Air Restriction Devices For Freediving: Weight Training For Your Lungs

Three freedivers wearing all black freediving gear floating in circle facing inward underwater in blue ocean.

If you’re looking for a fast, reliable way to increase your lung capacity for longer, deeper freedives – and you DON’T want to spend hours on the beach doing complex chest stretches (that barely work)…

Or doing endless painful HIIT sprints to train your lungs and breathing muscles…

Then you need to get your hands on an Air Restriction Device for freediving.

Air Restriction Devices (also known as ARDs) are simple handheld devices freedivers use to train their lungs and breathing muscles so they can inhale more oxygen with each breath.

The overall benefit of using an Air Restriction Device for freediving, is that it can help you dive deeper, for longer.

How Do Air Restriction Devices For Freediving Work?

An ARD is used by simply breathing in and out of the device. The ARD then puts up resistance against each inhalation and exhalation, making it harder to breathe through the device.

It’s this added resistance from the Air Restriction Device, that helps strengthen and train your breathing muscles (especially your diaphragm) and lungs.

In other words: Using an Air Restriction Device is like doing weight training, but for your lungs.

Think of ‘normal’ breathing like doing a push-up…

Whereas breathing through an Air Restriction Device, is like lifting a 110 pound barbell. Lifting the weight is harder, but it also has a bigger pay-off and builds muscle faster.

Remember: you can only get so far with pushups! Same goes for normal breathing and lung stretching yoga exercises.

If you’re serious about hitting your full potential as a freediver; you’re better off investing in an Air Restriction Device.

For freedivers specifically; the best Air Restriction Device on the market is still the PowerBreathe Plus 2 Fitness Click here to check the current price on Amazon

There are other ‘Lung Expanders’ and ‘Air Restriction Masks’ athletes use…but I’ve never had much luck with them…nor do I know any freedivers who use them and got good results. The PowerBreathe Plus 2 is still king.

How the PowerBreathe Plus 2 will make you a better freediver

Some freedivers report after a week and a half of using the PowerBreather ARD…already smashing personal best distances in dynamic apnea.

For example, with daily ARD practice, some freedivers have gone from something like a personal best of 1 and a quarter laps underwater (dynamic)…

To hitting 2 and a quarter laps in as little as just 2 weeks of training with the device!

When I hear freedivers doing numbers like that, I always laugh at how much trouble freedivers go to, to train their breathold times – CO2 Tables, HIIT Sprints, Dry Apnea, Diet…

All the while neglecting to train the very organs and muscles they use to hold oxygen so they can dive deep! (lungs & diaphragms!!)

One thing I will say about ARDs is: yes they do work. BUT they do require you to be disciplined and actually put the work in TWICE a day, DAILY.

If you’re not going to do the work, don’t bother investing in an Air Restriction Device!

Also, don’t take this as medical advice. It’s just what I’ve commonly heard about the PowerBreather ARD!

Have you lost freediving depth by not training your lungs?

How much freediving depth have you sacrificed by not training your lungs?

Key ways Air Restriction Devices help your freediving and boost your breath-holds:

  • Within 7 – 15 days an Air Restriction Device can boost the Vital Capacity in your lungs – leading to higher oxygen intake for deeper, longer dives. You’ll likely start to notice the effects of ARDs when you do cardio runs…
    (where 20 minutes of running used to kill you…now it just feels like a warm up leaving your lungs feeling full and refreshed!)
  • Easy-to-use resistance toggles on the top and bottom of the PowerBreather ARD: lets you toggle difficulty for inhaling & exhaling…just like adding more weights to a barbell. The stronger your lungs get, the harder you can set the difficulty on your ARD (making it perfect for beginner AND veteran freedivers).
  • After prolonged use of a PowerBreather, you can lower your resting heart rate…so you burn less oxygen during apnea!
  • Simple, compact hand-held device makes for easy travel and storage.
  • Breathing through Air Restriction Devices can lead to more carbon dioxide build-up in your blood during training sessions…a good way to passively improve your carbon dioxide threshold without even trying! 🙂
  • Trains the muscles in your belly giving you automatic diaphragm breathing leading to better, deeper pre-dive breathe-ups.
  • Can help strengthen lungs against asthma and other allergies.
  • PowerBreathers come with simple-to-follow instructions (eliminates all guesswork so you can focus on TRAINING).

I recommend grabbing your PowerBreather Plus 2 Fitness off of this distributor on Amazon here as they tend to do cheaper shipping and have great 5 star reviews.

How to use an Air Restriction Device for Freediving

When you hold your PowerBreather, you will notice there are separate dials to control the intensity of the device. When you turn the dial, you’re able to toggle the degree of resistance you feel when inhaling/exhaling through your PowerBreather.

I recommend starting off with the lowest resistance level first. From there you can then adjust the restriction level to a setting that challenges you.

Remember: As your lungs get trained stronger through the device, make the resistance level tougher.

Step 1: Sit on a chair or couch, making sure your back is straight, yet comfortable.

Step 2: Focus on breathing gently and calmly into your diaphragm. Your stomach should be raising as you breathe!

Step 3: Take one last deep inhale, then put the Air Restriction Device mouthpiece in your mouth.

Step 4: EXHALE: Using your diaphragm and breathing muscles ONLY, exhale as long and as hard as you can. Try to empty as much of your lungs as possible. Be careful and use common sense. If for whatever reason this makes you feel light-headed or it hurts…stop.

Step 5: INHALE: Using your diaphragm and breathing muscles again, inhale through the ARD. Do it for as long as possible, with quite a lot of force. Try to fill your lungs completely up.

Step 6: Hold your breath at the top on your inhale. Do this for 10 – 20 seconds. Or whatever is most comfortable for you.

Step 7: Start from Step 4 again.

Step 8: Repeat Steps 4 – 6 (Exhale, Inhale, Hold Breath, repeat) 30 times, twice per day.

To avoid confusion: A beginner/intermediate freediver should use an ARD for 30 breaths (inhale & exhale); TWICE a day. And do it on a difficulty setting that challenges you.

I recommend training with a PowerBreather in the morning before you eat. Or use it 2 – 3 hours after you eat in the morning.

In addition to this…

Use your PowerBreather Plus 2 Fitness before you eat dinner or 2 – 3 hours after you eat dinner.

Also 2 last things to note with ARDs:

1) They can be loud: You may want to wear earplugs and close the doors in your house/room. See how you go first before investing in earplugs. Some divers don’t find ARDs loud enough to justify getting earplugs.

2) It’s like a workout: You’ll be sweaty and kinda tired afterwards. You may need to shower!

PowerBreathers are the go-to air restriction devices for many freedivers

PowerBreathers are still the Air Restriction Devices of choice for most freedivers.

Air Restriction Devices For Freediving: Final Thoughts

After a few weeks practicing with a PowerBreather Air Restriction Device, you’ll start to feel the difference. It’s almost like you’ve unlocked a secret ‘hidden’ compartment in your lungs.

Your breath will feel deeper, richer and more powerful like a big tank of gas.

That’s why I think it’s always worth it for freedivers to invest in an Air Restriction Device.

Remember: Trying to train your lungs so they can hold more oxygen, without actually using an ARD…

Is like trying to compete in a bodybuilding competition by just doing push-ups and sit ups.

Eventually you have to bring in professional equipment.

And that’s just what an ARD is there for. It’s like getting a head start on your breath-holding exercises.

Not only will an ARD save you time you would have spent chasing your tail doing endless chest/lung yoga stretching exercises and suicide sprints…

An ARD will actually help save you money.

You see, the ironic thing about a lot of freedivers is that they don’t want to invest in something like a PowerBreather…so that they can save money.

But in reality, training your lungs with an Air Restriction Device can actually save you money that you would have spent on expensive gear.

For example, there’s no need to buy an expensive low-volume freediving mask to save oxygen when you equalize…if you haven’t even trained your lung strength up with an ARD!

For this reason, I have and always will recommend investing in an ARD. Click here to grab your very own Air Restriction Device.

About the Author Gerrie van Niekerk - Apnealogy

Gerrie is a passionate Freediver, Spearfisher, Digital Marketer, and author for the Apnealogy website. Gerrie is an SSI Level 1 certified Freediver who loves geeking out about freediving and spearfishing gear and lives for his family and adventure.

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