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flowersnapper 07-02-2016 01:19 PM

Help Please - I'm so frustrated with breathing
Hi Everyone,

I'm loving everything about TI Freestyle, but I just can't get the hang of breathing.

I can breaststroke correctly with no breathing issues.

I feel great, feel really relaxed. I can superman glide from the wall, breathe out gently and controlled, and I can go about half pool length (approx 10 - 12m) before having to stand for breath.
My legs don't sink at all (probably cos I'm not skinny ).

When I use snorkel I can swim easily to other end of lap, again feel great, nice and relaxed.

HOWEVER, when I try to incorporate breath, breath 1 and 2 feel fine, then by third breathe I am forced to stand to take good deep breath and restart. I think I must have read every article and youtube video on breathing, but I just can't work out why I can't complete 1 length (I know it's pitiful isn't it)

Maybe I am not exhaling enough - how do I know if I'm not, and how exactly do I make sure I'm doing this correctly - how do I forcefully exhale before inhilation, and do folks think this is my problem.

All thoughts and comments most appreciated, as I'm so frustrated. I feel once I've got this cracked, I will finally be able to progress properly. Everything else feels pretty good and I'm really enjoying it.

Kind Regards


WFEGb 07-04-2016 07:23 AM

Hello flowsnapper,

think at least you need an answer of encouragement to go on with your mindfull work. If you read as much as stated you'll know, breathing in FS is a fairly difficult skill for most starters/beginners and a (necessary) stroke/streamline disturbing thing for nearly all of us... Only a few of us can do it at once, some will need hours, weeks, months, even years to turn breathing to skill.


I can breaststroke correctly with no breathing issues.
BR is another Story. You'll have read even triathletes and marathon runners might run into breathing problems after some meters.


HOWEVER, when I try to incorporate breath, breath 1 and 2 feel fine, then by third breathe I am forced to stand to take good deep breath and restart.
Did you go through the TI-steps? 1) No breathe... taking just a sight of one poolwall with relaxed stroke. 2) No breathe... One eye above surface, while looking to poolwall. Relaxed while head turned. 3) No breathe... cleared mouth as Popeye, surface just lower edge of mouth, only one eye above surface. Relaxed head in whole movement. 4) Same as (4), but taking a short sip of air with relaxed head/neck for two (four) strokes.

Go to your felt relaxed two strokes and whatch where and how tension slips in while stroking the third time. Work as long as necessary in these three (six) strokes to avoid any tension, then take a fourth, fifth studying what happens with the tension..


but I just can't work out why I can't complete 1 length (I know it's pitiful isn't it)
Train you patience as secondary benefit. Adding a stroke more will lead you to more than a lap...


Maybe I am not exhaling enough - how do I know if I'm not, and how exactly do I make sure I'm doing this correctly -
Stand up after your second breathe. If you can exhale at once before inhaling you didn't exhale enough... A tiny rest of air you can press is normal.

At least you have an interesting research object with your breathing. So don't Forget to feel courious about everything you'll find out.

Relax, go on and have fun!

Best regards,

flowersnapper 07-04-2016 03:43 PM

Could you explain the exhale bit again
Hi Werner,

Thanks so much for your reply - I can do nod and whale eye okay. Its the popeye that's got me.

I can do a couple then have to stand up to take a breath.

Could you just go over the exhale bit again, and how do I know if I have exhaled completely.

I can then take note when I go this week.

I'm really enjoying learning everything, but will have to learn to be patient as you say.

Thanks in advance


CoachBobM 07-04-2016 09:15 PM

How many strokes are you taking between breaths?


WFEGb 07-04-2016 10:28 PM

Hello Chris,

Andy's metaphor once was to think about breathing as a bellow. You'll have to find where/when tension sneaks in. It might be still in your first two breaths. I'd suggest the checklist:

- Is your neck relaxed and aligned with your spine?
- Do you have the feeling your head is just floating?
- Does the relaxation hold, while you're nodding/turning your head?
- Is your leading hand/arm relaxed from deepest up fingers-wrist-elbow-shoulder?
- Does your leading hand stay relaxed and fixed on it's wide rail?
- Is your core stable with enough relaxation to breathe unhindered?
- Are your legs aligned with spine and relaxed?
- Did you try inhaling down to your stomach... and will you let this deep air out again by itself (relaxed)?

You also may try in shallow water: Take two strokes and exhale in your usua way. Hold the rest air and stand up. If you can let out some air just by relaxing without pressing, you didn't exhale enough, because there has been some tension left...

My wife likes to think breathing as 6/8: 2-outflow, 2-outlfow, 1-rest air spit off, 1-inhale...

Hope there's something to study and find something out...

Best regards,

flowersnapper 07-05-2016 06:40 PM

Hi Again
Thanks again Werner for all useful info - I will check in again once I can answer exhale question - I couldn't get to pool today.

I'm breathing bilaterally bye the way Coach Bob (or attempting to), so I push off, take one stroke breathe to the left fine, take three strokes, breathe to right, then I can take one more stroke and I'm forced to stand for good deep breath.

If I do widths I could go on all day, as I only need one breathe to get across, and I feel really good doing this, but obviously want to progress to a length, and hopefully many more with practice.

Thanks for all your help

Kind Regards


WFEGb 07-06-2016 07:38 AM

Hello Chris,

forgot an important point you should incorporate to the checklist:

- Is your recovery arm relaxed (especially while taking an inhale?) Upper arm not behind the scapular plane, no tiny muscle tensions in your lower arm?

Sure you'll find out some things. Be courious about not frustrated. We all are on an interesting and healthy journey... with ups and downs in our mood...

Best regards,

novaswimmer 07-07-2016 04:24 PM

I can't breathe bilaterally for very long -- maybe one length! I'm still a newbie swimmer though.

My hope is that as my balance gets better, drag decreases, movements get more relaxed and efficient, that I will eventually move to bilateral.

But for now, I have to breathe every other stroke. I'm not trying to break any speed records, but just swim slowly for as long as I can. My record so far is nearly an hour swim non-stop. I swim breathing to one side on one lap, then breathe on my other side on the returning lap. This way at least I don't get lazy breathing on my 'easy' side all the time.

You might give breathing every other stroke a try for the very same reasons.

WFEGb 07-07-2016 05:57 PM

Hello novaswimmer,

think you're very right with changing sides lapwise, even Terry has recommended. But changing sides (no matter what intervals) is important for long-term. So we should allow for from the beginning.

Your swims are fairly long. Did you experiment with other patterns, as 2-2-2-3... or 2-2-3... or changing sides in lap's mid? Breathing with various patterns may have positive repercussions to drag reduce and over all Relaxation.

Best regards,

flowersnapper 07-07-2016 07:57 PM

Results from today
Right, first things first. I tried to note how I felt after the two breaths I can do.

I realised when I do stand up, I am really ready for immediate inhale, so I assume this means I have exhaled fully? Perhaps I'm going too far on 1 breathe?

Today amongst other things I tried doing 1 breathe followed by 1 interrupted breath etc to end of length, and felt good, as able to at least reach other end of pool.

Bye the way I'm really impressed by novaswimmer who can swim continuously for nearly an hour. Something I can only dream of at present.

I'd be quite happy to get to the other end using continuous breathing in a relaxed manner. Don't mind having nice rest in between laps, as I'm sure like riding a bike, once you have the technique, distance will follow.

Thanks again for all your comments

Kind Regards


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