The reason why this blog title isn’t how to get your partner into freediving is because it’s very easy to get your boyfriend into freediving…you simply sit them down and tell them, ‘I can hold my breath longer than you.’ That’s really all it takes. But most women don’t seem to fall for that trick.
When introducing someone into freediving there are moments when that person may feel varying amounts of discomfort; from the pressure of the water or from the urge to breathe or simply the psychological discomfort some people feel when the surface seems far away.
When that person has the desire to learn to dive those small discomforts are things they easily deal with because they are willing to cope with them but teaching someone who doesn’t necessarily have any desire to dive is a whole different thing. So when you introduce them to breath holds and diving it’s best to do it as gently as possible.
Now let’s assume that we have a girlfriend to teach…in my case I will have to settle for my imaginary girlfriend. Her name is Sarah and we have been in an imaginary relationship for years now. After I’ve convinced Sarah about the beauty of diving and the underwater world and how diving together will make our imaginary relationship stronger, the first thing I tell her about is Carbon Dioxide.
I tell her that the urge to breathe isn’t caused by low Oxygen levels but rather an increasing amount of Carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. As the body utilises Oxygen it produces Carbon Dioxide as a by-product, which is usually exhaled but because you can’t exhale when you’re holding your breath that Carbon Dioxide builds up and triggers a feeling of discomfort and the urge to breathe. Though when you start to feel that discomfort your body is actually still close to 100% Oxygen saturation and doing just fine.
Now Sarah needs to learn how to breathe for freediving. So I tell her that the way to breathe before a dive is to double the length of our exhale compared to our inhale. The typical ratio is to inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. I get her to do this as relaxed as possible and tell her to use the rhythm of breathing to relax her.
Then it’s breath hold time! The best way to do this is to do a few static breath holds, laying in bed. What I want now is for Sarah to surprise herself with how long she can naturally hold her breath. That feeling of wonder and satisfaction is what will spark her desire to progress and become a better diver.
Now…I never tell Sarah to do anything because she gives me that look so I ask her to breathe for around two minutes (five seconds in – ten seconds out) then when she is ready, take a large breath, close her eyes and relax. Whenever she wants she can simply open her mouth and breathe.
I tell Sarah that we will do around 4 or 5 consecutive breath holds and the goal is to see how long she can hold her breath comfortably. What will happen is that over the 4 or 5 breath holds she will notice her holds becoming longer and more comfortable as her dive response kicks in.
Make sure she doesn’t push herself too hard and have any negative experiences. Keep it fun and relaxed and stop her is she looks distressed or is she is approaching your own static breath hold PB! 😉 I promise you that she will be surprised with what she can do without feeling any discomfort and then with that confidence it will be easy to get her to start diving with you.
Now that you’re diving together you’ll probably want to buy some sort of a diamond ring and enjoy a long and salty life.