Training to Improve Your Apnea

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The capacity for voluntary or involuntary suspension of ventilation, or the interruption of atmospheric air communication with the lower airways and lungs is defined as APNEA. I can say that 60% of the success in the practice of underwater fishing comes from the apnea of ​​each fisherman, the ability to reach greater depths combined with a good time at the bottom makes the success in their catches much greater.

There are several trainings and techniques to improve lung capacity and recovery capacity, but nothing like the good old sea to train. As not everyone has the time to go to the sea every day, nor a swimming pool to do some training, we are going to put here a training to be done in the form of a walk and that, if taken to the letter and with commitment, can offer great results to those who give it a go.


This training consists of performing a series of exercises of minimum, medium and high recovery, the three phases of apnea are:

Phase 1: Neutral

Phase 2: Hypercapnic

Stage 3: Hypoxia

The training is done in the form of walking, the steps must be energetic and constant, always trying not to lose the rhythm as we reach the end of the exercises, never stopping, neither during apnea nor during breathing. Training sets should be done between 1 or 2 hours after any meal.



This exercise is proposed to start the training, here the apnea is not important, it is proposed to get used to a correct ventilation, being it diaphragmatic, thoracic and subclavicular. A week of doing this exercise four days a week would be ideal. Remembering that this is not an apnea exercise per se, but just an exercise for the body to get used to the next phases.

20 REPEATS: 30 seconds of apnea + 30 seconds of breathing = 20x 1 minute

And let’s go:


Exercises less than 1 minute, minimal recovery.

40 REPEATS: one breath every 30 seconds = 20 minutes

In this exercise, you breathe for 30 seconds and hold your breath for 30 seconds, a total of 40 times, totalling 40 minutes of training.


Average recovery exercise lasting 1 minute

20 REPEATS: 40 seconds of apnea + 20 seconds of breathing = 20 minutes

The degree of difficulty can be increased by increasing the apnea time and decreasing the breathing time, always in the duration of 1 minute for each series, reaching a maximum series of 55 seconds of apnea for 5 seconds of breathing. This exercise works to decrease recovery time with each apnea.


Apnea hypoxia exercise performed as follows: with the lungs completely empty. This type of apnea is known as negative apnea. It is not advisable to practice this exercise more than twice a week, as the sensations experienced have nothing to do with the previous exercises and can be disconcerting. Exercise recommended only for those looking to reach great depths, if this is not the case, it is not worth such hard and exhausting work.

20 REPEATS: 20 seconds of negative apnea + 40 seconds of normal breathing = 20 minutes of exercise.

So in this exercise you should release all the air from your lungs and hold your breath for 20 seconds and then perform 40 seconds of normal breathing.

It is important in this exercise to learn to feel and control hypoxia situations in isolation, as this will allow you to identify a “SAMBA” situation. “SAMBA” is a term that has been adopted in international apnea competitions, as in this situation it is common for the body to present a lack of coordination and a frantic shaking of the hands, symptoms of vertigo, nausea and vomiting, numbness or tingling in the extremities of the body. Learning to identify each symptom is essential to make your dive safely and prevent any symptoms from evolving to a higher level.

During the phases of our training you may feel weakness, nausea, dizziness, tingling and other symptoms with less risk, the important thing at this time is not to despair, stay calm and continue your breathing in a moderate way that soon these symptoms will disappear.

However these exercises if taken to the letter by their practitioners can offer great results, even so I emphasize that nothing replaces the training done in water, always respecting the most important rule in diving: NEVER DIVE ALONE!!!!

****This article is for general information and not intended to be advice. Please be aware that dry breath holds can also be dangerous – DO NOT practice these alone***

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