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How to Improve Breath Control for Swimming

This post is sponsored by Airofit. Get 15% off the Airofit Breathing Trainer with the code MySwimPro

As a swimmer, you’re probably always thinking about technique. You might even spend weeks or months at a time working on one aspect of your stroke. But when was the last time you thought about your breathing?

You might throw a hypoxic swim set in here and there, and that’s about it. But when it comes to improving swimming performance, breathing — and especially breath control — is extremely important. 

So, how do you improve your breath control and vital lung capacity? We have some helpful tips for you, including a tool from Airofit that helped Fares increase his accessible lung capacity by 25% in just 4 weeks!

Why is Breath Control Important?

Breath control can be defined as any sort of mindful breathing, from breath holding during swimming to conscious breathing during meditation. Working on your breath has a host of benefits, from stress relief to improved vital lung capacity. From a swimming perspective, here’s why breath control is important:

Understanding the Respiratory Musculature

Before you dive into breath control work, it’s important to understand the muscles you’ll be training: the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles.

Related: Learn to Float in 10 Minutes or Less! 

The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle at the base of the lungs. It’s the principle muscle of respiration. When you inhale, it contracts and moves downward, creating more space for your lungs to expand. When you exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and pushes air out of the lungs.

The intercostal muscles are located between your ribs, and help expand and contract the chest cavity during breathing. 

Many athletes neglect to train their respiratory muscles, so they often fatigue quickly. This results in blood flow and oxygen being redirected from your limbs to your diaphragm, which can hinder overall performance. 

How to Improve Breath Control

Related: I Tried Special Operations Training UNDERWATER

Increased mindfulness and control over your breathing means you are more comfortable underwater and don’t feel like you’re drowning when oxygen levels decrease. Try focusing on one of these areas to start:

If you don’t train breath control, there’s a chance you will experience noticeable gains after beginning a structured training program.

Expand Accessible Lung Capacity with Airofit

Airofit’s Breathing Trainer is the first ever breath training system designed for swimmers. Whether you want to swim a no-breath 50 free, conquer a 200 stroke or improve your underwaters, Airofit’s cutting edge technology and training programs can help make your breathing muscles faster, stronger and more efficient. 

Fares had a chance to test out Airofit’s swimming-specific programs, and was able to increase his accessible lung capacity from 5.8 liters to 7.4 liters — a 25% improvement — in just 4 weeks! Watch the unboxing video >

The Airofit Breathing Trainer can help swimmers:

How it Works

Related: Watch the Unboxing Video!

The Airofit Sport app contains sport-specific breathing programs designed to place different levels of resistance on your diaphragm and intercostal muscles. These programs sync to the Airofit Breathing Trainer via Bluetooth for real-time, visual feedback on your breathing. 

Related: What is Hypoxic Training?

Simply put the trainer in your mouth and let the app guide you through each of the day’s breathing exercises. It almost feels like a video game!

Give it a shot for 5-20 minutes per day. Stay accountable and track your improvement over time in the app!

Get 15% off the Airofit Breathing Trainer with the code MySwimPro

Swim Workouts to Improve Breath Control

Related: How to Write a Swim Workout for Beginners

In addition to training with Airofit, it’s smart to incorporate breath control work into your swim workouts. These sample workouts are a great place to start.

Beginner Workout (1,000 Meters)

Warm Up

For this warm up, rather than swimming each rep on an interval, you’ll take a specific number of breaths before starting the next rep.

Main Set

Cool Down

2 x 50 Freestyle Easy @ 10 breaths rest

Advanced Workout (2,500 Meters)

Warm Up


Main Set (2x)

5 x 50 Freestyle @ 1:10

Cool Down

4 x 50 Freestyle @ 1:00 – Silent Swimming

Do you incorporate breath control training into your workouts? Let us know in the comments. Get 15% off an Airofit Breathing Trainer with the code MySwimPro >

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