How to Hold Your Breath Like David Blaine, World Record Holder (and Now, Me)

Last night, world-famous magician and endurance artist David Blaine taught me how to hold my breath.

For four months, David held the Guinness world record for oxygen-assisted static apnea (holding your breath after breathing pure oxygen): 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds. His record was then surpassed by Tom Sietas on September 19, 2008. David’s record for doing what I’ll describe is between 7 and 8 minutes.

I was born premature and, unlike David, I couldn’t then remember the last time I held my breath for more than one minute. It has always been my physiological Achilles heel.

What were the results of his training?

My first baseline test: 40 seconds.

15 minutes later: 3 minutes and 33 seconds (!!!).

Out of roughly 12 TEDMED attendees he also taught, all but one beat Harry Houdini’s lifelong record of 3 minutes and 30 seconds. One woman held her breath for more than 5 minutes. Here is a photograph of the session. I’m sitting in the vest, four people to the right of Roni Zeiger, MD, Google Health product manager.

Here’s how we did it…

The David Blaine Method

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT ATTEMPT IN WATER OR WITHOUT PROPER SUPERVISION.

First and foremost, this is not a joke. David himself has almost died on several occasions. See 2:15 forward for a warning:

Moving onward to the method, which we did seated.

These notes were taken on a scrap of paper while performing the exercises. Much of it was written after I lost almost all sensation in my hands following the purging exercises, and after colors began to morph. After 3:20–I really, really wanted to beat Houdini’s record–I was shaking. Needless to say, this means these cliff notes are a bit shaky and may not be 100% accurate.

FYI, the above side-effects are common.

Definitions:

Deep breathing: “Deep breathing” involves taking a big breath in through the mouth, holding for one second, and then exhaling for 10 seconds through your mouth through your almost-closed mouth with tongue pressed against your lower teeth. It should be a hissing exhalation and make a “tsssssss…” sound. All breathing and exercises are performed though the mouth.

Purging: “Purging” involves a strong exhalation as if you were trying to blow a toy sailboat across a pool, followed by a big but faster inhalation. David’s cheeks were puffed out as he demonstrated the exhalation (imagine the big bad wolf blowing the pigs’ homes down). Be careful not to heave or rock back and forth, which wastes oxygen. Keep as still as possible.

Semi-purging: Breathing between the above two. More forceful than deep breathing but less forceful than full purging. Used for recovering after each time trial.

The Steps:

1:30 deep breathing

1:15 purging (if you feel like you’re going to pass out, do it less intensely)

Hold breath for target 1:30, no more

After 1:30:

Take 3 semi-purge breaths

1:30 deep breathing

1:30 purging

Hold breath for target 2:30, no more

After 2:30

Take 3 semi-purge breaths

2:00 deep breathing

1:45 purging

Hold breath for as long as possible

After exhalation:

Take 3-10 hard semi-purge breaths until your recover

Other Observations

David’s record using the above method: 7:47. His heart rate dropped below 20 beats per minute

He had us move our right index finger slightly every 30 seconds or so while holding our breath to indicate we were alright. More motion would waste O2.

He also suggested, and this was incredibly useful, going from A to Z in your head during time trials, visualizing a friend for each letter whose name starts with that letter. Use celebrities or historical figures when needed. This serves to distract you from the fact that you’re holding your breath.

If you continually check your time, it seems you hold your breath for less time. It is the opposite of the above. Too much focus on the time creates tension. All of the test subjects, myself included, had a harder time holding their breath when David announced the time every 5 seconds vs. 30 seconds. If I do this a second time, I will have someone else watch the time for me.

Do not let any air out whatsoever after taking your big inhalations for the time trials. This is important protective training for water-based breath holding. Why? If you pass out in the water (not good), you want the uncontrolled release of bubbles to indicate to those supervising that you’ve passed out.

It is easier to hold your breath if you haven’t eaten for 4-6 hours. It is also easier to hold your breath if you have less body mass to support. David will purposefully lose 30+ pounds during serious training to improve his lung-to-body volume ratio.

Want More?

I’ve finally met someone who screws with their body as much as I screw with mine. There are some incredible possibilities.

Would you like to see more on this blog with David Blaine? If so, follow him here on Twitter to let us know. He has a hell of lot to teach, and I’d enjoy more body hacking and mischief.

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Odds and Ends:

Tim Ferriss – Most Popular Blog Posts

Tim Ferriss on TED – Swimming Hacks, Dancing, and More

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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230 Replies to “How to Hold Your Breath Like David Blaine, World Record Holder (and Now, Me)”

  1. It’s nice to learn these tips and tricks on how to hold your breath. Thanks for sharing this very entertaining piece!

  2. Fascinating article, I’m currently in Ko Tao, Thailand practising apnea for snorkeling so this was timely and I will go home to beat my 2:14 minutes.

    cheers

  3. Thanks a lot for this article. It really works. I never could hold my breath longer than 30 -40 sec. now i can 1:30 min. after practising for half an hour. Great.

  4. Hi Tim,

    I subscribe to your blog, but this is not my favorite post.

    I think your strongest posts concern business efficiency and creative marketing, which I’d like to see more of from you.

    I’d also like to see more from you about finance, too. Not many people write well about finance, but I’m sure you could do it well (if you possess the knowledge)

  5. Tim-

    Got any more content on the subject of business endurance for startups? I would like to see a disertation on how to succsefully plan a startup for the first year of operation. I know that’s vague but you could use common variables (x money each month, x number of sales, etc.) and put them into a scalable model for a startup (maybe use Brainquicken as a case study?).

    Also it would be radical to see some more content on rapid skill acquisition. (ex. Advancded mathematics, musical instruments, etc.)

    I’m doing my own research on the web a-long with the enormous f-ing gold mine of information that your site is. Just thought I would throw it out there.

    Cheers-

    Ben

  6. This is really cool! I love how you learn how to do some of the most random things that most people wouldn’t even consider. Forget the old saying, “I wanna be like Mike”

    I wanna be like Tim!

  7. Thank’s for an awesome post

    I guess you won’t have time to read this since you get hundreds (thousands?) of messages everyday

    Anyways,

    This is my passion

    [URL in name per comment rules]

    Best regards

    @rbrtstar

  8. Well, it could stop someone from drowning some day…or maybe…aah…I don’t know. What a silly thing for a bunch of grown people to sit around doing.

    Tim Is that an example of the “eccentric billionaire behavior” that you spoke about in the book?

    If so, I want to do it some day.

  9. This is pretty unrelated but do you golf at all? If not, have you ever thought of doing a piece on the most efficient way to get decent at golf.(Shoot somewhere between 80 and 90). It would be very helpful.

  10. Interesting, pushing the limits of the human body. I think this is a fascinating exercise although I am sort of left questioning why you would want to do this? I think that if you are doing it as a part of some sort of mental and physical test or some sort of esoteric or practical training… go for it. But the idea of doing it “just because” leaves me a bit concerned about the nature of people in general. Influenced by the whims of our environment.

  11. Hmmm… sitting in the middle of a crowded cafe with a latte in one hand, laptop in the other..

    May wait until I get home to try this one 🙂

    Elliott

  12. Hey All,

    Just want to wish everyone a Happy, yummy Thanksgiving Holiday! Am thankful for the awesome comments on this blog.

    You guys rock! Best wishes to everyone 🙂

  13. Hi Tim,

    This is an unrelated question but I figured this is the best way to reach you.

    It would be great for myself and others if you would write a blog post on how to Timothy Ferris my job search. I have figured out that looking for job postings online is a waste of time, and the more direct and supposedly productive approach of identifying key decision makers at companies involves a lot of calling and emailing without much response.

    How would you approach a job hunt if you were looking to get the most responses in the least amount of time? For the record I am fresh out of college and looking for a job in sales, and everyone has told me they are only looking for people with experience.

    Thanks Tim,

    Scott

  14. This is great! I can’t wait to try this technique in the Bahamas. You can’t spearfish in the Bahamas with compressed air unless you are a commercial diver and I believe this certification is reserved for Bahamian citizens only. I’ve noticed that the older I get the less amount of time I am able to stay underwater. Using these techniques and being able to pressurize properly should do the trick.

  15. Hi Tim

    Just got a hold of your book and it has been a great eye opener. I am actually just reading about ‘Dreamlining’ in your Systems reset chapter and have 3 questions for you- As a best selling author; namely

    1) What are the different steps you took to convert your ideas into a best selling book

    2) How did you identify your potential customer base

    3) How did you choose the right channel to market your book (I am considering a blog page & e-book – want to write a book about my own experiences of overcoming redundancy but I am unsure of the most suitable approach for developing my idea.?)

    Thanks for the response.

    Trini

  16. @ Tim Ferris

    Timmay! Any plans to “Tim Ferris” standup comedy? I’m a comedian, and success (doing a set on a late night show) takes a longgg time. A lot of people do it 2-3 years before they even get PAID. I’m sure you could smash that.

    “I don’t want to be seen in the public eye as a comedian.”

    Well, you could quit right after you achieve a goal…like “Get offered 10,000 for one gig.”

  17. I’d like to see the video of you holding your breath also.

    Speaking of videos..

    ..so when’s the next RANDOM episode coming? I’m anticipating some more Tim + Kev shenanigans

  18. Tim we have not heard from you in a while. Waiting for some big news. Possibly the new book for Christmas?

    RL

  19. I find this amazing. The only thing I dont get is that Davids hair doesn’t look wet in the Oprah clip when he is under water for 17 minutes and 4 seconds. How can that be?

  20. Empowering experiments are always worthwhile if you believe testing yourself and breaking through the negative limitations we allow to dominate our mindspace. That being said, i would be interested in techniques related to holding one’s breathe when being held down by large waves. Got any insights or legit links? Could you imagine holding a similar seminar at Mavericks with Jeff Clark as your mentor? I could arrange such an event for you and the Google dude you were with…

  21. I tried this out the other night and I got my breath from 45 seconds to 3:45 just going through the steps you talked about. The whole process took about 20 minutes for me.

    What a good way to spend a quiet evening at home!

  22. This method should be taught to childern when learning to swim in general. I can think of a single example; a friend is trapped at the bottom of a pool and its going to take some effort to untangle whatever he’s tangled in. You might not get 3 whole minutes because of the physical aspect of saving someone, but if they are taught to RELAX when holding their breath to rescue someone and use the least amount movement.. etc.. etc.. it just seems to me like this is something that should become common knowledge, like the front crawl. 😉

  23. All you out of country folks, I would love to partner with you!!!

    I have started a sight at Shopify, and would like some help.

    I live in California.

    If you have something elese in mind other than my idea I would be open to that as well.

    Contact me if you are serious!!!!

    I am open to all offers.

    All the Best

    Cathie

  24. wow some people are crazy.

    Never do this in water even TIm has said that is crazy and potentially lethal. Read the comment of guy who fell and gashed his head.

    Spearfishing and this technique, or snorkeling and this technuique DO NOT MIX it can kill you becuase of the technique you could pass out by accident. and so if you dont have a spotter with scuba gear right next to you like I am sure David Blaine doing the navy seal thing ,( and for that matter I suppose the navy seals had spotters too. )

    As for freedivers doing this technique breath control and such is the whole point of free diving I mean they cant do it well with out learning lots about it I bet. So I assume anyone doing it for real will know or find out what is safe and not safe as far as passing out from a breathing technique.

  25. I would like to update my comments about beibg 82 yrs. old holding my breath swimming under water from a month ago, now I have held my breath from 2:45 to 5:01 above water new under water 25 yard swim is 50 seconds old record was 62 seconds…I never was a swimmer and reading David Blains achievements has given me the fountain of youth by holding my breath and swimming under water didn’t sound like any thing I could possibly do….but I did and it has been huge for me…I can’t wait to get in the water every day

  26. Tim,

    I follow your blog 24/7– I have read the book, travel frequently, and train relentlessly for a wide range of sports. I wanted to patch through a link from PFI that I thought you might be interested in. PFI is: Performance Free Dive International. I am an avid free diver/ spear fisherman and thought you would like to check out the “F3F Cayman Grand Prix.” It is simply amazing. I have attached the vimeo link — take a peak, its pretty incredible. I am going to begin my free dive certifications for intermediate, and advanced range diving in Monterey CA. My friend took the course and made it up to 127 ft. on the fourth day of instruction. The video and additional performance free dive info is linked through the Performance Free Dive Institute website. Check out the videos section and view “Upcoming F3F Scooter Racing Event in Grand Cayman, May 2010.

    Best,

    Shawn M.

  27. i did it last night and held my breath for 4 minutes 42 seconds but when i went spear fishing it was 18 meters deep and i could only hold my breath for about 2 1/2 miuntes to 3 minutes

  28. I discovered this as a kid. I am 44 now, but used to love snorkling off the beaches in Okinawa when my dad was there flying for the USAF in the ’70s.

    I also was on a swim team for years, and a life guard. The technique you are describing was what we call hyperventilating, as a prep for a dive without scuba. It dulls the pain reflex from the CO2 buildup. I always thought (perhaps correctly) that it flushes the otherwise normal level of CO2 from the bloodstream and lungs.

    Some emotional control is paramount, and the postiive assurance you experienced as part of a guided team would help of course to that end. Myself, I did all this years ago, and can at will hold my breath for 5 + minutes at any time with 2 minutes prep. for the venting CO2 from my sys.

    BTW, I can also tell you how to survive and repeatedly enjoy a 100′ freefall into fresh water. Its not the impact, but the balance, choice of departure postiion, and winds. Its not a big deal at all but the experience is flat out nuts. Best from a suspension bridge, safer and the feeling without a cliff wall nearby is more astonishing. The naked zoom DOWN. Falling as fast as you can think, and faster.

  29. Just read Bryan’s comment (comment information) Bryan Hall-October 30th, 2009-12:58 pm) and have to say that’s hilarious!

    A bunch of geeks locked in breath holding combat. Brilliant. In fact, Tim, as a writer, you should suggest that to the writers of Big Bang Theory on TV. I can already picture Leonard walking in on Sheldon, Raj and Wolowitz locked in combat. Too funny.

  30. This tech sounds kind of dangerous (read the article summary, haven’t watched the video). Look up the effects of hyperventilation- way too easy to have a black out using this system of “purge breaths”. There are much safer ways to have long breath holds without using that. As a side note, breath holds in water should never be done without adequate saftey measures including a competent buddy. Preventable deaths are always a tragedy.

  31. I used to read a series of books called The Destroyer -a cop framed for murder,”executed” , brought back to serve the govt as a secret assassin-He was trained by a Korean in the art of Sinanju….one of the parts of the training regimen was control over breathing (and body), I took their exercises to heart and could hold my breath routinely under water for 4 + minutes.

    I often would hold my breath while waking pretending I was in a swirl of noxious gases which would clear after the next two telephone poles down the road… the effects of working in a state of oxygen deprivation are incredible!

    The muscle pain is one… your legs feel like you have been whacked with a bat, your skin crawls sometimes, there is that ‘darkness’ he mentions and often you feel an intense need to let loose – (bladder , everything) of course I dont, but I wonder if thats what happen when you die.. when doing that breath thing while at rest, my heart beat lowers to maybe 40 bpm….havent dont this stuff in years.. should try it again!

    This is excellent,better living without chemistry!

  32. Wow. I feel like children should be taught these techniques in school while they’re young. It would certainly help to know how to hold your breath in case of any situation where you need to stay underwater.

  33. Nice article, but sometimes the fast way is not the good one. In this case it’s actually a dangerous one with all the purging going on. Just a recipe for being on the edge between nailing it and a blackout.

    This is already an old article but it taught people to hold their breath (even over 7 minutes on regular air) in the correct way and some patience: http://shark-freediving.com/2007/03/06/top-10-on-how-to-hold-your-breath-longer/

    Oh and the pure oxygen breath hold are just stunts. Stig Severinsen from Denmark broke the record two weeks ago with a 20:10 minute breath hold: http://shark-freediving.com/2010/04/02/stig-sets-new-o2-static-record/

  34. Hey this is really great, though I’m in no hurry to rush out and try it. I think you’re willingness to try everything is inspiring – you must have more fun than anyone 🙂

  35. Great blog. Had a quick try, and held my breath for just over three minutes on my first attempt. Amazed.

  36. Top tip – don’t bother attempting this after you’ve just been for a run!(bit stupid, I know…)

    Did manage to get over 3 mins with first attempt yesterday though. Goal – 5 mins by the end of the week.

  37. WOW i tries this and i held my breath for 3:39!!!!

    thanks for posting! this article rocks, BTW i thought i was going to pass out lol

  38. i really loved this article! im 14 and me and my little sister go swimming alot, i did the steps above and my record before hand was 1:09, now its 2:46!! im very shocked, (and lightheaded lol) but this really helps me, now i can hold my breath long enought to go freediving, and all sorts or neat stuff! plus in my highschool we get to go to the pool for sports and ill be the best one at holding my breath! LOL! thanks for the awesome writeup! you helped me ALOT!

  39. Thx for the inspiration Tim!

    Always wanted to enhance my ability to hold my breath. In 2 weeks I’ve registered for an Apnoe course… [edited]

    My baseline before was 1:10 minutes.

    I’ve followed your instructions with a stopwatch and made it to 4:01 minutes. Totally awesome I’m practically blown away!

    BTW, the trick visualizing friends faces in an alphabetical order totally worked for me too!

    Thx!

  40. i read a book by a man called win wenger and he encourages underwater swimming as a way of triggering extra blood flow to the brain by increasing the level of Co2 in the blood. This opens up the carotid arteries, bathing brain in a higher amount of blood. This is supposed to boost brain power. He has a whole program on boosting your brain power but one of the things he recommends is underwater swimming every day for one hour for three weeks, building up the length of time that you can hold your breath for to about 3 mins if possible. I would love to know if anyone has knows of truth in this. There is a japanese inventor dr nakamats who has patented many inventions who holds his breath and has an underwater note pad where he takes notes claiming the underwater exercise helps him to make connections and solve problems. The book is the einstein factor,

    http://www.winwenger.com/ebooks/guaran3.htm. here is an excerpt and explanation.

    1. There is a lot to be learned from freedivers and breath holds of more than three minutes are common in our sport. The current world record being 11 minutes and 35 seconds.

      Sadly, what Mr. Ferris advocates is a very dangerous practice and at the same time counter productive for longer dives/breath holds.

      If you have any questions on how to do this safely, do look me up. 🙂

  41. i cannot believe how stupid and irresponsible people have been in attempting these techniques .All through the commentarys people have left there has been no indication of safety mechanisms or support being put into place by those having a go at this. breath holding is a dangerous thing to do by yourself .DONT DO IT UNSUPERVISED ! Let me say that again.DONT DO IT UNSUPERVISED.!!!!!!! Do Yourselves all a favour and go onto youtube and type in Shallow Water Blackout .Also look for the safety presentation by Erez Beatus on shallow water blackout . Before some one dies.NEVER DO BREATH HOLDING ALONE>EVER.

  42. @David: you’re 100% right. As a freediver, the first thing one needs to do is be supervised and hyperventilating (ie: purging) can lead to blackouts because you are tricking your body’s trigger mechanisms by lowering your blood’s CO2 levels.

    You can actually go much much further in breath hold time without purging and learning to simply accept your contractions. The proof is right here in the comments: I posted in an earlier one that my record was 2:14 (check above) and I’m currently sitting at 5:02 WITHOUT using such techniques. This is a beautiful sport and such shortcuts lead to accidents.

    Tim, please take that into consideration or contact me so that I can put you in touch with some worldclass freedivers. Cheers

  43. @David: you’re 100% right. As a freediver, the first thing one needs to do is be supervised and hyperventilating (ie: purging) can lead to blackouts because you are tricking your body’s trigger mechanisms by lowering your blood’s CO2 levels.

    You can actually go much much further in breath hold time without purging and learning to simply accept your contractions. The proof is right here in the comments: I posted in an earlier one that my record was 2:14 (check above) and I’m currently sitting at 5:02 WITHOUT using such techniques. This is a beautiful sport and such shortcuts lead to accidents.

    Tim, please take that into consideration or contact me so that I can put you in touch with some worldclass freedivers. Cheers

  44. What you’re publishing is counter-productive. (and dangerous)

    The breathing described is hyperventilation which does not enable you to hold your breath longer, but instead increases Oxygen consumption, and thus _reduces_ the possible breath hold times.

    What it does instead is removing warning signs, so you may very possibly hold your breath until you black out. – and without a buddy around that might well be the last thing you do.

    When publishing stuff, please do some research before hitting the [send] button.

    Sincerely,

    Richard Wonka,

    Apnea Academy Instructor

    AIDA Master Instructor

    Freediver

  45. There’s a rule in swimming breastroke that you have to break the water surface with your head once each stroke — I think that’s the current rule. In my time you *could not* completely submerge yourself.

    Reason for this was that breastroke as it was swum then (it’s less true with teh “making it almost like butterfly again” adaptations) is faster, completely underwater, so people would hyperventilate before events… pass out underwater, usually when *almost* done the race so they’d coast at high speed into the wall and cause injury and death.

    But hey, if people are goin’ for Darwin awards… and I’m sure oxygen deprivation is really helpful for the ol’ brain tissue… just consider what happens when infants have that happen with the ol’ umbilical cord!

  46. It’s funny. I am one of those pickup guys. I teach men how to be more successful with women.

    When I send them in to speak with women, they’ll ask me, “What do I say? I can’t think of what to say!”

    I say, “Don’t think.”

    When David is in that deep place, where he drifts away…that’s the pure spirit.

    Or he’s full of shit.

  47. Just wanna say awesome article!! Ive never been a strong swimmer and have horrible stamina, as of last week the longest i could hold my breath was 1:18. I stumbled across this article in an attempt to beat my friends best time of 2:08, which by the way he is an excellent athlete and works out every day, I on the other hand dont and currently have two blood clots! It seemed an impossible feat but after just two sessions of the above mentioned technique I went from my previous best to smashing his time with 4:03, f’n outstanding!! Also i smoke a pack of cigs a day so if I can do it anyone can. Thanks Tim, you have a fan for life! Cant wait till the next time i go spearfishing:)

    1. Smoke decreases stamina greatly. I don’t smoke, so my stamina was decent even after months of sedentary life.

  48. e didn’t actually hold his breath, when he came out of 17 minutes his hair was dry, it must have been some sort of optical illusion.

  49. I have tried to hold breath and i couldnt make it. Is it easier to try under water ?

    @Cows to you

    His hair wasnt dry. (?)

  50. Yeah that is a long time holding the breath. I wonder how many brain cells he killed holding his breath that long?

  51. Awesome man. Really nice article. Really helpful. got to 2:38 as my maximum time. Will practice this everyday.

  52. I don’t understand.. 🙁

    If you are holding your breath, how can you do these ‘purging breaths’ if you can’t inhale..?

    sorry if this sounds heaps stupid..

  53. My great great uncle James ‘Professor’ Finney held the underwater swimming record in 1882 – he did 340 feet at Prince of Wales Baths, Blackpool, in full costume.

    He had a music hall act, swimming in a tank on stage , and broke his own underwater record on stage in London in 1886 – 4 minutes 30 seconds.

    In September 1898 he swam from Blackpool to St Annes Pier in 5 hours 17 mins and also holds the 1 mile Open Water Championship, being the then fastest swimmer on record in water of 50 degrees. He swam his mile in 29 minutes and 59.5 seconds.

    I’d love to know if he still holds these records!

  54. Great article! I always thought I was weak at holding breath, I hated how I always gave in to the feeling to breathe when I was swimming (by coming up for air). I just did 1.5 minutes of deep breathing and 1.5 minutes of purging, and then I was able to hold my breath for 2.5 minutes. The beautiful part of it, is that I hardly pushed myself at all, I still felt very comfortable, so I think I could go for 3.5 minutes for sure.

    It was really odd, 2 minutes in and still feeling that comfortable with holding my breath.. Didn’t feel a need to breathe at all.

  55. I am normally sceptical of anything that promises immediate results, however I was happily suprised when i managed 2.30, and 3.45 on my fist and second breath, then 3.50 on the final breath.

    This really suprised me, as I had just the day before timed myself at 1.30 no technique. So to more than double this in a single session was incredible.

    I used to hold my breath unconsiously as a child and would only realise as I deeply exhaled, I remember as a 9 year old I could hold my breath for 2.30 without the technique. This was the peak though as I gave up on swimming and with it the need/desire to hold my breath for extended periods.

    I speculate that my smoking has something to do with the fact that as a 9 year old I could hold my breath longer sans technique than i can now. Luckily with this though I manageed to smash my record and with it regain some of my manlihood.

    1. I definitely think that it’s easier to hold breath underwater… water is so soothing and relaxing

  56. I think there are a few things to improve this. I’m not sure all the structure is necessary. On my first shot I got 4 minutes. I got 4:30 on my second try with a damn cat crawling all over me. A few key notes to my success: I had a hard workout today and my heart rate is pretty low right now. I’m also in my bed, ready to fall asleep. Basically my body needs very little oxygen.

  57. Can someone please explain to me how to purge, semi purge, … Its the first time for me to read such exercises on training a breath hold.

    So lets say: the steps are:

    1:30 deep breathing, and that is taking a deep breath after exhaling all of the old non-fresh air out of the lungs, and re taking a fresh one in.

    It says: to hold for one second and exhale it during a 10 seconds time. Means slowly deflate ur lungs.

    Well, what about 1:30 m/s, does that mean i would keep repeating that deep breathing step for a time of 1:30 seconds on my timer? then i move to semi purge?

    …etc!

  58. So if this is the preparation, if you were going to do this before swimming how far in advance would you have to do it?

    1. You shouldn’t do this before swimming. Most free-divers advise against purging or other hyperventilation because it increases the risk of blackout. No problem on land, deadly in the water.

  59. normally i’m like dying at a minute, and can push maybe 1:30. after doing only the first part of this exercise i held my breath for 3 minutes and could have held it for longer, wasnt even feeling out of breath, i stopped because i just wanted to hit 3 minutes lol. will try again after full exercise and see what i can get, this is amazing

  60. Hi! Last week i saw a video about David Blaine holding his breath for 17 min. I was so amazed and inspired by him, that i had to try it. Last week i could only hold my breath for one minute, but now that I’ve learned what to do by David Blaine, Today i beat my record and got 4 minutes flat! I will continue to try to beat my record and be inspired by David Blaine 🙂

  61. This is amazing. My previous best last night before I tried this was 1:30. After one time through the mentioned exercise, I reached 3:45 on my last breath hold. I’m a believer! Thanks for teaching me this!

  62. hi i was thinking about doing this but i dont want to get brain damage in the process so how can i avoid this from happening ? thank you.

  63. Hey man,

    I’ve been trying to hold my breath for quite a while now without techniques, my max was at 2:30. The second after I read this article, I tried this (even though I’m in a public library), just did 1 session (1:30 deep breathing and 1:15 purging). Managed to get to 3 minutes without even shaking or whatsoever, I’m sure when I try this the way it should I can make 3:30 as well. This is fucking awesome, thanks!

  64. I was just wondering if it is a good idea to hyperventilate before doing a breath hold or if I should just breathe slowly and just relax.

  65. Okay so I did tried this and it really worked well but will this help me to hold my breathe for longer periods of time when I don’t do this? I tried holding my breathe without using these breathing techniques after I had been using them and I felt like I could not hold my breathe as long as I normally could.

  66. Hello Tim. Great article. I have tried this exercise and destroyed my previous breath holding record by over a minute. However, I have one question. I am an avid and accomplished competitive swimmer in High School. My deficit is not in that I am inadequate, however, my deficit is in my breath holding. I find myself unable to hold my breath while swimming extensively, which leads to times way below my potential. I was just wondering if I could do this before every swim practice, (1 and 1/2 hours long) leading to better training, or before I swim in a big race? Please respond and thanks in advance. -Evan

  67. This information is quite astounding,

    I normally was holding my breath for 6 minutes at a time,

    But after doing these exercises I’ve been able to get up to 10 minutes!

  68. I tried another method (lighter) and I did slighty more than 3’00” once (I stopped because I didn’t wanted to see what my limit was, in fact I wasn’t lightheaded or similar, it was just normal) . It was cool, but I prefer to increase my normal abilities.

    Normally I go for 1’20” maximum. And I’m still unfit (high rest heart beat rate and overweight). I just started exercise last month, and considering my general shape I’m quite faithful on my capacities.

    1. I DIDN’t use hyperventilation (or what you call it) because I’m totally against it.

      And I noticed that when i do exercises (mainly fast walking).

  69. Are you sure Blaine’s record is only 7:47? I tried the method as explained and after a few sessions I got up to 8:00.

  70. I ended up here after listening to an old Random Show Podcast in which you mention a book you was recommended by Blaine. I’d love to hear you do a podcast interview with him if you haven’t already.

  71. @ Tim – you had mentioned in a recent podcast that being in a state of ketosis helped increase breath hold time. Any results you can post?