Are all watts created equal

So, I have an FTP of 254 at 68kgs (150 lbs). I have a workout tomorrow called Raymond +7 which requires me to do 274 watts for 8 minutes a number of times.
I know I cannot sustain this on the trainer.
However, I have a hill near me about 2.4km long at around 9% that I can ride up holding 274 watts. That will get me quite near the top.
My question is… is that cheating? I mean I’m still doing the work. I’m holding 274 watts (or higher) for the prescribed time. It’s just not as hard somehow.
So, am I better off doing this and holding the watts and completing the workout, or failing on the trainer.
This is not being negative. I just can’t hold it on the trainer.

Are the power meters the same? are they calibrated and do they show the same wattage between them?

Is your trainer well ventilated? Is it motivation or is it legs.

Do you ride out the saddle on the climb? what’s different between them?


A watt is a watt for that matter and RPE can be lower outside. But before you storm off, Are both scenarios measured using the same sensor or might the difference be caused by different readings between trainer and power meter? I know it is a tough workout, but you should be able to complete most of that workout on the trainer if your FTP is assessed correctly.

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It doesn’t matter… if you can’t hold it on the trainer, lower the target or go outside. The training benefit will be close enough and always better then bailing out.

It’s just that you should be working on a target you can -just- sustain x times 8 minutes. The reason for the difference (cooling, position, free movement, motivation, rpe, …) doesn’t really matter.

(it might matter a bit… if you can close the difference by adding cooling, a rocker plate, music, … then that’s the better option to increase your power inside)


Both are measured on the Powertap P1 Pedals. That’s not an issue.
I am well ventilated with 2 industrial fans.
It is crazy hot here in Queensland, Australia at the moment 31 degrees (88F) and about 85% humidity.
Righto, I’ll hit the mountain after work then. Thanks!


I would wager the answer lies in the creating part. While indoor conditions may play a role too, in general it is typically easier for most people to put out power on an uphill than elsewhere. The slope helps by pushing back, as it were, and thus reduces neuromuscular effort. The neuromuscular demands for putting out the same power on the flat is thus higher. Or this is My guess, anyway. Flat time trialling is a skill of its own.

Maybe this extends to a trainer as well. I know it does for me.

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I follow a number of pro riders on Strava. The only time they use an indoor trainer is when the weather is bad or if they’ve broken a bone. If they do most of their interval training outside then I don’t see why you can’t. That’s why TR put so much effort into outside workouts :+1:


Same power metre.
Lots of ventilation. Motivation is much harder on the trainer, but I think I’ve got a grip on that.
I stay seated on the climbs and try and keep cadence up.

Do you have a trainer with erg mode? If so, what gear are you riding on the trainer? It could be that you can put out better power under a climbing/low inertia load. (Low inertia on the trainer would be small ring, middle/high on the cassette.)

I find I am the opposite. High inertia on the trainer always seems easier for me. Big chainring and mid gear on cassette.

Low inertia always seems like a bigger harder quad dominant stomp down just to get through the weaker portions of the pedal stroke. This means a bit less smooth, harsher pedal stroke. Noticable increase in RPE.

I am on a small flywheel trainer as it is, the original CycleOps Magnus wheel on. I am assuming a bigger flywheel trainer would feel more like riding outside on the road and I would do better in the small chainring.

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Which pro riders that you follow ride indoors ever? And on what platform? Of those that I follow I’ve never seen any of them post a trainer workout.

Yeah - some people can put out more power on flats/high inertia vs climbs/low inertia. My comment was to the OP who says he can put out more power in outside climbs.

There are two issues here: the first one is whether you can do this particular workout. The second is indoor vs. outdoor FTP.

Let’s address the first one: I had a look at the workout you sent me. It is indeed 4 x 8 minutes at 108 % of your FTP — no matter what your FTP is. This is a damn hard workout, and I recommend you have a look at the easier variants of the workout. +7 is about as high and as difficult as it gets. I’d have a look at e. g. Raymond +4 or Raymond +1 instead. I don’t think dialing down the difficulty too much would be sensible — you’d be changing the nature of the workout. The point of Raymond is for you to spend time above the aerobic threshold. So if you find Raymond too difficult, I’d opt for an entirely different workout.

The second issue is indoor vs. outdoor FTP. To me the primary purpose of my indoor FTP is to scale workouts correctly to my abilities. Proper ventilation and experience can decrease the difference between indoor and outdoor FTP. But a change of your indoor FTP would still give you an accurate representation of how your performance changes over time.

Michal Kwiatkowski

Alex Dowsett

Robert Gesink

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Just so that I can be consistent and have properly set my FTP as a good anchor point for the following workouts I test and train in the same gear so I will have the same amount of flywheel inertia. Unfortunately I do not have a way to measure power outdoors to see I how I compare.

I am still curious if the OPs indoor vs outdoor FTP is a good bit different and I cannot wrap my head around how and why it happens.