[caption id="attachment_1373" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Feeling an "Erg" to stay dry this winter...Endurance Films' Danny Kolker on the Vasa Ergometer."][/caption]
“A Paradigm Shift”…Sounds like something pretty cool. Also sounds like some kind of sci-fi techno babble, as in, “Captain, the ship’s shields are failing. She can’t take another paradigm shift!” Nevertheless, a "paradigm shift” is exactly how proponents of the Vasa Ergometer are pitching the merits of using this dry-land swim training machine (for those not familiar, think treadmill for swimming). So, two questions:
1. What do they mean by “paradigm shift”? and…
2.Why am I writing (I hate the term “blogging.” Sounds like British slang for something dirty) about it?
Well, according to the Erg’s creator, Rob Sleamaker, as well as other renowned swim and multisport coaches like Tim Crowley, Al Lyman and Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen (we’ll call them “Erg guys”), “paradigm shift” refers to the fact that the Erg will eventually be a widespread mainstay of most top-level swim training. Right now, and pretty much since one guy decided to see if he could swim faster than another guy, the general theory behind swim training is volume in the water. Of course, strength and conditioning programs supplement this, but the feeling for the most part is that you’re wrong if you ain’t getting wet.
Moving forward, however, the Erg guys see the machine as a catalyst for the paradigm shift, as it will supplement and even replace many of an athlete’s pool sessions. Their contention is that such use of the Erg will improve swim strength and performance, achieving results unattainable by water sessions alone.
That brings me to the second question…why I’m writing this. My point right now is not to prove that the Erg guys are right. If you want details and statistics, Google them and geek out to your heart’s content. My point is simply to say that their premise seems interesting enough. As a former water polo player with far less then ideal swim technique who loves the fitness results of swimming but has very limited time in the pool, I’d love it if a week out of the water didn’t mean a week getting weaker in the water.
As I embark upon incorporating the Erg into my weekly routine, I’ll try to check in fairly regularly and give my opinion, at least, on whether the people pimping this new paradigm truly know their shift.