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Integrating Anterior Core Strength with Vasa SwimErg Training

Author: Tim Crowley

As a longtime coach, I have found the Vasa SwimErg, a swimming ergometer, is one of the most efficient swim training and technique tools available. It allows athletes to maximize their swim training time with real-time data such as power output, stroke rate, force, and other metrics.  As a swimmer develops a powerful pull, creating anterior core strength is essential to improve efficiency and reduce shoulder stress. This power combination is critical to faster swimming.

In this article, I will outline specific anterior core training exercises that swimmers and triathletes can do before, after, or within a SwimErg workout for optimal transfer from the swim ergometer to the pool or open water.

Before or after Vasa workouts, incorporate three to four sets of 8 – 10 repetitions of anterior core exercises, which take a couple of minutes and yield measurable results. I recommend several exercises, each of which will vary in intensity. Choose exercises that you can execute well and build from there.

Another way to integrate anterior core training exercises is to utilize rest breaks between swimming intervals. Perform the exercises on the floor for 8 to 10 repetitions. You can easily do each during a 30-second rest interval, saving time and enhancing the training effect.

The Trainer Day platform contains a significant library of Vasa SwimErg workouts. Those workouts make adding core exercises during the rest intervals easy since the clock does not stop during the planned rest intervals. 

Below are some suggested anterior core exercises. Depending on the available equipment, you can mix and match exercises to create a lot of variety and intensity levels. 

Here is a video on how to do each exercise:

Anterior Core Training Exercises

1. Sklz slidez (or use furniture movers)

2. Slide-outs

3. Body saws

4. Push up – slide out

5. Ab wheel rollouts

6. TRX/suspension system

7. Fallouts

Integrating the Vasa SwimErg With Anterior Core Training

For example, in the workout shown above, there will be 10 x 1-minute work intervals on the SwimErg with 1-minute rest intervals between. For ten swim-specific intervals, there will be nine rest intervals. 

During the rest intervals, do the anterior core exercises by getting off the Vasa SwimErg and onto the floor nearby.  Below is one way to do three sets of 3 different anterior core exercises:

  • During Rest intervals #1, 2, & 3, do a Plank exercise for 20-seconds
  • During Rest intervals #4, 5, & 6, do an Ab wheel roll-out for 8-repetitions
  • During Rest intervals #7, 8, & 9, do TRX body saws for 8-repetitions

Anterior core exercises will add power to your pull, reduce shoulder stress, and improve posture and alignment in the water. When fatigue sets in, it is common to hyper-extend the lower back. Unfortunately, that can lead to back pain if the anterior core and the lower back muscles are imbalanced. Both muscle groups help stabilize the hips and core muscles while providing a solid platform for powerful swimming.

Regularly doing anterior core work in your strength program or during your Vasa workouts will reduce strain on your back and shoulders while adding power to your stroke. Happy training!

Author: Coach Tim Crowley

Tim Crowley is a well-respected coach, and we are privileged to have him as a vital part of the Vasa community.  He has contributed useful dryland for swimmers’ workout and technique videos, which you can find in our Video Library.

Harnessing the Power of PM3 Power Meter

Tim Crowley
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Montverde Academy
Author: High-Performance Aging & The Powerful Triathlete