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Zirconium
October 25th, 2005, 08:54 PM
Does any of you have any experience with the Vasa Trainer?
http://www.vasatrainer.com/trainer/whatis.php

It looks to be specific to swimming. I would like to know about its efficiency compared to a more generic Lat Pull Down machine having high & low pulleys.

Thanks very much in advance for any advice.

Sabretooth Tiger
October 25th, 2005, 09:26 PM
It's great and is the closest thing to real swimming that you can do on dry land . . . in my experience.

Zirconium
October 25th, 2005, 11:02 PM
On dryland exercises, I would avoid to work the muscles exactly the same way than if I was swimming. To avoid wear and tear.

Instead, I'd rather work antagonist muscles or work the same muscles but differently (using dumbbells, seated row, lat pull down, chin up, pull up, etc.)

Does anyone agree with this idea?

Bob McAdams
October 25th, 2005, 11:28 PM
I've never used the Vasa trainer, but it appears from the animated picture they show that it doesn't provide any way for your body to rotate, as it would during regular swimming. So my concern would be that it wouldn't work out the same muscles that your regular swimming stroke would.


Bob

Zirconium
October 26th, 2005, 12:05 AM
May be you can lie on the side and pull the device with only one arm?

Bob McAdams
October 26th, 2005, 12:57 AM
Originally posted by Zirconium
May be you can lie on the side and pull the device with only one arm?

Perhaps you can, but that's not how I stroke, either! My body rotates as I stroke.


Bob

aquageek
October 26th, 2005, 11:46 AM
I have nothing against this particular device but as with all home fitness equipment, it seems to generally end up being a very expensive clothes collection device within a few months of purchase.

Zirconium
October 26th, 2005, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by aquageek
I have nothing against this particular device but as with all home fitness equipment, it seems to generally end up being a very expensive clothes collection device within a few months of purchase.
Actually, I am NOT convinced by this Vasa trainer device. I am looking for experiences or testimonies to verify if this device is truely unique and valuable in terms of swimming training benefits.

My point is that it is possible to work the same muscle groups using other ways which don't require such an expensive device.

The fact that the Vasa trainer mimics swim movements doesn't necessarily mean that it train muscles better than traditional weight training devices.

If any one has already tried both the vasa trainer and tradional gym techniques, I would appreciate to share your experience.

Sabretooth Tiger
October 26th, 2005, 02:13 PM
I have a great deal of experience using all kinds of weight equipment, free weights, Nautilus, Cybex, Hammer Strength and others too numerous to mention. I've also used the Vasa Trainer and similar equipment. I was also in the health and fitness industry for about a decade after graduating from college, running and designing fitness centers.

It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

If you want to build strength for swim sprints and can only pick one machine, I'd go with the Vasa Trainer. If you're looking for overall strength and body development, you need a much more varied program.

A Vasa Trainer is less than half the price of a Hammer Strength wide lat pulldown machine.

I use a Vasa Trainer as just a single component of a complete weight workout program.

If I were setting up a home gym and had a limited budget, and were interested in a good whole body workout, I'd probably invest in a Hoist multi station machine.

So, are you looking specifically to improve spring swim speed? Overall body development/fitness? Setting up a home gym? Can you buy only one piece of equipment? Do you have limited space?

The question of what equipment is best for you depends on your goals and resources. And I'd suggest that you try stuff out for yourself before making up your mind and making a big investment.

Zirconium
October 26th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Hi botterud,

You are exactly the person I was looking for and your asnwer is of course very informative.

I don't want to specialize my muscles for swim sprints. Partly because I am not a sprinter and also because I would prefer to avoid muscle imbalance or injury in working too much the same muscles the same way.

I am more interested in a balanced workout, targetting the whole body. For this, I can get pretty good guidelines about the routines and equipment from many weight training books and forums.

What I am puzzled is the specificity of the Vasa Trainer as I was recently aware of this device. Your answer has greatly clarified the situation. One more question.

Could the Vasa Trainer expose the exerciser to more shoulder risks?

I mean, if one works too hard on the Vasa Trainer, say by adding more resistance and/or placing the hands a little bit far away from the chest and/or with possibly bad form. Is it possible that the rotator cuff muscles are over-stressed?

Like in some weight training exercises which are unfriendly to the shoulders. In such a case, there are proper warnings in the instructions.

Sabretooth Tiger
October 26th, 2005, 03:43 PM
Improper technique and/or overuse can always lead to injury . . . with any body part and any exercise. I make a point in my own routines to strengthen my shoulders and specifically to target my rotator cuff. You also need to know when to say "when" and give your body a day off from swimming if your shoulders are overly fatigued/sore.

Here is a link to a website with some examples of exercises that will work your rotator cuff:

http://www.orthoassociates.com/shoulder1.htm

You can google "rotator cuff exercise" and get a ton of hits to get some ideas.

craiglll@yahoo.com
October 27th, 2005, 12:46 PM
I don't know if this adds or distracts for m the conversation. Mnay big time universities use VASA. I think I read that both Texas & Arizona use the machines a lot. I've seen them at U of Ill, Indiana, and (for what it is worth) we have one at Knox.

I've only used on e two times. I thought that it woudl probably help butwhy take the time to use a machine when I can just get into the water and swim.

clyde hedlund
October 27th, 2005, 10:49 PM
Originally posted by Zirconium
Instead, I'd rather work antagonist muscles or work the same muscles but differently (using dumbbells, seated row, lat pull down, chin up, pull up, etc.)

Does anyone agree with this idea?

You raise a very important point. So I'm just wondering if the VASA can be arranged so you can do everything in reverse?

hmlee
October 27th, 2005, 11:47 PM
We have them at my university! I've seen them up in the pool balcony...although the team hasn't used them. Not sure if the guys team maybe uses them instead of us girls....

Zirconium
October 29th, 2005, 12:22 AM
Originally posted by clyde hedlund
You raise a very important point. So I'm just wondering if the VASA can be arranged so you can do everything in reverse?
Glad that you see the "pattern" injury I was talking about by working the same muscles the same way day after day. And this is also the very reason that many weight exercisers prefer free weights over gym machines.

With some creativity, I think you can invent some postures to vary the routines on the Vasa trainer. For example, sitting sideway and pulling with one arm to do the external arm rotation. However, outside of the lying postion the stomach, that looks clumsy and won't do anything better than regular weight training equipment (you can do a lot of exercise with a pair of dumbbells and a bench).


Originally posted by clyde hmlee
We have them at my university! I've seen them up in the pool balcony...although the team hasn't used them. Not sure if the guys team maybe uses them instead of us girls....
Is the device in working order? If yes, I would be very interested in knowing why your team doesn't use it. Can you please ask what the guys think about this machine?

hmlee
October 29th, 2005, 08:21 AM
I'm assuming they work...it's possible we just haven't started using them. Next dry land I'll try to remember to ask my coach.

Edit: Oh and I should say that if you go to the Vasa website, they have exercises listed for various sports, among them competitive swimming (I think they also have like rec swimming). It goes through lots of different exercises...not just your basic free pull.

swimswede
November 3rd, 2005, 04:40 PM
Originally posted by Zirconium
With some creativity, I think you can invent some postures to vary the routines on the Vasa trainer. For example, sitting sideway and pulling with one arm to do the external arm rotation.

I used Vasa's in college, and I'm convinced that they help. We focused more on core strength, and preventing injuries... as well as builing strength and power in the early season. You can do exernal arm rotation by sitting sideways, and it's not clumsy at all. They show a photo of it here:
rotator cuff exercise
http://www.vasatrainer.com/mysport/swimming.php#PT

And they show photos of all the other core-building exercises you can do here.
over 200 exercises
http://www.vasatrainer.com/workouts/200.php

You can certainly do all of these exercises with free weights and a bench, but if the Vasa can give you all that, as well as swim-specific training, it's doubly beneficial.

I'm lucky because my swim club has one. If not, I'd buy one for home.