Dry-land Swim Circuit – by Tim Crowley


This dry-land swim circuit, which utilizes the Vasa Ergometer and the Vasa Trainer, is based on a DVD that Rob Sleamaker had sent to me last year. That DVD was a circuit created by the late Fran Crippen, open water World Champion.** I have created a dry-land swim circuit that has a lot of variations. This circuit can be used as a supplement to in-water swim training, or in place of a swim workout.


Circuit components:

1. Vasa Ergometer intervals: These can range from medium to longer steady sets of broken 50m or 100m segments with 5 to 10 seconds rest between each interval.

2. Prone reverse freestyle: This is best done on a ham glute bench with the feet anchored and the tubing anchored near the feet. This reverse freestyle motion is for training the recovery aspect of the swim stroke while stabilizing the posterior chain hamstrings, glutes and low back extensors.

3. Vasa Trainer 2-arm pulls: Double arm swim pulls with a 3 to 4 second eccentric lowering to build swim pull strength and fatigue resistance. Intensity levels and number of pulls can be varied.

4. Ab wheel rollouts: These difficult anterior core exercises are the perfect complement to swimming on the Ergometer. The ability to stabilize the hips and core while arms are extended out develops very specific swimming power.

Possible circuit:

Warm-up: 100 to 200m easy swimming on the Vasa Ergometer

3 to 4 circuits of:

1. Vasa Ergometer intervals: 3x 100m holding best average watts at damper door setting 2. Rest interval: 15 seconds.

2. Prone reverse freestyle: 15 stoke cycles as a catch-up stroke, always keeping one arm extended out in front.

3. Vasa Trainer 2-arm pulls: 20 pulls / 3 second eccentric phase.

4. Ab wheel rollouts: 10 reps maintaining a neutral spine.

There are many variations that can be used to fine-tune this circuit to meet your needs.

– If you do not have access to a Vasa Trainer, pull-ups or inverted rows on a TRX can be substituted.

– Ab wheel rollouts can be substituted with stability ball, slide board or TRX rollouts.

– Watch the video above for more suggestions.


This circuit is challenging when you first begin, but as strength, power and endurance improve, you will be able to handle more circuits. You can create any number of versions using this concept. Invite a few fellow athletes, and you have an effective small group training session.


Happy training!

Coach Tim


**The DVD Coach Tim is referring to is Open Water Swim Technique by Fran Crippen, and can be purchased directly through Vasa. 100% of the profits from the sale of this DVD will be donated to the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation. For more information, please visit http://www.francrippen.org.

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