For most people in the northern hemisphere it’s the beginning of indoor training season…riding the bike inside.

YUK, right?

Actually, wintertime is the optimal time to create highly efficient, safe (not traffic to worry about), and incredibly effective workouts. The Computrainer can help with this.

Many people purchase a Computrainer so that they can ride any race course in the world or plot any course on google maps and ride it indoors. I actually plotted a course straight up Mount Everest and loaded it into the computrainer to try and ride it. That didn’t work too well, couldn’t get the cranks to turn once I got to the really steep part. Ha ha ha.

Anyway, it’s my opinion that the true value the Computrainer has (it’s secret weapon) that few people take advantage of is not riding courses but rather riding ERG files. (ERG is just short for ergometer.)

What is an ERG file?

Riding an ERG file on the computrainer is a way to make the computrainer force you (no pun intended) into pushing out the watts you predetermine you want to hit for that given ride. Let’s take for example that you want to do the following workout:

15 min @ 50% of your Functional Threshold Power (FTP)
20 min @ 65% FTP
30 min @ 95% FTP
5 min @ 65% FTP
30 min @ 95% FTP
5 min @ 75% FTP
5 min @ 65% FTP
10 min @ 50% FTP

You could program the computrainer (manually or automatically via an ERG file) so that if you are NOT putting out 65% of your FTP when you are suppose to be (for example) the computrainer will automatically increase the resistance to MAKE you pedal harder until you get up to 65% FTP. Conversely, if you are putting out MORE than 65% FTP the computrainer will automatically decrease the resistance to bring you back down to 65% FTP.

What’s truly amazing is (1) there is NO cheating and you get to hit the watts you want to hit and (2) you don’t have to watch your watts or think about anything…just pedal pedal pedal.

The Endurance Sports Institute uses these types of workouts often to ensure our athletes get the full benefit of a prescribed workout (i.e. tempo work, V02 max work, endurance work, etc) and eliminating any guess work. Plus, if an athlete is not “used to” pushing zone 4 for 40 minutes straight, they will get used to it by doing these types of workouts.

This is the true power of the Computrainer !