As we know, this sport is called Free Diving and it involves going down hundreds of feet into cold and dark waters by holding his or her breath until resurfacing rather than on the use of a breathing apparatus such as scuba gear. It's considered an extreme sport because it is very dangerous and might even cost your life. It's an experimental sport because it is revealing human capabilities which had never even been imagined. It's becoming more popular every year and many people are so interested to try it.
Free diving has been around for a very long time. It was how the ancient Greeks went down for sponges. Without so much as a snorkel, they'd dive to around 100 feet. Today's free divers go down a lot further for fun and sport. They want to join the sea world without disturbing it. No tanks, no bubbles, no noise.
And because of free diving, scientists now know that humans are closer to dolphins than had been thought. Just like dolphins, when we go into cold water a reflex kicks in which slows down our pulse; shifts blood from our extremities to our heart and to our brain. Our spleen contracts releasing oxygen rich blood into our arteries.
Is under the water a place humans belong? Free divers think so. They point out that the amniotic fluid in the womb where a fetus lives for nine months is very similar to seawater. That if a newborn is immediately submerged in a pool it will swim the breaststroke and be able to hold its breath for 40 seconds. It will retain this ability until it learns how to walk. But the human body has several adaptations under diving conditions, which stem from the mammalian diving reflex. These adaptations enable the human body to endure depth and lack of oxygen far beyond what would be possible without the reflex.
Here are some example of the training to be a free diver.
- Equalizing Training - Your ears are the most likely physical reason to limit your depth. You can only go as deep as you can equalise your ears.
- Technique Training - Having a good technique will save you oxygen, give you better hydrodynamics, and make your dive more enjoyable. This is best practised on the surface in a pool and while doing dynamic apnea.
- Breath Hold Training - You need to get “comfortable” holding your breath. This training can include maximums, Co2 tolerance and Hypoxic tolerance.
- Relaxation Training - This will make your dive 100 times more enjoyable and save you lots of oxygen.
- Lung Training - Slowly adapting your lungs to handle the depth and compression. This can be done with certain yoga exercises and FRC training in shallow pools.
- Cardiovascular Training - Gives you a good cardiovascular ability (high Co2 max – oxygen uptake), strong heart and a low resting pulse.
- High Intensity Cardio Training - Makes you able to tolerate high levels of lactic acid and making use of the anaerobic energy system.
- Muscular Training - Gives you muscles at the right places, trained for what you want them to do and making your movements more energy efficient and relaxed.
- Flexibility Training/Yoga - This Training will give you better knowledge of your body and make your muscles more relaxed. Flexibility will give you better technique and decrease the risk of squeeze.
- Mental Training - Mental strength and self knowledge is imperative for freediving. Train meditation, visualisation and yoga.