Snorkel For Freediving

Freedivers are blessed to require very little equipment to enjoy the underwater world. We only need fins, mask, and snorkel. But, do we really need a snorkel for freediving? Let’s find it out

Freediving STA
Freediving STA

For safety reasons, you have to remove a snorkel from your mouth during any breath-hold. But what about providing safety to your freediving buddy or while relaxation breathing before the breath-hold?

Let’s start with static apnea. Two options for relaxation breathing before STA. Some freedivers use a snorkel if they prefer to prepare with a face down in the water (it also helps to trigger Mammalian Dive Reflex, but create extra “Dead Space”). Other freedivers do relaxation breathing with the face out of the water either leaning on a pool wall or lying on the back on the surface. A safety buddy normally don’t use a snorkel either, since it is not necessary to put his face in the water

Freediving DYN
Freediving DYN

The other pool discipline is dynamic apnea, where a freediver swims horizontally underwater and safety buddy follows him on the surface. Most of the time relaxation breathing is done without a mask and snorkel and mask can be put on only right before the breath-hold. Though, same as with the static apnea some people feel more relaxed with a face in the water to get ready. In this case, before the swim, it makes sense to unclip the snorkel and leave it on the side of the pool, to prevent unnecessary dragging. Safety buddy in this discipline has to wear the snorkel, to be able to constantly watching freediver from the surface, ready to provide assistance as quickly as possible.

Freediving DYN
Freediving DYN

Now let’s have a look what do we have with diving in the sea.

If you dive in calm water, you can prepare for a dive without a snorkel, lying on your back. However, in case if the sea is a bit choppy, then it would be not the best position for relaxation breathing. You can imagine – you lay on the surface, do your final deep breath and when almost ready to go, some water can accidentally get over your face. So in this case it would be easier to do relaxation breathing through a snorkel face down in the water. Personally I prefer to leave snorkel on a float and not to have it clipped to my mask underwater.

Freediving Open Water
Freediving Open Water

A safety buddy usually has a snorkel, to be able to watch a freediver during his descend and in some cases watch how diver is coming up. Besides, safety buddy doesn’t dive that deep, and snorkel dragging is not a big problem for him. Some Freedivers keep it attached to the mask; others hold it in a hand or put it under the weight belt.

Freediving Open Water
Freediving Open Water

A bit different story is with recreational freediving when freedivers explore the local reef and enjoy the marine life, combining together snorkeling and freediving. They dive pretty shallowly and while they swim on the surface they look for something interesting underwater. Does it make sense to wear a snorkel? It does! And how to deal with a snorkel during your dive? You have several options – leave snorkel on the float, pass it to your buddy, hold it in the hand during the whole dive or just keep it clipped to the mask, – whatever you find more convenient.

Hyperventilation for Freedivers

Quite often I start a beginner Freediving course by asking my students whether they think freediving is a dangerous activity or not. Some say yes, it is dangerous, some say not, it is absolutely safe.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

If you follow safety rules, Freediving is safe and enjoyable water-based activity. But if you break these rules, then Freediving becomes a Russian roulette, without guarantee of a happy end.

And one of such rules is – don’t do hyperventilation before a breath hold!

But first of all, what is hyperventilation?

In a simple way – Hyperventilation is over-breathing – when you breathe more than you need to. Normally the rate and depth of your breathing depend on a current metabolic activity (mainly on how much CO2 you produce). More CO2 you produce – deeper or faster you breathe.

For example, when you are sleeping, you are not producing that much CO2 and your breath is shallow and quite. But in contrast, if you are running then you produce much more CO2 and this dramatically affects your breathing rate and depth.

Back to Freediving. Remember, how breath-hold looks like? Relaxations breathing, breath-hold itself, and recovery breathing after.

Relaxation breathing can vary among freedivers, and we like to experiment with it. And some freedivers intentionally or unintentionally can do hyperventilation instead of relaxation breathing.

Why someone would do it intentionally? Is it an attempt to bring more O2? Unlikely, since the vast majority of O2 in your body is already connected with hemoglobin and this is not going to be affected by manipulation with breathing.

The answer is, someone does hyperventilation in an attempt to decrease the level of CO2 in the blood. And why do so? Remember that if you hold your breath long enough, you start feeling the urge to breathe? So, this urge to breathe is connected with the level of CO2. Since then there is a desire to lower the level of CO2 and by doing so delay the urge to breathe

And what about unintentional hyperventilation? It can happen with a freediver who thinks that only fast breathing is hyperventilation. For example, you can hear such advice as “exhale as twice longer as inhale”. This is indeed a mild version of hyperventilation

But why hyperventilation is not a good idea for Freedivers?

1.     HR will go up. If you do deep and fast breathing your heart rate will inevitably increase. And the heart is the muscle that requires O2. The more it works, the more O2 it consumes.

2.     Lower CO2. Think about your urge to breathe as an alarm clock. When you have it, consider it as a signal that you might come close to your hypoxic limit. If you remove too much CO2 by hyperventilation than you can come too close to your hypoxic limit and have a Black Out.

3.     Also, when you remove too much CO2, it will increase the blood pH level, making it alkaline. It will lead to cerebral vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessels in your brain) and as a result – less blood,  less O2 is going to be delivered to the brain.

4.     Hyperventilation suppresses the Bohr Effect. The presence of CO2 makes an easier O2 release from hemoglobin. If CO2 goes down, this mechanism is not working that good anymore.

Bottom line – hyperventilation should be avoided by beginner and intermediate freedivers by all means! It doesn’t give you any benefits but put under unnecessary risk.

More about Hyperventilation here

Stay safe!

Neck Weight For Freediving

Neck weight Freediving

Before we start to compare neck weight vs the weight belt, let’s make sure everybody understands why we need additional weights.

In the swimming pool, when a Freediver swims underwater, he needs to be at 1-2 meters deep and not to sink or float up. As the majority of people are positively buoyant (float up) at such depth, they need to put some extra weights on to be neutrally buoyant (stay on the same depth without floating up or sinking). This is even more important if you use a wetsuit.

Buoyancy is a personal feature and two freedivers with similar weight and height may have different buoyancy and need a different amount of weights.

If the amount of weights influences the buoyancy in general, then the location of weights impacts the streamline position. And a good streamline position helps a lot in conserving oxygen.

If all your weights stay around hips, then, after a freediver makes deep inhale and starts swim underwater, the chest area will be more buoyant (float up) and legs are less buoyant (sink).

I am not saying that the weight belt is not practical in freediving – you can see that many freedivers, especially beginners, prefer to use it, instead of the neck weight.

First of all, it is more convenient to wear weights on hips rather than on a neck, especially if its 3-4 kilos heavy. It takes a while to get used to a neck weight and be comfortable with it.

The second reason, weight belts are more popular in freediving centers as they are more multi-functional and durable, so high chances that you get it if you rent equipment from the Freediving center.

And the third reason – it’s not so long time ago freediving brands started to manufacture neck weights. Before, if you want to have a neck weight – you have to make it by yourself.

But what are the advantages of the neck weight?

The first one – you can adjust its weight more precisely.

Weights for the weight belt have a fixed amount of grams – 500, 800, 1000, etc. For example, in our school, we use 800 and 1200 grams. In contrast, you can make your neck weight to match your buoyancy much more precisely.

The second advantage – location of the neck weight improves body position and provides more streamlined (horizontal). 

Nowadays you have a choice – you can either buy a branded neck weight or make it by yourself as in old good times. All you need for the handmade option is a bicycle tire, some filling, pair of clips, and insulation tape.

This is the cheapest solution and you can use it both for a pool and for the ocean.

But if the water temperature in your pool varies and sometimes you need to wear the wetsuit and sometimes you don’t, then you need to adjust the amount of the weights as well. This is pretty difficult to do with a handmade neck weight. What you can do in this case – make several neck weights, which would fit every wetsuit you have.

Or you can buy the adjustable neck weight.

Lobster at the moment is probably the most popular brand in a freediving market. They created a very comfortable and good looking weight system, which spreads the weight not just around the neck, but also along the spine. The only minus of Lobster neck weight – it is not convenient for depth diving, despite the manufacturer still recommends it.

By Svitlana Gaidai

5 TIPS FOR SNORKELING LOVERS

Snorkeling is the most popular and enjoyable water activity. Many people even without good swimming skills are signing up for snorkeling tours to explore the unknown underwater world. It is believed to be the safest water activity as well.

But with a few steps you can make it even safer!

When you go snorkeling with a tour, usually the guide is responsible for the safety, constantly keeping an eye on all of the people he brought to the spot. Moreover, he is always ready to provide necessary assistance in case of need.

Because in the open water, even if you are a confident swimmer, you are not 100% safe. In the case of dizziness or some bad feeling if you are on land – you can take care of yourself without any side assistance. However, in the water, where you cannot even stand, in case of a problem, you need someone to help you.

Besides, let’s be honest, it’s much more fun to snorkel with friends.

SAFETY RULE # 1 – When you are in the water, someone should be watching you.

The next aspect I would like to highlight is importance of to be visible in the sea.

When you swim, face down, fully focused on the beauty of the coral reef with your black snorkel next to your dark-haired head, how do you think the passing boats would know you are there?

Even if you are snorkeling in the area with a little boat traffic, there is still a chance for bad luck, when there will be the only one boat driving by and it potentially can hit you.

There is a very easy way you can protect yourself – be bright!

Bright neon color snorkel, bright red, yellow, or pink, whatever color except blue and black, rash guard or t-shirt will increase your chances to be spotted by a captain from far away!

Moreover, if you plan to snorkel in the area with heavy boat traffic, it is much better to have some kind of floating device. They are usually also bright red, yellow or orange.  Or, if you don’t have any, – then even your bright color dry bag filled with air and sealed can work well.

SAFETY RULE # 2 – be visible in the sea.

The 3d rule will be about your buoyancy in the water.

Someone after finishing scuba or freediving courses learned that weight belt is a helpful device for maintaining the buoyancy underwater. Well, yes, it is much easier to dive down with a few extra kilos around your waist. However, it is much more difficult to float on a surface with those extra kilos. In scuba you had a buoyancy jacket to compensate the weight on a surface, right? In freediving you have to be positively buoyant on a surface even after the passive exhale, don’t you? So leave the weight belt alone – you do not need it for snorkeling, as you don’t want to struggle with the negative buoyancy on the surface.

SAFETY RULE #3 – be positive on the surface

Further rules go mostly for advanced snorkelers as they deal about some freediving while snorkeling, but because it is a tiny step from beginner snorkeler to the advanced, no matter how good you are now, I would recommend you to finish this article.

No wonder that after a while during the snorkeling you want to have a closer look at some cute underwater habitats. You make a deep big breath on a surface and you dive.

Do you know what you might forget to do?

You might forget to remove the snorkel from your mouth before the dive. This is a typical mistake even for scuba professionals. Or maybe, it’s just because they feel more relaxed underwater with something in their mouths…who knows.

Why would you need to remove the snorkel before the dive if you can easily blow into it to clean after ascend?

  • you don’t want to waste time and energy for it
  • it might be potentially dangerous
  • There is a chance of inhaling water from the tube.

If you ever decide to take a freediving course, your instructor will explain to you in detail, why diving with a snorkel in the mouth could be dangerous.

Imagine yourself swimming up from your dive, you are already a bit out of breath, but still ok, you blow to clean your snorkel, and you fail to clean all the water from it, so you still have water in… and now you are totally out of breath. Doesn’t sound good, right?

SAFETY RULE #4 – always removes the snorkel before a dive

And the last rule – don’t exhale underwater.

If you have seen in the videos that some experienced freedivers exhale just before they break the surface – don’t repeat this. This is really the advanced technique and if you are not the same level of experience as someone diving to at least 80 meters, please, don’t repeat it.

Exhaling underwater has no benefits, but it can lead to unconsciousness or to damage of your lungs.

SAFETY RULE #5 – don’t exhale underwater

And before I finish I would like to make sure that when you start some freediving while you are snorkeling, you remember to equalize your ears.

Freediving equalization is quite a complicated thing. And some people need time to master it. When you take a freediving course a big part of the course is dedicated to this topic. But if for some reason you prefer to skip the freediving course, at least remember – you do not continue to descend if you have an uncomfortable feeling, or especially pain, in your ears or forehead or anywhere else. Diving with pain may cause eardrum rapture. It will heal after a while as our bodies are perfectly designed for self-renovations, still, you prefer not to damage yourself. Right? To learn more about equalization check our video about it.

By Svitlana Gaidai

Empty Lungs STA

Empty Lungs STA
Empty Lungs STA

Static Apnea (STA) usually the first thing any Freediver learns. Whether it happens on a freediving course (learn about Freediving course) or while lying in a bed.

STA is the easiest way to learn all the steps – relaxation breathing, relaxation during breath-hold, recovery breathing. You even don’t need that much equipment – mask if you do it in the water, or nothing if do it “dry”.

Sounds like a perfect combination, right?

STA also helps to gain confidence before moving to more advanced Freediving disciplines such as Dynamic Apnea (DYN) or even depth disciplines.

However, if your main goal is to get ready to dive in the ocean, then, there is a better option.

But first, a little bit of theory. When you dive in the Ocean, there is no such feeling as extreme fullness in the lungs (which you have when you do a full inhale before normal STA). During the descent, your lungs get compressed quite quickly, due to the increase of ambient pressure. As a result, the volume of any gas (including air in your lungs) will decrease accordingly.

How can we simulate it on land?

The answer – empty lungs STA. Start with relaxation breathing as usual, but before breath-hold, instead of full inhale, you do full exhale. After that do the same as with full lungs breath-hold – be as much relaxed as possible.

Since your goal is not absolute time, but rather relaxation (get comfortable with the feeling of “smaller” lungs) – you don’t need to push yourself (at least no need to do it often).

Just be relaxed before contractions start and during the first few.

I personally like to do empty lungs STA in the form of O2 table.

If you have never done such training before here is an example (this is how we do it for the first time with our Advanced Freediver students)

RELAXATION BREATHINGBREATH HOLD
2 MINUTES10 SECONDS
2 MINUTES20 SECONDS
2 MINUTES30 SECONDS
2 MINUTES40 SECONDS
2 MINUTES50 SECONDS

And keep in mind, if you are planning to do this training in the water, ALWAYS train with another Freediver, who knows how to do safety (video how to do Safety) and knows Rescue procedure (video how to do Rescue). 

Are STA CO2 tables waste of time?

There are many debates whether CO2 tables are useful or useless for Freedivers. And in a reality, as always, truth is somewhere in the middle.

We practicing CO2 tables, classical and modified on our Advanced Freediver and following courses.

 

 

First, what is a STA CO2 table.

Take 50% from your current maximum STA and repeat it 6-8 times, every time decreasing rest time. If you current max, let’s say 2 minutes, this is how classical CO2 table would look like for you

 

REST BREATH HOLD
2.00 1.00
1.45 1.00
1.30 1.00
1.15 1.00
1.00 1.00
0.45 1.00
0.30 1.00

 

Before you start doing this type of training or critique it, lets ask the main question – what is your goal in this kind of training? Have a longer breath hold?

Now let’s have a look what happens during this table.

First, a Freediver who do this table, practicing relaxation breathing. Seven times from 2.00 to 0.30 practicing important skill. Calm down your mind and relax your muscles. Don’t underestimate this skill

Next the Freediver trains how stay relax while holding your breath. And this is obviously crucial skill for all levels and especially for beginners. Don’t try to be tough and “handle” contractions, learn how to hold your breath longer without them!

Probably first 4-5 attempts going to be quite easy and you won’t experience any urge to breath symptoms – beautiful, coming out from your comfort zone in not your priority at this moment.

And might be on the last 1-2 the Freediver going to have 1 or 2 contractions. Don’t hold your breath longer. In addition to previous goals, for these two attempts we also train how to stay relax during these first couple of contractions

If you don’t have any – on the next training increase each breath holds by 5 seconds

My conclusion – if you are beginner or intermediate Freediver and trying to build a foundation – this classical STA CO2 table is a legit way of training!

 

But then why a lot of experienced Freedivers critique it? Because it is a waste of training time for THEM! They already mastered how to do relaxation breathing or how to stay relaxed and not to panic during first contractions. They passed this step. Now they have different goals

And yes, classical CO2 table is not the most effective way to train tolerance to a high level of CO2. But if your STA is less then 4 minutes, do you really need to train it? Or your priority to learn basics, which is relaxation, not suffering?

Don’t blindly copy the way how champions are train, when you a beginner!

 

Basic respiration control for Freedivers (part 1)

In the last couple of months, I noticed that even some Freediving professionals are not completely understanding how breathing control in humans happens. And be honest, while I was writing this article I found out that I was not 100 % correct as well.

Hopefully, this article helps you to understand better what exactly happens with your respiratory system when you hold your breath. And if you find any mistake here – feel free to correct me – I am still learning as well!

As any other Freediving school, we are teaching about breathing control on our Freediving courses, but here I tried to put a little bit more details.

To start with – we have two different types of chemoreceptors which are detecting chemical changes in our body and sending signals to our respiratory center within Pons and Medulla Oblongata (both located in the brainstem), from where impulses send to our external intercostal muscles and diaphragm, to change the volume and frequency of our breathing (or cause “urge to breath” if you are holding your breath).

We can divide these receptors into 2 categories

  1. Central chemoreceptors. Why “central”? Because these receptors are part of our central nervous system and literally part of our brain (located inside Pons and Medulla Oblongata). Since these receptors are not inside blood vessels, they are responding to high CO2/H+ not within the blood, but within cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which separated from the blood vessels by the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

chemo receptors

Let’s make an example. You hold your breath for a few minutes. Amount of CO2 increases in your blood, the amount of H+ also increase creating low pH (respiratory acidosis). H+ doesn’t diffuse through BBB, but CO2 does. This CO2 bonds with water inside CSF and produce H+, an increased amount of which is going to be detected by central chemoreceptors.

CO2+H20↔H2CO3↔HCO3+H+

Recently I learned that lactate has an impact on this process as well. Lactate, which is produced during anaerobic energy production, in a form of lactic acid, can go through BBB where it brakes down to lactate and H+, which eventually lead to the activation of central chemoreceptors.

Eventually, central receptors can desensitize and this is why we have the potential to become less sensitive to high H+ over some period of training with exposure to a high CO2 (whether it is a breath hold training or some form of HIIT).

  1. Peripheral chemoreceptors. They are not part of the central nervous system (instead, they are an extension of the peripheral nervous system) and located inside aorta (largest artery of the human body). More specifically – inside the aortic and carotid body. Interesting fact – here we have one of the highest blood flow in a human body.

regulation-of-respiration-14-728

Chemoreceptors inside aortic body sensitive to the change of partial pressure of CO2 and O2. If there is a change – they send the signal to Medulla Oblangata via Vagus nerve.

Chemoreceptors inside carotid body sensitive to change of partial pressure of CO2/O2 and change of pH (metabolic change, due to high lactate production for example). And if there is a significant change – send the signal to the respiratory center via Glossopharyngeal nerve.

The main function of peripheral chemoreceptors (glomus cells) is control of pO2 (in contrast with central chemoreceptors, where the main trigger is a change of pCO2/H+). As I said early, they also sensitive to the change of pCO2/H+ but secondary. It means that the sensitivity of these receptors to the low pO2 is greater when pCO2/H+ is high.

Activation of peripheral chemoreceptors are low when the partial pressure of O2 is close to the normal (100 mmHg), but when it is going below 60 mmHg the activity increases rapidly due to a decrease of hemoglobin-oxygen saturation.

Peripheral receptors are not desensitized over time.

Two common hypoxic ventilation responses (CO2/pH can stay at the normal level) – reaction to high altitude or high concentration of carbon monoxide in breathing air.

How all of this can be useful for us Freedivers? In the middle part of the breath hold, when your contractions start, it is a reaction to a high CO2/H+ sensed by central chemoreceptors. Peripheral chemoreceptors are not playing an important role at this moment since the partial pressure of O2 is close to normal. But close to the end of your MAX attempt, when pO2is going to be close to 60 mmHg and low, a reaction from them will contribute to your urge to breathe.

 

For further reading

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carotid_body
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aortic_body
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoxic_ventilatory_response
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monocarboxylate_transporter
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037729/?fbclid=IwAR3nDgh7ug_IEySb_VuPk18HxFp0umhjqZCXqr1oe8gf16W9so3MOBLPD04
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glomus_cell
  7. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn.2018.19?fbclid=IwAR1EWHxSNYGucR4TH4eWlvPWi60Snu4P8DKn4CDZYuJTZ-LcZiP51OZBZ_s
  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/16127919_Blood-Brain_Barrier_Permeability_to_Lactic_Acid_in_the_Newborn_Dog
  9. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn.2018.19?fbclid=IwAR1EWHxSNYGucR4TH4eWlvPWi60Snu4P8DKn4CDZYuJTZ-LcZiP51OZBZ_s
  10. https://study.com/academy/lesson/gas-exchange-diffusion-partial-pressure-gradients.html

Useful videos to watch

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWBhmrrSPUk&list=LLJQxema4h0Dgx345fC_Q5yA&index=14
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJXY3Cywrnc&index=18&list=LLJQxema4h0Dgx345fC_Q5yA&t=366s
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce3RrCl5nwQ&index=22&list=LLJQxema4h0Dgx345fC_Q5yA&t=0s
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W_u28pxxcw&list=LLJQxema4h0Dgx345fC_Q5yA&index=25&t=0s
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd3ICLDrO2Q&list=LLJQxema4h0Dgx345fC_Q5yA&index=28

 

How to prepare for a Freediving course. (Swimming)

As the Freediving Instructor I was asked many times – do you need to be a professional swimmer to become a Freediver? And the answer is no, you don’t to be a pro. But there are no doubts that swimming helps a lot in learning Freediving, especially in the beginning.

swimming
swimming for freediving

So, if you are planning to do a Freediving course (find more information about Freediving courses) in the near future and want to be better prepared for it here are a few things which I recommend you to do in the pool

  1. Swimming with a mask and snorkel. Any style – breaststroke or freestyle – doesn’t matter. Benefits – you get used to breathing from a snorkel (and clean it from water), becoming comfortable with a mask and not stressed out when there is a bit of water inside
  2. Swimming with fins, mask and snorkel. Face down, not too fast, not too slow. Same benefits as above, plus you are working on kicking (not bending knees too much, correct rhythm etc.)
  3. Swimming with fins on the back. Improving the kicking technique and body position control. Make sure that your knee not coming up above the surface.
  4. Swimming with fins on both sides. Further improving your kicking style and body position control. Keep your body as horizontal as possible.
  5. Alternating swimming on one side, with swimming on your back. General body control.
  6. Vertical kicking (if your pool is deep enough). This style is close to what you are going to do in the open water

These exercises not going to make you an incredible Freediver, but they will boost your confidence in the water and improve your kicking technique. Here is a short video about the importance of swimming for a beginner Freediver.

How to train DYN for beginner Freedivers

In one of the last post, we discussed how you can train static (in case if you missed it, read here). And what about dynamic?

If for static you can do dry static apnea, then for dynamic you obviously need a pool.

Normally you can learn DYN on any PADI Freediving courses, but if you haven’t done any dynamic on your course, might be this video can help.

DYN Freediving training
DYN Freediving training

When you do static apnea – it is complete relaxation. The same principle can be applied for DYN – relaxation is the key. But in dynamic obviously you couldn’t relax all your muscles (since you need to move forward), but you should relax all the muscles not involved in this movement (neck, shoulders, etc). And even muscles which involved in the movement should be relaxed at the moment when you finish the kick (gliding phase).

Hopefully, it doesn’t sound too complicated.

How often do you need to train DYN? I think 2-3 times per week is enough for beginner Freediver. How intense? Not intense at all! Progress will come naturally.

There are few things about your technique, you want to be focused on. Choose one of them for a session and work only on it (let’s say be focused on your shoulders relaxation

Freediving technique
Freediving technique

the whole session).

How do you know your mistakes? Ask your buddy to film you (GoPro does the excellent job)!

  • Head position (should be neutral)
  • Relaxation in the shoulder area (quite often too tense)
  • Buoyancy (the first thing which you have to fix!)
  • Kicking both directions
  • Start kicking from your hips
  • Not bending knees too much

And here a couple of examples of DYN training

  1. Main training – do short laps with 100% concentration on technique (mentioned above) and relaxation. If you current MAX less than 50-70 meters, do ONLY this training. Approximate distance 40-50% from your MAX. Amount of repetitions 5-10
  2. Easy classic CO2 training. Let’s say 25 meters with 30-60 seconds rest. 10 repetitions. A bit harder than the previous exercise.
  3. Over-under. Swim short distance (less than 40-50% MAX) underwater and without rest, swim same distance on the surface. Repeat 5-10 times. Can make it a bit harder if decrease surface distance.

Sorry to repeat one more time – focus on the technique and relaxation.

Do it for a month and then can try to increase your PB by 5-10 meters.

All the training should be done ONLY with another Freediver!!

How to prepare for a Freediving course

GH010152_Moment2121

Quite often future students ask, how they can prepare for freediving course, which they would like to start in a couple of weeks (or even months).

Of course, if you just heard that freediving exists and you want to try it immediately – just sign up for a course. During the course, the instructor will explain everything you need to know and help you to do all the requirements.

Check out which requirements you need to pass to become a PADI Freediver

But some people always prefer to be one step ahead and well prepared before they start something.

MVI_1849_Moment09For them, number 1 recommendation – spend some time in advance training your swimming skills. Yes, we have fitness requirements in PADI freediving course. But no worries, it is just basic swimming (200 meters without fins or 300 with fins) and can be performed in any style (also without time limit). If you know, that you cannot meet this requirement, then it is 100% better to train swimming skills before. In some organizations, though there are no requirements for swimming at all. Which seems extremely strange.

But even if you know that you are pretty good at swimming, it would be better if you go to the local pool, or even better the sea, to practice. Because more time future freedivers spend in water before the course, the more confidence they gain. Thus in such simple cases as leaking mask or water coming into snorkel students feel less stress. The whole course will be more smooth and you may feel more relaxed if such small details will not disturb you. So the 1st thing you can do before freediving course – remove stress by regular swimming (with fins even better).

The next thing which we recommend to work on is  Frenzel equalization. If you tried scuba or freediving before, you know how and why to equalize. If you are looking for some explanation on how to work on equalization, check this youtube video. Besides, let me know in comments if you have some questions about it.

Indeed equalization in freediving is probably the key point. Even scuba instructors sometimes are facing challenges with Frenzel equalization, because diving head first in vertical position differs a lot from diving feet first. In this concern, it would be useful to spend some time practicing it in advance.

MVI_0481_MomentWhat else can be done if you have a few months ahead before the freediving course? You can do some stretching exercises. Stretching is beneficial for freediving, however, it is easy to pass the 1st level without any stretching at all. But if you are going to do advanced or master course, stretching will be super valuable and will help to make the course much safer and enjoyable.

The 4th thing on which it is better to focus is relaxation breathing. There are plenty ofMVI_0500_Moment mald breathing technics for different purposes. You need to focus on relaxation breathing for freediving (here is the link on basic relaxation breathing routine).

Also, so many people ask what they can read before starting freediving. My answer is always the same – just read a freediving manual. I don’t know about other organizations but in PADI we can provide students with the freediving manual in advance, where you can find theoretical aspects and practical advice.

I hope this information was useful.

And if you have further questions, or maybe, want me to cover some precise topics in next articles – feel free to let me know in comments.

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