Total Immersion Forums  

Go Back   Total Immersion Forums > O2 in H20: Breathing Skills
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-05-2016
Staying Afloat
Posts: n/a
Default Stroke to breath ratio.

Hi guys.

I started swimming after a long break last month. First session managed half a length and had to get out the pool (talk about walk of shame)! Then with reading Total Immersion I managed 10x25m lengths and now can swim 30x25m (with a 5-30second pause between each length).

Something I'm struggling with though is breathing. I tried breathing bilaterally in the following pattern:

1. Pull right + Breathe Right Side
2. Pull left arm
3. Pull right arm
4. Pull Left + Breathe Left Side

This however leaves me feeling like I'm running out of air (despite me breathing in frequently) so I'm guessing I'm hyperventilating and not having enough time to exhale?

Next I tried:

1. Pull right + Breathe Right Side
2. Pull left arm
3. Pull right arm
4. Pull left arm
5. Pull right arm
6. Pull Left + Breathe Left Side

This is much better however as I don't have a big lung capacity I tend to run out of breath early and have to "hold it" for a few seconds which doesn't feel ideal.

A compromise between the two is breathing on only one side:

1. Pull right + Breathe Right Side
2. Pull left arm
3. Pull right arm
4. Pull left arm
5. Pull right + Breathe Right Side

But I think this is a bad habit for me as I suffer with neck and shoulder injuries so I want to be as balanced as possible.

Should I just keep going with the second method and hope I'll build up greater aerobic capacity to last the whole sequence soon enough? Will this take long?

One problem I find is when I turn to breathe water runs down my face and I inhale it in - are you meant to wait before inhaling or exhale slightly first (I can't do this yet due to running out of breath!)?
Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2016
ALMD ALMD is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 37

the feeling of shortness of breath while swimming results from the buildup of Co2 in the blood because of inadequate exhalation.

if more air goes in that CO2 comes out, this will result in shortness of breath or getting winded.

for me, the fear and discomfort being in the deep water, and maybe water in general , even though I thought I was comfortable enough in the shallow water, but I guess that was not the case

Good luck

TI in training
Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016
CoachBillGreentree CoachBillGreentree is offline
TI Coach
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Posts: 61

If your breathing mechanics are correct or at least close to correct, you might want to ensure that you're exhaling between breaths while your face is under water. The amount of exhaling is actually quite small. If you're a scuba driver it's the nearly the same amount as during your "out of air" ascents practice.

Let some air trickle out of your mouth and/or nose during the two strokes you're not inhaling. When you go to take a breath, you will be able to blast a small amount of air out of your lungs and the naturally draw air in getting a more complete breath than if you're holding your breath while swimming.

If your breathing technique isn't quite up to par, practice the swim and nod as well as the whale eye drills, then move on to breathing once you've imprinted proper form.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2016
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 604

Have you tried breathing only to one side, and every other stroke:

1. Pull right + Breathe Right Side
2. Pull left arm
3. Pull right arm + Breathe Right Side
4. Pull Left

Does that help your breathlessness?

If you worry about inbalance, take one length with the above pattern, then go to left side breathign for the next length:

1. Pull right
2. Pull left arm + Breathe Right Side
3. Pull right arm
4. Pull Left + Breathe Right Side

I will also say that breathing on your off side (I think we tend to always have a favorite side for taking a breath) can be taxing unless you practice it A LOT. But breathing more often may solve your breathlessness problem until your skill increases.

You can also try practicing without breathing at all to help with inbalance. This is best done in a lane that is shallow the whole way. Swim without breathing, then when you need to take a breath, just stand up and rest/breathe/regroup. Then start again. I often start swimmers this way so that there is no breathing movement to interfere with symmetry of the stroke. Once their stroke looks pretty even, then I coach them to take the breath in the middle of their stroke without altering anything.
David Shen
Total Immersion Coach
Menlo Park, CA
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 05:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.