Lubomir Stefanoff | freediving and UW photography

Tag: static apnea

Thoughts on static apnea

by on Jul.10, 2009, under Training

Static apneaRecently I’ve been thinking more about how I do static apnea. If I have to choose what kind of freediving I’ll do in a certain day I would definitely say that it wold be constant weight with monofin. That’s what I really like, it’s practiced in the sea, I enjoy the pressure on my body when I go deeper and I can relax and concentrate; and furthermore, there is always something to see from the marine life.  It’s different with static apnea – especially when it’s done on land. There is no physical effort, one just tries to relax and play with the mind. Sometimes I do easily good static apneas – when I’m concentrated and enjoy the holds. But sometimes I get bored quickly, I cannot concentrate at all, let alone decide to stand some good contractions. I know that it’s important to do decent breath holds and I have to work on relaxation and concentration. I’ve tried different techniques. During the first 1-1:30′ of the hold I check and relax my muscles; then I start visualizing in great detail some pleasurable moments from the past – thus occupying my mind and ‘forgetting’ that I am holding my breath. I’ve also tried visualizing a scene from nature and it works great.When the contractions begin I’m still able to visualize another reality, but for a short time. Then it becomes harder and even though I know I can still hold my breath safely, I’m tempted to quit early. I’ve tried doing some series of pressing my fingers with the thumb, and it ‘steals’ time. Some days it works – but last week I couldn’t concentrate and my mind was everywhere…which led to quite short apneas. I tried longer ones – and did some – but it was not fun at all – I struggled and forced myself to do them. I wonder if good static times are achieved with determination or more likely with a relaxed mind…or both.
Usually I set some goals for my training sessions, but sometimes when you have a bad day it’s better to switch to other exercises and focus on heaving fun or have some rest. Thus even when I haven’t reached the goals I would be satisfied. Of course the line between ‘a bad day’ and ‘not motivated to train’ is thin, and I’d rather have more successful sessions. I train and freedive for fun, after all.
Today I went to the pool and everything worked fine, no hard times in getting in the mood for some breath holds. Now I’m trying to figure out my own routine that will always work – that’s why I’ll write down some observations and test them in the future.

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Pool sessions 13-14 June

by on Jun.14, 2009, under Training

lingering_at_the_bottom1Two weeks till the next freediving trip to Greece… This weekend we had to settle with an outdoor swimming pool (in Sofia) which was a good place for training.  Despite the parties held on Friday night, 6 freedivers/spearfishermen appeared at the pool on Saturday – it’s a good number, considered tha fact that freediving and pool training for spearfishermen are not very popular in Bulgaria…yet. One of the pools is 5.6 m deep and in the morning wasn’t crowded. We did many dives and static apneas there – you can see the clear water on the pics. I wasn’t able to do longer apneas because of the cold – I was shivering in my surfing wetsuit after an hour in the water.

Wet static - MitkoMitko was doing great and logged several good dives on my divewatch. He even broke my humble 2:20 record (done at 10m last summer), so I decided to wear a full wetsuit ot Sunday and log a better time – it’s my watch…and I had done much longer static apneas without it! I thought for a while about my approach to freediving – I do it for fun and for my own pleasure, but I have to admit that I felt the competition demon in me.  I had won many competitions (not in freediving) and I like winning in general…but  I haven’t thought that this could be a driving force for my freediving… Well, we will see, I’m a beginner and I have to learn more about myself…Competing (with friends) is not a bad thing, we had a lot of fun during that two days. (I guess I bother with ‘competing’ cause I’m far from the sea and had tons of work to do.)

Freedivers in a poolWe didn’t miss the chance to make some figures in the pool – it was kind of hard in the beginning, laughing a lot underwater because of the lack of coordination between us. After a few tries we managed to form a decent circle on the bottom (Ivozag played with my camera and captured it; Thanks for the other good pics, Ivo!). We also attracted some kids  who were astonished at the fact that a human being could stay underwater for several minutes and come up alive! It sounds funny, but we had to be responsible when we train during public hours at the pool. Kids tend to imitate what they see…and doing that with freediving could be disastrous.

Static apnea at the bottom of the poolSunday was a different day – much warmer, no wind…and full 5 mm wetsuit. I wanted to do dynamic apnea in the 50 m pool, but for a warm-up I did some static apneas in the deep pool. I regained the ‘record’ on my divewatch, but Mitko broke it again…Well I gave up the idea of max dynamics and after a short break started again with statics at the bottom.  Soon I set a new ‘longest apnea’ (according to the divewatch) that Mitko couldn’t break.  Next Sunday I’ll try to set a longer one, close to my PB (5:03 at the moment).

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Dry statics

by on Jun.05, 2009, under Training

I haven’t had a lot of time for training this week, so I decided to do dry CO2 tables 3 times. Well, I don’t like them at all but there is some value in doing them…especially if you cut down the rest intervals and don’t cheat with hyperventilating. Typically I do a few warm up breath holds an then I start the following table:
2:30 hold – 1:30 rest
2:30 hold – 1:15 rest
2:30 hold – 1:00 rest
2:30 hold – 0:45 rest
2:30 hold – 0:30 rest
2:30 hold – 0:15 rest
2:30 hold – 0:15 rest
I feel OK in general after the last breath hold – I am getting used to the contractions. On Wednesday and today I rested for 5-10 minutes after doing the table and attempted longer apneas – I did several around the 5 minute mark, but did not enjoy them much. I’d planned a max attempt in the swimming pool for tomorrow, but we are going to the Aegean sea (Thassos again) for 2 days of freediving so the max attempt will be on next Saturday. I’ll try 40 meters in constant weight if I feel ok, otherwise I’ll do other drills and take lots of pictures with my G9.

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