Zwift Workout Mode is here

After spinning on Watopia, and chasing on Richmond, we can really get the Winter off to a good start (pretty sure I missed Autumn!) as Zwift have now released their Zwift Workout mode. It’s everything we hope and more! The question is, in its current state is Zwift Workout Mode going to be able to draw people away from TrainerRoad?

Zwift Work Out Mode Review

Zwift Workout modeClick on the picture to download 

Rob Bolt of the Zwift Riders group has produced a great downloadable PDF containing a breakdown of the workouts, which is a really useful print out to save you firing up the PC, or just keeping on the smart phone


Work Out Mode

To start off, when you log into Zwift the next screen you see has changed. At the top, there is the option to select Workout mode, join another rider, or conversely select the orange “Ride” button at the bottom.

The older “Ride With” and Ride On” buttons have disappeared. If you want to join another rider, you now just select their name.

Hitting the blue Workout button at the top will bring up the workout selection screen

Zwift Workout mode

However if you are already logged in the game and decide that that you want to access the workout mode, you can do that at any time by just pressing “E” on your computer keyboard, which will also bring up the option to select your workout mode.

Zwift User Manual

 

Different modes for different folks

There are currently 9 different types of workout mode in Zwift, with each with a range of different training activities inside. Across all types, there are currently 21 different training activities.

But a couple of caveats first. You still run through the usual banners, KOM etc, but you don’t register on them. You can’t access any power ups (would slightly defeat the point), similarly, you are not able to draft. Your distance does still count towards your total rider mileage, and thus the points you need for toys!

You also generate points based on activities, but I’ll address that below.

Hud

Your rider displays a HUD as they cycle along, you can’t see it really from the cyclist view, but other riders can, so they know you are in workout mode, so you won’t be drafting.

Zwift Workout mode

The HUD is seen to change colour as you cycling along, this related to the colour of the bottom graph on your own HUD screen. The colours of your graph, in turn, represent the power zone the user is in while doing a workout – the colours reflecting “Coggan Power Zones”

Zwift Workout mode

Available Activities

FTP test

For both tests, you use the slider on the right side of the description to set your FTP target, which then determines the wattage targets during the ride. If you haven’t entered an FTP before on Zwift, the system will automatically calculate an expected FTP based on 2.5x your weight

FTP test – 1:13

Zwift Workout modeFTP test shorter – 00:45

Zwift Workout mode I completed the FTP test this morning, (I have a cold ok! ?) when you complete the test, Zwift records and displays your previous result on the workout screen.

The comment of 4 out of 10 stars relates to your performance during the test, specifically how many of the target wattages you were able to maintain during a segment. Stars = Rewards, and rewards mean POINTS!

You gain points for completing difference sections correctly, and also for staying close to the intended target. It looks about 100 points per star, but we need to find more information, as it also looks like there may be a sliding scale involved. So it looks like doing workout will be another way to generate points – remember in the workout, you don’t get the opportunity to generate the 50 or 250 boost points from passing through segments

Zwift Workout mode

Each of the starred sections, has its instructions appear in the top middle of the screen, including a time bar, showing how long left remaining. As you are training, your wattage becomes a central readout, with your HR and cadence just to the RIGHT

Zwift Workout mode

You complete a section by passing through a checkpoint as on Zwift normally. When you do, your instructions change for the next section
Zwift Workout modeI very carefully say sections at this point rather than segments. As the positions of the barriers/checkpoints are dependent on the rider, as they are time barriers, not performance barriers. To this end I have actually sped up towards one, only to see if move further AWAY, as I was going to complete that distance in a shorter time suddenly!

May this was one of the features Zwift were developing when they tested the ETA feature on the jersey segment?

Throughout the FTP test, your power is also represented graphically on the bottom of the screen. There is no indicator auto your average so far, so you’ll have to keep on eye on the graph

Zwift Workout mode

One of the things I don’t know is are the zone colours general, or related to your specific FTP target. I’d assume they were person-specific, as I found I passed into the orange and red when going above me 300watts target.

As in packages such as TrainerRoad, there is rudimentary coaching during your FTP, telling you to increase or decrease your power to hit your target, and similarly delivering encouragement towards the end of the test

Zwift Workout mode

Zwift Workout mode

One interesting point, as you can see in the above to pictures, at points the graphics go blurry, for want of a better phrase. Blue riders are practically a blur

Zwift Workout mode

I think this is the graphical encouragement to push harder, as it is something that progresses as you get closer to the finish of each section.

At the end of the FTP it’s practically tunnel vision!

Zwift Workout mode

Crucially as you pass the end of section banner, it tells you the FTP from that test – although it would appear Jeremy Samuels wasn’t particularly impressed with my effort ?

Zwift Workout mode

6 Week FTP builder – Coming soon

12 Week FTP builder (Advanced)

 

Zwift Workout mode

Zwift has partnered with Marco Pinotti for some their training plans, particularly for the 12-week builder. A coach of 15yrs  experiences including all the major cycling events and the London 2012 games. Given his preference of TT events, coming 1st in the National Championships in 2013,  it’s also not surprising the Zwift worked with Marco for their TT training plans

TimeTrial Specific training

TT#1 The Polish

Zwift Workout mode

TT#2 Core Workout
Zwift Workout mode

TT#3 Dynamic TT Course Work

Zwift Workout mode

TT#4 Training for the 1st 5mins

Zwift Workout mode

Less than an Hour to Burn

A series of workouts, from Jon Mayfield, and Mike McCarthy

Jon’s Mix

Zwift Workout mode

Jon’s Short Mix

Zwift Workout mode

SST (Short) *Sweet Spot Training

Zwift Workout mode
The GorbyZwift Workout mode

The McCarthy Special

Zwift Workout mode

60-90min to burn

For those with a little more time on their hands, or a greater preference to pain

2×20 FTP Intervals – because that sounds like fun, said no one EVER!

Zwift Workout mode

High-Intensity Recovery

Zwift Workout mode

SST (med)

Zwift Workout mode

90+mins to burn

2×30 FTP intervals

Zwift Workout mode3×15 FTP intervals

Zwift Workout mode

 SST (LONG)

Zwift Workout modeYour First Century

A trainer package to get people to spend 100km, or 100miles sitting on the turbo trainer. It’s a Zwift achievement you have to complete!

These long distance plans have been produced with the assistance of Hunter Allen:Peaks Coaching Group who use the great slogan:

Zwift Workout mode

Your Century is a 12 week structured programZwift Workout mode

With clear and specific information about what it is, you need to be focusing on each day.

Better yet, Scotty even makes an appearance on the rest days!!

Zwift Workout mode

Finally

12-week winter trainer (beginners)

Again looking to Peak Coaching Group for a 12-week program over winter. This is an overall conditioning plan, to keep you toned and fit, rather than a specific goal in mind.

I can see this being useful for the beginners who need a bit of support in terms of knowing what to do out on the island.

Although currently this plan is only populated up to week 3

Zwift Workout mode

Conclusion

For me, the Zwift Workout mode looks to be a great start, which is clearly going to be built upon over the winter season

Even at the moment, Zwift is not standing still and has plans for a training plan creator system, which will be very interesting to play with, especially as the Team becomes more structured and competitive. I imagine this will allow a team to identify weaknesses in the group, and with riders to produce training plans to attack those issues.

SO far I have only completed the FTP test, but do intend to cover each of the training plans in time.

One issue that is brilliant to my mind, is that you are still running on the island along with the virtual friends and riders you already know. This will change even the nature of an FTP test. So rather than sitting at home alone, you’ll be able to get a group of very similar abilities together to work on an FTP test and possibly spur each other on, almost in a race situation.

Certainly, this winter’s training is going to be very interesting!

Oh, and as for TrainerRoad, I’m putting that money into the Zwift subscription instead!

About James Gill

A runner first, a cyclist second, and when pushed a swimmer. Working as a GP registrar, I found that I went from walking 12miles a day on the hospital corridors to sitting in a chair. Whilst at medical school, I'd run 10km in an evening just for fun, but having lost the general activity required to be a hospital SHO, consciously being active has now become more important - well until I broke myself!

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  • Zee K.

    Since the new update, the FTP test now shows your average power during the 20 minute section. Give it 15 seconds to kick in, then it’s there the entire time.

  • I’ll add that new link. Thanks!

  • lmalblas

    Hi James! A more up-to-date and complete list of all workouts can also be found at whatsonzwift.com/workouts, which also includes additional downloadable custom workouts.

  • Bob Peters

    An issue I have with the workout mode is that if I choose to link the power meter on the bike and use my Neo to control the resistance I cannot utilize Erg mode in Zwift. Trainer Road has the capability to link your PM and Trainer this way and still workout in Erg mode with their Power Match feature. The advantage here is that there is a discrepancy between the reported power between the Neo and the PM, in my case a Stages. Since I find it more useful to have the same FTP number across all training platforms I still do my workouts on Trainer Road.
    It would be great if Zwift could address this issue because for me it’s a deal breaker.

  • Kirk

    Did this ever get answered? I’m curious because there have been times when I just couldn’t hit my numbers and would have adjusted the target 20 watts lower if I could have.

  • Thank you for pointing that out, I’ve just fixed it

  • Phil

    Thanks for the article. The PDF link appears to be broken.

  • With the latest update yes. But you are much better off using Strava for the additional data – Zwift will save there easily

  • Yves

    Hi,
    For the workout mode, does swift provide a tool to track my progress ?
    For example, for a specific workout X that I do 10 times, does zwift provide a tool
    to compare my different session ?

    Thanks

  • P Harris

    Thanks for providing the PDF of the various Zwift workouts. It saves me the time and trouble of trying to decide which one I want to do AFTER logging in and getting ready to ride.

    I wonder why Zwift doesn’t provide this – or something similar – on their website? Or maybe they do and I just can’t find it?

    I also use Sufferfest and they show all their workouts, with good descriptions, on their website so that you know what you’re buying …

  • Johnnysmooth

    Been using the 6 wk FTP workout, now almost done with week two.

    On my first general ride on Zwift it gave me an FTP. I thought it seemed low, but then again, haven’t been riding as much lately so went with it.

    Now I find that on the workourpts I’m running 15-20 watts above what is suggested and heart rate is in a good zone for type of workout.

    So big question is, should I just bump up the FTP value say 15 points and go from there?

  • Gerry Stephenson

    When I try to use a workout from Sufferfest or any workout that has a long list of segments on the left of the screen it will not scroll up and therefore I end up in the dark as to what segment is coming up.

    Is there any way to fix this know issue?

  • David

    If you have a workout set up for say 5 minutes at 250 watts can you change it once its started to be more or less resistance? That is if you set it too hard or too easy can you adjust it mid session?

  • Alwin

    No you can pick a day and do it when you want, it’s up to you to get it done but you’re not locked down

  • Oguzhan

    Your 20min avg. wattage x 0.95 = FTP

  • Ken Meyer

    How does Zwift calculate the FTP value? By definition it is the maximum average power one can sustain over 60 minutes. Obviously the test is only 20 min. So there has to be a correction factor.

  • AtleHaa

    Late to the party here, but I find it a bit annoying that the resistance is close to the same regardless of what gear I’m in (also using Kickr). If i feel for pedaling with less cadence for a while, it doesn’t matter that I change to heavier gear, it just keeps the same resistance. And if I want to ensure that I meet the watt target and stay a bit above, it seems that the resistance is adjusted accordingly.

    At the same time I find it hard to get the stars on each segment, especially when completing a “hard segment” at say 540 watts and then going to a 120 watt segment. The spindown on the Kickr means that it takes some 15-20 seconds before you can pedal at a normal cadence, but a this time you will already have spent almost half of the time off the mark, causing me to fail.

    I might add that I haven’t been riding with cadence sensor yet, could that be part of the problem?

  • Stephane Lefebvre

    One question:
    In a training mode, let say i choose 12wk ftp builder, is there a sign to told me the day i have already made? Is the choice automatic and blocked if i didn’t have done the previous day?

    Thx
    Steph

  • Stephane Lefebvre

    Wow, what a cool site discovered with the help of Eric from Zwift.
    Thanx for the good work!
    Ride on!

    Steph

  • Alex

    hi james,

    could you add the duration of each workout?

  • Hackerbee

    Yes, not on the ftp tests, but for other training there’s an “erg” mode that modulates resistance to keep your power at the proscribed level.

  • Willy

    Does that depend on whether it is a metric or imperial percentage?

  • Bob

    One is almost 64% longer than the other.

  • rustysprokitt

    is the 12 week century programme structured for 100km or 100 miles because one is almost 40% further than the other 🙂

  • Matt Smith

    The blue bit is the warm up and builds gradually. Having done this test on sat I can say the warm up is thorough!! Zwift doesn’t use erg mode for the actual 20 mins of test. You go as hard as you can to get the highest avg watts

  • Einundsiebzig

    Why is the 20min. main blue part is so low in Wattage, compared to the chosen FTP???
    How does Zwift handle the max out 20min. Wattage in Erg Mode?
    Do you have to hit your on Wattage you wish to hold?

  • Scott Barnea

    Before the workout mode was released I used my Kickr trainer and the Wahoo Fitness App ERG mode to set a certain wattage, let’s say I wanted to hold 240 I would set the app for 240 watts that way I could go too hard. It doesn’t appear that when I use the workout mode that was just realized that it prevents me from going above the prescribed wattage. Is there a way to have the workout mode control my Kickr to prevent me from going over the wattage Prescribed by the workout?

    Thank you,
    Scott Barnes