The following second part covers how I actually broke down learning Freediving in one month. How I trained, How I went from a total beginner with zero dive experience, scared of putting my head underwater and with a laughable personal best breath hold of 45 seconds to a 3 minutes and 30 seconds breath hold in just 3 weeks and how you can achieve even more in one month.
1. 3 Day Freedive Course
2. Why not learn freediving on your own?
3. 3 week beginner training / daily training routine
3.1 Daily Training part 1
3.2 Daily Training part 2
3.3 Daily Training part 3
If you haven’t read the first part of the article yet, I encourage you to read it first here. It covers why I chose to learn Freediving, why it is often mis understood, the six huge benefits of learning this sport and in which way it faces the Other Side. But back to topic
3 Day Freedive Course – Getting the Basics:
For this one month challenge I actually only had 3 full weeks, so in one month you can definitely get even further. However, to achieve this in 3 weeks I used my Master of Love and Life Success system, which is described in detail in this post. One of the most important factors to learning something new is always to find someone who has done what you aim for and asking him/her for advice on how to do the same or even better to learn from that person. So I searched for a teacher and coupled with my intuition, I stumbled upon Ben. A passionate and very skilled free diving instructor in Maui (Hawaii). Since 20 years he dives almost every day, with a personal best of over 100m (300ft.) and with an astonishing static breath hold of more than 7 minutes. I enrolled in a three day course with him and from there everything started. (This is his website)
In these three days, I learned that Freediving consists basically of four Elements: 1. Breathholding, 2.Equalization , 3. Safety and 4. Swimming technique. After a general introduction we received an in depth explanation about safety i.e. The number one rule: To never dive alone! Ben then stressed the importance of relaxation. So the the first part of the training didn’t even take place in the water but on land. We
learned how to really inhale completely and how to exhale fully. It sounds stupid but just with the right technique I instantly increased my breath hold from 45 seconds to 1:15 on the first day. We’ve also got introduced to purge and ventilation breathing and how to implement that before doing a dive to lower your heartrate and to relax more. Moreover, we learned how to properly equalize with the Frenzel technique and how to do hook breaths and give the “ok” signal once we’re back at the surface. During these 3 days Ben also taught us Yoga postures and maxinhale stretching which helps to open up your body and in particular the body parts that are stressed while diving.
Our 3 day course took place at a shipswreck. Every day we started with Yoga, stretching and a theory session in the morning and then directly went in the water. We kayaked to the dive spot and Ben tied a rope at the ground next to the ships wreck. I got the chance to use everything I just theoretically learned. We used the free immersion discipline, in which you pull yourself down a rope. This is especially good for beginners because the energy you use is minimal and it allows you to solely focus on equalizing without worrying about swimming technique etc. On the 3rd day I made it down to around 40 feet (12 meters) which made me extremely proud. Overall the course was super rich and equipped me with a solid frediving foundation to build upon.
Why not learn freediving on your own?
When I first thought about learning freediving, I was thinking to do some self learning/training. To maybe already increase my breath hold a bit and to already do some little dives and after that to get a teacher when I am more advanced. After this month I can only suggest: Don’t do it! Get a skilled teacher like Ben first, attend a beginner course, and get all the basics right. And from there you have anyways so much to work on but you now have a solid understanding of what you’re doing. I am also a person who likes to watch youtube tutorials and do his own research, but believe me its not worth it in the beginning and your breath/life is nothing you want to fool around with. After this challenge I can say these 3 days gave me the foundation to build upon, it probably catapulted me weeks ahead if I would’ve tried this solely by my own plus I learned the basic safety.
When I returned from the 3 day course, I had so much to work on. Equalizing worked quite well for me but my breath hold, flexibility and fitness needed improvement. So together with expert knowledge I made a 3 weeks training plan consisting of three parts.
Part 1 & 2 focus on preparing the body & mind and Part 3 is the actual training. However each part is equally important. This is how my daily 3 parts training routine looked like:
Part 1 – Preparing the Body
In part one we want to prepare our body. We use yoga and stretching to create more room for our breath and also to make the body more flexible for the huge water pressure during deep dives.
6x Uddiyana Bandha (3x lying and 3x on your knees) Standing position is not recommended as this practice can make you lightheaded, also only practice on empty stomach) Here is a good step by step guide.
6x Maxinhale Stretches (Get in a kneeling position, do a few purge breaths, then maxinhale, stretch gently i.e arms behind your back, side bends, lean forward etc. Make sure to only stretch gently as you hold your breath. A lot about Yoga is to breath into the postures, but because you can’t do this the risk of injuries is way higher on max inhale so we want to be very gentle.) Exhale and continue with next maxinhale stretch.
Part 2 – Preparing the Mind
After we prepared our body, we want to prepare our mind. The goal is to set our focus and intentions right, to calm down, to clear our mind and get ready for the actual training. Breathhold training can be really tedious and unpleasant and usually it is nothing you look really forward to. Therefore, I used positive affirmations to get myself in a good, conquering mood. With the help of meditation followed by ventilation Breathing we then lower our heart rate to get into the state of doing the actual training.
5 minutes of positive affirmations. Write down 5-10 sentences on how you are going to succeed. Then voice these sentences directed to yourself preferably in front of a mirror. Sounds silly I know, but this works and is super powerful! Example sentences: “I am relaxed and ready for the training. I will get better everyday! I see my great big goal clearly in front of me and I know that I will achieve it. At the end of the month I will reach a breath hold of xx minutes xx seconds.”
10 – 30 Minutes Meditation. Simply meditate to get grounded and to calm down. If you don’t know how, guided meditations are a good way to get started.
2 – 5 Minutes ventilation Breathing. We finish part 2 with Ventilation Breathing. It helps us to reduce our heartrate further. Here’s how it works:
1. Inhale deeply
2. Hold your breath for a count of 2
3. Release your breath from your mouth for a count of 10 (or more)
4. Hold your breath for a count of 2
6. Repeat from the Beginning
Part 3 – The actual Training
During my 3 weeks I used four different training techniques. CO2 tables, O2 tables, Apnoe walks and FRC Training. I used the following Guide which you should read before you continue to base my training on and added useful extensions to it. You should do the same. It’s a super good step by step Guide.
During the first 1 1/2 weeks I focused solely on CO2 tables in Part 3 of my training. This makes sense because our urge to breath is not caused by the lack of O2, but by a buildup of CO2 in our bodies. So the focus was to increase the CO2 tolerance in my body.
If you don’t know what I am talking about see Guide or read more here…
The second 1 1/2 weeks I switched in part 3 to O2 tables. Note: Never mix C02 and O2 tables in one day!
If you don’t know what I am talking about see Guide or read more here…
In between I did Apnoe walks, because static breath holds are great, especially for your confidence, but you don’t move. Apnoe walks come closest to a real dive experience. (See Video in Guide)
One thing I added to my training on top of the suggested Guide in the link is FRC Couch Training by 33 times world record holder Herbert Nitsch. In the following picture you see how it works. I did it on top of my O2 tables every day in the last week and it really helped me although it is quite intense. Note: This is an addition to the Guide in the Link and it may be too much for some of you. This is a very individual matter and depends on your own Fitness, age, health, etc. Always make sure you’re listening to your own bodies needs. I wanted to get the most out of the three weeks thats why I added it.
With this holistic training method I went from 45 seconds to a 3 minute 30 breath hold in 3 weeks. You can achieve up to 5 minutes in one month! Just be aware that listening to your body is what freediving and your training is all about. I did 90% of the training static on land. If you plan to do it in the water, only train with a buddy and lastly never dive alone!
I hope this is helps you. Take care and enjoy this wonderful sport on your journey of mastering your Breathe.
Your Student of love and life