Table 2: Effects of apnea training on healthy individuals and on athletes.






Schagatay, et al. [63]

AP group: 13 M,11 F

CC: 2 M, 9 F





Apnea group: 5 M, 4 F

CC: 3 M, 4 F

2-month aerobic gymnastic training programme





2-week 5 maximum effort apneas per day with RI 2 between trials

     ↑ aerobic power

     ↑ apneic time

     Easy-going phase = K

     No impact on the DR

     No impact on apneic time in RAs

     ↑ apneic time

     ↑ Easy-going phase

     Stronger DR

     ↑ apneic time in RA

Training effects are specific to the actual training protocol therefore, apnea training promotes DR characteristics such as bradycardia

Joulia, et al. [59]

8 male triathletes

Repeated apneas of 20 sec with breathing intervals of 40 sec during one hour exercise on cycle ergometer at 30% of their VO2max x 3 times per week for 3 months

Tested for:

     VO2max & Vth on CErgo

     Static apnea

     Dynamic apnea

     No impact on the performance on the cycle ergometer

Static apnea

     > ↓ Heart Rate

     < ↓ pH in blood

     > ↑ La

     < oxidative stress

Dynamic apnea

     0 oxidative stress

Apnea training improves tolerance to hypoxemia, the duration of static apnea and eliminates oxidative stress during dynamic apnea

Lemaitre, et al. [73]

Four male swimmers

3-month apnea training:

     1 hr cycling x 3 times/week with apneas of 30 sec and a breathing interval of 30 sec

     Max incremental cycling test

     Max speed at swimming 50 m freestyle with no breadth

     ↑ FEV, RCP

     ↑ VO2 peak

     Min SaO2

     No ↑ Vswim

     ↓ SR

     ↑ SL

     ↑ coordination

Apnea training improves:

     performance in maximal and sub- maximal exercise

     swimming technique

     continuous propulsion

Apnea ↓ RPE & RPD scores


AP: aerobic power; CC: control group; CERgo: cycle ergometer; CO: cardiac output; DR: diving reflex; F: females; FEV: forced expiratory volume; HCVR: hypercapnic ventilatory response; HR: heart rate; K: unchanged; M: males; Min SAO2: minimal arterial oxygen saturation; RAs: repeated apneas; RCP: respiratory compensation point; RI: rest interval; RPD: rating of perceived dyspnea; RPE: rating of perceived exertion; SL: stroke length (swimming); SR: stroke rate (swimming); Vswim: velocity (swimming); Vth: Ventilatory threshold-absolute oxygen uptake/body weight; >: greater; <: less; ↑: increase; ↓: decrease.