Vasa Trainer

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Vasa Trainer Pro at Amazon.comThe Vasa Trainers range in price from $900 to nearly $2000. That was the first strike against them. They look like a glorified Total Gym, but cost over three times as much.

The Vasa Trainer is supposed to be an exercise machine that can give you the same workout as swimming, but if you notice, you only exercise your arms or legs, you can’t do them both, so a workout with the Vasa machine would take twice the time that laps in a pool could do for you. If you have a coach checking your technique, then YES, maybe the Vasa is helpful, but if you want to get your workout done, you’re better to just go to the community pool during lap hours to get your workout done.

The more I watched this video, the more their trainers felt like a big waste of money.

Apex Deluxe Standard Bench at Amazon.comIf you want the workout of swimming, GO SWIMMING! Community pools and gyms have inexpensive options for keeping you fit. If you want weight training, buy a weight training bench. For about $170, you can get this Apex Weight Bench. Add a few weights and you have a BETTER home gym for less than $300.

Don’t let fancy gadgets fool you into thinking that you are getting a better workout than good old fashioned swimming.

Via: Healthacker.com » Blog Archive » Vasa Ergometer Swim Bench: Rowing Machine for Swimmers


8 Responses to “Vasa Trainer”

  1. Rob Sleamaker Says:

    To Laura Moncur,

    Hello, I am the inventor of the Vasa Trainer and the Vasa Ergometer and I own Vasa, Inc. Thank you for the opportunity to fully inform you about our products, since in reading your “review”, it is clear that you are not aware of the many benefits that thousands of athletes, coaches and fitness enthusiasts have experienced from training with Vasa products since 1988. Are you aware that over 75% of all Olympic swimmers and triathletes from the US (and perhaps world wide) use Vasa products regularly as an essential training tool that elevates their performance beyond “just swimming”?

    It is not clear from your post whether you have actually used either the Vasa Trainer or the Vasa Ergometer. If you have not, then your comments speak more to the way Vasa presents our products than they do to your actual “hands on” experience with our products.

    Please allow me to address each misconception you presented. First off, the Vasa Trainer is a very different machine from a Total Gym. It is also very different in function from the Vasa Ergometer. The Vasa Trainer is designed to build swim-specific strength and also functional strength for various muscle groups in the body, including the legs. It is NOT designed to be a substitute for actual swimming. It works very effectively to build specific strength, flexibility and power that allows the athlete to deliver more force per stroke when actually swimming. One of the main drawbacks of swim training exclusively in the water is that it is nearly impossible to generate enough resistance to qualify as “true strength training” as defined by experts.

    Another great benefit to using the Vasa Trainer for swim training is improvement in stroke technique and efficiency. Whether a coach is helping or not, one can see one’s stroke path and correct fundamental mistakes such as a dropped elbow catch, incomplete finish, or applying pressure to the water in a downward motion rather than straight back (which makes the body go forward, faster).

    The Vasa Ergometer, with its airflow resistance (like a Concept 2 rower) and power meter, allows the athlete to improve sustained power and endurance for all distances of swimming. There are no swimming machines like it that provide precise and repeatable measurement of power. Elite cyclists like Lance Armstrong have effectively used power meters and bike trainers for years to systematically guide their training progress. The Vasa Ergometer allows the same functions and many coaches, triathletes and swimmers are already claiming the Vasa Ergometer as “a must have” training tool.

    Like the Vasa Trainer, it also allows the user to make stroke technique corrections and “grease the correct groove” or proper stroke path that results in more efficient, more powerful swimming in the water. This unbiased news video posted on our website provides the comprehensive story: http://www.vasatrainer.com/index.php?page=MovieErgometerIntro

    There are many other reasons why our customers, regardless of athletic ability, use Vasa Trainers and Vasa Ergometers. They save precious time by getting efficient and effective training while NOT traveling to and from the pool. They improve stroke technique faster and more effectively than just churning out the yardage at the pool. They can monitor progress by using the power meter to observe increased sustained power, Force for right and left arms, pace per 100 meters, etc. They can save money by traveling less to a pool, by not paying membership fees, etc. They can swim train without dealing with the harsh effects of chlorine if that bothers their respiratory health.

    We invite you to actually become an expert on our equipment by giving it the full test in person. We urge you to thoroughly research why, since 1988, so many successful coaches and athletes have incorporated the Vasa Trainer and Vasa Ergometer into their overall training plans to produce Gold medal winning results at the International level, year after year. Respectfully, Rob Sleamaker Owner of Vasa, Inc.

  2. Steve Myrland Says:

    Ms. Moncur,

    I respectfully disagree with your dismissive review of the Vasa Trainer. I have used this piece of equipment to train collegiate and professional athletes (swimmers, rowers, hockey, volleyball and softball players, Nordic skiers), and to create progressively appropriate rehab protocols for injured athletes, as well. I found the Vasa to be wondrously versatile, as well as portable and storable. If you are at all creative, it affords you almost unlimited ways to train a body in all three planes of motion using resistance that is easily, creatively and instantly variable. The weight bench you recommend as “the better home gym” may cost less than a VASA . . . but its design limits you to non-functional movement using exclusively sagittal-plane resistance, whereas the Vasa permits the body to work like a body works–in sport and in life. If you believe a leg-extension, a leg curl, or an inclined bench-press offers a superior training experience than a Vasa Trainer, I would urge you to actually try using a VASA rather than simply watching a video of one being used before you write the equipment off.

    Steve Myrland-

  3. Susan Ford Says:

    Hi, I am a Vasa Ergometer user. The Ergometer is more expensive than the trainer, yet I will tell you hands down that it is worth every penny. I am a triathlete, and between a busy life, running, cycling, strength training and yoga, my time allotted for swimming is very precious indeed. I would rather be putting in time on my vasa than driving back and forth to the pool. I do still spend time in the pool, but the vasa allows me to work my swim strength far more frequently than I otherwise would be able to do. In addition, I can isolate technique work without the distraction of breathing issues, and that technique is translatable to the pool. I recommend you try Vasa’s products. I think you’ll be surprised.

  4. peter spagnoli Says:

    laura, Obviously you have never used the Vasa. I’m a 30yr competitive triathlete and 10yr elite adventure racer. This piece of equipment has been one of the best purchases i’ve made. It allows me to train more efficiently, by not wasting time traveling to a pool. My swim times have improved since my purchase 3 yrs ago. What i really love is the kayak attachment. I use it all winter, and in early race season, I’m usually one of the top paddlers. So…. here is someone that feels that this piece of equipment is well worth the price. Peter Spagnoli

  5. Jeff Coates Says:

    Dear Laura Moncur…

    I read your critique of the Vasa Trainer, & thought i would respectfully offer a few thoughts, that differ from yours.

    I can’t tell from your critique if you have actually used the Vasa Trainer (it appeared from your comments that you had not actually tried one). I also can’t tell what your athletic/training/sport background is. It appears you may be a recreational, or fitness swimmer..??…I respect and applaud you recognize the lifetime value of swimming..!!

    I thought maybe you have the Apex Weight Bench, and you wanted to promote that piece of equipment, though i wasn’t sure. However, the one review on Amazon.com of an actual owner of the Apex Weight Bench was a very negative one.

    I do own a Vasa Trainer, which i purchased several years ago. I also swam competitively for many years (age-group, high school, college, triathlons, and Masters).

    The Vasa Trainer is primarily targeted to competitive swimmers (my impression..i don’t work for Vasa). As a very experienced competitive swimmer, i researched many different fitness machines, that would HELP my swimming, not REPLACE it..!! I was interested in building long/lean muscles for swimming, while maintaining flexibility. As a swimmer, i knew this was important, both for swimming performance, endurance, and injury prevention.

    But I actually bought the Vasa Trainer because I saw it as an amazing machine that could help me in more areas than swimming. Recently I’ve had some knee & back issues, & actually bought the Vasa Trainer for its ability to offer leg squats and extensions, while supporting the lower back. I also use it to stretch shoulders, triceps, thighs, and lower back. I also use it for building those important core muscles (lower & upper).

    As a long-time user of free weights, I refreshingly found the Vasa Trainer to offer great strength building exercises, while maintaining flexibility. I found this combination of real interest, while constantly supporting the lower back on the bench.

    I don’t swim competitively any more, but i still know the Vasa Trainer can help me in all aspects of life. I was a competitive Adventure Racer for many years, & i used the Vasa Trainer to improve (not replace!) my cycling and trekking strength/flexibility. I now use it daily for rehab and physical therapy exercises from some genetic back and knee issues i have. My physical therapist was thoroughly impressed with the machine.

    I hope some day you can actually try the Vasa Trainer, & see that it is truly an amazing piece of high quality fitness equipment, that can HELP your swimming (i would never suggest to REPLACE for swimming!). It can also help build strength/flexibility for any sport or activity, as well as rehab/physical therapy.

    Lastly, I have been very impressed with the quality of the equipment, and customer service & follow-up of Vasa Trainer staff. I’ve never met Rob Sleamaker (Vasa owner), but he has sent me a few emails over the years, responding to questions i had. I continue to feel very confident that i made a smart, lifetime purchase. I’m glad you enjoy your swimming, and hope you enjoy a long, healthy swimming lifestyle..!!

  6. Joe Neczek Says:

    Hi Laura,

    With the utmost respect, I would recommend that you try the Vasa Trainer to see what it truly has to offer. You compared the Vasa Trainer to a “glorified Total Gym that cost three times as much.” As of this posting, Total Gym offers three models for their home market (Model 2000, 3000, XLS) which are priced from $599.00 to $1,448.00 respectively. If you look at their Commercial and Clinical models, they range from $1,195.00 to $2,895.00 to the $4,695.00 motorized “Power Tower.” Vasa Trainers on the other hand range from $899.00 to $1,199.00. Any of the Vasa Trainer models would fit perfectly in the home, commercial gym, college, or clinical environment.

    You later suggested that “if you want weight training, buy a weight training bench. For about $170, you can get this Apex weight bench. Add a few weights and you have a BETTER home gym for less than $300.” I disagree here as well. To add weights to the weight bench that you suggested, this will catapult the price. Let us say for a set of “Select Tech” dumbbells from Bowflex, with weights ranging from 5-52 lbs. The cost is an additional $450.00. If you would rather use Hex cast dumbbells, ranging from 5-50 lbs, the cost is an additional $900.00. If you would rather add an Olympic bar with 300 pounds of free weights, the cost is an additional $360.00.

    However, the bottom line with a weight bench and free weights is that the cost is significantly higher than originally posted.

    Both the Total Gym and Vasa Trainer rely on the user’s bodyweight for resistance. However, the home line of the Total Gym has some limitations for the taller user (6 foot and above). The cables that it uses are too short for the taller user to complete a full range of motion, like a chest press. The rail system is too short for the user to complete a full squat. The home Total Gym squat platform is too small to facilitate a proper foot position, thereby placing the knee beyond the ankle. To attempt to replicate some of the swim strokes that the Vasa Trainers excel at, the front end of the Total Gym would have to be elevated almost to its highest position, to prevent the hands from hitting the ground, while going through the range of motion.

    The Vasa Trainer has taken all of this into consideration. Even at its lowest level of resistance, the user can work through a full range of motion. Regardless if they are strengthening their swim stroke, working through a full body workout or performing their physical rehabilitation. As that person gets stronger, they can progress the resistance, taking their personal goals to a new level. The Vasa Trainer takes up about as much space as a Total Gym or Treadmill. When not in use the Vasa Trainer can be folded down and rolled away, if needed.

    I have been a long time user of the Vasa Trainer for my own use and in my clinical practice. The Vasa Trainers and Ergometer are quality products, made in the United States (Vermont to be specific). A claim, that I do not believe Total Gym can make.

    Kindest regards, -Joe

  7. Laura Moncur Says:

    It seems that the manufacturer of Vasa has asked his most verbose of clients to attest their love of his product here. I’ve allowed the comments to remain, but I will close the comments if his customers continue to use this entry as an advertisement.

  8. Steve Myrland Says:

    Ms. Moncur,

    I am not a VASA client (though I must leave it to you to determine whether I am, in fact, verbose). I have never purchased anything from VASA. The unit I used at the University of Wisconsin was there long before I got my job; I was just smart enough to give the thing a try.

    Again: you might consider doing the same before you pass judgement.

    Steve Myrland-


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