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Still any VASA swim erg users out there?
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I ask this question every year it seems, but I'm always interested in hearing how it's working out for those that own/use one, and very few people seem to respond.

I'm on the brink of buying one, just because it's so darn hard to get adequate pool time. (I'd use it to add to water time, not replace pool time)
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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It's the best tri toy I have bought. If I swim only on the vasa without going to the pool, my times in races are generally the same as if I go to the pool a lot (around 25-27 minutes for 1500). If I combine vasa with somewhat consistent pool swims, I have my fastest times (around 25 minutes for 1500). I have had my vasa ergometer for about 9 years, so in different years I have had different motivation levels. It is easier cardiovascularly than swimming in the pool, but harder muscularly - feels a lot like swimming with a wetsuit. My vasa workout are generally much shorter than pool swims - I very rarely do more than 20 minutes on the vasa.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [Jon] [ In reply to ]
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+1. You got to like indoor training. If you do its a game changer for improving your swim especially if your time crunched.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [kwatson] [ In reply to ]
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I love indoor training. Right now I'm doing all indoor bike training (6 hrs per week), and half my runs on the treadmill.

Any caveats with buying the Vasa? Or any regrets? Sounds like it's almost too good to be true for someone like me who finds it hard to get pool access - either the pool hours don't match mine, and the limited times I can actually get there, it's almost invariably circle swimming with some beginner swimmers who have no idea how to properly share a lane which ends up ruining half my workout.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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I just got my info packet in the mail about the Vasa Trainer. I plan on ordering one in January. I'll be getting the Ergometer version. The Vasa trainer is the only thing missing in my exercise room (have weights, trainer, treadmill) It would be great to be able to do some brick workouts all indoors.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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Its the treadmill / trainer for the swim. But It does not completely replace the theatre of the real. Use it to compliment / supplement time in the water.

I use it 2x per week doing anywhere btw 2-3k on it. Shorter intervals focusing on strngth and power saving my endurance work for the pool.

Good luck!
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [kwatson] [ In reply to ]
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I'm looking to sell mine if any of you are interested in saving 500-700 bucks. Mine is three years old but barely used, in perfect condition. I joined a great masters group shortly after I bought it and have not used it much. I'm in Connecticut though so not sure about shipping.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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I want to get a VASA so bad, I'm stuck 60 miles from a pool most of the year. It sucks, my swim fitness (best sport) is dying and the weather sucks, I could have skated to the pool today.. :( Wish I had a grand to spend on the cheap one.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [runner66] [ In reply to ]
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Does yours have the ergometer? If not, is it able to be added to your model?
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [mercuryvapor] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, it's the vasa ergometer, top of the line model. Bought it for 2,000.00 around 2010, not used much more than 100 hours if that. Looks brand new. My wife is not happy that I spent that much money and did not get a lot of use out of it, although I have put 5 times that number of hours on a cycleops trainer that was given to me by a friend used, but in good condition, so I guess it evens out.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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I would echo what Jon says -

I LOVE my vasa ergometer. Easier aerobically/harder muscularly.

Translates very well to wetsuit swims

Still need some pool time too

My fastest swim splits were vasa 2 x week and pool 1-2 x week.

It is a great piece of training equipment.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [runner66] [ In reply to ]
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runner66 wrote:
Yes, it's the vasa ergometer, top of the line model. Bought it for 2,000.00 around 2010, not used much more than 100 hours if that. Looks brand new. My wife is not happy that I spent that much money and did not get a lot of use out of it, although I have put 5 times that number of hours on a cycleops trainer that was given to me by a friend used, but in good condition, so I guess it evens out.


Curious what you find not appealing about it - I know you now have a masters group to attend, but is not the convenience worth it? Or is it too mind-numbingly boring?

(As a off-topic aside, you mentioned 100hrs if that on the Vasa, but 5x that on the trainer. I looked at my Friel Annual training plan, and it's for 500 hours TOTAL for the year - works out to 10hrs/week with peaks at 15hrs, so you're putting in a good amt of hours on both!)
Last edited by: lightheir: Nov 16, 13 19:12
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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I use the VASA swim erg on 7, the highest setting, 3x/wk after swims in Endless Pool. Total about 2 hours/week on VASA. (Never go to a public lap pool and rarely do open water swims.) For me, it replaces upper-body training with weights.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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I have one - not had it for very long so I can't comment on the results, but I can tell you that's it's very time efficient. I can swim hard for 1.5 hours in a pool but after 20 mins on the vasa I'm toasted (in my opinion the distance swum on the vasa feels about double that of the pool). It's basically like a very specific weights/resistance workout for swimming. It's awesome to not have to leave the house if I want to get in a quick "swim". Literally in 20 mins I can work so hard that I'm unable to brush my teeth after

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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [bamaE] [ In reply to ]
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What workouts do you do? I just picked up a used Vasa trainer.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [robgray] [ In reply to ]
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robgray wrote:
I have one - not had it for very long so I can't comment on the results, but I can tell you that's it's very time efficient. I can swim hard for 1.5 hours in a pool but after 20 mins on the vasa I'm toasted (in my opinion the distance swum on the vasa feels about double that of the pool). It's basically like a very specific weights/resistance workout for swimming. It's awesome to not have to leave the house if I want to get in a quick "swim". Literally in 20 mins I can work so hard that I'm unable to brush my teeth after


That's sounds exactly what I'm looking for - my arm strength in the pool is terrible! (I go slower with paddles by a fair amount.)

Length of machine is allegedly 10 feet per the website. Do you need more room than that since your legs stick off the back? Trying to figure out the space for it.

Nice job at kona BTW!
Last edited by: lightheir: Nov 17, 13 3:40
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [runner66] [ In reply to ]
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runner66 wrote:
I'm looking to sell mine if any of you are interested in saving 500-700 bucks. Mine is three years old but barely used, in perfect condition. I joined a great masters group shortly after I bought it and have not used it much. I'm in Connecticut though so not sure about shipping.


Hi runner 66 have a question for you since you have used one. How does the Vasa account for body rotation in the stroke? It seems to me one would be ingraining a totally flat body by practicing the catch/pull on a level body surface? That or one is forced to internally rotate the humerus to accommodate the lack of rotation? I guess my question is: do you swim with some amount of body rotation in the water and if so, how did you adapt to the Vasa in that event given that you are laying on a flat surface? Curious to know how/if you were able to rectify this if it was an issue. Were you able to get from the Vasa to water and have the stroke feel the same? I'm sure there is a trick to it, but I would feel lost trying to swim flat as weight shift provides a good deal of my propulsive power when timed with the recovering arm accelerating down into the catch.
Last edited by: tigerpaws: Nov 17, 13 4:02
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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Yes you'd need a few extra feet, for your feet... I'd day 13ft total is plenty. You could probably even get away with a bit less than that

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Ultraman 2018 Updates | Race Reports | My Gear
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [tigerpaws] [ In reply to ]
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tigerpaws wrote:
runner66 wrote:
I'm looking to sell mine if any of you are interested in saving 500-700 bucks. Mine is three years old but barely used, in perfect condition. I joined a great masters group shortly after I bought it and have not used it much. I'm in Connecticut though so not sure about shipping.


Hi runner 66 have a question for you since you have used one. How does the Vasa account for body rotation in the stroke? It seems to me one would be ingraining a totally flat body by practicing the catch/pull on a level body surface? That or one is forced to internally rotate the humerus to accommodate the lack of rotation? I guess my question is: do you swim with some amount of body rotation in the water and if so, how did you adapt to the Vasa in that event given that you are laying on a flat surface? Curious to know how/if you were able to rectify this if it was an issue. Were you able to get from the Vasa to water and have the stroke feel the same? I'm sure there is a trick to it, but I would feel lost trying to swim flat as weight shift provides a good deal of my propulsive power when timed with the recovering arm accelerating down into the catch.

I'll toss myself into the conversation - I've been a Vasa user since around 2007. Thing is freaking awesome. But, it does come with a few things to know, kind of related to what you're talking about above. It doesn't account for body rotation; I do tend to roll SLIGHTLY on the board, but it's not close to the water. I think the thing to remember with the Vasa Erg is that it's not a machine to perfectly replicate your stroke, but a machine designed to perfect the catch/pull arm movement - essentially, it's a "pulling machine". When I use it, I'm only focusing on the catch and early vertical forearm portion of the stroke, as well as full effort through the stroke. I don't even do a proper recovery portion of the stroke, because THAT is very uncomfortable on a flat surface - I just swing my arms forward under the machine.

That being said, I think you'd find you don't miss much of the rest of your stroke - despite not having a good way to replicate the roll, kick, etc., I found I didn't lose any of it going into the water. When I got my Erg, it was when I was just out of college, fairly broke and living in Boston - I couldn't afford a membership to any of the pools there. I got the erg via some barter with my coach, and for a year and a half only used only the Erg for training (with a few open water swims at Walden Pond on the weekends). While I wasn't a good swimmer before, and I'm not now, I actually improved a lot over that 1.5 years - went from a 38 min half IM swim to a 30 min, which isn't bad for a year's work.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [IKnowEverything] [ In reply to ]
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I think between your review and Rob's usage as a KQ guy, I'm definitely going to buy one. I'm willing to work hard, even if it means doing it in my garage (I do hours and hours of that already no problem on a bike trainer setup with Trainerroad) - it's that darn pool access that's killing my swim. If I could get even half the results you got with a Vasa, I'd consider it well worth it.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [robgray] [ In reply to ]
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Just curious - how would you or other say it compares to swimming with paddles?
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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lightheir wrote:
Length of machine is allegedly 10 feet per the website. Do you need more room than that since your legs stick off the back? Trying to figure out the space for it.

My VASA erg is 8'6" long. I have it tucked in a 9'0" space. No problem fully extending my legs... I am 5'10".
Did I say it doubles as a pulley weight-machine?
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [IKnowEverything] [ In reply to ]
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IKnowEverything wrote:
tigerpaws wrote:
runner66 wrote:
I'm looking to sell mine if any of you are interested in saving 500-700 bucks. Mine is three years old but barely used, in perfect condition. I joined a great masters group shortly after I bought it and have not used it much. I'm in Connecticut though so not sure about shipping.


Hi runner 66 have a question for you since you have used one. How does the Vasa account for body rotation in the stroke? It seems to me one would be ingraining a totally flat body by practicing the catch/pull on a level body surface? That or one is forced to internally rotate the humerus to accommodate the lack of rotation? I guess my question is: do you swim with some amount of body rotation in the water and if so, how did you adapt to the Vasa in that event given that you are laying on a flat surface? Curious to know how/if you were able to rectify this if it was an issue. Were you able to get from the Vasa to water and have the stroke feel the same? I'm sure there is a trick to it, but I would feel lost trying to swim flat as weight shift provides a good deal of my propulsive power when timed with the recovering arm accelerating down into the catch.


I'll toss myself into the conversation - I've been a Vasa user since around 2007. Thing is freaking awesome. But, it does come with a few things to know, kind of related to what you're talking about above. It doesn't account for body rotation; I do tend to roll SLIGHTLY on the board, but it's not close to the water. I think the thing to remember with the Vasa Erg is that it's not a machine to perfectly replicate your stroke, but a machine designed to perfect the catch/pull arm movement - essentially, it's a "pulling machine". When I use it, I'm only focusing on the catch and early vertical forearm portion of the stroke, as well as full effort through the stroke. I don't even do a proper recovery portion of the stroke, because THAT is very uncomfortable on a flat surface - I just swing my arms forward under the machine.

That being said, I think you'd find you don't miss much of the rest of your stroke - despite not having a good way to replicate the roll, kick, etc.,
I found I didn't lose any of it going into the water. When I got my Erg, it was when I was just out of college, fairly broke and living in Boston - I couldn't afford a membership to any of the pools there. I got the erg via some barter with my coach, and for a year and a half only used only the Erg for training (with a few open water swims at Walden Pond on the weekends). While I wasn't a good swimmer before, and I'm not now, I actually improved a lot over that 1.5 years - went from a 38 min half IM swim to a 30 min, which isn't bad for a year's work.

Actually, you are losing a huge part of your stroke since you aren't able to recover properly. I've only used the Vasa once for a few minutes but, the idea that swinging your arms forward under the machine is not an issue is not valid. This is the same problem you have with using stretch cords (e.g., surgical tubing), in that to keep a continuous motion you can't recover properly over your shoulder. I've used the stretch cords with paddles religiously when deployed to AFG and IRQ and could not swim at all, and what I found when I came back was that sure, my pulling strength was great but my deltoids just ached big-time after 2000-3000 yds because they were just not used to that motion. Every time I've come back from my 5 deployments w/o swimming, it has been getting the delts back in shape that has been the main issue, and it seems like you would be missing this crucial part of the swim stroke with the Vasa trainer.

Also, what tigerpaws said about rotation is key also, since no way do you pull in a completely flat motion in the water, so really you are not training exactly the same motion. Close but not exactly the same; really, there is no real substitute for swimming in the water but I would spend $30 to buy the stretch cords with paddles before I'd spend $500 or more on the Vasa. (I have no financial interest in the stretch cords.)


"Anyone can be who they want to be IF they have the HUNGER and the DRIVE."
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [ericmulk] [ In reply to ]
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ericmulk wrote:
Actually, you are losing a huge part of your stroke since you aren't able to recover properly. I've only used the Vasa once for a few minutes but, the idea that swinging your arms forward under the machine is not an issue is not valid. This is the same problem you have with using stretch cords (e.g., surgical tubing), in that to keep a continuous motion you can't recover properly over your shoulder.

The VASA swim erg does simulate a normal feeling arm recovery over the shoulder. You must be thinking of some other swim trainer that requires dog paddling.
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Re: Still any VASA swim erg users out there? [IKnowEverything] [ In reply to ]
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That's great it worked for you....hard to argue with the results. I jumped on one about 3 years ago at an expo briefly and it struck me immediately how it disrupted any and all feel in *my* stroke. Most notably b/c whatever kind of recovery I could manage on the Vasa was incredibly restricted due to my flatness on the trainer(thus my comment on forced internal rotation beyond my normal range). When I want to go faster I don't think about pulling harder or faster, but rather increasing the rate of my rotations. Was curious how others made it work for them, thanks for explaining....enjoy your swimming!
Last edited by: tigerpaws: Nov 17, 13 11:33
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