How to Hold Breath Underwater: 13 Steps

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How to Hold Breath Underwater: 13 Steps
How to Hold Breath Underwater: 13 Steps

Holding your breath for a long time is essential for swimming long distances and, to top it off, it still impresses your friends. To practice swimming or surfing, you need to stay underwater for a long time, and practicing breathing techniques will help you develop optimal endurance.


Part 1 of 3: Building Muscle Capacity

Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 1

Step 1. Sit or lie down on the floor

Find a comfortable, rigid place to lie down or sit on your knees. To learn how to control your breathing correctly, it's best to start practicing out of the water.

Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 2

Step 2. Relax physically and mentally

Concentrate on clearing your mind of unnecessary worries and thoughts and staying upright and still to slow your heart down. When the heart beats slower, the body uses less oxygen.

  • The body needs oxygen to function and move, and the more still it is, the less it will need it.
  • First, practice holding your breath without moving, and then start to include some simple movements like walking; this will train your body to conserve oxygen longer, dive and swim with less air.
Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 3

Step 3. Inhale slowly using the diaphragm

Breathe through your belly, not your chest. The diaphragm is a muscle attached to the base of the lungs, helping it to expand and absorb more oxygen.

  • Start inhaling for five seconds and increase the time with each inhale. This will stretch your lungs and increase your ability to hold air.
  • Filling your cheeks with air doesn't help at all, and it still uses up your facial muscles, which also uses up oxygen.
Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 4

Step 4. Exhale little by little

While holding your breath, let out a little air every now and then. The accumulation of carbon dioxide in your lungs will cause your body to try to exhale all at once, but control yourself.

  • When finished, release all remaining air to the last breath to completely get rid of carbon dioxide.
  • This substance is toxic and can cause fainting, but it is the body itself that produces it when breathing is somehow impeded.
  • When you get through this spasm, the spleen will take care of releasing blood with more oxygen into the bloodstream, and if you make it through this part, you can hold your breath for even longer.
Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 5

Step 5. Breathe in and out again

Whenever breathing resumes, force yourself to go a little farther. Inhale and exhale for two minutes at a time, at a smooth, regular pace, training your body to function longer without oxygen.

Part 2 of 3: Training underwater

Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 6

Step 1. Breathe as described above several times

Spend five minutes slowly inhaling and exhaling. Stand or sit in the shallow end of the pool and relax your body.

Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 7

Step 2. Go underwater slowly

Take a deep breath through your mouth and sink in, keeping your mouth and nose covered.

  • If necessary, use your hand to close your nostrils.
  • It's important to stay relaxed, as holding your breath in the water is more risky than out of it.
Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 8

Step 3. Return to the surface slowly

When you reach your limit, push yourself up and release any remaining air as you come out of the water to inhale as quickly as possible.

  • Give yourself a two- to five-minute break to take a deep breath before diving in again, restoring your body's oxygen level.
  • If you feel panic at any time, relax and come back to the surface. Panic can cause you to involuntarily breathe underwater, causing you to drown.
Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 9

Step 4. Start moving when you feel more comfortable

Diving deeper and swimming will require more oxygen, so don't try to push yourself beyond your limits all at once.

  • When diving, stay relaxed and calm to keep your heart rate at a slow pace.
  • Swimming is the opposite of that; your muscles will use force to move quickly and this will speed up your heart rate.
Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 10

Step 5. Don't use time to measure your progress, but the distance covered

When you're used to spending more time without air, don't time yourself; it will leave you mentally exhausted. Prefer to measure the distance you can travel in the pool, or the depth you reach before needing air.

Ask a friend to time you if you really want to know your time

Part 3 of 3: Practicing Safely

Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 11

Step 1. Have company to train

Practicing alone can be dangerous; if you pass out, choke, or anything else happens, you won't be able to help yourself. Look for someone who knows how to give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in case of an emergency.

Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 12

Step 2. Start by practicing on the shallow end

That way, you can lift yourself up easily if you need to. Keep in mind that moving in water requires more energy and more oxygen than moving outside.

Hold Your Breath Under Water Step 13

Step 3. Listen to your body

If your vision starts to fade or you feel dizzy, get out of the water immediately. Don't risk your safety to stay submerged for a few more seconds.


  • Try taking diving lessons if you want to go deeper and stay underwater longer. Learning from a professional is your best option.
  • Practice breathing in this way daily to stretch your lungs.
  • Wear protective eyewear if you're not used to being underwater with your eyes open.

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