Tag Archives: Exercise

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.

Balancing & Alignment for DNF

Last night I was out for training in the Tongelreep and Kostas was also training with me. Along the way of explaining the prerequisites for a DNF freedive to Kostas, I hit the topic of checking out balance and alignment under water. I had been analyzing the balance of YugYug in earlier training sessions and Jorg had been spotting mine a long time ago. It reminded me that if you want to have a good alignment for your DNF freedive you’ll have to test certain things before you can find your perfect alignment.



Balance and alignment all originate from the buoyancy you have whilst freediving at a certain depth, with a certain are intake. To find your balance and alignment underwater the altitude and air intake are the parameters you can play with.

The buoyancy is a very important part, if you don’t want to become a jig-saw DNF swimmer that is. A jig-saw DNF originates by the fact your buoyancy is positive or negative, which will make you ascend or descend. A normal respond to this is to help yourself is by swimming down or up when you make the arm-stroke. But again you’ll ascend or descend and this will lead to the jig-saw movement when you look at it from the side.

To counter-act this behavior you must play around with the altitude and air intake, to find a point where you’re neutral or slightly buoyant. A great exercise for this is to push-off from the wall and see how far you can float, whilst doing so you can check if you ascend, descend or remain neutral.  Before even making any neck-weights, you want to see if you can vary any of the parameters to help you find the buoyancy you need.

altimeterIf you’re in the position where you normally would swim at 1,5m depth, but the pool itself is 3m deep. Try and drop down to 3 meters deep and prepare for a push off from the wall at that depth. Once you made the push-off, just let yourself glide until you are completely stopped. If varying the depth isn’t helping you to stay at 3 meters deep, you’ll have to change the air intake.

Air intake
what_is_freediving_2This relates to how much air you take in before starting your DNF freedive. As a lower air intake will result in less buoyany, try and do a DNF freedive at 3m’s deep with a neutral air intake. If you still float up, try with a smaller ammount of air intake, but most definately you’ll find that a neutral air intake should already be pretty close to finding your neutral buoyancy.

Varying with both of these parameters will result in a perfect way to find out, how a good balanced DNF should feel like. When you know how it should feel, the freedive itself will feel totally different. You no longer have to swim down or up, so now you can fine-tune your DNF freedive by paying attention to other aspects i.e.  streamlining.  In the end variation with the altitude and air intake will help you in making the neck-weight, waist-weight, etc. to suit your needs. Every freediver has a different body composure, thus a different setup is required as well.

Most importantly to all of the information described is a good spotter, with preferably an underwater camera to aid in your goal of finding a good balance and alignment.

Good luck on finding your balance and alignment and if you have some other tips or remarks, be sure to comment about them.

DNF Pyramid Schedule

20080622_CNF_Clinic_Trubridge_39.jpgLast night I went out to the tongelreep with a tweaked Pyramid schedule for DNF training. It’s a shortend version of the one William Trubridge tought in his CNF course. Not the whole schedule, but half-way into his schedule. The complete schedule featured a build up phase to a certain plane and after that it would gradually go back to the start of the schedule.

Freediving 25 meters of DNF I take about 24-25 secondes, on which the following schedule is based.

  • 6 x 25 meter starting every 1 minute 10 seconds
  • 6 x 25 meter starting every 1 minute
  • 6 x 25 meter starting every 50 seconds
  • 4 x 25 meter starting every 45 seconds

Totalling 550 meter in 21 minutes and 550 seconds immersed.

This is a very good schedule to start with. During the following weeks I’ll be adjusting it to a level William Trubridge made me do in his course.

dnf1.jpgThe 25 meter pool in the Tongelreep is perfectly in distance, but the pool depth is 5 meters. This makes it all a little harder as you really have to worry about your altitude in the water. On the other hand, what better training circumstance could I have for improving my awareness of altitude.