Unnecessarily “busy” workouts...?

Just finished PERKINS -1 and I was reminded how much these kinds of workouts just seem “busy” for the sake of trying to look interesting. Maybe for those using erg mode it’s fine, but I personally use rollers and it’s all manual power adjustment on my end via changing gears. These kinds of workouts should really just be a straight line across the screen but I feel like TR is afraid to look too “simple” for these types of workouts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an exercise physiologist, and in the early days of my career I remember training people and making workouts with lots of different “fancy” exercises, knowing good and well that very basic and simple exercises were all that was needed, but afraid the workout would seem too simple for the client to be paying for.

Does anyone else just ride a constant power output right through the middle of these workouts like me?


Just make your own in Workout Creator, one you describe will take you no more than 3 minutes to make and publish.


I know some workouts like this have text with coach Chad taking you through different drills. This could be one of them? :thinking:

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It’s always possible to search and find a more “flat” version of these workout. Not exactly the same for TSS, IF and such, but close enough for Endurance needs:

That, or people can switch out of ERG for smarts, or simply ignore like you did with a non-smart setup, and the aforementioned Workout Creator. All a bit of a bodge, but workable if you are not happy with the assigned workout.


This is essentially a longer version of Baxter. It is kind of intended to be done in a Resistance mode, with a “fixed gear” approach (no shifting) and using cadence changes from low to high for the steps along the way. Like any drills though, you can ignore those and ride it any way you like.

Additionally, you can improve your pedal efficiency through high-rpm spinning and also focus on furthering your muscular control and joint integrity via low-rpm grinding.

Cadence recommendations vary at least +/- 20rpm from your self-selected cadence.

So for example, if you typically ride at 90rpm then your rpm range will be 70-110rpm - the greater your capabilities, the greater this rpm range.


So that would imply most, or at least the majority, of TR users use smart trainers?

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Hard to say. I am sure it’s a mix, but we don’t have any actual split comparison I know of.

Any smart trainer can be run in Resistance/Slope/Standar/Level mode (not ERG), if chosen. The Baxter example is one that offers a fun and different take on a workout where non-ERG use makes great sense. And anyone with a dumb trainer or rollers is already in “Resistance” by default, so that is the direct option if they want.

But I have done those workouts in each mode depending on whether I wanted to do manual cadence work vs simple ERG and letting the trainer do the work.

Like any drill, it is optional and people can choose based on their equipment and personal preference.

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Personally I like busy workouts. Mentally it feels like time goes by quicker completing smaller varying chunks, rather than staring down the barrel of 90 mins at a flat wattage. Horses for courses!


I do like busy workouts…but find there are not enough of them.


Just really depends on what kind of mood one is in. When I started TR I hated the longer 15min ‘intervals’ during endurance workouts and needed those shorter times between power target changes to feel engaged. Now I’m the opposite. Do whichever you prefer.


Same here. It’s horses for courses. I used to prefer Baxter, now I prefer Fletcher. But some days I’ll mix it up. And if doing Baxter, sometimes I’ll use resistance+cadence and other times I’ll use ERG.

It’s nice to have options. I get the feeling some people get too caught up in “the plan has workout X so I must do exactly this one” instead of looking for a similar alternative.


The one thing I do wonder, though, is whether this makes it more difficult for TR to analyse data in terms of “plan compliance”. But that’s their problem, not mine :slight_smile:

Yes, that is the intent.


I don’t get why you’d even start a session like this knowing what it’s going to be like and then complain about it or am I missing something? As you say it’s just endurance, forget the twaddle in the notes etc it’s just time in zone. Get the NP for the session and just ride a steady power to that.

You said it yourself and you know this, so do many others, training sessions don’t need to be complicated.

So, why did you actually do this workout?


I dislike them even with a smart trainer. Would rather just have 2hrs of the same Power output.

But ohh well, has to do something right

Yes. Throw it into resistance mode and just pedal:

and a few 5-sec sprints to make it interesting.


I prefer the “busy” workout vs the same power for the entire interval. I actually find something like Mary Austin much easier then a 20 min at threshold interval. That change in power every two minutes is far easier on me mentally than a straight 20 min interval that never changes.

Same goes for endurance rides. I get crazy bored whenever I do Petit, while the 1 hour version of Baxter does a good job of keeping me engaged because of the changes in resistance.


Cause it’s on the schedule lol and I accomplished what it meant to accomplish.

Exercise physiologist here!

I started my career taking the opposite approach of you. Gave the clients precisely what I thought was needed for physiological effect. Often straight across. Boring for sure.

Effect: I lost clients not because they weren’t getting the value. I lost clients due to them actually ceasing to train or falling by the wayside out of boredom.

I’ve since made two batches of workouts:

  1. Things precisely as you’ve described: unnecessarily busy.
  2. My old straight-across workouts.

Only the data-driven folks ever get to see the straight-across ones anymore because the anti-boredom effect of “busy” workouts was powerful for promoting real intensity and commitment to the workouts.

Lesson learned: psychology matters in training. People have different psychology than me. (I’m data driven, if I care about performance and believe the numbers prescribed, boredom does not matter. I’ll execute. That is NOT the case for >50% of people. Very few of those “>50%” are present on things like TR forum, FYI!)


Do you still think that these ‘boring’ workouts deliver the physiological effect? I heard a reference on one of the podcasts I listen to from a coach (or maybe physiologist) that works with WT riders that said that most WT riders only do about 8 different workouts. (not sure the exact number, but it was small).
I think the busy workouts like the one above are a result of smart-trainers/apps, as that would not be prescribed for an outdoor workout, or something to do ‘manually’ on a dumb trainter.