Scientific study on freediving ‘breathe up’ – Call for participants

How do you know you’re doing your freediving ‘breathe-up’ correctly? Ironically, the aspect of freediving that most people feel least certain about, is the thing that could make the biggest impact on their dive. So how does any freediver know they are doing their ‘breathe-up’ right? In fact, does anyone actually know the best way to ‘breathe-up’?

In search of the perfect freediving breathe-up

Surprisingly, there isn’t a single scientific study that sheds light on the ‘breathe-up’, let alone how to achieve the perfect one.  Given the importance of the ‘breathe-up’, we think this is crazy, so on 12th July 2015, Emma Farrell and the Go Freediving team are teaming-up with Professor Alison McConnell (an expert on breathing physiology who also happens to be a freediver), to fill this knowledge gap.

Which freedivers can take part in the study?

If you are an experienced freediver who is qualified to at least RAID Advanced Freediver, SSI Level 2 or AIDA ***, who has been freediving regularly for at least two years and who has at least sixty logged freediving sessions under their belt, we’re inviting you to take part in this important piece of research. We hope to publish the research in a scientific journal, which will help current and future freedivers achieve the optimum preparation for their freedives. The data may also provide some insights that will aid the development of breathing regimens for patients with high blood pressure.

What will the freediving breathe-up experiment involve?

On Sunday July 12th 2015 (the day after the Go Freediving summer party), we will be collecting data in the pool at Glebe House in Radstock, Bath, BA3 5UD, UK, between 0900 and 1700. The study will compare your heart rate response during a ‘breathe-up’ and subsequent static breath hold under four conditions:

1. Your usual ‘breathe-up’ for 5 minutes and subsequent dry static breath hold
2. Your usual ‘breathe-up’ for 5 minutes in the pool* and subsequent static breath hold
3. A 5 minute ‘breathe-up’ paced using a Smartphone App at a specified breathing and subsequent dry static breath hold
4. A 5 minute ‘breathe-up’ paced using a Smartphone App at a specified breathing rate in the pool* and subsequent static breath hold *you will be face down in the pool breathing via your own snorkel, but without a mask.

All breath holds will be for as long as you can manage, and will be supervised by one of the Go Freediving team. You will be asked to undertake each of the 4 tests in a randomised order during one session that will require about an hour to complete. To give you time to ‘warm-up’, we will ask you to undertake 3 preparatory statics, but the subsequent test conditions will be undertaken just once.

What data will be collected in the study?

We will ask you to wear a heart rate monitor strap around your chest whilst undertaking the breathe-up and static breath holds. The chest strap will transmit data to a watch, and these data will be stored and analysed subsequently. Your data will be anonymous and confidential. We’ll also ask you some basic questions about your freediving experience.

What will participants get out of it?

1. You’ll be the first to know the results and conclusions of the study.
2. Once you’ve completed the data collection, you’ll be free to use a section of the pool at Glebe House for training for as long as you like.
3. Prof. Alison McConnell will be giving a talk at 12.30pm on breathing training. Alison is a world-leading expert on breathing training and has worked with Olympic athletes and world champions to improve their breathing and performance. She is also the inventor of the POWERbreathe. Click here for information about Alison and her research.

Want to take part in the world’s first scientific study into the freediving ‘breathe up’?

Please email emma@gofreediving with the subject “Breathe-up study”, and we’ll send you more detailed information, a screening questionnaire, and a consent form. Once we’ve received these and confirmed you’re suitable for the study, we’ll book you into a 1 hour testing slot on July 12th to suit you.

We also invite you to spend the weekend freediving with us, joining us for the Go Freediving Summer party the day before on Saturday 11th. The summer party has an underwater treasure hunt, the chance to try top of the range DPVs, a talk from John Vickers, the genius behind Blue Abyss, the 50m pool, a BBQ and much more, all in aid of The Reef Ball Foundation.

To find out more about the summer party and book your place, click here



  1. Daron 14/06/2015 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Where will the results of this study be posted?

    • Emma Farrell 15/06/2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      We’re not decided yet as we may run another test day this year to get more data if we don’t get enough on the 12th. Can you make it?!

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