ERG Yay Or Nay during TR sessions

Hi Team, Spoke to a cycling coach recently, he spoke about the big no no on ERG mode. Had some friends under a coach saying the same too where they use Resistance mode instead of ERG as it gives a more realistic feel to the training. Was wondering on what are your thoughts on this and how do you define what level of resistance would be needed should you pick resistance mode? and on resistance mode do u change gears since its suppose to stimulate real world feel and situations? or am i just getting confused.

I’ve been using trainer road for quite a bit now and it has helped me get stronger and better while it being set on ERG mode. But now curious to understand why they say that the next level of training would be on Resistance mode. Appreciate your help on this. Cheers.

Resistance mode makes it much easier to ride to/by RPE, which for me is the best way to train.

Also, if I’m riding at 90rpm and lean on the pedals a bit, if I’m in the real world the cadence stays the same, the torque goes up, and the power goes up. In ERG mode, something very different happens, which always feels off to me.

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Its a bit like marmite, some folk love ERG, some folk don’t. My ex coach was similarly anti ERG but when I started with TR I tried it but after a while I found it wasn’t for me but that could be down to the quality (or lack of to be precise) of my Elite Suito.

Search results for ‘ERG v Resistance’ - TrainerRoad


I love ERG.


ERG mode doesn’t work for me, for whatever reason my legs don’t like it and I can’t hold the same power as resistance mode.

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ERG for me, reduces my cognitive load, therefore helping my consistency. The whole reason I brought a smart turbo really.

When needs must, I did use hybrid rollers/ power meter and while it was fine, it was also added pain to adjust gearing and/ or resistance and/ or cadence to hit targets.


Erg for anything where you are riding to a fixed power for a reason.

So : if you’ve lactate tested your z2 and want to stay there (given drift) - erg. Tested your FTP well and doing over unders - erg.

Level for anything where fitness isn’t well predicted by fixed power tests - anaerobic or vo2 absolutely.


I question any coach who says ERG is a “big no-no”. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options.

Try them both and see which works better for you…which one you feel more comfortable using….go from there.

It is not a big deal, either way., just personal preference.


I understand benefits of resistance mode (especially for VO2max workouts) but I’m simply tooooo lazyyyy for switching the gears…


Riding in my office in front of two fans and a laptop playing Netflix will never be realistic, and I have zero interest in making easy things hard for no reason. I always use ERG mode inside, and I’ve never had any trouble maintaining consistent power outside (unless I chose a bad route in my very hilly area). If anything, ERG helps because it trains you not to cheat: you maintain the power target or you spiral. Riding to RPE gets easier with experience, whether you’re using ERG mode inside or not.

If I want to train in realistic conditions I’ll go outside. Making training inside as miserable and tedious as possible is not “realistic”, it’s just miserable and tedious. (If I need to train my tolerance for miserable and tedious, I’ll turn off ERG mode, but thankfully that hasn’t revealed itself as a limiter yet.)


I like resistance mode for threshold and above. All else I use erg mode. The higher intensities feel strange to me in erg mode. It’s all personal preference.


ERG for me. I also do workouts outside so it’s not like I don’t get practice trying to hold a set power. I have no desire to make indoor training any more of a slog than it already is.

As an aside, I notice my cadence indoors and outdoors is a bit different. Indoors I feel best doing threshold at 95-100 rpm. Outdoors that just seems way to quick and I’m finding myself around 90-95. Similar thing happens with endurance where indoors I sit 90-95 and outside I’m 85-90. Maybe this is due to ERG vs no ERG? No idea.


This is worth a listen:

Erg for me: A big no-no for any power test, no for any VO2 Max, Sprint, or Anaerobic Work.

Until this year I was ERG for everything, evolved that this year working with a coach. Going into next season I’m going to make an effort to do a lot less ERG to dial in my RPE and ability to ride by feel. May even pick up a set of rollers too. I’m sure there will still be times though I want to set it and forget it.


Another vote for ERG from me.

Which is fortunate as I use a Wattbike Atom and it can’t be used on TR except in ERG mode.

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@Deej said it right! I would go with the mode that what works best for you.

Resistance Mode will definitely give you a more realistic feel since you’re having to shift, and ERG Mode just takes all the guessing out of the equation with no shifting necessary as the trainers resistance adjusts automatic.

There is great info about modes explained in this article: Smart Trainer Modes Explained

The one thing we always recommend is to use the Resistance Mode on intervals between five and 20 seconds long, since it takes ERG Mode a few seconds to kick into the correct resistance sometimes.


Training goes beyond pushing power on intervals. There is a lot to unpack here, saw a comment or two above that starts the conversation.

Train all the things is my philosophy, so my Kickr is in sim mode being controlled by RGT or Zwift.

Yes, you usually shift gears in resistance mode. Or you can change resistance, but IMHO it’s better to shift gears.

Sim mode is the most powerful mode on a smart trainer, simulates riding outside. Standard or slope mode is second best at simulating outside. Resistance is third. Erg is the least like riding outside.

That’s about as simple an answer I could give, without writing up a 15 minute blog post.

I think that many of the VO2/Sprint/Anaerobic workouts in TR switch between ERG and resistance inside the workout. I KNOW that the 20minute FTP test does exactly that. Ramp test, not so much.

  • No, they don’t.

  • AFAIK, the only automatic trainer mode switches take place in the 20 minute & 8 minute FTP tests.


They may tell you to switch, but whether you actually do is up to the user. I’ve never encountered an automatic switch but I’ve never done the 20 and 8 minute TR Tests. All the tests I do are more custom now and require more of a focus on pacing.

I think you’re leaving a lot on the table in terms of a workout, or in some cases not getting the targeted adaptations if you’re just doing them in Erg (e.g. VO2 Max)

I think there is a huge continuum between ‘I ride erg for a couple TR workouts per week and ride outside the rest of the time’ and ‘I ride erg 15 hours per week’. If you are in the later camp, then maybe you want to mix things up every now and then.

Q: does everybody else’s trainer oscillate power in ERG mode? For example, if I set my Kickr for 200 watts, I’ll get a rythmic cycle of 180 watts - 200 watts - 220 watts - repeat. Average watts will be spot on.

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