Thread: Bottom Time
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Old 02-04-2020, 11:41 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: oakland, ca
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Re: Bottom Time

are you talking about bottom time / dive time for spearfishing? you'll probably need to tweak some methods taught in free dive classes for spearfishing. the main obvious difference is that for spearfishing, you're not pushing your max depth or bottom time. you want to be able to do the dive (with certain time/depth) for hours or all day.

it's like learning to sprint as a sport, then now you want to run a 30 mile trail. If you're just starting out, make sure you go slow- for progressing in both depth and breath hold/dive time. I'd say after you re-surface, you should still have at last 15-20 seconds of breath hold in you before it really starts to hurt (where you can still keep holding your breath). but your dive time will also change depending on ocean temp/wetsuit thickness or buoyancy+weights.

for example, if I'm doing 1:15 minute dives in norcal at around 45 ft, I resurface and I can hold my breath for another 30 seconds at least. and I can do that all day or until I get cold and have my first shivers. but if I'm diving in Baja, I can do 2:00 dives with 30 second additional after I resurface, all day.

I don't actually hold my breath for 30 seconds now, but I have done this when I was just starting out and couldn't accurately assess how much more I could hold. so you can do this test also when you're diving, but another thing that'd help you assess is practicing breath holds on land (lying down). it really helps to get to know the subtleties of your breathing and the urge to breathe- how that develops and intensifies, and how much longer you can still hold comfortably, and then how much more uncomfortably.

so when you're at the bottom, with a slight sensation of urge to breathe, you know how much longer you have left. hopefully you take into account how deep you are. I usually try to get super comfortable in a certain range of depth (for example 50-60ft for dozens of dive days) while improving my bottom time (ex. from 1:00 to 1:20)-with breath hold tables and cardio. and if I go deeper than 60ft, it's done intentionally and I cut back on dive time to 1:00 and slowly improve on it.

this is just the way I do it- but definitely go slow, don't come even close to maxing out, don't ever be out of breath, and practice breath hold on land (mostly with tables but trying to max out at times) so that you're familiar with your breathing/breath holds.
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