Tag Archives: Top 10

Top 10: How to swim further with dynamic freediving

[gravatar size=18 align=absmiddle email=sanne.buurma@gmail.com] This is a post by [the_author_posts_link].

Other posts fmo the ‘Top 10’-series: Top 10: How To Hold Your Breath Longer.

1. Always use a buddy!
Especially important if you try to hold your breath in the water! Better yet; follow a freediving course that will teach you and a friend how to look out for each other during dynamic freediving attempts. Dynamic freediving is particularly differnt to static breath holds as it’s harder to spot when your body goes into preserve mode. Do not try to improve too much when you reach a distance, go gradually and be at peace with the somewhat slower progression.

2. Preparation

Peter Wurschy (Team Apnea Amsterdam) preparing
Peter Wurschy (Team Apnea Amsterdam) preparing

Of course it is important to pay attention to your breath up before you start, but also pay attention to visualize the way you’re supposed to depart. Visualize and repeat, whilst breathing up for your performance. This is a way of creating the mind-muscle-connection to control the outcome of your departure more. Visualizing aids in staying alert and aware on how to do a good start.

3. Departure/start
There are different ways to depart and they all have their pro’s and con’s, so just choose one you can perform in an efficient way and stick with it. As you’ve been visualizing the departure, you will not have so much trouble getting the chosen departure procedure right. Be keen on the execution and it’ll improve and be more auto-piloted as you progress in your training.

4. Consistent amplitude/stroke rhythm
This could have easily been called the relaxation part, which is achieved through a stroke rhythm you feel comfortable with. This differs very much from freediver to freediver. Be sure to find out what your best rhythm and speed is. This will give you a consistent amplitude while you’re performing your dynamic freedive.

5. Aligning
img_4188Another very important subject is aligning, which is also dependent  of your body composure, plus the type of freediver you are. Go out to the pool with a set of (borrowed) weights and have a buddy spot you’re kick-off from the wall. Try and glide as far as you can and see if you either ascend or descend.  Once you’ve got that first stage covered it’s time to fine tune for the rest of the alignment, by actually doing your dynamic performance and see if your legs keep descending or ascending, this might indicate the location of the weight chosen in the first step is a bit off. It’s not easy finding the right alignment, but once you do it will be a good help. Use a camera to record your alignment and see for yourself what you should alter to get it right. Check out more extensive information about step 5 and 6 in this post.

6. Balance
In the previous step you’ve seen how hard it is to find the proper alignment. When you get this wrong it will effect the balance  and stability of your performance. Try and make an equal stroke with your legs, have a buddy spot underwater when you’re swimming away from him. This way he can spot if you make a scissor like movement with your legs, which in turn can lead to an unbalanced movement.  Again use a camera to record your balance and see for yourself what you should alter to get it right. Check out more extensive information about step 5 and 6 in this post.

7. Technique
Your air efficiency will increase as your technique improves. You should optimize the technique versus the comfortable. As being strained too much to get your technique right will not improve the efficiency. Learn to pay attention to your technique overtime and the strain will decrease and technique and efficiency will improve. Using the proper technique and looking into it on underwater camera footage will help you gain the additional efficiency that you need to tweak your distance even further.

8. Turning
Turning can be done in different ways, choosing the one you can perform perfectly will help you gain distance. Also visualize that you’re about to turn and repeat the steps, before you hit the wall. Make the turn and get back into your consistent kicking technique in a controlled manner. Technique for the turn proves very important, if you leave little room for failure the efficiency will be optimal. So stick with the turn you think is best (and is also allowed by the rules) and maximize your performance by mastering it.

9. Re-surfacing
DYN_Watch_those_handsPlanning the way you resurface by training it every training, helps you when you’re in a competition. The movement will be automatically like you have it on auto-pilot and the room for error has just gone down again. This leaves you with the concentration you need for your recuperation. The technique for resurfacing can differ to your own liking and might differ from pool to pool as the sides of pool tend to vary a lot. If there is a side where you can rest your arm on, then plan to get your elbow over the edge as you resurface and remember to not touch the wall as you’re about to resurface.

10. Recuperation
Knowing how to recuperate will teach you how to control longer dive times. Making a habit out of the recovery and repeating it with every freedive you do, will hard-code it into your system. If you’re having a performance with some extra factors to pay attention to, you’ll notice that the recuperation will start to go on auto-pilot, which in place let’s you focus more on the extra factors. In this case there are different methods to a good and steady recovery, find a technique that suits your needs and stick with it.

Check out this small video from a performance in the Coupe des Dauphins for a good example how you can use the side of the pool to rest your arms and do a steady recovery:


Things for myself to improve in this video are the balance, alignment and turning technique. As an extra note to myself, do not look for your end goal!

Top 10: How To Hold Your Breath Longer

1. Always use a buddy!

Especially important if you try to hold your breath in the water! Better yet; follow a freediving course that will teach you and a friend how to look out for each other during breath hold attempts. But at the minimum let your buddy check you every 15 seconds or so by tapping on your shoulder. You can then give him an okay sign, and if your buddy sees an okay sign then it’s time for some rescue techniques. Even when you’re doing a breath hold on land, it’s wise to have a buddy. Best position is sitting on a nice sofa, so that if you pass out you don’t fall on the ground. Lying on the bed is not wise, as it’s possible, if you’re in bad luck to swallow your tongue. So, never ever try it alone and if possible educate yourself by following a course. That being said…

2. Relax

If you want to hold your breath for a long time it’s best to relax your body and mind before trying. So first of all take your time for this and don’t try it between lunch and coffee. Just sit down on your knees in the water or sitting down relaxed on the sofa. Take your time just sitting there, calming your body and mind. And after a few minutes it’s time to…

3. Breath!

Do 2 minutes of breathing with a 5 second interval breathing in, and a 5 second interval breathing out. Just do it slowly and find a nice rhythm. Make sure that after inhale you will fully…

4. Exhale

Remember, exhaling is so much more important than inhaling. Just push in your belly to push out every bit of air out of your lungs, so when you inhale you have the maximum amount of fresh air in your lungs. Remember, used air has to get out, fresh air has to go in. After those 2 minutes of breathing just take a nice full…

5. Inhale

The trick, especially for beginners, is not to fully inhale so that you have blown cheeks and are ready to pop. It’s important that you only breath in for 80-85 percent of your maximum. This way you can still be relaxed during the breath hold itself. Just try it! Breath in as much as you can and feel how tense you are. Breath in only for 80 percent of your maximum and you can still relax. After your last inhale you only have to…

6. Hold Your Breath

That’s the easy part, just hold it. Close your mouth and if your in the water let yourself float. After this just…

7. Relax

Probably one of the most important things. You have to relax your body as much as possible. This way your heartbeat will go down as well, also one of the reasons why you shouldn’t inhale to your maximum. If your in the water, just float on top of the water, and don’t use any weights to put yourself on the bottom. Floating at the surface with your face down is an excellent way of relaxing. If you’re in the water on the sofa, just try to relax your complete body. Start with your toes and work you way upwards. Try to relax everything, from legs to your fingers. One of the most common problems is the inability to relax your neck and shoulders. And last but not least, try to relax your mouth and your tongue, so that you don’t have a forced breath hold. Keep a continues feel to your body if you’re relaxed and remember to…

8. Concentrate

You’re lying or sitting there while holding your breath. If you want to make sure that it is a short time then start counting in your head or looking at your stopwatch! Don’t do such a thing, you main goal is to forget time! Remember that when you’re doing something pleasant times go by very fast, and if you’re doing something awful time goes by so slowly… So don’t look at your watch, it’s time to have nice thoughts going on in your head and try not to think about the fact that you’re holding your breath. Guys, just don’t think about all those great bed stories, because then the blood goes to the wrong place and your heartbeat goes up. Try to think of something calming. Nice vacation, a good experience, some music, etc. Be creative with this. And when you can’t relax or concentrate yourself anymore it’s time to…

9. Distract

At one point while your hold your breath, relaxation is over and you can’t think about anything else then the fact that you have to breath and why oh why you’re doing this. Then it’s time to distract yourself. Use a small physical movement to distract. So don’t start swimming around, or walking around, just slowly move your fingers together and make small figures with them, touch each finger with the opposite finger, just play around. This way time passes by like crazy and makes you forget about the horrible pains your enduring. It’s fun to hold your breath, or so they say. And when you can’t hold your breath anymore, just hold a little longer and then…

10. Recover!

Before you start cheering about your new record, first you need to recover. You’ve hold your breath for a long time, so first things first; get all the used air out of your system by blowing out a little bit of air (20%) and then quickly fill it again to maximum. This makes sure that you give oxygen to the most critical parts again fast! After that you can exhale completely and for at least three times make a complete deep breathing cycle. Then you look at your watch and you can cheer about your time!

Remember, there a literally hundreds of methods to increase your time, but the most important part is that you’re safe! So always obey rule number 1 and never train alone. If you got some additional questions you can leave them in the comments.