HOW TO IMPROVE FREEDIVING?
Freediving, also known as breath-hold diving, is a new sport whose exercise science continues to be developed. It is the ultimate connection between a swimmer and the water. You do not need tanks or any complicated gear as it simply involves you and the silence beneath the waves. However, many divers see it as an extreme sport, which is far from the truth. Anyone who enjoys the water can freedive, even without any prior experience in scuba or snorkeling.
The primary part of learning how to freedive is knowing how to breathe properly as you can only go as far as your lungs can take you. Let us look at some tips and tricks on how to improve freediving and some common mistakes to avoid.
1. Take Care of Your Mental
Although freediving is a physical activity, your mind plays an essential role in freediving. Even when it comes to holding your breath, it is more of a state of mind than a physical one. A strong and relaxed mind immensely contributes to a successful freediving experience.
One of the effective ways to calm your mind before a freediving session is through meditation. Meditating is an excellent way of quieting the mind and escaping the outside world. It is a wonderful way to practice focusing on issues other than those you are facing physically and eventually improve your freediving from the comfort of your home.
Another way to mentally improve your freediving experience is to visualize your ultimate freediving experience. Whether on land or in water, you can perform this exercise as it simply involves using your imagination to paint a vivid picture in your mind that will distract you from the urge to breathing. For instance, you can go to your happy place and visualize it in as much detail as possible. You can also opt to picture the perfect diving scenario as it aids in its manifestation.
2. Prepare Your Body
After preparing your mind to hold breath for a long time when freediving, it is also necessary to prepare your body for the physical pressures related to freediving. Even though anyone can freedive, maintaining a physically fit body certainly helps in improving your stamina and freediving technique.
One of the ways to prepare your body is by stretching. Not only does it help you to be in tune with your body, but it also aids in keeping your body muscles healthy and relaxed. Once your muscles become relaxed, they will consume less oxygen and be less likely to cramp, enabling you to move more efficiently in the water. Stretching also helps in preventing injuries associated with tight muscles and eases equalization at depth.
Another way to prepare your body and improve your freediving experience is cardio. Cardio aids in promoting a healthy heart, which plays a crucial part in increasing your breath-hold. The more effective your heart pumps blood, the better it distributes little amounts of oxygen around the body. Cardio also decreases the extent of muscle fatigue you may experience when diving.
3. Practice Holding Your Breath
Whether you are in the water or on dry land, you can practice holding your breath, which will ultimately help in improving your freediving technique. An effective way to practice holding your breath is through Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen tables. These tables are excellent ways to practice breath-holding series and increase lung capacity from anywhere.
Carbon Dioxide tables increase your body's tolerance to high Carbon Dioxide levels. It involves performing six to eight breath holds, each of them being similar in length of time. Gradually decrease the intervals between the breath holds as it aids in progressively building up CO2 in your body. With plenty of practice, time, and patience, you will enhance constant times while decreasing the intervals.
Oxygen tables, also referred to as hypoxia tables, contradict the carbon dioxide tables. The constant times gradually increase while the intervals remain unchanged. As a result, the oxygen available in your body decreases over time, enabling your body to conform to hypoxic conditions. Once you conquer one oxygen table, you can bump up to the next one.
It is crucial to note that practicing breath holds with these tables should not be done in water without a trained companion or formal training. Also, it is not advisable to work on these tables during a blackout or the loss of motor control.
4. Streamline Your Body
Hydrodynamics play a fundamental role in your freediving experience. By streamlining your body, you can easily achieve plenty of bottom time and a more efficient free-fall. The more streamlined your body is, the faster you will cut across the water, reducing your dive time.
You can streamline your body by free-falling in a relaxed posture. This involves slightly tucking in your chin while relaxing and curving your shoulders forward to position your airways for easy equalization. Allow your arms to hang loosely at your sides and keep your legs close together but in a relaxed manner. It is also advisable to have a slight bend at your knees and hips, allowing your fins to point upwards.
However, be careful not to stretch your neck and head to face the bottom-weight, curving your back too much, or even bending your knees excessively. By doing this, it will drag or slow down your free-fall. You can practice this streamlining technique in a swimming pool to perfect your freediving technique.
5. Super Smooth Duck Diving
A sweet duck dive is an essential part of freediving. It is the foundation of your dive as it can take you five meters deep with almost no effort. One of the most effective ways to perform a super smooth duck dive is by lying on your front with your snorkel in and breathing in a relaxed manner and next to a line. It is best to hold the line with the hand attached to the lanyard, ensuring it does not cross your body while in the water.
It is also good practice to pre-equalize while taking your last 3-4 slow breaths. Pre-equalization will slightly inflate your eardrums outwards, which will help you last within the first 10 meters, after which you will perform your first equalization after the dive.
With the five tips mentioned above, you are sure to improve your freediving skills in no time. However, it is best to remember that perfection requires plenty of practice, dedication, patience, and hard work. Whether you are in the water or on dry land, practicing these tips will help in making small improvements and, over time, perfect your freediving technique.
It is also worthy to note that performing these tips on dry land is way safer than when done in water unless you are in the company of a trained freediving buddy.
Also of Interest:
- The Truth about How Deep You Can Freedive
- The Ultimate Guide to Buying Your Freediving Wetsuit
- Different Types of Freediving Wetsuits