5 Must Know Ways to Improve Your Breath Hold For Surfing


We all love surfing and pushing ourselves to get bigger, better & gnarly waves. Progressing and improving are all part of the game. So inevitably you’re going to want to feel comfortable in some of those bigger condition hold downs and knowing you can hold your breath for over a minute or 3 is a good way to start

(1) Do Exercises

While there is no way to increase your lung size, there are many ways to increase the amount of air your lungs take in, and the efficiency with which they capture oxygen. In particular, it helps to exhale fully before taking in the breath. Any cardiovascular training or interval sprint training to help get you out of breath will help

(2) Lose Weight.

Any excess body fat or unused muscle will reduce your body’s efficiency in using oxygen, so to help keep it efficient make sure you’re in great shape and lighten the load.

(3) Quit Smoking.

Quitting will considerably increase your lungs’ ability to release carbon dioxide and absorb oxygen.

(4) Eating Well

Eating well is critical to improving your breath hold making your body as efficient at transporting oxygen and conserving energy. Fruits vegetable proteins, vitamins and seeds can all help improve blood flow and the efficiency of oxygen transfer.

(5) Practice

Before practising your breath hold – Breath, inhale and exhale slowly from deep within your diaphragm. By doing this, you will start to slow down your heart rate and help your lungs get rid of low-quality air try to breathe for 5 seconds in 5 seconds out trying to push every last drop of air out doing this for 2 minutes will help maximize the efficiency of your lungs and increase your lung capacity do this for two minutes, and be sure that when you exhale, you push out every last “drop” of air.

Before you hold your breath push every last bit of air out then take 7 short breath until your lungs are filled 80-85% so that you still have room to relax. Always do this with a partner as it’s possible to lose consciousness without warning.6

Splash cold water on your face. It has been observed that putting a person’s face in contact with cold water triggers bradycardia, or the slowing of the heart rate, which is the first phase of the mammalian diving reflex.

Whilst holding your breath Relax every muscle in your body. Try to relaxed your body and think about something else other than holding your breath. Totally relaxed thoughts almost getting to a Meditative state. This intern will lower your heart rate helping your body consume less oxygen by mentally focusing on slowing your heart beat, it is possible to lower your heart rate significantly and increase the time you are able to hold your breath for. Concentrate this distraction technique will help when held underwater and teach you to relax whilst you’re being held down.8

Exhale slowly. When you can’t hold your breath anymore, try to avoid exhaling all the air in your lungs in a mad rush. First, exhale about 20% of your air, then inhale again so that oxygen gets to your most critical areas faster. Then you can exhale and inhale completely.

Repeat these steps 3-4 times per session. It is not recommended to do this anymore, as it could damage your lungs and body. Try one session in the morning and one session at night if you wish. Keep practising and before you know it, you will be able to hold your breath for several minutes.

Another great surf specific way to train your breathe hold is to hold your breathe for as long as you can then when you exhale breath out slowly talking another full breath in and repeating the breath hold minimizing the time you have to get extra breath just like being held down on a few waves in a row you might not be able to get a clean breath and have to survive on very little


  • The urge to breath is caused by a build-up of carbon dioxide in your body, not a lack of oxygen.
  • Try not to think about holding your breath. If you think about pleasant things, you’re less aware of the breathing reflex.
  • Relax your body waiting for the wave to let you up helping to conserve your energy
  • Restrain yourself from swallowing when you start feeling fatigued; this will slow the increasing desire to surface.


  • Never try to hold your breath past your maximum capability, you might go unconscious.

When you’re practising holding your breath, please do it in a safe, controlled environment under professional supervision.



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