.

Normally you do breath holds with your face submerged in water to elicit the mammalian reflex. This is done with a buddy, your bud calls out every 15 secs and taps your shoulder, every time he taps you raise your finger out of the water to signal that you are still conscious and he says good signal to let you know he saw it. If you don't signal he pulls you up. I really don't recommend you do this in the water with out training though. So do so at your own peril.

The "trick" to hold your breath for any reasonable time is totally and completely relaxing... go to your happy place and get ready for the suck. Somewhere around 1 or 2 mins is when the fun starts as it is when your diaphragm starts to contract. The contractions gradually get worse and worse and it totally becomes a mental game at this point. The good news is the contractions will only last for 3 or 5 mins. Of course you will probably pass out long before that time though. Getting to the brink of passing out and holding it together is actually an interesting experience.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:45 PM   #3
David Reynolds
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Re: Breath Holding Techniques?

Thanks for all the great info Mark, as much as i love crossfit, don't think wod's will improve underwater breatholding. You mention the mamalian dive reflex, what i understand in this is the body becoming hypotensive, bradycardic, and you get vasodilation to slow the brain down from needing O2. What i understand is the dive reflex refers to cold, cold water drownings. Anyways interesting stuff to know man, yeh ive tried hyperventilating before ive gone under and passed out at the end of a 50m underwater swim. Hell you could probably do 50m 3 times underwater ha. I just want to be able to hold my breath a good 3min comfortably and on command, What do you think?
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:15 PM   #4
Mark G Griffin
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Re: Breath Holding Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Reynolds View Post
Thanks for all the great info Mark, as much as i love crossfit, don't think wod's will improve underwater breatholding. You mention the mamalian dive reflex, what i understand in this is the body becoming hypotensive, bradycardic, and you get vasodilation to slow the brain down from needing O2. What i understand is the dive reflex refers to cold, cold water drownings. Anyways interesting stuff to know man, yeh ive tried hyperventilating before ive gone under and passed out at the end of a 50m underwater swim. Hell you could probably do 50m 3 times underwater ha. I just want to be able to hold my breath a good 3min comfortably and on command, What do you think?
I think there are two schools of thought to improve your breath hold out of the water. Lots of free divers seem to practice yoga to help with relaxation as relaxation is really key. Others swear by improving cardiovascular fitness to make your body more o2 efficient with some taking it to the extreme and preform short metcon type work outs while on a breath hold. Try a light weight breath hold Fran where each round is max reps on a single breath hold instead of 21-15-9. Passing out on the pull up bar might suck though.

mammalian reflex kicks in in even slightly warm water. Something I left out on that static breath hold breathe up is you spend some time on snorkel with your face submerged to start the mammalian reflex before your breathe up.

underwater swimming on a breath hold versus static breath hold is a totally different animal. My 4 min breath hold turns into a 2 min horizontal underwater swim at best. horizontal swimming comes done to your efficiency on your pull and glide stroke. I honestly don't think you will be able to have a 3 min breath hold on command unless you have a 6 min static breath hold with a breathe up, that's just my opinion though.
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