This article is part of a series of blog posts where successful coaches in the Vasa community answer important questions to help you swim stronger, better, faster.
How do you integrate dryland Vasa training with in-water swimming? What’s your favorite workout to help athletes progress from Vasa dryland training and pool swimming to open water swimming & especially race preparation?
Coach Joe Maloy:
Training with the Vasa SwimErg and/or Vasa Trainer can supplement an athlete’s in-water swimming routine. The Vasa SwimErg and Trainer Pro each provide the opportunity to practice and strengthen specific swimming movements (the catch or the finish of the stroke, for example). Less-experienced swimmers can especially benefit from feeling/strengthening these movements out of the pool, where they have a better awareness of their movements and don’t need to worry about staying afloat.
Less experienced swimmers who haven’t yet developed a great “feel” for the water will have a harder time learning these movements in the water since it’s an unfamiliar medium providing the feedback.
I compliment my longer workouts in the pool with shorter Vasa sessions when I work specifically on my technique or on my power. I also use the Erg to isolate movements to one arm (and then do the same on the other side) to help my stroke feel more balanced in the water.
Read more about Olympian Joe Maloy’s approach here: Effecient Dryland Swim Training
Coach Eric Neilsen:
Hands down the best is to have the Vasa at the pool or open water venue. I like to spend 5-10 minutes working on a few things with an athlete on the SwimErg, then into the water they go. This really helps translate what they are feeling. Going back and forth between the Vasa and the water is a great contrast drill. When an athlete is having difficulty transitioning their form when using the SwimErg to the form they swim in the water, it is helpful to have them use a pull buoy in the water first. Then swim without the pull buoy after a while.
Double-arm pulls on the Vasa SwimErg are very helpful to teach the athlete how to access their lats when swimming. Often they have not felt pulling with their lat muscles in the water, so the double-arm pulls on the Vasa gives them that feeling they need swimming in the water.
Check out Coach Eric’s workout videos here: Vasa Trainer Workouts
Coach Keith Watson:
Ideally, I like my athletes to be on the SwimErg 2 days/week and in the pool 2 days/week. One of those workouts that I prescribe on the Erg I like them to also do in the water as well. So they can truly feel the benefits from the Erg and how it translates to the water.
I also like to throw in a 3rd Erg session prior to a bike workout that replicates a triathlon swim. I call it the 10-10-10 where they do 10 mins easy, 10 mins moderate and 10 mins hard. Then I have them hop right on the bike for a 30-30-30 set where they go 30 mins moderate, 30 mins strong and 30 mins hard followed by a cooldown or easy jog off. This really gets them ready for race day and the transitions they experience.
Coach Martin Hill:
If an athlete has access to a SwimErg, 1 or 2 sessions can be performed on it for easy time management. A very simple set would be to mix aerobic and strength such as repeating the following several times through:
- 3x100m with 10sec rest interval – with a resistance setting that allows the athlete to be relaxed and aerobic whilst “swimming” (the aerobic element).
- 8x25m with 15sec rest interval – with the resistance set to high so that the effort required to “swim” is hard on the muscles (the strength element).
About the contributing coaches
Joe, Eric, Keith, and Martin are among the World’s most respected coaches & athletes from the Vasa community. They also are contributors to our ebook, Four Keys to Fearless Open Water Swimming. It’s excellent, it’s useful, and it’s FREE! Click here to get your free copy
Olympic & former World Champion Triathlete
and USA Triathlon Coach
Masters Swimming & Multisport Coach
Keep It Simple Coaching
Martin Hill (Based in Alicante, Spain)
ASA Swim coach, Trisutto Certified coach
UK Strength & Conditioning coach, BTF L3 coach