Muscle tension interval question

Weird. I never did them before on the trainer. Usually I did them outside and mixed em with stomping: for my off season, on my commute.

Good lord my knees are all over the place. Particularly the right. At 50 rpm they are shaking like early Elvis! What gives? Never saw an issue with the knees like pistons Chadisms. No pain or any discomfort. Just a hell of a job controlling them.

Heading into a weight and stretching program anyway.

Erg or resistance on the trainer? Recently I’ve done muscle tension intervals in resistance (standard mode, to be precise). That worked well at 50-60rpm, on a Kickr direct-drive.

Can’t imagine trying to do them in Erg.

I did it in erg at a fixed tension so I could just focus on the spin.

:man_shrugging: I’d never try to do it in Erg, at least on the Kickr direct-drive. Everything feels wrong at low cadences while in Erg on the Kickr.

Just curious, was it a TR workout? Doing a quick search I can’t find any workouts with MTIs / SFRs, and vaguely recall Coach Chad saying he felt strength work should be done in the gym and he wasn’t a fan of MTI/SFR. Other coaches use MTIs, and personally I’ve found them to be quite useful.

It’s all your fault anyway… you recommended Fascat’s weights program :crazy_face:! So I got it and started it this week.

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LOL it is a good plan IMHO.

Below are a couple of articles, they don’t say “use resistance not Erg” but the first one is written by my coach and he told me “use resistance” if done on the trainer.


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I’ve done MTIs on a KICKR without any big issues in ERG mode. I use my Garmin(s) to control the KICKR with a Quarq as the power source, no Zwift, TR, etc. Sometimes I’ll have to adjust the power target up and/or down to get the KICKR to adjust the resistance during the cadence variations. Kind of a pain compared to doing it in the more proper resistance mode instead of ERG but it works, far better than the TR app did from what I recall.

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Thanks I had read those. I will give resistance a go but I think my issue may be a little more fundamental. I suspect I have a weakness in the right leg. Probably at the hip. I have noticed a related issue with my other sport where the right knee does not track true.

BTW on the weight program as I haven’t got any gym access for the COVID season I swapped out the leg press and Ham curls for Romanian DLs and reverse lunges. Hope that’s sufficient.

Hmmm just thinking about it the reverse lunges are proving troublesome on that leg too.

What cadence did you get down to?


Just checked TP history and some intervals I got down to 40 rpm but generally in 50-55 rpm range.


I’ve also done a fair bit of ERG controlled, low cadence (50-60 rpm), low flywheel speed (34t x 17x) intervals at and below Sweet Spot. I did them for climbing practice replicating geared out situations.

You need to be right on top of your power and cadence. Slack even a bit and you can get bit with a death spiral, but it is possible to do, if that is your goal. And importantly, I worked in steps over multiple workouts, towards those cadences because it takes some effort to get steady at doing them this way.

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My setup is essentially the same inside and outside. When inside I do the following:

  • turn on Garmin 530 and Kickr
  • launch TR app on my mobile phone, go to Devices and change Kickr to Standard mode and set the level appropriate for the workout
  • on the 530 it prompts me to start the workout

and a few notes:

  • TR app is only connected to Kickr, to set the mode and level/resistance
  • 530 is only connected to Stages power meter and HR monitor, just like outside

Performing workouts is therefore nearly the same outside vs inside because I’m looking at the same bike computer, and using the same data screens. The only difference is that inside workouts I open TR app and set level at the beginning. If there are sprints then I’ll reopen the TR app just before the sprint intervals and increase level setting. Otherwise I use my gears just like outside.

Standard mode on the Kickr feels like doing the workout outside on flat roads, whereas Erg does not. The bottom line is that standard mode more closely replicates the experience of doing the workout outside. I think that is a good thing, cognitive load and all that jazz. Resistance mode would be my second choice, and Erg is my last choice.

I’d go post on the other forum and ask for advice, one thing for sure you need to be careful when doing MTI work (I’ve always heard it in reference to knees).


Does anyone do MTI’s on an H2 trainer in ERG? I was doing them today and the power would drop down to zero for a few seconds, then come back. Seemed like it didn’t like me being at 50-60 rpm, but maybe it can be fixed with different gearing?

I highly recommend a fan blowing into the H2 cooling vents when doing high force, low cadence work like this and effort like climbing AdZ.

It can overheat and act up as a result. Not sure that is what happened to you, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

The question I asked myself - why develop a skill for the trainer? Easier to just turn off Erg!

Below are two tempo efforts and graphs showing power from Stages PM:

  • workout done today (overgeared tempo), cadence in upper 60s, using Standard mode and my bike computer showing a 20W green target zone (I had to make power myself)
  • the other is TR workout using Erg with PowerMatch, cadence in upper 80s and fixed power target of 85% FTP


really no difference in ability to hit a narrow range of power on the trainer (mostly by feel), versus letting TR control power using Erg.

which is which?

TR/Erg is first power graph, the second graph is from today using Standard mode and Garmin 530 for targeting power. Both recording power from Stages PM.

Different strokes…

I see the similar comments from time to time questioning ERG among other training choices and practices. It seems to me the assumption by some people is that any time on the trainer should be as similar to riding outside as possible. I get that concept but see at least 2 ways to view trainer use.

  1. As above, using the bike and trainer in ways that mimic outside riding feel and functions when possible. This may be related to gearing, flywheel performance, rider position and likely other aspects. It goes towards the “specificity” angle in making our training like we plan to ride and race outside. It totally makes sense to me and should likely be considered by most riders especially when that time gets closer to thw goal event.

  2. The other angle I see is “non-specific” training that is not aimed at mimicking outside riding. In my mind, these are efforts and practices with a primary focus on some aspect of fitness or physiology focus more than “on the bike” consideration. I see ERG use, single leg drills, and other practices an unique qays to strain the rider, that may not have a direct comparison to regular cycling outside.

  • I see these uses as somewhat parallel to things like strength training. We don’t do double leg squats, kettle bell swings and so many other actions directly on the bike. But we use those forms of training to affect our performance on the bike, and they are helpful despite the lack of perfecr matching.

  • It gets to a consideration that training doesn’t necessarily (or always?) have to be a direct match to be beneficial. My personal use of ERG and other practices are done with an emphasis on things like a different strain on my system than other options (Resistance).

  • I do think it’s useful to take in all the possible options, pick and choose to make a mix that is appropriate for each person, their needs and preferences. I spend a mix of time in and out of ERG, high and low flywheel speed, and inside vs outside to address my needs.

  • Variety is a good thing to implement here, as elsewhere. I’ve tweaked it for years and continue to do so, with hopes of learning what works for me. As with anything in this realm, YMMV and people should likely try a range of options and see what suits them best.

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With all respect you completely missed my point. Erg is the wrong tool for this job. And for those that think Erg allows for more precise power targeting, it’s simply not true.

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Squats of various types are a great way to ensure you’re knees are tracking. Pretty much every time I squat (several times per set, so every 3rd or 4th squat, sometimes more if needed) I check that my knees are tracking in the right plane.

This is easier to do with squats of certain types. With heavy barbell squats, a mirror is needed as to keep proper technique, you shouldn’t look down. With backward lunges and dumbbells, it’s really easy As you can look down. With a Turkish getup, it’s hard as you’re looking up towards the weight.

I pay attention to my knees tracking when I’m riding the bike - I just find that there isn’t enough load on them to cause them to wobble. So I’m with Chad on this one - gym work!

One of these days I’ll give up ERG mode, hopefully give up on using the KICKR for most things and switch to rollers full time this winter. I try to avoid using the KICKR for anything other than a steady power although it happens during bad weather. Certainly don’t use it for sprints as I’ll move those workouts around if there is bad weather or just suck it up to ride in that bad weather.

I can say using ERG mode taught me about nothing in how to hold various power zones outdoors. In fact, it took me quite some time to instill those zone feelings outdoors. I don’t want to lose those sensations over the winter coming up hence the (hopeful) switch to rollers.

Same. Thought I’d mention that while you have plenty of torque work out your door (MTB climbs), here in flatland the muscle tension intervals have been quite useful on several levels.

Erg definitely has a place in the toolbox! But not on this type of workout IMHO.

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