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Breath Holding Course

EPISODE 1 - Uddiyana Bandha

Between all of the various stretching routines, yoga poses, diets, and cross-training variations, there are extensive discussions between freedivers concerning what is BEST for increasing performance.


Some freedivers stretch before diving; others don’t. Some train more for cardiovascular fitness, others focus on strength training. Most of the time, we see that there is no solution that works for everyone, and the best thing to do is to experiment around and see what works for you.

But there is one technique of Hatha Yoga that undeniably positively impacts a freediver’s depth performance: Uddiyana Bandha.


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Comfortable, focus on relaxation.

The one full breath is a long and deep inhalation to fill our lungs with as much air as possible. The focus remains on relaxation. It makes not much of a difference if we can access the very last bit of our lung capacity but pay for that with the build up of a lot of tension.


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Hook breathing is one of the many weapons freedivers and big wave surfers use to battle against surface water blackouts and other deadly effects of oxygen deprivation.


So what exactly is hook breathing for freediving and surfing? And how can hook breathing help you cheat surface water blackouts and potentially save your life?


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EPISODE 4 - Hyperventilation

Simply defined, hyperventilation is in- and exhaling more air than you need to maintain a neutral level of CO2 in your blood.


Of course this definition depends greatly on your current state of activity. In a relaxation exercise while lying on your bed you are barely producing CO2, whereas in a 400m sprint you produce such big amounts that your breathing cannot catch up with exhaling enough of it. In the first case any audible breath would already considered to be hyperventilation, while it is not possible to hyperventilate during the 400m run.


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In many high activity sports (for example freediving) there are some well-known exercises to develop smart breath-holding skills. Most of these exercises consist of breath holds and rests with specific lengths — apnea tables or static tables (apnea training based on repeated intervals of breath holds).


If you want to improve the duration of your breath hold, you must get your body used to having high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and low levels of oxygen (O2). It takes quite a lot of time to do it but this static training undoubtedly leads to a visible improvement in the long run. You need to follow two types of tables – CO2 and O2 tables. They are both based on your personal best (PB), which you should measure beforehand.


Download the written guide here