Mammalian Dive Reflex

Short-term adaptations also known as the Mammalian Dive Reflex (MDR) happen during any breath-hold. MDR includes a set of physiological responses such as heart rate and blood flow slowing, spleen effect, peripheral vasoconstriction, blood shift, central vasodilation and blood rerouting to essential organs. In order to trigger these responses, special receptors on the face need to be submerged in water. Most receptors are located around the eyes, nose and forehead.

Three times per week, I train on breath-hold without wearing my mask (which covers these areas and therefore the receptors cannot get the signal). I use an Octopus Freediving nose-clip instead that leaves my face, my eyes and the receptors free (no goggles). This helps to achieve a stronger mammalian diving response and a more relaxed diving style, in general, even when freediving spearfishing with a mask out at sea.

I strongly support that specialized training can strengthen the MDR. This skill is essential because it allows freedivers and spearos to perform their best and stay underwater for extended periods of time with little or no warm-up (if trained properly before).

If you need specific training exercises, online coaching and guaranteed results within only 8 weeks, email us your contact details at using the title #F21onlinecoaching and one of our partners/trainers will contact you shortly.

Vassilis is a passionate and knowledgable freediving and spearfishing trainer.

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