View Full Version : Breathing

January 5th, 2005, 10:03 AM
My breathing is just horrible - I could swim all day long as my arms and legs don't get that tired (I have been a distance swimmer all my life), but my breathing prevents me from doing more.

I have to take a breath just before my turn and just after and I'm stuck on breathing every other stroke (after about two to three hundered yards I can't even hold my breath long enough for bilateral breathing). Shoot, I can barely complete 25 yards under water without practically passing out. It's not that I am out of shape as I swim five days a week (oh, and I am a non-smoker too).

Is there something I can do either in the water or out that will improve my capacity for holding me breath? I know this is a strange question, but I don't feel that the rest of my body is getting the best workout if my lungs are giving out so early.

Thank you.

January 5th, 2005, 10:35 AM
You ask about improving your capacity for holding your breath - maybe that's the problem. You should inhale when your face is turned out of the water then while your face is in the water you should exhale. I breathe bilaterally and the last two strokes of the three (before I turn and inhale again) I am breathing out slowly into the water. Then, I can get a good deep breath in.

Think of it this way - would you hold your breath when you are running? No, you would get a good breathing rhythm going. Same for swimming.

January 5th, 2005, 10:46 AM
Try taking up the Flute! :D

There are also a number of Breath Building devices
available that were developed by the late
Chicago Symphony Tubist, Arnold Jacobs.
Look here for ordering info:

I don't have any myself, so I can't speak to their effectiveness,
but if your really looking to work on lung capacity,
you may want to try them out.

January 5th, 2005, 10:59 AM
Now that I really think about it, you may be right. I think I subconsciously use my head turn to both breathe out and get a breath at the same time (I'll have to wait until this afternoon's workout to check it for sure). So it's more of a quick "puff-huff" thing. Thus, while my arms and legs are moving at a distance pace, my breathing actually gets a sprinter's workout.

I will try to concentrate more on what I do in my breathing and see if I can improve.


January 5th, 2005, 11:53 AM
I bought a PowerLung (http://www.powerlung.com/us/index.htm) a couple of years ago to try to improve my breathing for free diving. I was too lazy to use it regularly, and it's now buried in my closet somewhere, but I've thought about pulling it out and trying again. The studies are pretty impressive.

January 5th, 2005, 12:48 PM
Hi Scott,

You might try adding rhythmic breathing excercises to your swim practices. I found this:


I like to do a vertical version of "bobbing" in water just over my head, where I land on my feet and bend my knees and then push myself straight up. I use my arms to help push myself up and down. The idea is to coordinate and relax your breathing so that you take a nice deep breath in the air and then exhale it fully in the water.

Good luck!

January 5th, 2005, 04:30 PM
Hm, never heard about that powerlung device.Anyone tried it?

January 5th, 2005, 04:37 PM
If your breathing is preventing you from swimming longer, I don't think it's how long you can hold your breath.

There are many excellent swimmers that breath every 3 strokes to their strong side (meaning stroke/breath, stroke, stroke/breath), and swim fast and long.