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Heavy breathing


A few ideas from Lynn Jackson for reducing gas consumption on dives.

Improve Your Breathing

Heavy Breather flowchart (37020 bytes)

A flow chart to help correct and cure heavy breathing (Click on the picture and it opens in a new window)

Time: 20 minutes

  • Breathing exercises (5 minutes):
    Posture; Tai-Chi/Singing lessons; Oval breathing; belly breathing; "In one, two, threee, Out one, two, threee" 

    (There are different breathing techniques to bring about relaxation. In essence, the general aim is to shift from upper chest breathing to abdominal breathing. Sit comfortably and raise your ribcage to expand your chest. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take notice of how your upper chest and abdomen are moving while you breath. Concentrate on your breath and try to breathe in and out through pursed lips. Your upper chest and stomach should be still, allowing the diaphragm to work more efficiently with your abdomen and less with your chest. With each breath, allow any tension in your body to slip away. Once you are breathing slowly and with your abdominals, sit quietly and enjoy the sensation of physical relaxation.)

  • Weighting (2 minutes):
    "How much weight is on your belt?" Too much weight leads to divers sitting upright in the water. They are also constantly filling and emptying their suits, wasting air. Most beginners can consider taking off a little weight (under supervision) once they have their buoyancy under control and are more experienced.

  • Style (5 minutes):
    Ask group what they consider to be a good diving style.
    "Close your eyes and think of the last time you were diving. What was your diving position? Use your hand to demonstrate your body angle."
    "Your buddy will provide you with feedback if you aren't sure." 
    Horizontal is the most hydrodynamic. Explain spatial awareness and the benefits of knowing where you are in the water. 
    Finning technique: the whole leg should be used to power each fin stroke, keeping the legs as straight as possible with the minimum bending at the knee, keeping the ankle fixed [use lower arm to demonstrate]. Both up and down strokes will effectively propel you, with the knees acting as shock absorbers. 'Bicycling' is tiring and ineffective.
    Arms: by your sides or wrapped around you, holding your 'dangly bits'.
    'Go with the flow' - when there is current or surge, make use of it. Watch the fish; see how they use the current, ferry glide across current (as in kayaking).

Visualisation (5 minutes):

  • Visualisation is a state of mind that can be used for anything adventurous. Athletes to practice success use it. Visualise everything that might happen and see yourself successfully dealing with all situations (July '01 Diver magazine has a good article on this subject). [Dreaming is visualisation!]
    Read out separate sheet (with music) Your Perfect Dive.

  • Fitness (2 minutes)
    If you go diving you should be no more out of breath than when you go for a walk. Aerobic activity will go a long way to increasing your lung capacity and general stamina. Do you smoke…? [Clive does karate, Jeff plays cricket, Martin runs etc. You don't get fit by diving, you get fit to dive!]

  • Air log (1 minute)
    Alongside your other information in your dive log, include tank content before and after the dive. This will show you improving your air consumption.

    Your Perfect Dive

    Get comfortable in your chairs…feet on the floor, hands in your lap or at your sides. Begin to relax. Take three deep breaths and, as you exhale, tell yourself to relax. Let the word "Calm" sound in your head.

    It is a good morning, and a sunny day, only the occasional cloud stops it getting too hot
    Looking from the quay, sea is a millpond. You get you kit ready and help to prepare the RIB.
    The RIB launches smoothly. 
    Get into boat, it is a short trip to dive site, feel the wind and sea spray on your face.
    You are first wave to dive. Kitting up calmly and quickly, you and your buddy help each other with your equipment. You are feeling excited but in control.
    After your buddy checks, you tell Jeff (boat handler) that you are ready. You place your DV in your mouth and hold your mask and gauges.
    Jeff moves the boat into position. "On the count of 3, go."
    "1, 2, 3, Go!"

    You fall back, the water surrounds you, it feels cold as it covers your face and fills your gloves.
    You breathe in sharply but very quickly get used to the feeling of the water cradling you.
    You give the 'OK' sign to those in the boat.

    You and your buddy give the 'OK' sign and the thumbs down 'descend' sign.
    Using your dump valve, you slowly sink.

    Looking around you see blue/green everywhere and your buddy facing you. On your right you see a small round jellyfish floating upwards past you. You hear your bubbles and your breathing, in and out.

    Looking down, you see the seabed, with fish darting through the rocks and weed. You put air into your dry suit hearing the sound your valve makes. You slow down and stop just before you reach the bottom.

    You see your buddy ahead of you. You give the 'OK' and he returns your signal. You look at your computer, which reads 12 metres. You check your air, which reads 190 bar. You are feeling relaxed and comfortable.

    Your buddy signals to travel right, you repeat the signal and position yourself an arm length from your buddy's left shoulder and begin the dive. You feel your fins pushing against the water. Your fin stroke are smooth and strong, your legs are extended without locking the knee, keeping your ankles fixed. 
    Remembering the breathing exercise that Lynn taught you, you begin to count "in one, two, threee, out one, two, threee". You feel calm as you breathe in and out.

    From your left a brown fish passes in front of you. As you gaze to your right, you see a crab waving its claws at you before moving under a rock, out of sight. Looking at your computer you notice that you have been diving for 10 minutes. Picking up your air gauge you see the needle reading 170 bar. You are happy with the amount of air you have used.

    You continue with your dive. You raise your left arm for a moment to lose a little air from your suit as you move up a slope. All too soon your buddy touches your right arm and gives you the 'thumbs up' sign. It's time to ascend. 

    Your buddy releases the delayed surface marker buoy. You both begin to ascend. By looking at your computer you see that you are ascending a little too quickly. You raise your arm slightly to let a little air from your suit escape, while breathing out. You slow down and ascend in control, feeling confident that you are doing everything right. You look up and see the surface and the sun's ray shining down. You and your buddy break the surface at the same time. You signal 'OK', first to your buddy and then to the boat. It has been a good dive. You get back into the boat, and from the boat you come back to the room.

Lynn Jackson. April 2002

Rolls Royce Sub Aqua Club (Derby)

Click here to go back to the downloads page for the zip file with all this information contained in it. (It's called 'Heavy breathing')



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