Freediving Land-Based Dry Exercises

 In Printables, Resources, Training for Freediving

Breath Hold Exercises to Improve Your Freediving

Why do dry breath-hold training?

Breath hold exercises increase the amount of time the body can sustain apnea by improving ventilation, lengthening the maximum duration for which the body can maintain anaerobic exercise as well as increasing your psychological fortitude.

Is it Dangerous?

Breath holding on land in a safe environment is not very dangerous. In fact, even if you were to hold your breath to the point of losing consciousness – which is extremely difficult to do, even for professional athletes – doesn’t cause the body any harm, as ventilation is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, so normal breathing will resume the moment that consciousness is lost. Brain damage doesn’t occur unless ventilation is somehow prohibited for approximately four minutes beyond the loss of consciousness.

With that said, below are three land based exercises ideal for free-diving and apnea training. Feel free to post your results, as well as any questions, as a comment on this page :)

Download Printable PDF – freediving-land-based-exercises.pdf (just right-click and select “Save Link As”)

Exercise 1 – Static Breath Holds

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: 1

PURPOSE

The purpose of this exercise is to:

  • Increase your static breath hold ability
  • Have awareness of your body’s inhale reflex and your ability to work through it to find your true point of “must breath” –  your insufferable point
  • Provide mental training to teach yourself to relax and remain calm during the inhale reflex stages of a free-dive

DURATION

Total training time is 35 minutes: a 5 minute warm up + 5 x 6 minute training (3 min breath hold + 3 min recovery)

FREQUENCY

You should do this twice a week to see an increase in performance.

TIMING

The best time to do this exercise is first thing in the morning, right when you wake up.

EQUIPMENT

Equipment needed:

  • Bed
  • Stop watch
  • Peace and quiet

METHOD

Follow these steps:

  1. Place yourself on the bed and relax
  2. Breathe deep, but normal for 5 minutes
  3. After 5 minutes of breathing, take three deep breaths, one after another
  4. After the third inhale, make a powerful exhale emptying your lungs completely – a bit more if possible.
  5. Immediately after emptying your lungs take a powerful (from your toes) inhale filling the lungs to approximate 98% capacity, and hold your breath. At this point, start the stop watch to measure the time that you can hold your breath.
  6. When your holding breath, different thoughts may be spinning around inside your mind, this is normal, do not think about the time or about holding your breath, try to think about things that make you feel calm and relaxed
  7. After some time contractions may occur, this is normal. Continue holding your breath throughout the contractions.
  8. When you reach the insufferable point and you have to breathe, take a breath and stop the stop watch.
  9. Take 2 or 3 fast and deep inhales, and work on finding your way back to the calm and relaxed breathing you had just before your breath hold.
  10. Rest for about 3 minutes with deep and normal breathing before you repeat the exercise.
  11. Repeat the exercise 5 times

Exercise 2 – Walking Breath Holds

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: 1

PURPOSE

The purpose of this exercise:

  • Increase dynamic breath hold ability
  • Learn to control your breathing (not let your breathing control you)
  • Learn the importance of correct breathing and breathing preparation before a dive
  • Provide mental training to teach yourself to relax and be calm during the inhale reflex stages of a dive
  • This training (walking apnea) is perhaps the exercise that gives you the most as free-diver

DURATION

Total training time is 36 minutes (if you reach a maximum of 2 minutes 30 second breath hold time, less if your limit is less)

  1. 30 sec breathe, 15 sec hold
  2. 45 sec breathe, 30 sec hold
  3. 60 sec breathe, 1 min 15 sec hold
  4. 1 min 15 sec breathe, 1 min 30 sec hold (if you can)
  5. 1 min 30 sec breathe, 1 min 45 hold (if you can)
  6. 1 min 45 sec breathe, 2 min hold (if you can)
  7. 2 min breathe, 2 min 1 5 sec hold (if you can)
  8. 2 min 15 sec breathe, 2 min 30 sec hold (if you can)
  9. Decrease back down the list (line by line) when you reach you limit until you reach the 15 sec hold again

FREQUENCY

You should do this twice a week in order to see an increase in performance.

TIMING

The best time to do this exercise is first thing in the morning, right when you wake up.

EQUIPMENT

Equipment needed:

  • Stop watch
  • A place that you can walk around without any disturbance

METHOD

Follow these steps:

  1. Start the exercise in standing position
  2. Breath normally using your lower stomach as much as possible when you breathe
  3. Start the stop watch and start walking, not fast, just in a usual relaxed tempo
  4. Continue the usual breathing but slightly deeper breaths, breathing from the diaphram
  5. After 30 seconds of walking, restart the stop watch, take a deep breath and hold it. This is while continuing to walk.
  6. Continue walking in the same calm and relaxed tempo
  7. After 15 seconds restart the stop watch and start breathing again (don’t stop walking at any time)
  8. After 45 seconds of walking restart the stop watch and take another deep breath and hold it, continuing to walk.
  9. After 30 seconds of holding your breath restart the stop watch and start breathing again
  10. Continue the exercise as so, increasing the time walking and breathing and the time walking and holding your breath 15 seconds at the time
  11. When you have reached the limit of your breath holding ability (can’t make the hold time), decrease the time by 15 seconds (like a pyramid), and continue doing so until you’re back at the starting point.

If you alternate this exercise with the static breath hold exercise you will notice that the limit of your training pyramid will improve and soon you will be in control over your breathing, and not the opposite way around.

Exercise 3 – Stair Breath Holds

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: 2

PURPOSE

The purpose of this exercise:

  • Increase dynamic breath hold ability
  • This training prepares you mentally for your dive, especially for deep dives
  • To learn to understand and to feel your depth verses dive time
  • To teach you to realize when it is time to start to ascend to the surface
  • To learn how to do calm and relaxed descents as well as controlled ascents
  • To control your oxygen usage / exercise rate and learn your limits

DURATION

Total training time is 50 mins (if you reach a maximum of 1 mins 30 sec descent time, less if your limit is less)

  1. 6 min warm up jog (1 km or 1/2 mile)
  2. 15 sec descent (breath hold), 10 sec ascent (breath hold)
  3. 1 min rest
  4. 30 sec descent (breath hold), 15 sec ascent (breath hold),
  5. 2 min rest
  6. 45 sec descent (breath hold), 20 sec ascent (breath hold),
  7. 3 min rest
  8. 1 min descent (breath hold), 30 sec ascent (breath hold) – if you can
  9. 4 min rest
  10. 1 min 15 sec descent (breath hold), 40 sec ascent (breath hold) – if you can
  11. 5 min rest
  12. 1 min 30 sec descent (breath hold), 50 sec ascent (breath hold) – if you can
  13. 5 min rest
  14. Decrease back down the list (line by line) when you reach you limit until you reach the 15 sec descent again

FREQUENCY

You should do this once a week in order to see an increase in performance.

TIMING

Exercise can be done any time of the day

EQUIPMENT

Equipment needed:

  • Stop watch
  • Running shoes
  • A high building with a staircase (at least 8 floors high)
  • Heart rate monitor (not essential)

METHOD

  1. Warm up jog for 1 km or 1/2 mile
  2. If possible take an elevator up to the top floor in the selected building, or walk to the top of the staircase (this is the equivalent of the water surface)
  3. Practice your calm deep breathing using your lower stomach.
  4. When you feel calm and your pulse is resting (or close to it) take three deep and faster inhales/exhales
  5. The last of the three respirations should be a deeper exhale and a deeper inhale (as in Exercise 1)
  6. Hold your breath, start the stop watch and begin walking down the stairs.
  7. Walk down as calm and as economical as you can, in full control of yourself.
  8. Look at the stop watch and note your turn around time, your “depth” on the staircase.
  9. Turn around and start to walk back up. Increase your speed to half running speed
  10. When you have reached the top (surface), start breathing and stop the stop watch
  11. You should be able to hold your breath for as long as this exercise takes, from the surface – down to the right depth – and back to the surface again.
  12. At the top of the stairs (surface) rest for about 1 minute before you prepare yourself for the next descent.
  13. Repeat the exercise but increase the depth by 15 secs before you turn around and increase the rest time by 1 minute every stage.
  14. When you have reached your maximum depth, reverse back in 15 sec increments to the starting dive depth

Note: Set your start depth shallow, say 15 secs of decent for the first time you do this exercise and go 15 secs deeper each subsequent attempt until you find your maximum depth

Download Printable PDF – freediving-land-based-exercises.pdf (just right-click and select “Save Link As”)

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