How to best hit 30 second intervals on ERG mode in TR

Did you ever say what trainer you have?

Chad is right, but I’m stubborn and I ride everything in the big ring including Spanish Needle because it a) used to give me the 20mph speed I was looking for pre-TR speed algorithm and b) because it was quiet. I’ve never had a problem with my neo making that change but it does take 3-4 seconds on the front end and usually a couple of seconds on the back end so I call it a wash.

I think the main thing is, interval training in general takes practice. I think all of us had those spikes at the front of the interval from overshooting before we began to “feel” the power and in this case trust the erg mode will adjust. I typically rest at about the same cadence as I work so I don’t spin up before an interval, but you might put one pre-emptive hard stroke down at 2 seconds before the interval to get the inertia going. After that, I’d let erg do it’s thing.

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  • Yes.

I drove small/medium yesterday and it actually looks very good-although I hadn’t perceived it that way. The target is reached within 2 seconds. The cadence unfortunately slumped a bit at the start, but I can work on that. I also prefer to ride in front with the big blade but for the short intervals it is certainly better to use the small. Green shows that the TR is already increasing power shortly before.

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Just adding another reference workout (my most recent SN from 2020) that I did in ERG with my Kickr17, 34t x 17t as I use most of the time.

As others have mentioned, you can kick a bit on the cadence side to get these to work. But generally speaking, the more stable and consistent you hit your cadence, the better the whole ERG system will perform.

Mine above is in the small ring (34t) and lets the trainer work faster and better when compared to a higher gear and flywheel speed. However, I still think it can work in that higher gear if you hold your cadence well.

Looking at your screenshot, it seems you are kicking hard, and then still increasing cadence through the interval. Not sure why this is happening, but if you are “chasing the power”, you should try not to do that.

Just ignore power entirely. Choose the cadence goal you have, hit that early and hold it for the entirety of the interval. The constant change in your cadence is “hurting” the results since you are constantly forcing the system to adjust the resistance unit to hit the power target.

  • Nope, your power data shown there has nothing to do with gearing. Those workout lines are purely the result of a massive level of power data smoothing. It is available in some trainers, but most often seen with Wahoo trainer since they default to using that setting.

  • Watch the video below for reference, and I highly recommend turning the ERG smoothing OFF so you get more appropriate looking power data.


  • Based upon the fact you (ChrisDe) have an old Elite trainer, it appears they also were fond of adding some massive smoothing to power data. I am not sure if Elite offers an option to turn that off, but I’d sure do that if at all possible.


I really like it in fact. I realized that my power cannot really be constant, but it feels like it. If I don’t do huge changes in cadence, it feels like the power the Elite wants me to do is constant. I was reading a few posts on newer trainers and lots of people are complaining about oscillations in the power required. I may need to change trainer soon as the max power is getting a limitator (660w), but I was hesitating because of that. I should probably test one newer trainers before buying. Luckily for me my short power is absolutely abysmal.
Why is it good to have these variations and no power smoothing ?

  1. I prefer to see and react to reality, not some fake picture that we get from excessive smoothing. I want an appropriate picture that really tells me when I am being smoother and steadier vs more irregular. It’s impossible to really know this info when you have a “perfect picture” as your only feedback.

  2. It’s been a while since I have seen one, but there are MANY topics in this forum (and others) that have people claiming “My brand new power meter is busted!”. After some questions and discussion, we frequently find that the person used a Wahoo (or other trainer with massive power smoothing) for a long time, then added a power meter to their life. The picture of power between them is MASSIVELY different and most people assume the jagged lines from the power meter are “bad” and show a problem.

    • The exact opposite is true, and I really hate that the trainer smoothing setting essentially teach people to believe they produce “perfect power” and it sets up bad expectations. All fixable via education about what is really happening, but it leads to frustration and confusion that would not exist if we only had access to “real” power data.

    • Essentially, it’s like throwing darts at a board and someone pushing them to the bullseye each time. If you ever remove that “helper” you will likely find that your actual dart throwing accuracy is not nearly that good. It is impossible to get “good” at holding power if all you see is that you always hit the target. Chances are that for most people stepping to “real power” will find that they need to actually work more and harder to hold “steady power” compared to what they thought they could do. That is super common to read in those topics I mentioned.

This very topic is also a bit of a reason. Seeing the real power from the OP and me shows that there can be real differences in “real power” as captured even though we are both using ERG mode.

  • The myth that needs to die is that “ERG mode takes all the skill and variability out of training” (as compared to RES/STD). I fight it here at times, but people don’t see the real variability and instability that is actually present even when “cheating” with ERG mode. There is skill to doing a well executed workout in ERG. It may not be the same as what is required for RES/STD, but it’s not automatic as many suggest.

  • And with respect to this topic, using super smoothing will hide any and all of that variability that is there, and not tell a proper story of the work really done. People might be nailing the workout, or they could be deviating more than is appropriate from the power targets. Super smoothing obscures all that info.


I’ve got a Kickr 2017, similar heavy flywheel like your H3. I thought your Spencer -2 screenshot looked fine, really nothing to worry about.

Can you get smoother power in erg or non-erg? Absolutely:

Keep in mind that sometimes Erg has you doing things that you wouldn’t do outside in the real world. After 2 years of using erg, I came to the conclusion that a smart trainer’s best mode is sim mode. Because I’d rather make indoor training like outdoor training.

If you want to improve, make a game out of it. What I do in Erg is anticipate the start and learn what it feels like to modulate torque/power and hit the target without overshoot. And then try and reinforce the feeling on every micro-interval.

Here is a good example of that doing Taylor -3 30/30s using PowerMatch (Stages dual-sided) with a big gear

  • 53 chainring
  • something like a 14 on the cassette
  • Kickr reporting 28mph average from flywheel spinning really really fast

But if I get lazy it wouldn’t look that good.

And don’t get hung up on precisely hitting targets, there isn’t a body of evidence that precisely hitting targets is inherently better.

Good luck!

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I feel like maybe Alex Wild could do a ride with a power graph that stable :rofl:

Anyone can learn to smooth out power on relatively flat terrain, here is a recent outside workout with 30/30s:

Speeds between 15mph and 28mph if you ignore slowing for the hard right turn onto a state highway, and slowing for a major intersection.

First off you need to think in terms of a range. My Garmin was showing a target of 299-354W so the center was about 325W. Looks something like this but with a 55W green zone:

Narrow Target Threshold

The ‘game’ is to keep the triangle in the green, in the pic the black triangle its at 286W, and for the interval above the green zone was 299-354W.

The second point is that outside the pavement is usually not pancake flat, and there is wind, so you need to practice cadence/torque agility:

The start of that 3rd interval is at 63rpm and 30-seconds later I finish at 90rpm with a high of 97rpm. For that 3rd interval I was able to keep the power pretty steady and average 338W (min=312W, max=373W).

You don’t practice that type of cadence agility in Erg. Its best practiced inside with sim mode and letting Zwift or RGT or something else simulate an outside road.

Do that for 6 months and you will absolutely get better at controlling your power on demand. For myself the primary benefit is that it saves me a lot of matches on fast group rides.

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I wish the Wahoo head units had the kind of power graph or meter display like the Garmin. It just shows a digital number, which jumps around, and has to be read every time. An analog sort of display would immediately show me if I’m above or below range, and the rate that I’m closing on my target.

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One of several reasons I sent my Wahoo back after a week. The other major reason is the Garmin 530 has machine learning stuff (HRV, HR, power) that is really useful, for example I’ve been getting “AI FTP” updates since September 2019. And some related ML/AI stuff.

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How accurate or how closely does the garmin AI track with TrainerRoad‘s?

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Don’t know, I’m not currently using TrainerRoad. I’ve been putting the Garmin FTP into WKO multiplying by 1.04 (based on experience), and then doing a 6 week (exponential) moving average. Garmin is conservative on FTP, and based on shorter threshold pacing efforts every couple months I have a good idea of FTP and how long I can hold FTP. I’ve got 5 years of really really consistent power-to-heartrate data for endurance, tempo, sweet spot, and threshold efforts. Enough that I can visually ballpark ftp just looking at key workouts.

The weighted (moving average) Garmin FTP is in pink with +/- 2.5% confidence intervals:

The green is what my coach set based on some field tests. Last 2 months had ‘life happens’ reduced riding, so you can see dip and start of a rebound.

Long story short, we don’t worry about a precise FTP for various reasons with a few of them listed above.

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That’s interesting. I’m new to smart trainers and erg mode and don’t have any issues on 30 or 15 sec sprints. Here’s my last two workouts.

Did you hit the average power target on those intervals? I would think a lot of those that didn’t overshoot wouldn’t have.

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Yeah feel like that may be the issue, overshoot to hit the target or above fast and the trainer starts dropping resistance in response and I have to keep going faster and faster to keep the power at or above the target.

Most were about +/- 5 watts for the average interval. But with intervals at 338w and 423w a 5-10 watt delta is within the accuracy range of my trainer. Either way it’s not like my body knows the difference between a 416 watt 15 sec interval or a 430 watt interval.

If I come in hot I’ll try to keep it at or just below. And if it takes a second to ramp up then I’ll finish above.

For me the trick is to lower my cadence slightly between intervals and then ramp up with 1-2 seconds before the interval begins.


workouts like Gendarme are not suppose to be easy. vo2 max are not suppose to be easy. if you find it easy it means your ftp is set too low.

Yeah I feel like I end up fighting the ERG mode as it starts cutting resistance as I overshoot the start then Im letting off and spinning up on and off for the last half, to try and prevent my cadence from hitting 140 (which it does at times as you can see in the workout I posted) as beyond 125 I am bouncing.