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No Pool? No Gym? No Problem. Swim at Home Training Solutions From Vasa Trainer

Maintain & Build Swim-Specific Strength, Power & Endurance At Home.

Vasa SwimErg

There’s never been a better time to be an endurance athlete. In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis and a battery of bad news every time we turn on the TV, the best way to remain physically and mentally healthy is by doing what you’ve been doing all along—with a few minor adjustments. Swim at home training is the answer.

Chances are your pool or gym has experienced limited availability or may even have closed for a while during the pandemic.  In winter, unless you live in a warm climate with year-round access to swimming, it’s probably a bit chilly to jump in the open water and your local outdoor pools are frozen! While the limitations imposed by the pandemic might keep you out of the pool or open water in the short term, it doesn’t need to stop you from putting in a focused block of indoor swim training that will help you get stronger, better, and faster in the long run.  Plus, it’s likely you’ll be able to identify and correct some common technique limiters, too.

Setting At-Home Swim Training Goals

No matter what type of indoor workout you’re doing, it’s important to approach each session with a specific goal in mind. In order to stay mentally engaged while working out in the basement, garage, living room, or back yard, sessions need to be short and focused. Now is not the time for long, steady base-building while binge-watching Netflix. And it’s definitely not time to catch up on the news while you work out.

Veteran triathlon coach Tim Crowley encourages his athletes to perform indoor sessions year-round and believes the same principles of interval training apply whether your running on a treadmill, riding on a stationary trainer, or pulling on a SwimErg or a Vasa Trainer.

TimCrowly“My favorite interval set is just an adaption of my favorite treadmill workout: 40 seconds on with 20 seconds rest, starting with 10-12 reps,” he says. “On the Vasa SwimErg, it ends up being a lot like quality 50-meter repeats in the pool. Focus on a specific stroke rate or power throughout the set, or just focus on maintaining perfect form. Those specific goals will help it go by a lot faster and add value to the workout.”

When you’re swim training at home, the goal should be on the volume of quality. If 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off means you can maintain better form and do more repeats, then that will ultimately give you a better workout. Like smart trainers for bikes, the Vasa SwimErg with ANT+ Power Meter provides plenty of options for mixing up your workout. You can change up the stroke rate while keeping the damper door in the same setting, or you can vary the resistance by adjusting the damper door throughout the workout. The power meter also provides instant feedback, which can help the workout fly by even faster than it would in a pool.

Variety In Your At-Home Swim Training

Variety is key to staying mentally engaged and building functional fitness. That’s true whether your goals are swim-specific, you’re training for a triathlon or open water swimming event, or if you’re just maintaining fitness during this temporary disruption of routine. The ability to quickly get on and off a Vasa Trainer means you have endless options to mix up each workout.

“Mixing a little functional strength work into a SwimErg session can make a big difference,” Crowley says. “Whether you’re on a Vasa Trainer or using swim cords, you don’t get that internal rotation in the shoulders. If you work rotator cuff rotations—either with bands or weights—into your session, you can strengthen those neglected muscles to prevent injuries and ensure you’re working the entire shoulder.

At home swim trainingGetting in a “swim” without actually putting your head in water means you can add strength training to swim training in unique ways. With the addition of a suspension trainer like TRX, kettlebells, or free weights, adding lower-body and core exercises to a Vasa session allows you to do an intense, full-body workout in very little time.

“I like doing 10-minutes of swim-specific core work after a workout on the Vasa SwimErg,” says professional triathlete Andrew Starykowicz. “Thirty minutes on the Vasa followed by 10-minutes of working the lower-core muscles—the ones you use while kicking—feels equal to about an hour in the pool.”

Short Workouts & Long-Term Focus

Remember that endurance athletes typically can handle some isolation, so that shouldn’t keep you from reaching your fitness goals. Whether your state-of-the-art pain cave is complete with a Vasa Trainer or a Vasa SwimErg, (or Vasa swim cords), just a few minutes a day can keep your swim fitness sharp for when the pools re-open and the races resume.

“My favorite Vasa workout is just 1-minute easy, then 40-seconds at a moderate power and stroke rate, followed by 20-seconds all-out sprinting,” Starykowicz says. “If you do that five times through, you can get a solid workout in just 10 minutes.”

While it’s possible that the next racing season is going to look a little different than in other years, there’s no reason that should stop you from achieving your goals and being the athlete you want to be. As Coach Crowley likes to remind his athletes: “It’s always been important to approach your sport with a long-term focus. This (pandemic) isn’t optimal, but the process hasn’t changed. The pools will be open and the races will be back before you know it.”

About The Author: Brad Culp is an endurance sports journalist and lifelong swimmer. He’s previously worked as editor-in-chief of Triathlete and LAVA magazines, as well as media manager of the International Triathlon Union. He’s a graduate of Miami University with degrees in journalism and psychology and resides in Geneva, Illinois.