Vasa Trainer Update with TrainerDay

Vasa Swim Erg ReviewVasa Trainer Update with TrainerDay

Must Read: Vasa Swim Erg – Detailed Review



I remain an avid indoor swimmer with my Vasa Trainer and ZEN8 bench. While it doesn’t help too much with certain aspects of technique improvement, like body position, it does keep my swim fitness ticking along as open water season beckons.

I’m looking at two things in this post: upgrading my ANT+-only Trainer Display to ANT+/BLE, and a quick look at the rather good TrainerDay app, which correctly reads and displays live Vasa Swim data and lets you follow structured swim power workouts.


Vasa Swim Erg Review

The BLE Update

Keith at Vasa sent me an updated ‘head unit’ after he saw my trials and tribulations using my ANT+-only model with signal converters like WUYR and my attempts to fool Garmin into recording swim power against a swim profile. The new BLE unit doesn’t solve the problem of recording on Garmin, but it does open up a new workflow using the TrainerDay smartphone app, so that I can pipe my finished workouts to Golden Cheetah, Training Peaks, or even Dropbox.

Swapping Over

It’s straightforward to remove the old ANT+ unit and plug the two cables on the rear into the new BLE/ANT+ unit. However, what was also needed was to add a new mount and make the cables a bit longer. The new mount position is off-centre to the left, which sounds trivial but is a significant improvement… I can look at it much more easily while swimming because the Vasa travel bar is no longer in the way! Making the cable a bit longer was also easy; it involved just pulling it a bit.

However, to do the above, the front of the Vasa unit had to be moved. Four screws later, and I’m in!

Some older Vasa models require a hole to be drilled, and a drill bit is supplied. Mine already had the hole.



Pairing to a sports watch or app like TrainerDay is a doddle.

Here it is on my Garmin Forerunner 965. I’ve used a copy of the open water swim profile with @Takura87’s 2nd power meter data field. I disable GPS and the power used to be correctly saved until Garmin tinkered with something. The TrainerDay app is in the background showing that simultaneously pairing to ANT+ and BLE devices is possible.


The Good and the bad

More info from Vasa here

These head units are functionally very similar to each other, the new one being a Concept PM3 model which rowers might be familiar with. The newer BLE model offers no new display features.


  • Startup and pairing are extremely quick
  • Power is a great mechanism to track improvement to your physiological abilities via power-duration PBs
  • Left+right power is great to check imbalances
  • It is enlightening to be able to see exactly where power is produced during each stroke.
  • Vasa is a MASSIVE time saver compared to driving to the lake or pool and changing.
  • Vasa easily enables you to simulate swim-run or swim-bike brick workouts of any sort from the convenience of home.


  • I’d like for the timer to keep counting if no power is being produced
  • I’d like to be able to customise the startup screen to always show Left & Right and Total power. Currently, there are 4 or 5 button presses needed to supply dual-sided power.
  • Body position is limited, especially when it comes to rotation.
  • Can be uncomfortable on the chest, depending on how muscly there you are.
  • Manual resistance changes are only possible if you stop and move the air flap (like on a Concept II rowing machine but harder to reach!)
  • Distance seems to over-count


The free version of the TrainerDay app gives you all the live power display you need. If you want to follow structured workouts from their library you’ll need to subscribe at $3.99/mo (there’s a 3-month free trial with a Vasa purchase)




TrainerDay seems to me to mostly be a plan/workout-based app that has good links to indoor training kit. It’s primarily for cyclists with smart turbo trainers but Alex@TrainerDay saw the opportunity to corner the market on apps that link to Vasa! Linking up TrainerDay to your Vasa and heart rate monitor takes about 10 seconds..

TrainerDay has no way to control the resistance/power levels on the Vasa ERG but it does a nice job showing the target and actual power for each workout. The workouts are very varied covering all types of swim fitness and you can even follow a ramp test to automatically estimate your FTP. Cyclists will be amused at their comparatively low swim FTPs.




Traine Day has some interesting features. AS well as the ability to build and execute your own plan you can use pre-canned ones and, for example, have the workout determine your FTP. The post-workout chart of your endeavours is nice enough but also comes with an added twist of showing W’bal…or how much of your anaerobic reserve your workout ate into (W’bal is one component of Garmin’s Stamina Metric).

Getting your completed workout data elsewhere is relatively easy. If you enable access with Apple Health then the Healthkit app on iOS will send your workout to many places. TrainerDay itself can also send your workout to Strava, and Dropbox in either FIT or TCX format.

For me, the very last step is not properly automated.

  • I want a FIT or TCX file that contains power in a Swimming Profile. The standard TCX file produced by TrainerDay does contain power but is not defined as a swim workout.
  • I can workaround this by manually exporting a correct FIT workout from the TrainerDay dashboard
  • It would be nice to have the power balance and distance also correctly stored in the FIT/TCX files


TrainerDay has a decently featured free version and the subscription otherwise is $3.99/mo.

The PM3 upgrade costs $299 directly from

Take Out

The BLE version of Vasa just makes app connectivity so much easier than converting the ANT+ signal. It’s an expensive upgrade that probably isn’t worth it unless convenience is super-important to you.

If you already have the BLE version of Vasa then using the TrainerDay app is a no-brainer.


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