Erg or Resistance Mode for Intervals?

A question that athletes have been asking us a lot lately is: should I be using erg or resistance mode when I’m completing an interval workout on the bike training? As the answer often is with training, it depends… but here are some things to keep in mind as you decide which is best for you!

First, let’s talk about what both of these modes are. When you use Erg mode, you will upload a file to Zwift or another training program that controls the resistance on your trainer. It holds the exact prescribed resistance levels during your workout. When you use Resistance mode, it’s up to the athlete to control gearing and resistance to complete the workout. 

There are pros and cons to each of these settings.

If you like to zone out or watch a movie during these tough training sessions, erg mode may be a great choice for you. You won’t have to focus on the numbers, as the trainer program will adjust to make you meet the pre-set numbers. One thing to note with erg mode is that if you are testing or if you get bogged down, the trainer will load up the resistance and make it tough to pedal as fatigue sets in. Erg mode will also produce a flat and steady line when you review the data.

If you are looking to dial in that mental toughness, resistance mode may be a better option for you. You’ll need to stay clued in to hold the numbers in the desired range. The experience will be similar to the road and produce data that looks more like an outdoor ride. As fatigue sets in, you can adjust your settings much more easily. 

So, where are your weaknesses and strengths? Do you need to build mental toughness that will carry you through on race day? Do you need to grind out that tough workout and not be tempted to dial it back? Don’t be afraid to play with both of these options and adapt as you progress in your training!

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