One of our Master Instructor Trainers, Clemens Neumann, has put together this stretching sequence for Pure Apnea freedivers who are looking to reach deeper depths without the risk of lung squeezes from inflexible thoracic and diaphragmatic muscles. Have fun stretching!
1 a,b) M.lattisimus dorsi, serratus anterior and transversus abdominis stretch (abdominal and back stretch) : Sit on the floor with your right hand on the floor beside you, raise your left arm and bend your upper body to the right until you feel the stretch. You may need to bend your right elbow. Keep your head inline with your spine. Repeat on the other side. You can do these on inhale, but I personally feel more stretch without holding my breath – try it out!
2 a,b,c,d) M.trapezius, latissimus, erector spinae and gluteus stretch (gluteus and back stretch) : Sit with your legs in front of you. Bend the right leg and put it across the left with the foot flat on the ground. Twist your upper body to the right and lock your left arm with your right leg. Look over your right shoulder. Put your right arm behind you so that your body and arm create one line. Look behind you and a little up. Repeat on the other side.
Start the same exercise a second time, but this time with a full inhale. Inhale completely before you lock your left arm with your right leg. Then turn to your right and hold the posture as long as possible. Unlock the posture FIRST and then exhale. Repeat on the other side.
3 a,b) Diaphragm stretch : In a sitting position, exhale as much as possible, bend with your upper body forward to squeeze out as much as air as possible and come back to the sitting position.
Pull down your diaphragm and push your belly out. Hold the stretch for as long as possible. Relax your diaphragm FIRST, then start to inhale.
Perform the second and third set with reverse pack.
4 a,b) Diaphragm stretch : Exhale as much as possible, bend forward with your upper body to squeeze out as much as possible air. Reverse pack. If it helps you, pinch your nose while doing it. Your knees are slightly bent. Put your hands on your thigh. Relax your diaphragm before you start. Pull it a little down to make sure that it is relaxed. Now raise your diaphragm as much as possible. It is important that your spine is in a straight position. You will feel more stretch if you curve your spine a little. Keep this position as long as possible. It is important to relax your diaphragm BEFORE you start to inhale as not doing so can lead to injuries of the vocal cord and throat.
5) Monofin swimmers stretch combined with exhale and pulled diaphragm : Exhale completely in a relaxed body position (upper body slightly bent to the front to squeeze out as much as air as possible), pull your diaphragm up, bend your upper body to the front. Your legs and upper body create a 90 degree angle. Raise your arms above your head and try to reach out as far as possible. Lock your hands together. Keep your hands and neck relaxed. Put your hands on a desk or on something at the same height and keep your entire back straight. Hold the posture as long as possible. Relax your diaphragm FIRST, then inhale slowly.