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zegmal
November 3rd, 2010, 05:00 PM
I just started swimming with a new group. The coach told me to hold my breath while swimming and only breathe out right before I take my breath. I had always thought you were not supposed to hold your breath while swimming, breathing out slowly while swimming instead. Advice? Thanks

evilwatersprite
November 3rd, 2010, 05:42 PM
I release the air slowly (at a pace commensurate with how long I intend to keep my face in) and I never wait until I'm about to die to take the next breath. I find both of these help me stay more relaxed.

norascats
November 3rd, 2010, 05:47 PM
I breathe as naturally as I can. I breathe out the whole time my face is in the water.

gigi
November 3rd, 2010, 07:21 PM
I breathe every 3rd stroke and I used to hold my breath on the 1st stroke, exhale on the 2nd stroke, and take my breath on the 3rd. I thought this was the greatest system possible until I started to use a steady exhale without holding breath at all - and it's way way better - for me anyway.
The only way to be sure is to experiment yourself, I think.

couldbebetterfly
November 3rd, 2010, 10:06 PM
Normally I hold my breath for about 1/2 stroke then breathe out steadily and make sure my lungs are empty before breathing in - and breathe every 3. It may sound daft, but I remember being told as a kid "how do you breathe in if you're trying to breathe out at the same time?"

If I'm sprinting and breathing every 5, 7 or more I tend to hold my breath then do a big exhale just before breathing.

mjtyson
November 4th, 2010, 05:17 AM
I was told a long time ago to not hold my breath. Something about keeping some gases in the lungs leading to some sort of deficit. I can't remember exactly. Anyone?

makesense
November 4th, 2010, 05:46 AM
Best not to hold your breath, because if you tighten/squeeze your held breath enough you will accomplish the 'valsalva maneuver', which can result in reduced cardiac output from reduced return of blood to the heart and thus reduced blood flow to the heart and rest of body, wide fluctuations in blood pressure, a heart attack, light headedness and retinal bleeding.

I have noticed better no-breathing drills (eg, sprinting 20 yards without breath) by exhaling during the sprint vs taking a big breath and holding it.

fmracing
November 4th, 2010, 08:18 AM
There's probably no wrong way unless you're passing out :)

I do it both ways... in races typically i breathe every 4th stroke and hold my breath til the end of the next 3rd stroke, then exhale quickly. All of my 100 races are done this way.

For anything longer than a 100 and just about any swimming done in practice, I exhale about 30% just as i finish the first stroke and during the 2nd stroke, pause the exhale as the 2nd stroke ends, and then resume exhaling towards the end of the 3rd stroke. Trying to do one long exhale over the 4 stroke time period bothers me cause it feels like there's no rhythm to it. I would do races like this, but there's no idle brain processing power left to moderate breathing. Everything I have goes to thinking about the rest of the race so the breathing defaults to whatever feels comfortable.

50 races I breathe either once or not at all.

Bobinator
November 4th, 2010, 08:36 AM
If I am tense or uptight before going swimming I have noticed I tend to hold my breath more and spurt it out right before I breath. This pattern tends to make my stroke tight, choppy, and perpetuate the stress in my body caused by a bad day.
If I remember and force myself to exhale while swimming I seem to loosen up quicker and feel better while swimming. :bliss:

Allen Stark
November 4th, 2010, 02:55 PM
See what is faster for you.If I am swimming distance free I tend to slowly exhale.If I am sprinting I hold my breath.Holding your breath will make you float higher which may be faster,but if it is at the expense of tightening up you may be slower.Again,see for your self as this is definitely a YMMV thing.

debaru
November 4th, 2010, 03:18 PM
The rule of thumb that is stuck in my head regarding breathing, is to make sure that I breathe out twice as long as I breathe in, with a quick puff to expel all of the air in my lungs as I turn to take a breath. If I remember correctly, the goal is to get rid of the CO2 build-up. I also steadily breathe out through my mouth and nose while swimming.

zegmal
November 4th, 2010, 04:24 PM
Thanks for the advice. Breathing out definitely helps me stay relaxed but I might try holding my air in during a sprint to see if it changes my speed.

nhc
November 4th, 2010, 09:51 PM
If you empty the lung completely before breathing in air (as often suggested), you are assuming you will be able to breathe in air the next moment when you have to breathe in; i.e., you would rely on the (hopeful) fact that you will be able to get your mouth out of water the next moment. What if something not in your control happens and you can't get your mouth out of water soon enough (e.g. for some newbie who can't act soon enough, or whatever...) You will be "breathing" in water, no? Because of this concern, I always keep a little "reserve" of air in my lung before breathing in. Is this a justified concern?

orca1946
November 5th, 2010, 01:54 PM
Perhaps the coach meant exhale earlier than at the last sec. I set up a rythem to exhale thruout the face in the water phase.

aztimm
November 5th, 2010, 02:25 PM
I breathe as naturally as I can. I breathe out the whole time my face is in the water.

I never really thought about it, but I this is probably what I do too.

geochuck
November 5th, 2010, 07:25 PM
Controversial for sure. Old school hold breath and employ explosive breathing. Old school Breathe out slowly. Which is right. I think there are uses for both.

Jazz Hands
November 6th, 2010, 02:13 PM
In a 50, hold your breath; you'll be more buoyant. Anything longer and it's more important to relax and breathe naturally.

Jimbosback
November 7th, 2010, 01:11 AM
I exhale in short bursts, kind of like counting.

philoswimmer
November 8th, 2010, 08:18 PM
If you empty the lung completely before breathing in air (as often suggested), you are assuming you will be able to breathe in air the next moment when you have to breathe in; i.e., you would rely on the (hopeful) fact that you will be able to get your mouth out of water the next moment. What if something not in your control happens and you can't get your mouth out of water soon enough (e.g. for some newbie who can't act soon enough, or whatever...) You will be "breathing" in water, no? Because of this concern, I always keep a little "reserve" of air in my lung before breathing in. Is this a justified concern?

You really have to push hard to get all of the air out (as anyone who uses an inhaler knows). I don't think that most people who breathe out while their face is in the water do that. I certainly don't.

But it is true, as you say, that you can't always rely on getting a breath when you want one, depending on how wavy the water is.

nhc
November 9th, 2010, 01:11 AM
You really have to push hard to get all of the air out (as anyone who uses an inhaler knows). I don't think that most people who breathe out while their face is in the water do that. I certainly don't.

But it is true, as you say, that you can't always rely on getting a breath when you want one, depending on how wavy the water is.

Thanks! :D I was curious why no one else seemed to consider this possible. For example, suppose just as you have exhaled the last air from your lung, a little shark (God forbid) caught your leg, preventing your head from getting out of water in time... :drown:

philoswimmer
November 9th, 2010, 01:34 AM
Thanks! :D I was curious why no one else seemed to consider this possible. For example, suppose just as you have exhaled the last air from your lung, a little shark (God forbid) caught your leg, preventing your head from getting out of water in time... :drown:

Well, you still should be able to hold your breath for a little bit longer, but if a shark's got you, you have worse problems...

nhc
November 9th, 2010, 02:09 AM
Well, you still should be able to hold your breath for a little bit longer, but if a shark's got you, you have worse problems...

It's a baby shark :D

kgernert
November 9th, 2010, 08:09 AM
When I started learning both fly and breast, one of the first things my coach told me was to remember to breathe out while I was still in the water. His reasoning is that once my head surfaces, I don't need to take the time to exhale, can get in more oxygen, and will be less likely to go into oxygen debt and tire too quickly.

makesense
November 9th, 2010, 09:34 AM
When I started learning both fly and breast, one of the first things my coach told me was to remember to breathe out while I was still in the water. His reasoning is that once my head surfaces, I don't need to take the time to exhale, can get in more oxygen, and will be less likely to go into oxygen debt and tire too quickly.

exactly

hofffam
November 10th, 2010, 11:03 AM
In a 50, hold your breath; you'll be more buoyant. Anything longer and it's more important to relax and breathe naturally.

I read a quote by Garrett Weber-Gale on this. He manages his breathing on sprints to hold air in his lungs as long as reasonably possible because of the bouyancy provided by the lungs. Remember they are like two balloons in your chest.

Everyone knows how signficant this can be because most of us float with full lungs but will sink to the bottom if we exhale.

Training is a different story.

TrentRichardson
November 10th, 2010, 12:12 PM
If you are trying to go fast hold your breath. Even fast backstrokers will do this, it makes it easier increase your tempo and does help with a little extra buoyancy.

geochuck
November 10th, 2010, 03:24 PM
What a stange conversation you fellows are having.

Keep the lungs filled and even drop the diaphram so you can get as much air in as possible for a short sprint. I even knew of swimmers who gulped air and filled their stomachs with air to add floatation. Yes even cases of rectal air inflation by one of the east block countries.

How often do you have to breathe during a 50 or a 100 not verymuch, so hold that air in as much as you can, and exchange the air occasionally when needed.

christophe
November 12th, 2010, 06:20 PM
I was doing swimming drills (mostly balance drills) at the pool the other day and while doing these a triathlete that also happens to be an anesthesiologist watched me without me being aware of this.

When I got out of the pool he told me that he was watching me and while he said that I did the drills well, he also said that I was holding my breath, which I wasn't aware of.

He then explained to me that if I did hold my breath, the heart had to pump harder to get the blood into the lungs because of the higher pressure in the lungs. He then went on to explain to me that if I continued to do this, over time my right ventricle would thicken and if I remember right this could lead to heart activation problems.

So he advised me to always exhale in the water to avoid this problem. He also told me that holding breath once the lungs are empty is ok, because there is no pressure left in the lungs at that time.

My two cents...

makesense
November 14th, 2010, 05:47 AM
He then explained to me that if I did hold my breath, the heart had to pump harder to get the blood into the lungs because of the higher pressure in the lungs. He then went on to explain to me that if I continued to do this, over time my right ventricle would thicken and if I remember right this could lead to heart activation problems.

the point I made earlier

however, most do not need to worry about it...but, identifying those who develop problems is nearly impossible until they express themselves clinically