Updated: Aug 12, 2022
One of the greatest things about freediving is that you don’t actually need to be by the ocean to improve your breath hold. I spent a huge chunk of my time learning to freedive and trying to get better when I didn’t have access to the ocean. By implementing the following into your routine you will know exactly how to improve your freediving from home.
Taking Care of The Mind
Although freediving is obviously a very physical activity, the mental aspect is almost just as important, if not more! Holding your breath is more mental than it is physical. There are great ways to keep your body in the best shape for freediving but having a strong and peaceful mind will make some of biggest differences in how long you can hold your breath.
Meditation is a wonderful way to quiet the mind and practice focusing on something other than whatever issues you are facing physically. I find that freediving is a meditation for me in some ways. It allows me to escape the outside world and enjoy the quiet of the ocean. However, if you are practicing your breath hold away from the water, it is not as easy to ignore the urges to breathe. Practicing meditation is a wonderful way to train your mind to focus on and/or ignore what you want and ultimately improve your freediving from home.
Visualization can be a useful tool for you to use both when training on land and while in the water. Using your imagination to paint a picture in your mind will help to distract you from the urge to breath. If I am trying to distract my mind I will start by painting my favorite place in my mind. AKA go to your “happy place”. This can be a physical place or good memory. Visiting your happy place is supposed to help you forget about time. I recommend trying to visualize in as much detail as possible. If you are at the beach start broad and then slowly start adding every detail, even down to the grains of sand.
You can also use visualization to imagine your perfect dive scenario. I personally dive more for exploration and personal enjoyment but this technique can be great for those working on more competitive disciplines of diving. When I was a competitive swimmer I would often use this method of visualization to “practice” my perfect race before actually arriving at the meet. The goal would be to see exactly how I wanted the race to go in my mind and finish the race as close to my goal time as possible. By using this same technique for freediving you can train your mind to manifest your perfect scenario dive.
Taking Care of The Body
It is impossible to ignore the mental aspect of holding your breath, but there are ways to keep your body prepared for the physical pressures of freediving. While anyone can freedive, maintaining a certain level of fitness can definitely aid in improving your freediving technique and stamina.
Freediving requires you to be in tune with your body and understand how it responds to certain pressures. Since every body is different and every person may experience the side effects of holding your breath differently you need to spend some time getting to know yourself. Stretching is not only great from keeping your muscles relaxed and healthy, it also allows you to connect with how your body and muscles respond to stress.
Stretching also has a ton of benefits for freedivers. On a very basic level, stretching helps your muscles become relaxed. This means they will consume less oxygen, be less likely to cramp, and allow you to move efficiently through the water when the time comes. When it comes to more advanced techniques, stretching can aid in easier equalization at depth and prevention of injuries associated with tight muscles.
Having a healthy heart is imperative to freediving. The more efficient your heart is at pumping blood, the better it will be at distributing little amounts of oxygen around the body.
To get extra in depth, cardio leads to greater blood volume which allows for more red blood cells and myoglobin. Increased levels of these components will allow you to store more oxygen in your blood and therefore increase your breath hold. Increased red blood cells can also allow for carbon dioxide tolerance which will cause you to experience contractions later on. Cardio is also great at decreasing the amount of muscle fatigue you may experience when diving.
Hold Your Breath
If you want to improve your breath hold from home the best way to do so is to simply practice holding your breath. Having a good mental state and physical fitness will help you improve your ability to hold your breath but practicing will ultimately make one of the biggest differences.
CO2 and O2 Tables
CO2 and O2 Tables are designed to help you train your breath hold in two different ways. These tables are great ways to improve your freediving from home because you can practice these breath hold series from almost anywhere. CO2 and O2 Tables are designed to help you push and condition your body for holding your breath.
The CO2 table helps you to become more tolerant of high carbon dioxide levels in the body. This is the perfect table for you if you’re wanting to work on delaying your contractions.
The O2 table helps you to increase the length of your breath hold. This table is a great way to slowly increase your maximum breath hold.
Practice Makes Perfect
Ultimately, practicing your breath hold is probably the best way to improve from home. You can hold your breath while washing dishes, vacuuming, scrolling through social media, or watching tv. Practicing your breath hold on land is probably the safest way to practice. Take advantage of being home and continue to improve.
***Please always dive with a buddy for any in water training.***