In our last post we talked about a very simplistic, sustained co2 and 02 tolerance table (of sorts). What we will now cover is the cornerstone of all apnea training… tables!
If you sneak in to a freediving club, or overhear freedivers talking about their training you are bound to hear a conversation that goes something like this…
“How are your tables going?
Oh not bad, I think i have been working too much on my o2 though….
Yeah me too, did you try that c02 table i told you about?
Nah… shall we do it next session?
Yeah, guess so…”
Now, to an outsider that conversation basically sounds like two people talking junk, right? What we will now talk about will explain in relative detail the mysteries of co2 and o2 training tables.
Freediving training tables are basically a series of dives (normally static) that push our tolerances and condition our bodies to deal with either high co2 or low o2.
You need to try to do both as they both do different things. A co2 table trains you to deal with that burning feeling of needing to breathe, whilst an o2 table trains your body to operate on low o2.
Let look at co2 tables first.
A co2 table is basically a series of dives which gives you less and less time to recover in between breath-holds. So the co2 in your blood and tissues slowly creeps up and up throughout the exercise. This slow increase develops your tolerance to that nasty co2. People who have a really strong, or early desire to breathe need to concentrate on co2 tables. The maximum hold should really be no more than about 50% of your maximum breath hold time.
o2 tables work differently.
o2 tables are designed to increase you maximum breath-hold, by increasing the amount of time that you retain you breath for on each attempt. The recovery phase is fixed, unlike the co2 table, so the co2 is expelled properly in between dives. These kind of tables are important to get the body working well under the effects of low o2.
Lets have a look at 2 basic examples of both.
Get the idea? Its pretty simple really, so go ahead and construct your own tables to suit your requirements.
When you are training you should only focus on one type of table per session, focusing the body’s conditioning on either co2 or o2. You must also only do one table per session. When constructing your tables ensure that you do not push your limits too far by either setting your co2 hold at over 50% of your static PB or having your last 02 hold at more than 80% of your static PB. Tables are not there to push your limits, they are there to condition yourself. Each table will take quite some time to complete so have a patient buddy!
You can get software that will help you do your own tables. Just search the Apple store or Google Play for apnea trainers.
Remember that freediving training is all about baby steps and slow steady progress is a safe environment. Always train with a buddy and never dive alone. Even a seemingly easy table can be deadly if conducted alone.
So now that you know what its all about, you can join in that riveting conversation about tables!