Breath hold training technique: Freediving / Spearfishing
I. Breathing: A solid breathing technique should be slow and focused. Fast breathing causes a rise in heart rate(Therefore avoid hyper-ventilating). The “best” method is by rolling the stomach for your exhale. Scrunch your stomach in with emphasis on your diaphragm. Then, for the inhale, start your breath by first filling your diaphragm, then chest, then throat. This is a great technique to practice outside of the pool.
II. Approach: A good approach to a dive should consist of a preparation phase. You should feel relaxed in all aspects. This is primarily focused on relaxation of the body(muscles), mind, and lastly, your breathing.
III. The final breath: A consistent method to “the final breath” is to do 3 big breaths, but focus on the exhale. These three breaths should focus on a 50%, 75%, then 100% inhale, with a preceding 100% exhale each time. These 3 breaths should be focused on the diaphragm not the chest, and remember the Breathing technique outlined at the beginning of this article.
IV. The Hold: Note that the body begins its diaphragm contractions due to buildup of carbon dioxide, not lack of oxygen. Focus on staying relaxed, and minimizing movements. Confidence is key here. Do not focus on the hold or the time you are under water. Focus on fighting the urge to breathe; the time does not matter. Relax your heart rate above all, and control contractions. The actual length of your time underwater is negligible. The main focus should be on your resistance to contractions in the diaphragm.
V. Basic training splits: A basic training split should be divided between static training, static apnea training, and non-static apnea training, the latter being the primary focus for spearfishermen since a significant amount of exercise and increase in heart rate is important. Each is best trained 3 times per week. Static training can be done anywhere, and is 10-20% more difficult than static apnea training(due to lack of mammalian dive reflex), and is great for simply increasing breath hold time. Static apnea training is great for learning to stay calm when submerged in water. Non-static apnea training is great for practicing and training your body and mind for a deep dive which will require some spike in heart rate, oxygen burning, and increase in CO2.