3 Scuba Diving Breathing Techniques for Beginners


Scuba diving can be thrilling and scary for the people that haven’t tried it and the thought of breathing in water often sends jitters to every diver at the beginning.

With the right training, however, the diver gets the best breathing techniques, which makes it one of the best sports.

What are the best scuba breathing techniques?

It is important to learn some techniques which will ensure the diver is safe and comfortable underwater. This will enable him to dive for longer and enjoy the sport.

Scuba breathing techniques vary with the specific diving stage; some are appropriate when descending, during the dive, and when ascending. We must look at all these stages for a greater understanding.

While Descending

These are the diving techniques a diver uses when diving down the sea:

  • Gradually breathe out while deflating your buoyancy control device
  • Go on breathing out slowly and steadily until your head is submerged 50 cm under the water
  • Stop deflating your device after you have dived 50 cm down, regardless of whether there is more air left in the device.
  • Gradually and steadily breathe in when you feel you need the air.
  • You can continue descending while breathing out up to your desired depth.
  • You will go on your descent while exhaling, slow down and even stop while inhaling and so forth
  • Try to soar on water instead of dropping to the bottom. By so doing you will be moving at a moderate speed, therefore, saving on air

While Diving

Upon reaching the desired diving level, you should adjust your breathing from the way you were breathing while descending. You should:

  • Breathe in for 4 seconds
  • Pause for 2 seconds
  • Breathe out for 4 seconds.

These timings should be observed unless there is an obstacle like a rock when you can shorten the prescribed time.

While Ascending

Again, the breathing pattern changes and the diver should breathe incessantly.

  • Breathe in for 3 seconds
  • Breathe out fully for 4 seconds
  • Do not hold your breath.

Now, back to the best scuba breathing techniques, detailed below are several techniques that will greatly help you achieve the best experience.


1. Be Cognizant of Your Breathing and Concentrate on it.

We have different breathing patterns, even on land. Before engaging in diving, you should monitor your breathing to understand your pattern. This helps you to improve your breathing while diving.

This can be achieved by conducting a simple exercise where you lie on a flat surface and follow the following steps:

  • With your left hand on the abdomen and the right hand on the torso, gradually breathe in to fill your lungs
  • Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  • Carefully paying attention to your breathing out, breathe out gradually
  • Repeat the process after pausing for 3 seconds

In this way, you will be fully aware of your breathing method, therefore, able to control it underwater.

2. Manage Your Breathing

The primary idea behind successful diving is controlling your breathing. Several exercises have been proven to assist divers to achieve breath control. Exercises that make either your chest or stomach expand once you breathe in will perfectly help you to achieve breath control. These include:

  • The torso and abdomen exercise was discussed earlier, but this time with an emphasis on the chest and abdomen movement. You breathe in and raise your chest. You then breathe out sinking back your chest. Once done with the chest you repeat the same with the abdomen
  • The same exercise can be done in 4 steps to control breathing even better. You breathe in for 4 seconds and pause for 2 seconds. You then breathe out for 4 seconds and pause for another 2 seconds
  • Another helpful exercise is where you take the deepest breath possible, filling the stomach, and then the chest. This enhances your breathing capability. Without pausing, alternate between light and heavy breathing.

3. Breath in, Breath out systematically

By having mastered your breathing pattern and done the aforementioned exercises, you should be able to perfectly manage your breath under the waters in your scuba mask.

Most importantly, try to minimize the pause between breathing in and breathing out. This way you will be able to supply your body with sufficient oxygen while under the water.

4. Concentrate on Breathing out More Than Breathing in

It is universal knowledge that we release carbon dioxide when breathing out. We know the effects of carbon dioxide on our health, if not released from the body: dizziness, headache, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and increased pulse rate among others. These illnesses can turn out to be fatal if they catch up with you under the waters. You should, therefore, give your full focus on eliminating the carbon dioxide from your body through breathing out. This will free up your blood and enable it to absorb the little oxygen you breathe in.

5. Endeavor to Breathe in Deeply and Slowly

In scuba diving, any trainer will tell you that breathing deeply is paramount. This greatly boosts your breathing when under the water. You should try and fill your stomach first, then fill your lungs after. This is where the exercises mentioned above will be of great help.

Breathing in slowly enables you to optimize the absorption of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide from the body. As a rule of scuba diving breathing, you should try and minimize holding breath, especially while ascending. Doing so for long can cause lung injury due to over-expansion.

It is indisputable that scuba diving is one of the world-renowned sports. A diver needs to breathe even when diving, what differs is how he breathes, which is different from how he breathes on land.

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The sport can, however, be risky and even turn out fatal if the right scuba breathing techniques are not employed. As a beginner, therefore, you need to be wary of such facts and endeavor to get diving training from accredited trainers.

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