This is the final installment in my 3-part series, “When the pool is not an option – times there is just no substitute for the Vasa Ergometer.” In the first installment, I talked about scheduling, travel, and availability, and in the second, I addressed injury and motivation. My final installment focuses on technique and performance.
I am an adult-onset swimmer.
I knew how to swim recreationally as a kid, but the process of really learning to swim began for me just a few years ago when I was 41 and started training for triathlons. While I have made steady progress, the addition of the Vasa Ergometer this year has offered new ways to experience swimming, more dimensions of objective feedback, helpful kinesthetic feedback from the bench and paddles, and simpler ways to capture and share video of my stroke. And this season, I’ve gone from being a mid-pack swimmer to finishing in the top 10% at my last race.
Here are some of the advantages of the Ergometer that I just can’t get in the same way through pool training. I’m sure the coaches and world-class swimmers who use the Ergometer could add hundreds of things to this list, but this is my start. What would you add?
PART 3: Performance & Technique
- PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK: When I want feedback beyond just time and stroke count. Having power data in addition to pace and stroke rate opens up a whole new world. You begin to see the direct impact of changes in technique on generated power!
- TARGETED FOCUS: When I want to focus on my swim and not keeping track of laps, times, strokes. The power monitor does it all.
- VIEWING & RECORDING TECHNIQUE: When I want to see what my own arms are doing, or take video with ease. This allows me to work on the critical High Elbow Catch and Early Vertical Forearm. And no waterproof camera is needed to grab some quick video for self-use or to send to a coach.
- RIGHT & LEFT ARM DATA: When I want to diagnose, monitor, and remedy a power imbalance between left and right arms. I always knew I was stronger on the right than left and now I have the objective power data to monitor and improve this.
- AUTHENTIC SWIM EXPERIENCE: When I want a continuous swim experience without having to travel to open water – no walls! I’m an open-turner so this removes the little “rest breaks” every 25 yards and makes it more authentic.
- WORKOUT DIVERSITY: When I want to work on double arm pulls that really work lats and develop power. I never learned butterfly, but on the Ergometer, double arm-pulls are a staple and easy to master.
- HEART RATE DATA: When I want to monitor my heart rate and see how hard I am working. I have always found it more difficult to push myself in the swim than on the bike or run but having heart rate feedback as a measure of exertion helps me to confidently learn to push myself. And the puddle of sweat lets me know I am working hard!
- RECOVERY: When I want to train the recovery stroke. By facing the other direction on the bench, I can give my arms better fatigue-resistance on the recovery portion of the stroke.
- HIP ROTATION & POWER TRAINING: When I want to feel my hips in the bench. It turned out I never really understood the connection of the hip to the power of the pull. With the bench, I can feel the timing of my hip rotation. (This was a huge ah-HA moment for me.)
- ARM ACCELERATION: When I want to feel the arm acceleration. The problem with water is it tends to get out of your way and you get very little kinesthetic feedback. The Power Paddles and flywheel allow me to feel exactly when and how much my arm is accelerating. This has allowed me to get away from the “single speed arm pull” that is a detriment to swimming.
That is just my short list of top advantages of the Vasa Ergometer over the pool for technique and performance. What would you add?