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


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!