In 2008, David Blaine held his breath for over 17 minutes, breaking the world record for oxygen-assisted static apnea, a form of holding your breath underwater. Here's how he did it.
: Don't try this at home. Not breathing for long periods of time can cause severe injuries and death.
Step 1: Simulate the high Train your body to absorb as much oxygen as possible. 2 to 4 months before you plan to hold your breath, start sleeping in a hypoxic tent. The tent replicates the lower oxygen levels found at high altitudes to stimulate the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles.w
TIP: If you don’t have a hypoxic tent, train and sleep in a high-altitude location.
Step 2: Use less oxygen Take up aerobic exercises like running, biking, and swimming, and eat a balanced diet -- a body in peak condition is best prepared to use oxygen efficiently. Practice mental relaxation exercises to lower your resting heart rate, which decreases oxygen consumption.
Step 3: Practice Practice breathing exercises to purge as much carbon dioxide from your lungs as possible. Exhale and inhale hard and fast for 60 seconds. Then, take a large, deep breath into your diaphragm and hold it as long as you can. Practice daily until you only need 1 minute of breathing for every 5½ minutes of static apnea.
: This practice causes headaches and extreme fatigue. Proceed with caution.
Step 4: Breathe pure oxygen Don't eat for 18 hours before your attempt -- a full stomach will constrict your lungs' expansion. Then, just before you begin, spend about 10 minutes breathing pure oxygen, alternating purging, holding, and deep breathing, to flood your body with breathable air and clear out any nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Step 5: Get wet When you're ready for your attempt, take a deep breath of pure oxygen. Place your body in a pool of water, submerging yourself completely. Go limp: Concentrate on clearing your mind and staying perfectly still to lower your heart rate and conserve oxygen.
TIP: Have a friend with you who can monitor your progress.
Step 6: Fight through Stay relaxed and ignore the intense pain and discomfort that comes from not breathing. Then, when you can't take it anymore, emerge from the water and inhale deeply -- your lungs have earned a little air.
FACT: Among his many stunts, David Blaine once encased himself in a 6-ton block of ice for 62 hours.