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Swimming & Breathwork Practice (James Nestor & Ed Harrold)

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

This is a follow-up to an Instagram post on James Nestor's instagram regarding breathing strategies for swimmers.
Ed Harrold & James Nestor on Breathing For Swimmers

This blog post is in relation to an Instagram Post by @MrJamesNestor with regards to swimming and breathing. Please read Part 1 the original post with James Nestor & Dr. John Douillard found here

This is Part II which assumes you've 1) read Part 1 and 2) are not a beginner to swimming and training and 3) have a beginner knowledge in breathwork regulation. This is beginner workout I would introduce to a swim, triathlete or biathlete to improve their swimming. At the bottom is a recorded video explaining the workout in greater detail!

"So, I got a lot of inquiries from last week’s swimming/breathing post.

Ed Harrold ( has been an avid swimmer and a breathing expert for decades, and offered some sage words of advice and swimmerly specifics. Note that this blast is likely wwwaaayyy too detailed for you casual waterfolk but I thought the aquanauts might dig it. Ed writes as follows:


Focused, slow controlled breathing with mindful movement (any movement you like opening shoulders, chest, back, hips).

Then, fast breathing in & out thru nostrils (25 rounds); hold on exhale 10 count, hold on inhale 20 count.

Then, one minute of alternate nostril breathing with ocean sound. Get into a light flow state. Breathe/relax/smile, get in water.


Slow ocean sound mouth inhales, slow motion ocean sounding nostril exhales (50-250 meters). Mindfulness warm up drills/ feel water that supports you gliding. Visualize lower left side of body working with upper right and lower right side of body working with upper left.

Then, brief breath holds: hold in breath 2 strokes, nasal exhale, swim 25, 50 or 100 meters. Then, hold in 4 strokes, nasal exhale, swim 25, 50 or 100 meters.

Then, hold in 6 strokes, nasal exhale, swim 25, 50 or 100 meters25 + meters = speed piece 50 + meters = steady state piece 100 +meters = endurance piece. Warm up complete


First, speed workouts, less rest time in intervals at wall.

Then, two endurance workout, more rest time in intervals at wall.

Then, breath hold ladders start with holding breath on inhale for 5 strokes/then swim your back to resting/then build up breath holds times, ie 10/15/20/25

Then, hold out 2 strokes swim hr back to rest/ then build up resistances slowly, ie 3 strokes, 4, 5, 6. If this is hard, slow down pace.

Then, advanced technique is to hold out 2 strokes/hold in 4 strokes, swim hr down. Build from there, hold out 3 hold in 6, swim hr down, hold out 4, hold in 8, etc.

Then, phew. That's all for now."

Workout Video

Go BE Great!



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