Not everyone is fortunate enough to live next to the sea. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to swimming pools that allow apnea training. Thankfully there are other, ‘dry’ freediving training techniques that can fill the void. One of the most popular and useful are apnea walks.
It also happens to be an incredibly simple exercise to perform. In very simplistic terms, its walking whilst holding your breath!
Apnea walks do a lot for your freediving training, probably more than is immediately apparent. Apnea walks can…
- Increase your c02 tolerance
- Enhance your dive reflex
- Improve your low 02 tolerance
- Increase your lactic acid tolerance
- Improve confidence
- Enhance your awareness of the stages of breath-hold/hypoxia
There are two ‘versions’ of the apnea walk. One is the full version, to be used in dedicated training sessions, the other is a more ‘on the fly’ approach.
Lets look at the full version first.
- Sit down in a comfortable position, preferably on a chair or other raised area (so its easier to stand).
- Start a standard breathe-up.
- When you reach the end of your Breathe-up take your final breaths.
- Retain the breath and stay seated for 10-30 seconds.
- Relax your body and allow your heart-rate to start to drop again.
- Slowly stand up and start to walk (preferably on level, even and soft ground) at a steady pace whilst retaining the breath.
- Keep walking…
- Start to feel the effects of breath-hold.
- Keep walking….
- Keep walking…..
- Push yourself as far as you can without risking LMC or blackout.
- Stop and take some recovery breaths.
As you walk you can either count your steps, or use markers to check your progress. I find it easier to use markers as counting tends to put me off.
You can do more than one apnea walk in a row, and create a co2 table to help increase your c02 tolerance. Try doing say three, one after the othger, with a 2 minute rest in-between them. Try to walk a little further on each one.
The shorter version is to be used when you are just out and about, perhaps when walking to the corner shop or something. Essentially its the same as the full version, but you cut out the whole sitting down part. Do your breathe up whilst walking slowly, then take a final breath and keep going. Its easy to to this version at any point in your daily schedule.
Please be careful when doing apnea walks! Although its generally a safe exercise to do (as its not in the water) there are some risks you should be aware of.
- Walking on hard ground means that, if you were to fall, its gonna hurt!
- Watch out for trip hazards
- Dont stumble in to the road!
- Dont do it on a cliff edge!
- People will look at you funny… and may think you are mental.
- If you are going to really push it, have a buddy with you as a spotter.