January 15, 2021

Training to postpone contractions

Contractions are mainly caused by high levels of CO2 in your body but when the contractions start has also a lot to do with your level of comfort and stress in your body when you do a dive. The more relaxed you are the later the contractions will come.

There are a couple of ways to train and increase the time to your first contraction in a very easy and gentle way and it can be done in the comfort of your home. These exercises are about relaxation and you should focus on relaxing the whole body especially the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm.

Training series (tables)

These series aim to make you more comfortable and relaxed and because you don't push yourself to your limits you can do a lot of these breath holds without burning you out or over training.

One contraction breath holds

This first one is very simple but yet powerful. In this series you will hold your breath 10 times and only until you feel the first contraction or the urge to breath.

Example:

  • First contraction at 90 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 95 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 100 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 105 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 110 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 115 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 120 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 125 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • First contraction at 130 seconds, finish

You will notice that your contractions will come later and later during the exercise because your body is getting more used to higher levels of CO2 and you will get more comfortable and relaxed throughout the exercise. Doing this exercise regularly 3 to 4 times a week will slowly increase the time to your first contraction and the breath holds will be longer and longer.

A few contractions breath holds

Another series that I like is to actually have some contractions but only for a limited amount of time. Let's say you have the first contraction at 90 seconds. You will then add 10 seconds to that time to 100 seconds. You will now hold your breath for 100 seconds 4 times in a row.

Example:

  • Hold your breath for 100 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 100 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 100 seconds, recover for 60 seconds
  • Hold your breath for 100 seconds, finish

You will notice that it will be easier and easier for each breath hold and maybe on the fourth breath hold you don’t get any contractions at all. You will repeat this series 3 to 4 times a week until you don't get any contractions on all four of the breath holds at 100 seconds. Then you will add 10 seconds to the series and start all over again until you don't get any contractions at 110 seconds and after that you will add another 10 seconds to the series and repeat.

This way you will slowly build up confidence so you can stay relaxed for longer periods of time without contractions during the breath holds.

Happy freediving and remember, dive safe with a body.

Copyright © Alex Hedström
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