IT’S SO REFRESHING to find someone with a theology of simplicity. The breathing exercises outlined in this new book by Irish author Patrick McKeown can be practised anywhere, anytime by anyone.
Subtitled The Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques for a Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter You, The Oxygen Advantage encourages the development of good training practices to integrate into established routines, whether these are for the purposes of scuba or freediving, running or martial arts.
Fundamentally these exercises constitute CO2-tolerance and simulated altitude training.
This fairly substantial book, at 368 pages, teaches an approach to training that would suit anyone from complete novices to top athletes. McKeown walks us through a series of weird, wonderful and delightfully simple techniques designed to increase the efficiency of oxygenation.
Asthma-sufferers in particular will be happy with the potential reduction (if not the irradication) of symptoms. Athletes should generate greater strength and stamina, and freedivers should see an improvement in their performance almost immediately.
Many of the exercises included are ones that we at NoTanx have been using (and have in fact named) over many years, but McKeown has now given us the scientific background behind their success.
If I were to criticise the book, it would be that in an effort to reinforce the potency of the system the author repeats himself a little too much.
I don’t like the anecdotal proofs either, because they feel Americanised and strike me as circumstantial rather than evidential.
Those reservations apart, this is an essential book for anybody and everybody – but especially freedivers.
Marcus Greatwood

ISBN: 9780062349453
Hardback, 368pp, £15