Shopping Cart

No products in the cart.

My Journey with the Vasa Swim Ergometer: Adjustments

Julia Galan
Julia Galan

Two more weeks have passed since I tested out how my workout performance in the pool is affected by the Vasa Swim Ergometer. As you may recall from my previous blog, there were some points I needed to work on in terms of my posture on the Swim Erg. Below are some of the adjustments I made.

In order to maintain the rotation that is characteristic of my stroke – and allows me to maintain a high elbow recovery – I have focused on driving my opposing hip into the bench while initiating the catch phase of the pull with the other arm. Apparently, you can swim freestyle on the bench with a rolled towel underneath to promote further destabilization and increased body roll, but so far I haven’t found that necessary. Training on a swim bench necessarily limits the amount of rotation you could achieve in the water, and much of the emphasis is on developing the strength of the pull. However, it’s great to know that I can activate some of the same core muscles that I would need for rotation in the water while using the bench.

I am also making sure that I am extending my arm fully and finishing completely during the stroke cycle while using the Vasa Swim Erg. This allows me to not only emphasize the rotational aspect of the freestyle, but also to focus on gaining that distance per stroke that is so important in the water.

My head position while using the Vasa Swim Ergometer has also been adjusted. I had previously been tucking my chin, keeping the head down, while pulling. In the water, I prefer to have my head positioned forward, since it helps balance my stroke. To avoid falling into the habit of swimming with a flatter stroke and the head looking down, I lift my head slightly while using the Swim Erg, so that it is just in line with my spine. This avoids neck and upper back pain, while simultaneously promoting better position on the Erg and in the water.

Making the adjustments on the Swim Erg really helped my performance in the water. My technique is good, with the added benefit of a strengthened pull. I’ve also incorporated a new drill set into my Ergometer workouts that really helps to strengthen each of the key phases of the pull. The drill set consists of 10 one arm half pulls, 10 regular single arm strokes, 10 finish-specific pulls (like tricep kickbacks, except lying on the bench). This cycle can be repeated a few times onJuliaSwim one arm before switching to the other arm. So far, I’ve been completing these drills using Swim Erg drive cords, but I could also potentially use the Trainer webbing straps that can be attached to the Erg.

I had a short course meters meet coming up on December 6th and I wanted to perform well. I reduced the number of Ergometer sessions two weeks before the meet, from 7 to 4 sessions. The week before the meet I allowed my body to rest completely and stayed off the Erg. Results? Out of three events – 200 free, 100 free, 100 back – all swum within an hour (very little rest and recovery in between events!), I got two best times! I lowered my time by two seconds in the 200 free and by nearly a second in the 100 free from my previous bests in October. Of course, the results can be attributed to a few different factors, including the increasing intensity of my pool workouts, but my Vasa Swim Ergometer workouts have without a doubt been a tremendous help in strengthening my pull and increasing my endurance. Next meet is in January, and I am looking forward to getting in quite a few great workouts before then! See you next week!

Julia Galan is the founder and head coach at Swimspire. A lifelong competitive swimmer and member of USA Swimming and United States Masters Swimming, Julia has trained both in the United States and Europe at the regional and national levels. She has also spent time on the pool deck, coaching swimmers and triathletes of all levels in the Maryland area since 2004.

In addition to covering inspirational events, teams and swimmers through Swimspire’s news section, Julia has contributed and Lifehacker.