I do not like swimming. I’m not referring to casual frolicking in the water with kids or friends, but to lap swimming. I’ve never liked it. I grew up playing water polo. I love it. Swimming…boring. Problem is that to be in shape for the game that I loved, I had to do the thing that I hated.
That brings me to the fringe benefit of being in swim shape. Yes, I was fit for the polo season, but I was also simply fit. In fact, I never feel more fit or strong than when I’m in swim shape. And I’ve heard the same from most every other person I know who swims. Until recently, I thought there’s absolutely no way to stay in swim shape without getting in the water. I went in to each week dreading the fact that I’d have to swim at least four times to feel the way I wanted to feel.
A few months ago, however, Rob Sleamaker turned me on to his brainchild, the Vasa Ergometer. I blogged about it and the claims that supporters of The Erg made – Improved power and efficiency as well as maintaining swim conditioning even though the machine is on dry land. What’s more, they said that The Erg was the leading edge of a paradigm shift that would forever change prevailing philosophy that training volume in the water was the only way to swim train.
At the time, I wrote that while I hoped this was true, that I would neither confirm nor deny those claims until I’d given The Erg a shot. And I’m glad I did. I’ve been using The Erg about twice a week and I’m seeing and feeling results. There’s definitely more power in my stroke. I attribute that to two things – Firstly, with The Erg’s on-board computer measuring power, I’ve found the “sweet-spot” of my stroke, which informs my muscle memory when I’m in the water. Secondly, The Erg has simply helped me build swim strength; A few intervals at high effort and hard resistance and I feel like I’ve done intense upper body strength training targeted specifically toward swimming.
Now I’ve got to move to the next step – Structure. My Erg workouts, to this point, consist of jumping on the machine and improvising a workout. I usually do between 1,500 and 2,500 meters at varying intervals, tempo and resistance, but there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Often I’ll time a workout to end at when Howard Stern breaks for commercial.
So take this as a call for help to anyone with Erg experience. Let me know what workouts work best for you and how to best mix these in to pool time. Until then, I’ll just keep powering through hoping Howard isn’t a repeat.
- Danny Kolker, Producer, Endurance Films