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To ERG, or not To ERG, that is the question

TIL – there is a diversity of opinion around whether using ERG mode when doing a structured workout is a good thing. Maybe because I’m biased, I wasn’t able to find much actual argument against it (best I found was this), and a whole lot for, in a nuanced way, (another Slowtwitcher), albeit mostly from companies who have made a business selling structure for the smart trainer.

Personally, I have a really hard time seeing how ERG mode isn’t the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe there’s some truth to the “listen to your body” points, but frankly if you can watch/read/faff while doing anything above Zone 2, your FTP setting is wrong. It should hurt, and demand the kind of attention that makes you very much aware of what your body is saying. Mine usually goes “stop, please stop, this sucks, I thought we were friends, why are you…”, you know good conversation. Which is exactly why I love it. You do the watts, or you get off the bike. No excuses. No bad days. No breaks; well there is some wiggle room, but the point is still mostly valid.

I’m confident that structured training with ERG mode has gotten me to where I am. Not confident I would have gotten there without it.

Again, maybe my bias has blinded me. Maybe CINCH’s Tom Danielson, with their “power control”, has the inside track on this one, and my searchfu just isn’t good enough to find the compelling anti-ERG mode research. If you have it, please share. As I’ve mentioned before, I have lots of opinions, and I don’t mind changing them when the balance of research indicates that I’m wrong. The goal is to get stronger and fitter; if my approach is holding me back, I’d love to know it.

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