This article was originally published here.

To overcome these problems, and to make your session more fun and satisfying  NABAIJI suggests some exercises using different techniques, with or without equipment, to improve your breathing and "lung capacity".

These suggested exercises are to be introduced after warming up or during recovery in order to focus exclusively on technique and not on speed or distance. Do not try to go fast, just focus on the movement and get your breathing right.
1. With Equipment:

With a kickboard :

Want to be on the safer side while you learn how to breathe? Well, we will tell you how you can exactly do that.

Hold the board with your right arm stretched out straight in front of you and keep your left arm in opposition, i.e. alongside the body(or vice versa). You move through the water only by kicking your legs and paddling. The head is under the water and should rotate every five seconds to briefly take a breath and go back to its position to breathe out under the water.

Change arms every 25 metres.

The goal here is to keep the best possible alignment between your body and the board and better buoyancy by taking a short breath in and a long breath out, without lifting your head too much either.

For those more comfortable in the water, you can try without the board. 

Still too easy for you? Put both arms by your sides!

With a snorkel :

Hey! come on this looks easy and fun. Well, it is!

To do this exercise you must be sufficiently able to control your inhalation and exhalation to avoid suffocating. It involves swimming the crawl normally whilst using a snorkel. See told you its easy!

It will force you to keep your head straight throughout the stroke and make a real effort to exhale in order to maximise inhalation. This way you increase your lung capacity and also can focus on keeping your body straight!

2. Without Equipment:

One-arm front crawl :

Don't worry! Learning how to breathe without equipment is still safe. Though it can be a bit tiring you will feel satisfied and content at the end of your session.

The one-arm front crawl is a very good way to practise your breathing due to its repetitive nature. As you can guess from the name, it involves swimming the crawl with one arm and breathing every two movements on the active side (right arm moving = breathe in on the right side). Exhalation is still continuous, once the head is in the water. The other inactive arm will be placed straight out in front of the body.

Change arms every 25–50 metres.

Once again, the goal is to practise keeping your body aligned with the constraints of breathing and buoyancy.

Breathing with every stroke :

It is important that you balance your strokes with your breathing, swimming without breathing can tire you out easily and breathing too many times while swimming can slow you down.

Training technique consisting of swimming the crawl while breathing in with every arm stroke (right and left).

The difficulty is that the body must remain straight and aligned while the head is rotating continuously. Breathing in must be brief and breathing out as fast as possible to avoid hyperventilation (breathing rapidly without allowing your body to transfer oxygen effectively).

The purpose of the exercise is to force you to keep a straight posture at all times, not to lift your head too much when breathing in and to get used to breathing out under water.

If you are not confident of breathing out underwater through your nose you can practice bubbling, which is easy and fun and you can make bubbles through your nose. While you get the hang of it.