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4 Techniques to Improve Your Breathhold for Freediving: Dry Apnea Training 101

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

At Deep Sensations Freediving, we recognize the magic of the deep blue and the yearning to linger a bit longer, soaking in its beauty.

The cornerstone to achieving this? Perfecting your breath. Just like jumping back into a cardio regimen after some time off, refining apnea through breathing exercises requires dedication. However, with unwavering commitment, the results can be transformative.

Breathing exercises serve as the foundation of apnea training. They not only amplify your lung capacity and efficiency but also help you achieve a state of relaxation essential for longer breath-holds. Let’s embark on a deep dive into breathing exercises optimized for freediving.

1. Diaphragmatic and Compartmentalized Breathing:

What: This technique emphasizes activating different parts of the lungs, ensuring a complete and comprehensive breath.


  • Diaphragm: Focus on the diaphragm by inhaling deeply through the nose, letting the abdomen expand. Exhale through the mouth, ensuring your abdomen contracts.

  • Intercostal Muscles: Engage these muscles by expanding and contracting the ribcage without elevating the chest.

  • Chest: With the abdomen and intercostal muscles kept still, inflate only the upper chest. This is the final and smallest part of the compartmentalized breath.

Practicing this three-part breathing ensures that you utilize the maximum volume of your lungs. By compartmentalizing, you can enhance the depth and control of your breath, a pivotal skill in freediving.

2. Box Breathing:

What: A technique to instill relaxation and control.

How: Inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, then pause without breath for another 4 counts. As you advance, you can increase the duration, but ensure all sides of the 'box' remain equal.

3. Pranayama:

What: An ancient yoga breathing technique that enriches oxygen saturation and ushers in a serene state of mind.

How: 'Anulom Vilom' or alternate nostril breathing is a popular method. Close the right nostril, inhale deeply through the left, close the left nostril, release the right, and exhale. Inhale through the right, close it, release the left, and exhale. This completes one cycle.

4. CO₂ and O₂

Training Tables:

What: Structured breath-hold practices that augment your tolerance for increasing CO₂ and dwindling O₂ levels.

How: CO₂ tables maintain a consistent breath-hold duration while minimizing the recovery breaths. With O₂ tables, the breath-hold duration progressively grows while keeping the recovery breaths consistent.

Initiating these exercises can feel akin to restarting cardio: challenging, and occasionally, a bit discouraging. But, akin to marathon training, freediving demands patience and persistence.

Regular practice doesn't only augment breath-hold durations but also attunes you to your body’s rhythm, reduces stress, and enhances mindfulness. It's a holistic approach to self-improvement.

By integrating these exercises into your daily routine, they won’t just prepare you for a dive but enhance everyday experiences, from sharper focus to better stress resilience. Whether you’re a novice setting out on your freediving journey or a seasoned diver seeking new depths, remember: each practiced breath on land can lead to a profound, enriching experience underwater.

Stay relentless, embrace the journey, and soon, you'll witness the transformative potential of breath in the world of freediving. Dive deep, breathe deeper!

Happy Freediving!


Did you know that we are Wollongong's top rated freediving school?

There is a simple reason for this, freediving for us is passion first, business second, and this shines through in everything we do.

We put a lot of time and energy into helping people add depth to their life, through freediving and experiencing deeper sensations and more connected experiences.

Jervis Bay



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