Eli5 How people train to hold breath underwayer for 2+ minutes?


Tbh is that long even possible?

In: 0

The world record is 20 something minutes, so 2 minutes is very easily doable with training. And not even a lot of it. You don’t need years of diving experience to get there, though 20 minutes is a whole other story.

The training involves learning breathing techniques to fill your lungs with more air (divers, swimmers, singers, they all practice this stuff), and learning how to relax your muscles so they don’t waste oxygen on nothing. Then you just practice holding your breath over and over and over again until your body starts adapting to the habit. Your lung capacity increases, you build up your tolerance to the effects of oxygen deprivation and co2 buildup, that sort of thing. It’s not unlike working out to build strength. Takes repetition to convince your body to start improving that aspect of itself.

The current freediving record is 24 minutes and 37.36 seconds and was achieved by a 56 year old man on 27 March 2021


Humans have a reflex when they go under water that suppresses the urge to breath which is based on the build up of CO2 in the blood. We have a reflex that takes affect when we are submerged under water while holding our breath and it’s called the diving reflex or mammalian diving reflex where our heart and metabolism slows down and we produce less CO2 allowing you to hold your breath for longer. If you’re actually free diving going deeper also helps to suppress the urge to breath by compressing the CO2 in your blood.

This has been utilized in antient cultures to free dive hundreds of feet to hunt for conch.

OP for fun(if you would find this fun) hold your breath for a specific amount of time, lets say 30 seconds. Do that like 10 times and repeat but at 45 seconds.

I can say with a fair degree of certainty, if you do this, you should be able to hold your breath for 2:01. Its a lot different when you are exerting energy and using more oxygen(like while swimming) but hey, you still get to feel accomplished.

Fun Fact! If you do that for many months, your lungs will physically grow in size and to make space for that, other nearby organs will shrink to give space. Free divers strait up have bigger air capacity than you or I

Practice. I do a decent amount of snorkeling, so when I dive to the bottom holding my breath is important for staring to asser dominance over the fish. Start by hyperventilating then set a stop watch on your phone I bet you can pretty easily hit one min. By practicing you will certainly hit two. I just did two mins but my lungs were starting to spasm so work through that. Be calm, limit Oxygen consumption by your muscles and practice. For more than about 3 mins you need to breath pure Oxygen beforehand, it’s bad for you though so don’t make a habit of it.

I did a few challenges in Dark Souls where I had to hold my breath between all of the bonfires in the game (bonfires are checkpoints) and could only breathe at bonfires.

At first, my max breath-hold time was about 50-60 seconds. Not enough for the challenge. After maybe a week, to my incredible surprise, I was holding my breath for almost 4 minutes. Which is rather shocking when you consider I have no training in this and I’m extremely out of shape.

I completely wrecked that game, all-bosses iirc. *FLEX*