Q&A #4 - Static Apnea Training Principles

Question by Kurt Chambers from Kona, Hawai'i

Today I will try to give an answer on a very interesting topic! Before few weeks I received the following e-mail from Kurt Chambers who lives in Hawaii.

''Though most are interested in your dynamic accomplishments, I know from looking at your results that you are also very accomplished in static, with a close to 9 minutes personal best. It is easy to notice that many of the best in dynamic are also the best in static. Therefore, I would like to ask about your training principles for static? I have suspected that success it comes from boosting one's red blood cell count (or 'hematocrit'), which takes lots of time and the right stimuli (e.g., low oxygen), along with the right diet. Can you comment whether any of my ideas applies in your training? If so, how do you apply these principles in your static training?''


I've started practising static apnea from the beginning of my career. I was doing a lot of static apnea training for two and a half years.

I don’t know the reason. It might be because I was performing very well in comparison with other pool disciplines. My training approach was based on the basic training principles of Overloading. And according to this, I create my favourite hypoxic training routine in static which was a classic ascending pyramid.

I start straight away without any warm-up preparation, the following set:

  • 1’30’’ STA – 60’’ REST

2’15’’ STA – 60’’ REST

2’45’’ STA – 60’’ REST

3’15’’ STA – 60’’ REST

3’45’’ STA – 60’’ REST

4’15’’ STA – 60’’ REST

4’45’’ STA – 60’’ REST

5’00’’ STA – 60’’ REST

5’15’’ STA – 60’’ REST

5’30’’ STA – 60’’ REST

5’45’’ STA – 60’’ REST

  • 6’00’’ STA

The first four attempts above are easy compared to others. The point here is to start immediately only with three or four minutes mental preparation. This helps me a lot to get into a relaxing mode faster after a few training sessions. The resting time I usually hold between attempts is usually steady. Sixty-seconds for me it was enough to succeed times close to five and six plus minutes at the end of the training set.



I was impressed with my blood test after few weeks practising on this type of training. My hematocrit levels increased from 46.5 to 48.4 units after the end of this training cycle.


After the end of the training cycle, I did only ten days tapering with one or two static attempts at 6’45’’ to 7 minutes with fifteen to twenty minutes between, every second day (one day training / one day off)

The results were impressive! I did very easy 8 minutes performance for the first time in my entire freediving career.

THE NEGATIVE AFFECT In the early days, everything was going very well and the training times started to become easier.

At the beginning of the 3rd week, I started feeling more nervous and fidgety. One of the most negative effects from this intense static apnea period was the inability to fall asleep. The symptoms started to become more intense after twelve training sessions.

I knew from the beginning of this cycle, that it would be hard. However, I wanted to overcome my training plateau which was stable at 7’34’’ for a long time.

After a long time of experimentation, I choose intense training cycles for specific period to break my training plateau


During the training period, I following a nutrition rich in green vegetables, yolks eggs, liver, and beef.

More specifically I tried to eat:

  • Minimum 500gr Liver per week.

  • 2-3 yolk eggs per day.

  • Green vegetables two times per day

On the part of supplements, I used:

  • 700mg-1gr Vitamin C of Ester-C Form.

  • Folic Acid 400mg per day.

  • 400mg Magnesium of Citrate Form per day.

  • 3gr L-Carnitine of Acetyl Form per day.

The above nutrition and supplement complex combined with the hypoxic training helps me to increase my hematocrit and haemoglobin profile to a higher level.

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