View Full Version : Breathing help

July 10th, 2009, 12:38 PM
I know this topic has been beaten to death, but I'm really struggling with breathing and I can't figure out why. I am breathing out under water, emptying most of my lungs slowly, and am ready to breath in when going for air. I definitely feel like I'm getting a good amount of air and have become pretty proficient at rolling to air, keeping my balance, and breathing in that trough. The feeling I get is extreme air hunger after a lap, like I need to take a breath in quickly. I really don't have the same problem with other sports. I've tried taking a coupole of puffs of Albuterol before swimming, but it has had no effect and makes me doubt that the chlorine gases are causing this.

I'm wondering if this is an issue of getting used to a little hypoxia or hypercarbia. Maybe I'm panicking at the first pang of hypercarbia. Has anyone experienced this, and is it resolved by training yourself to do that next lap despite feeling short of breath? Is there a barrier that you need to push yourself through and then the rest gets easier? Or perhaps I am

July 10th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Sounds like you're tense. Relax. Try to make your breathing more natural and less forced. This may mean slowing down a little bit when you're swimming as well.

Paul Smith
July 11th, 2009, 05:52 PM
Taruky, interesting question...I doubt many swimmers have stopped and really broken down how they breath which makes it a very challenging thing to answer. i played with it a bit the last couple of days and wanted to pass along some thoughts:

1) My first question is are you brathing every stroke or every 3?

2) The first thing I ask swimmers to work on is to NOT exhale powerfully and completely empty out their lungs when they push off the wall and/or on the breakout after a turn. Rather use a slower/controlled realease.

3) On the first arm stroke/breath I find that have a small amount of air left that I exhale quickly/forcefully just as my mouth reaches the postion of taking a breath...it has the effect of clearing water as well as that lasy bit of depleted O2.

4) The inhale is not a long/slow/deep process but rather a fairly quick and somewhat shallow inhale the length of which should be determined by your arm tempo/speed vs. the other way around.

5) At lower speeds I actually hold my breath for what is porbably about 1 second in the stroke cycle and begin a controlled exhale as my opposite arm cycles into it's entry phase.

* If you have a video post it or PM to me and that will help with the feedback quite a bit. bottom line is I think you are taking to long/deep breaths which are great for relaxation but not functional during movement. Be patient, it will take some time before it becomes something you don't have to think about.

July 11th, 2009, 06:07 PM
I take it you may be new to swimming since you mentioned the "one lap". Don't get discouraged. It sounds like you are a very healthy guy and involved in sports. One would think that swimming then would come easy, right? Wrong! It's something that takes a while. You have to train yourself. One lap at a time. You may want to have a coach look at your stroke and see how it can be more efficient or effortless. I once felt the exact same as you - BEFORE I started to learn flip turns. The flip turns nearly killed me. On a positive note, while it may take a while, you will feel improvement in baby-steps. Suddenly you won't feel as much like you are fighting the water and gasping for air. You will feel more rythm and ease. But it may take a wile. Consistency in your workouts is the key. Making it to the pool when you are not looking forward to it - and keeping your body getting used to this new sport. Muscle memorization - technique - efficiency - endurance - relaxation....keep those things in mind.

July 11th, 2009, 08:05 PM
Try to relax and do some hypoxic drills, gradually increasing the amount of time under water :2cents: