How to Hold Your Breath Longer While Freediving


Want to be a better freediver? Or are you curious about freediving? If you said “yes” to any of these questions, then just know that freediving takes a lot of body training beforehand. One particular type of body training that needs to be done is something called exhale-stretching (also referred to as the empty lung stretch or diaphragm stretching).

What is the Exhale Stretch?

The exhale stretch has to do with the lungs—stretching the muscles for more oxygen capacity when holding your breath. Unfortunately, this type of exercise is not encouraged enough as a routine thing, when training for a sport like freediving.

These stretches help you prepare your body for physical exercise such as swimming, and they can also improve your flexibility over time, and reduce injury if done correctly:

But where to begin? Whether you’re new to freediving, or just wanting to perfect the sport, it’s imperative to have a set of exercises that work as part of regular training. But again, it’s hard to figure out where to start.

So, we have put together a couple of ways to perform this stretch. These types of exercises are both practical and correct when doing these.

Stretch Exercise 1: When Sitting

Photo Credit: Les Mills

One way to do the exhale stretch is when sitting down. Be sure to sit in a comfortable position, before you start this exercise. Next, take a deep breath before you exhale. Then, you force an exhale that lets out as much air as possible; and while you’re doing this, be sure you’re hunched over. Afterward, you hold another breath, but this time with empty lungs; and then give time for your diaphragm relax before straightening your back from the hunch. Doing so will have your diaphragm suck itself up, or “stretch.” 

Whenever you need to breathe, return to the hunched position before you inhale, or else you’ll risk gasping when you inhale and causing injury from the strain. It takes plenty of experience to do this correctly.

The idea of this stretching exercise is to hold this position for as long as possible without taking a breath. It’s understandable, however, that not everyone can hold their breath for long periods of time, whether you’re experienced or novice.

Stretch Exercise 2:  When Standing

Prefer to stand, rather than sit? Then consider this exercise, which involves standing while having your legs apart. Meanwhile, you’re supporting your upper body with your hands on your knees. Be sure that the abdominal region is relaxed, while you do this exercise. If, at some point, you let your arms drop, then you should also let your body fall down towards your legs.

Related Articles

The Ascent of Freediving

Freediving 101: A Brief Intro for Scuba Divers

Learning to Freedive Can Make You a Better Scuba Diver

Similar to the sitting exercise, this process has the diaphragm stretching and moving up into the chest as you exhale. The difference though is that when you exhale, you have to let your body fall towards the ground as you’re doing so— This is to make sure that you’re exhaling as much as possible. And don’t forget: you’ll need to have your upper body supported with your hands on your knees. 

In addition, before you do this routine, it is important to do a warm-up. Warming up consists of doing the same stretches once or twice; however, you’re working with passive exhales rather than full-on exhaling.

One More Thing…

Eventually, you’ll have to put these exercises to use, once you enter the water. Remember that it takes confidence to enter the water with these new skills. So, if you’re not comfortable putting these skills to work, then keep practicing. Building that confidence is crucial when freediving. Don’t ever attempt to free-dive without learning these skills.


It’s essential to include lung stretching in your daily exercise routine. Both stretching exercises allow you to pack more air into the lungs, which is especially needed when freediving. 

However, the important thing is to not overdo these stretches. You’ll risk fatigue and injury if these exercises are overdone. Start slow, and then progress as you keep practicing.

When doing these stretches regularly, find a time in your day to do this routine. Decide on the target areas that need to improve. Only you know what works out for you; don’t waste time trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. Focus on the things that best support your freediving training, and will give you the benefits that you’ve always wanted.

Deepblu is the Best Online Diving Community for Scuba Divers & Freedivers. Find out more

About the Author

Mildred Delgado works for both and As a marketing strategist, she helps marketing teams to create a company site that shines in both functionality and accuracy. Want to learn more about Mildred and her works in the marketing industry? Visit her at