Erg mode - pros/cons podcast

^^^ this.

I used erg for 2 years and agree to disagree. And I’ve done all the long 2 hour sweet spot workouts that TrainerRoad put into the original SSB HV plans. Pretty much the same as doing a long ride into a headwind out here, or doing an HC climb.

Without erg I almost always negative split efforts and finish stronger. Also don’t agree about momentarily dropping power, its not an out, the body doesn’t work that way and further any perceived ‘weakness’ by dropping power is offset with a small increase in power before going back to the effort. For me its an adjustment because some inefficiency in body position or breathing or pedaling has crept in.

Our group rides around here in flatland are usually dealing with brisk winds. Always pedaling if you are on or near the front, or restarting a new echelon formation. When you are accustomed to always pedaling outside, Erg doesn’t change anything.

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Pretty sure the only “wrong” answer is to not try both ways and figure out what works best for you. I will admit I’m doing it wrong: I’ve only done 1 workout (endurance) in resistance mode so far. I have my kid with me when I’m doing workouts, and if I have to answer questions or “look at this!” multiple times in the middle of an interval, there’s no way I’m holding power out of ERG mode. I still practice holding steady power when I get dropped on that darn climb on the group ride every week…


Fair criticism, and honestly I don’t even remember saying that. You’re right in that a lot of my clients’ and friends’ feedback about races being sketchier and crashier than ever was due to rusty skills and cabin fever motivation.

I’ll reiterate from what I do remember saying in the podcast, if erg works for you, use it. I just thought it’d be fun to make a clickbaity episode about why I genuinely don’t like it being used in my training programs. And if people want pre-built workouts so they can use erg mode, they don’t become clients. A few do it on their own because it helps them to visualize the workout structure, but they know it’s not nor ever will be carved in stone. The short version is the constant power-RPE-adjust feedback loop is absolutely critical to my coaching style and I need that information to do my job well.

Thanks to the 3 people in this thread who actually listened to the episode!


Your pod probably did make that point, i generally zone in and out of them so can miss the point. I usually have to listen twice or more :rofl:

It’s in the queue, brother, in the queue. Many thanks for all the interesting and informative content you’ve put out there. I can’t say I’ve listened to every episode, but I’ve listened to a lot of them and they’ve always given me something to think about.

I think you said “people weren’t used to turning” after being stuck inside, and wasn’t directed to erg mode as much.

same here IMHO. Here is my most recent (Oct 2022) freestyle tempo HC climb:

30-second power on top, 1-sec power below. Thats almost erg-like with 1.005 variability. Just a 1W difference between average and normalized over 87+ minutes. Freestyle by feeling out power, and a few glances at the bike computer.

And cadence:

fair bit of shifting, but mostly 33x33. This illustrates why I prefer riding in sim mode. Shorter climbs are everywhere around here.

No cognitive load. Just ride. Spent most of my time looking at the changing scenery, and taking pictures.

Two weeks ago a freestyle 60+ minute tempo on a <5mph windless day.

even lower variability (1.002) but its pancake flat riding into the delta region of the SF Bay. Freestyle by feeling out power. Cadence looks very different without wind:

No cognitive load. Just ride.


It’s like their sense of humour too… often misunderstood for being a bit crude.

4 people


Does TR allow one to switch between the various modes, while in the workout i.e. do the first half of the first interval in erg mode, then switch to resistance?

Zwift Companion can, so it’s a good tool to get “up to target power” and hold it. Then continue the rest of the interval and other sets at the same “feel”. This would be in the early base phases, as VO2 and above is always max sustainable efforts across all sets.

The club members I’ve assisted have quickly learnt to start this way and they find the workout much easier to pace.


You can change whenever. On the laptop just hit the “T” button as a shortcut. Also options in the app



  • Possible on Win/Mac via onscreen action (tap or mouse) along with the ‘T’ key as a shortcut if you have a keyboard.
  • Mobile app access requires accessing the Devices menu, then the trainer to alter modes and reverse steps. Not as handy, but possible.
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I just skimmed this whole thread and about the only thing I got from is that people are not going to have their mind changed about ERG mode one way or the other.


There are 3 things you don’t discuss in polite conversation: politics, religion, and erg mode.


Here’s an example from one workout.
5 sets of 6x30/30 with erg mode only used on the rest/recovery valleys.

I was just wondering about this last night - thank you for this podcast.

Not changing your mind is called resistance mode


since your here, Im curious, what’s your coaching background? how long have you been a coach? I didn’t see that on your website.

Oops. :man_facepalming:

I personally love ERG mode for long endurance rides, because it keeps me in check (and I can mindlessly watch tv or read a book and not have to focus on the power). If I start an endurance ride in resistance mode I have a tendency to go too hard early and then by the end I’m doing a workout much harder than it should be and wondering why I am unable to hit it hard the next time I have intervals.

I’ve used it in the past for threshold, but prefer resistance mode. As others have said, I think it is problematic with VO2 intervals (or higher) as trying to maintain a “VO2 Power” may not line up your physiological capabilities.

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