Indoor endurance workouts soreness

How are these supposed to feel in erg mode? Feels like 10 mins in my legs start feel sore and the soreness grows for another 10 minutes. Barable pain but still pretty sore but otherwise feels easy so can easily do longer workouts. Is that how they are supposed to feel?

Also seems strange in that the pain goes away within a half an hour after finishing unlike sweetspot and threshold were it seems like after a hard workout there the pain in my leg muscles doesn’t drop off nearly as fast

Looking at power data from when in slope mode or riding outdoors it seems like even when trying to keep my power smooth at the same set number I’m no where near as smooth or in pain as what I can do in erg mode (wheel off kickr and power smoothing is off)

This does mention endurance workouts being hard:

but nothing specif about muscle soreness

For starters, what gearing are you using between ERG and Slope mode rides you’ve done?

  • Differences in gearing and the related flywheel speed can add up depending on the workouts done.

Are you using a similar cadence in these cases as well?

  • Playing with cadence, especially in the longer Endurance rides is something I have seen lead to a different feel during and upon completion.

How long are these Endurance workouts and are they notable longer than your prior similar efforts?

  • Stretching duration or increased intensity can also contribute to some muscle soreness.

Which trainer? Personally I don’t like how Erg ‘feels’ on the Kickr 2017 direct drive (wheel off), but never had leg soreness. My primary two issues are a) the unnatural ‘fighting’ feeling vs how it feels to pedal on the road (at all intensities), and b) allowed myself to become more mono cadence versus on the road I use a lot of different cadences.

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I have the same problem, I can do 260 watts outside for 30 min and struggle to do 220 watts for 4 min on the trainer. FTP outside is always between 250/260, inside I have it set to 220 (same powermeter), and even so it cooks my legs. :joy:

But since I adjusted the indoor ftp, I’m getting much better results.

Feels the same as riding outside for me (2019 kickr core, erg mode). Generally I think my ‘warmups’ outside are a little longer and mixed, because it takes 15ish mins to get through traffic lights and to spots where I can continuously pedal at z2 with no breaks…and that might make the first half hour a little easier outside because I’m more warmed up and there’s more natural on/off to start.

Overall I think the heat buildup in a room and the absolutely zero time not putting force on the pedals makes the inside work a bit harder, but not so much to produce excess muscle soreness.

Erg - small ring in the front (34 as I have a compact and middle of cassette. For slope and outdoor, big ring.

Upper 80s and 90s cadence. I would say my cadence is similar for both but do notice that my cadence seems pretty smooth outside even though my power is not smooth. Seems like erg mode is the reverse with smoothish power but cadence is way less smooth. (cadence still seems smooth enough that iys not impacting erg mode in how it adjusts power)

I’ve done up to 1.5 hours, lets take an example. Yesterday I did Cheaha+1 (endurance) with an average wattage of 152 and last Sat did Mono (thershold) with an average wattage of 174. Both were 1.5 hours. At the end of both workouts my legs felt just as sore. Half an hour after the ride yesterday my legs felt mostly fully recovered and today only slight levels of soreness. Mono on the other hand just made my legs stay sore and were sore the next day too.

Kicker 2018

But looking at the data even on the flat sections of road and not interupted my power output is well less smooth with a pretty smooth cadance vs indoors with erg mode making my power output smooth but cadence isn’t that smooth. I’m not talking about long time spans, but just looking at 1 minute you can tell if its indoors or outside based on how smooth or not smooth power and cadence are.

I don’t think the main issue I’m having is from a different FTP indoors to outdoors as the same thing happens with both rides being indoors. Seems to be more that not allowing my power to drop causes my legs to get much more sore

No easy answer, this is what I would try:

  • Erg in big chainring
  • RGTcycling or Zwift in sim mode, pick a flat-ish course, and try doing an endurance ride and see how it feels
  • OK, that would have been my guess.

  • Personal experience is personal… but I find that low gear work in ERG is quite demanding of the muscles vs higher gearing in any other trainer mode. The slower flywheel speed, coupled with the ERG loading, seems to keep more of an “on” effort through the pedal circle. I liken it to doing a wall sit (like low gearing in ERG) vs regular squats (higher gearing in RES/STD, and even ERG).

  • There seems to be some “extra” load or effort in that lower gearing, based on my experience. I am on a Kickr 17 and do most of my work in 34t x 17t, so relatively low gearing and slower flywheel.

  • I tend to have a 2.5 to 4 hour Endurance ride on Sundays. I use ERG most of the time and do a mix of cadence depending on my goals. I also strive to do no coasting and take no breaks unless absolutely necessary. It’s a mini-goal within the workout to keep constant load on my legs for the entire session.

    • If I keep a faster cadence, I tend to feel more “normal” even after the long-ish rides. If I work on the faster “over spin” stuff, I can get some late workout fatigue and DOMS the following day.

    • If I keep a slower cadence, I get that fatigue and DOMS more typically.

  • In either case, those first 5-15 mins of just about any workout for me tends to show some muscle fatigue and tightness. A lot depends on what I had for prior workouts. If I had a particularly demanding on recently, that fatigue is notable and almost discouraging initially. But a bit like most warm-ups, it’s a non-issue once I get into the main sets.

    • Perhaps you have some lingering fatigue and it’s worth considering your lead in workouts as well as the Endurance load itself.
  • No idea if there is anything here, but that sure sounds interesting to me. Might be good to see an example of a workout with stead state Endurance and see what kind of variation you get in your cadence.
  • I tend to agree. It’s the reason I try for the no-coast, no-break aspect in order to maximize my time on the trainer. It may be a bunch of bullocks, but I feel that is where some aspect of “efficiency” comes in with trainer vs road in a time for time idea.
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I have somewhat similar experience with lower Z2: workouts below ~0.63 IF (both indoor and outdoor), my legs feel numb day after. No such issue with even slightly higher intensities. I mean, there can be fatigue if workout is hard but no numbness or flat feeling.

Usually don’t observe it because I tend to be above 0.66 IF but now that I’m playing with HR guided Z2, it is more clearly felt.

My personal experiences…

IMHO its only ‘demanding’ if I have sloppy pedaling stroke and get lazy with throwing my foot across the top. Otherwise for me, a strong continuous pedal stroke will result in roughly the same “load” on the leg muscles when comparing little vs big chainring.

However little chainring does have unnaturally smooth power - and I can see it on the power chart, measure the power standard deviation and see its far less than any situation outside, and of course I can feel the unnatural resistance. Downright unnatural and eerie. I don’t like erg and little chainring.

Beyond leg feel, spreading torque more evenly throughout the pedal circle tends to put more load on my cardio system, perhaps as a result of increased muscle activation.

Using sim or standard/level/slope mode has become my go-to because it feels natural, like riding outside, big or little chainring, and I don’t ever feel like I’m fighting with erg.

Saying many of the same things, but with different words/feelings/explanations.

Lower cadence with endurance and low tempo - I don’t get fatigue or DOMS. Instead, when lowering cadence to 60-75rpm for longer endurance/tempo rides I quickly develop a LOT of muscular endurance. Enough muscular endurance that I can basically skip doing sweet spot intervals, and still have the muscular endurance to either push threshold for 40-70 minutes, or climb climb climb all day and wake up the next feeling like it wasn’t anything (I live where its flat).

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I forgot, I did try that and only caused it to be less smooth in power locking (faster flywheel being harder for erg mode to work on issue) It was accidental as I switch to the big ring for something else and forgot to switch back only when I was wondering why the erg mode was less smooth did I look which ring I was in. So didn’t try it for long

I have a feeling there is something to the way erg mode smooths out my power output in that my power output is less smooth in the big ring. But why would that make muscles more sore?

This may be but the trend is more general with all endurance workout vs sweet stop and threshold

Cheata indoor:


If you zoom into the same length of time its sort of noticable. This is with a pioneer power meter so magnet based cadence built into it.
so these two randomly picked ~10 min strech:

I have not had a chance to use my leomo outside yet to get more detailed data to compare my pedal stroke movements

I’m thinking shorter intervals for checking variation so not the time duration between when you might coast

It’s almost unheard of that I will actually ride at a steady fixed wattage outdoors like that, there’s junctions and gradients and so on. Even if it is literally the same bike, doing long intervals at fixed wattages indoors is quite unlike riding on the road as the position is so fixed. I find it really highlights any niggles or minor issues in fit.

As Chad says as well the gear can make a difference, I often do longer intervals in a higher gear for more flywheel speed.

The other weekend I did 4hrs zone 2 (av 176 / np 183 - so about as close as you could ask for a road ride) and managed only 10-12 mins stopped time on the whole ride, which was as good as I could manage. It hurt about as much as doing it on the turbo… partly as I tried to be aero for the headwind bit and my back hurt, that’s not an issue on the turbo!

  • Ditto. I have two basic approaches for these long rides. One is pure low cadence through the workout where I aim around 65 rpm for the entirety. I dip down to 60 at times, and up to 70 at others, but end with a 65-68 rpm average most of these ones. It seems to offer some solid demand on my legs as they are often smoked for the rest of the day and I feel notable fatigue to mild DOMS after them.

  • I don’t have the research behind it, but I like what I feel during and after and have made it a regular rotation where I do it about every other week along with my other Hi/Lo mixed cadence on the same type of long endurance.

Can show you graphs till I"m blue in the face, Kickr 2017 with wheel off and little ring has unnaturally smooth power.

Outside on flats and gentle rollers? For me it looks like inside with Erg and big ring. About 15W standard deviation around target power. I’ve got a smooth pedal stroke and can make outside look like inside (Erg big ring). Have posted side by side graphs and you can’t tell the difference. Toss in graph of Erg and little chainring, and you can see it is unnaturally smooth (about 50% power std deviation), and unlike anything I’ve seen outside.

Many years ago Chad and I had a lonnnnggggg conversation about big vs little in some thread.

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But what was your cadence? I’m not just saying indoor is smoother for power, I’m saying indoor is less smooth for cadence and that indoor leads to more muscle soreness. I have a feeling the reason my candence is less smooth indoors is why my legs hurt more

Is your cadence captured on the same exact device in all these rides?

Different workouts, different cadences. In Erg I’ll settle on a cadence, something between 80-95rpm, and in the early days of using TR kept pushing cadence higher and higher until I did an entire workout (sweet spot and endurance recovery week) at 95rpm.

In your situation, my first suspicion is that its related to little chainring, Erg, and your pedal stroke. My recommendation stands, I’d suggest doing an endurance workout in sim mode on Zwift or RGT. That might be a hassle - RGT is totally free, Zwift has some free mode - so my alternate suggestion is trying standard/level/sim mode if possible (I think standard mode with TR is no longer supported on 2018 Kickr, if Kickr firmware has been updated).

both used a pioneer power meter so magnet based cadence built into it. Same bike and same fit. Indoor on a kickr2018

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OK, just checking. I took a quick look at your data above, but need more time later tonight.

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1 hour indoor vs 6 hour century? Ok, I’ll look even though Strava is the worst at power graphing and scaling…

Outside 6 hour century, randomly zoomed into about 8 minutes, looks pretty natural:

And inside:

Kinda looks like erg and little ring, possibly a little too smooth (unnatural), but average power is only 85% of the graph above.

Ok, here are some graphs where I made sure the average watts are about the same, and set the y-axis to use the same range:

Those are also about 7 or 8 minute windows.

Inside and outside look about the same, and the power standard deviation around average is 15-21 watts.

From one of many posts I made on the topic: Stages power meter "jumpy" - #13 by bbarrera

My first guess, even with the Strava handicap, is that you are comparing unnaturally smooth power to outside power. But it could be something else, hard to say when Strava does the graphing and you can’t run basic statistics.

Hope that helps.