How Long Can Navy SEALs Hold Their Breath

Mastering Navy SEAL breath-holding techniques is a critical aspect of the elite special forces training, as it directly impacts their ability to perform in high-stress underwater situations. In this blog post, we will delve into the rigorous physical fitness standards and discuss how long can Navy SEALs hold their breath underwater.

We will also explore the notorious Underwater Knot Test, which tests not only an individual's breath control but also their mental toughness in overcoming fear and panic during underwater operations. Additionally, we'll examine Dark Angel Attacks - unpredictable challenges designed to develop adaptability through unexpected situations while emphasizing the importance of teamwork and trust among teammates.

Finally, we will address potential risks involved in extreme breath-holding exercises such as shallow water blackout and outline safety measures to be followed during intense training sessions. To round off our discussion on Navy SEAL breath-holding techniques, we'll provide insights on building lung capacity through proper breathing exercises and dryland training methods that can enhance your overall performance underwater.


Want to be a Navy SEAL? Better start practicing your breath-holding skills. Aspiring SEALs must swim 50 meters with just one breath, a feat that requires serious discipline and training. Learn the essentials for increasing breath-holding capability to meet Navy SEAL physical requirements.  During our BUD/S class 89, most passed out after successfully achieving this evolution when coming up for air.

Training Techniques to Improve Breath-Holding Capacity

Ready to take your breath-holding skills to the next level? Try these training techniques:

  1. Practice Apnea Training: Gradually increase the amount of time you can hold your breath while sitting or lying down.
  2. Perform CO2 Tolerance Exercises: Take a series of short, quick breaths followed by a full exhale and hold your breath until you can't anymore. This helps your body tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide.
  3. Incorporate Hypoxic Training into Workouts: Restrict your oxygen intake during exercise by swimming underwater or using specialized equipment like training masks.
  4. Maintain Proper Nutrition and Hydration: Eating well-balanced meals and staying hydrated is essential for optimal lung function. Foods rich in antioxidants may also help protect lung tissue from damage caused by intense physical activity.

Incorporating these techniques into your fitness routine will not only improve your breath-holding ability but also enhance your overall endurance and performance - crucial factors for becoming a Navy SEAL.

Key Takeaway: Aspiring Navy SEALs must swim 50 meters with just one breath, which requires serious discipline and training. The physical fitness standards for Navy SEALs include swimming, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and running with a special emphasis on underwater performance. Training techniques to improve breath-holding capacity include apnea training, CO2 tolerance exercises, hypoxic training into workouts and maintaining proper nutrition and hydration.

The Underwater Knot Test

Phase 2 of Navy SEAL selection is no joke. Candidates must pass an underwater harassment test where they lie face down in a pool while instructors tie knots in their breathing regulators. If they resurface before completing the task, they fail. Talk about pressure. This trial tests the fortitude of both body and mind, as well as one's aptitude to act in a tense environment.

Overcoming Fear and Panic During Underwater Training

Fear and panic are natural responses to challenging situations, but they can be managed. One technique is to focus on controlled breathing patterns to regulate heart rate and oxygen intake. Visualization techniques can also help prepare for potential challenges ahead. Check out this source for more tips.

Mental Toughness Required for Successful Completion

Mental toughness is key to completing the underwater knot test. Trainees must embrace discomfort and push through adversity. By cultivating mental fortitude over time, aspiring SEALs become better equipped to handle extreme stressors without succumbing to fear or panic. Teamwork is also crucial in overcoming obstacles. Working together increases the chances of success significantly. Trust and communication among teammates are essential in navigating high-pressure situations like the underwater knot test.

Preparing for the Underwater Knot Test

To prepare for this challenging exercise, aspiring Navy SEALs should focus on improving their swimming skills, breath-holding abilities, and mental toughness. Some practical tips include regularly practicing swimming with fins, incorporating breath-holding exercises into training routines, engaging in meditation or mindfulness practices, and fostering teamwork through group activities that require collaboration and trust-building among peers. Check out credible sources for more information on these techniques.

The underwater knot test is a demanding aspect of Navy SEAL training, but with the right mindset and preparation, candidates can successfully complete it. Good luck.

Key Takeaway: Navy SEAL candidates must pass an underwater harassment test, where they lie face down in a pool while instructors tie knots in their breathing regulators. Mental toughness is key to completing the underwater knot test and can be cultivated over time by embracing discomfort, pushing through adversity, and fostering teamwork among peers. By incorporating breath-holding exercises into training routines and regularly practicing swimming with fins, aspiring SEALs can improve their chances of success.

Risks Involved in Extreme Breath-Holding Exercises

Pushing boundaries is essential for elite military units like Navy SEALs, but extreme breath-holding exercises come with risks. Shallow water blackout, or losing consciousness due to oxygen deprivation, can happen suddenly and lead even experienced swimmers into dangerous situations. It's crucial to be aware of these risks and take necessary precautions during intense training sessions.

Signs and Symptoms of Shallow Water Blackout

A shallow water blackout occurs when a person loses consciousness underwater due to low levels of oxygen (hypoxia) in the brain. This can happen suddenly without warning, making it extremely dangerous for those participating in breath-hold diving or underwater training exercises. Some signs and symptoms include:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Tunnel vision or loss of peripheral vision
  • Nausea
  • Muscle twitching or convulsions
  • Inability to perform simple tasks such as untying knots underwater

Safety Measures During Intense Training Sessions

To minimize the risk of shallow water blackouts and other dangers associated with extreme breath-holding exercises, aspiring Navy SEALs should follow these safety guidelines:

  • Train under supervision: Always practice breath-hold diving with a buddy who can monitor your condition closely and provide assistance if needed.

Building Lung Capacity Through Proper Techniques

A supervised training regime is essential for optimizing breath-hold capacity, and one should supplement it with specific breathing exercises to further augment lung capacity. Proper techniques should be employed by aspiring Navy SEALs to incorporate specific workouts focusing on breath control and lung capacity, which can significantly improve performance during underwater exercises.

Breathing Exercises for Increased Lung Capacity

There are several breathing exercises that can help increase your lung capacity, such as:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing: Also known as "belly breathing," this technique involves inhaling deeply through the nose while expanding the diaphragm rather than the chest.

Remember, safety should always come first when it comes to extreme breath-holding exercises. Be mindful of potential hazards and take steps to guarantee a secure and productive workout.

Key Takeaway: Navy SEALs engage in extreme breath-holding exercises, but they come with risks such as shallow water blackout. Aspiring SEALs should train under supervision and focus on building lung capacity through proper techniques like diaphragmatic breathing to minimize the dangers associated with these exercises.

Building Lung Capacity Through Proper Techniques

Want to increase your breath-holding ability? Aspiring Navy SEALs should focus on improving their lung capacity through proper techniques. Incorporating specific workouts that target breath control and lung capacity can significantly enhance performance during underwater exercises.

Breathing Exercises for Increased Lung Capacity

To build your lung capacity effectively, try these breathing exercises:

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing: Also known as belly breathing, this technique involves inhaling deeply through the nose while expanding the diaphragm and exhaling slowly through pursed lips. This exercise helps strengthen the diaphragm muscles and increases overall oxygen intake. Learn more about diaphragmatic breathing here.
  • Rib Stretch: Stand upright with hands on hips, then take a deep breath in while raising arms overhead. Hold your breath for as long as possible before exhaling slowly and lowering arms back down to starting position. Repeat several times daily to stretch ribcage muscles and enhance lung function.
  • Pursed Lip Breathing: Inhale deeply through the nose before exhaling slowly through pursed lips like you're blowing out candles on a birthday cake. This controlled exhalation helps maintain positive airway pressure and improves oxygen exchange within lungs.

Dryland Training to Enhance Breath-Holding Abilities

In addition to practicing proper breathing techniques, engaging in dryland training exercises can help further develop your ability to hold your breath underwater successfully. Some effective dryland training methods include:

  • Apnea Walks: After taking a deep breath, walk as far as possible while holding your breath. This exercise trains the body to function efficiently with limited oxygen supply and improves overall cardiovascular endurance. Find out more about apnea walks here.
  • Static Apnea Training: Lie down in a comfortable position and take several deep breaths before holding your breath for an extended period. Gradually increase the duration of each static apnea session over time to build tolerance for oxygen deprivation.
  • O2 and CO2 Tables: These training tables help improve both oxygen (O2) utilization efficiency and carbon dioxide (CO2) tolerance by alternating between short periods of rest followed by progressively longer intervals of breath-holding exercises. You can find various O2 and CO2 table templates online or create custom ones tailored to your needs.

Incorporating these breathing techniques and dryland training methods into your regular workout routine will not only enhance lung capacity but also significantly improve underwater performance - essential skills for aspiring Navy SEALs who must master extreme breath-holding challenges during their rigorous selection process.

Key Takeaway: Aspiring Navy SEALs can improve their breath-holding abilities by building lung capacity through proper techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, rib stretch, and pursed lip breathing. Dryland training exercises like apnea walks, static apnea training, and O2 and CO2 tables can further enhance the ability to hold one's breath underwater successfully. Incorporating these techniques into regular workout routines will significantly improve performance during extreme breath-holding challenges in the rigorous selection process for becoming a Navy SEAL.

Dark Angel Attacks - Unpredictable Challenges

Trainees in Navy SEALs training undergo a series of exercises, including swimming and knot untying, to prepare them for real-world missions. However, they also face unpredictable challenges known as "Dark Angel" attacks during underwater sessions. These surprise elements test mental resilience under extreme pressure when resurfacing is not an option.

Developing Adaptability Through Unexpected Situations

Navy SEALs must be prepared for any situation that may arise in the field, which includes adapting quickly to unexpected circumstances. Dark Angel attacks simulate real-world scenarios where quick thinking and adaptability are crucial for survival. Trainees learn how to remain calm and focused while working through these challenges, ultimately improving their ability to handle high-stress situations on missions.

  • Mental agility: Navy SEALs need a sharp mind capable of processing information rapidly and making sound decisions under duress.
  • Situational awareness: Being aware of one's surroundings is vital for anticipating potential threats or obstacles before they become critical issues.
  • Creativity: Sometimes unconventional solutions are required when faced with unique problems; this requires outside-the-box thinking from team members who can improvise effectively.

Importance of Teamwork and Trust Among Teammates

The success of a Navy SEAL mission often hinges on the strength of the bond between teammates. During Dark Angel attack drills, trainees must rely heavily on each other for support as they navigate through unforeseen obstacles together. This reliance fosters trust among team members - a fundamental aspect necessary for successful operations in the field.

  1. Communication: Clear, concise communication is vital for relaying information quickly and efficiently to ensure everyone remains on the same page during high-pressure situations.
  2. Cohesion: A strong sense of unity among team members promotes a positive working environment where individuals can rely on one another for support when needed.
  3. Mutual respect: Recognizing each member's strengths and weaknesses helps create an atmosphere of understanding, allowing the team to function more effectively as a cohesive unit.

Incorporating Dark Angel attacks into Navy SEAL underwater training not only prepares candidates for unexpected challenges they may face in real-world missions but also strengthens their mental resilience, adaptability, and ability to work together as a highly effective team. Aspiring Navy SEALs hone their skills in training, enabling them to tackle any situation - both on land and underwater - ensuring the successful completion of missions no matter what challenges arise.

Key Takeaway: Navy SEALs undergo "Dark Angel" attacks during underwater training to prepare them for unexpected challenges and improve their mental resilience, adaptability, and teamwork skills. These drills simulate real-world scenarios where quick thinking, situational awareness, creativity, communication, cohesion, and mutual respect are crucial for survival and mission success. By mastering these skills during training, aspiring Navy SEALs can handle any situation that comes their way both above and below water.

FAQs in Relation to Navy Seal Breath-Holding

How long can Navy SEALs hold their breath?

An average Navy SEAL can hold their breath for 2-3 minutes during underwater exercises, but with proper training, some can extend it to 5 minutes or more.

How do Navy SEALs hold their breath?

Navy SEALs use "combat breathing" or "box breathing," inhaling deeply for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, exhaling slowly for 4 seconds, and pausing before repeating.

What are the benefits of Navy SEAL breathing?

Navy SEAL breathing reduces stress, increases focus, improves physical performance, enhances lung capacity, and aids in overcoming fear and panic during high-stress situations.

How do you calm your breathing like a Navy SEAL?

To calm your breathing like a Navy SEAL, find a comfortable position, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale through your mouth slowly over 4 counts, pause briefly, and repeat several times until you feel calmer.


Navy SEALs must possess exceptional breath-holding skills, which require rigorous training and mental fortitude.

These elite soldiers undergo intense physical fitness training and underwater exercises to enhance their ability to hold their breath for extended periods of time.

Remaining calm under pressure and adapting to unexpected challenges are essential qualities for SEALs to successfully complete the underwater knot test and other unpredictable scenarios.

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