Lung Stretching Exercises

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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!

1a,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, rise 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 in line to your spine. Repeat on the other side. (posture inhaled if possible, I personally feel more stretch without holding my breath – try it out!)

Abdominal and Back Stretch 1a
Image 1a. Abdominal and Back Stretch
Abdominal and Back Stretch 1b
Image 1b. Abdominal and Back Stretch

2a,b,c,d) M.trapezius, latissimus, erector spinae and gluteus stretch (gluteus and back stretch) : sit with the legs in front of you. Bend the right leg and put it across the left with the foot flat to the ground. Twist your upper body to the right, lock your left arm with your right leg. Look over your right shoulder. Put your right arm behind you so that body and arm create one line. Look behind you and a little up. Repeat on the other side.

Start the same exercises 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.

Gluteus and Back Stretch 2a
Image 2a. Gluteus and Back Stretch
Gluteus and Back Stretch 2b
Image 2b. Gluteus and Back Stretch
Gluteus and Back Stretch 2c
Image 2c. Gluteus and Back Stretch
Gluteus and Back Stretch 2d
Image 2d. Gluteus and Back Stretch

3a,b) diaphragm stretch : sitting position, exhale as much as possible, bending with your upper body forward to squeeze out as much as possible air and come back to the sitting position.

Pull down your diaphragm, pull your belly out. Hold the stretch as long as possible. Relax your diaphragm FIRST, then start to inhale.

Second, third set with reverse pack.

Diaphragm Stretch 3a
Image 3a. Diaphragm Stretch
Diaphragm Stretch 3b
Image 3b. Diaphragm Stretch

4 a,b) Diaphragm stretch : Exhale as much as possible, bend forward 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 overbend your spine a little. Keep this position as long as possible. It is important to relax your diaphragm BEFORE you start to inhale (can lead to injuries on the vocal cord and throat)

Diaphragm Stretch A
Image 4a. Diaphragm Stretch
Diaphragm Stretch B
Image 4b. Diaphragm Stretch

5) Monofin swimmers stretch combined with exhale and pulled diaphragm : exhale completely in a relaxed body position (upper body slightly bended to the front to squeeze out as much as possible air), pull your diaphragm up, bend your upper body to the front, legs and upper body create a 90 degree angle. Rise your arms above your head and try to reach as far as possible. Lock your hands together. Keep 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.

Monofin Stretch
Image 5. Monofin Swimmers Stretch

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