Dynamic Exercise: Crawl without Breath

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We’ve had this exercise for quite a while now and I’ll take this opportunity to further explain the crawl without breath exercise, as it’s an exercise which really helps in building endurance levels and also builds confidence for doing dynamic performances.

It’s an idea that we came up with about a year ago when we were in the project 13 schedule, where I had to be able to train on by myself due to circumstances where Jorg would not be able to make it to the pool. The idea is simple, just do a normal crawl like the swimmer do at the surface, but then without breath and we mix it up into a build-up-, exhale- and an endurance schedule.

Build-up schedule (interval)
At first we were unfamiliar with how much and how far we should be alternating the not breathing part in the crawling at the surface. This is how the build-up schedule first originates, we would set out a schedule of 500 meters. Were I would try to do 100 meters of breathing every 6 strokes, where we count a stroke as after both arms had made a full motion. The second 100 meters I’d up it to breathing only every 10 strokes and so on. I gradually got to a point where  I would almost do full lanes of crawl without breath. Although rest times in between the almost full lanes (50m) had to be somewhat longer than at the start of the schedule.

Example schedule:

  1. 2 x 50 meter: breath every 3 strokes
  2. 2 x 50 meter: breath every 5 strokes
  3. 2 x 50 meter: breath every 7 strokes
  4. 2 x 50 meter: breath every 9 strokes
  5. 2 x 50 meter: breath every 11 strokes

Exhale schedule (slowly exhaling)
To mix things up with the static O2 tables, the next step we tested as part of a good training would be a O2 training. Getting rid of the CO2 building up during the lane by slowly exhaling the air within a set amount of arm-strokes.

Example schedule:

  1. 2 x 50 meter: 5 exhales
  2. 2 x 50 meter: 4 exhales
  3. 2 x 50 meter: 3 exhales
  4. 2 x 50 meter: 2 exhales
  5. 2 x 50 meter: 1 exhale
  6. 1 x 50 meter: 0 exhaling

Endurance schedule
This came into play when Jorg got curious into how it would work out if I’d just do a full lane without breath, as we had been upping it since the Build-up schedule, this was a thought we’d both been playing with and this actually would be the next schedule we’d go by, focussed on endurance.

Example schedule:

  1. 2 x 50 meter: 2 minute rest time
  2. 2 x 50 meter: 1 minute 30 seconds rest time
  3. 2 x 50 meter: 1 minute 15 seconds rest time
  4. 2 x 50 meter: 1 minute rest time
  5. 2 x 50 meter: 45 seconds rest time

Maximum attempts
200706_Project13_TrainingAs we were progressing pretty good with this exercise and it was really fun to do as well, Jorg added the mental factor again by letting me push my limits into trying a maximum performance with crawl’s without breath. To be honest at the time it was not really a success for my mental state, but doing a maximum performance of almost 75 meters in crawl was enough to prove it’s a serious exercise.

2 thoughts on “Dynamic Exercise: Crawl without Breath”

  1. It’s a really good exercise and way of training. I tried it last year and the results weren’t long in coming. I believe that Natalia Molchanova has written an article on that kind of training.

    Sanne, do you have a buddy to spot you? Cause I’ve done the exercise in a pool where apnea/underwater swimming is strictly forbidden (but who counts your breaths when you swim freestyle 🙂 ), but I didn’t push hard. Otherwise I would try a 75m apnea crawl on the surface – it’s a new exercise/stress to my body.

  2. I used to have Jorg spot me in the beginning of these shedules, which was around april 2007. I continued to do these schedules on my own, with the knowledge of my body’s capablilities. If I felt that a certain 50m was hard, I’d increase the rest time to be on the safe side for the next run. But usually with the time-related tables Jorg was around to spot me.

    Seriously are people really watching how many times you breathe with crawl? Luckily I’ve been able to train in the fast swimmers lane, where I’d stay undetected. Only a few people were really noticing, why I was catching my breath once and a while ;).

    But I do understand that safety goes above all and I never pushed myself with these exercises, without someone spotting me.

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