Indoor bike training. Understanding ERG Mode: To Use or Not to Use?

Understanding ERG Mode: To Use or Not to Use?

ERG Mode, a load-restricted feature found in smart trainers like the Wahoo KICKR, offers convenience by automatically adjusting resistance based on target power outputs. This article explores the benefits and considerations of using ERG Mode in your cycling workouts.

  1. The Advantages of ERG Mode:
  • Prevents under or overtraining by maintaining target intensity.
  • Emphasizes proper ride position and smooth pedal stroke.
  • Acts as a pacing tool, preventing early fatigue.
  • Ensures seamless transitions between intervals, avoiding sudden effort spikes.
  • Facilitates lower efforts during recovery or base training rides.
  • RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) should still be considered to gauge workout effectiveness.
  1. FTP Testing and ERG Mode:
  • When determining your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) through an FTP Test, ERG Mode should be turned off.
  • Disabling ERG Mode allows you to self-select your power output during the test, adjusting effort levels as needed.
  • Some training devices have their own FTP testing protocols, which can be used instead.
  1. Gearing in ERG Mode:
  • Shifting gears is unnecessary in ERG Mode.
  • Choose a gear that provides a quiet and smooth ride, allowing the smart trainer to adjust resistance to meet your target power.
  • Cadence selection plays a crucial role in optimizing riding economy, with a range of 80-100 rpm being ideal for most riders.
  1. Targeted Output Considerations:
  • While ERG Mode provides a fixed percentage of FTP power, it may not always align with your daily capabilities due to various factors.
  • Some apps offer a +/- 10% feature to adjust the workout difficulty during the ride.
  • Alternatively, you can turn off ERG Mode and aim for the upper or lower end of your prescribed power range, or ride based on perceived exertion or heart rate.
  1. Simulating Real Riding:
  • If outdoor riding is limited, occasionally training without ERG Mode can be beneficial.
  • This allows you to continually adjust resistance and cadence to meet power targets, simulating real-world riding conditions.
  • Choose a route that mimics the elevations and characteristics of your event, focusing on gear selection and cadence management for optimal efficiency.