Beginner questions

Thanks for your responses @oldcyclist65 and @idefix

I had my Elite Direto XR smart trainer connected and controlled by my Android phone, but was watching my power and cadence numbers (and Video) on the Xert session player on a PC. Here’s an example of the power gauge on the Xert session player on the PC…
Xert Video Player

On this power gauge, the cadence meter has a semi-circle. On the semi-circle there is an orange and a (narrower) green segment, which moved about for for different intervals in the workout. I think I had incorrectly assumed that these segments indicated the recommended target cadence to aim for.

I’ve now become a bit more familiar with Xert, and it seems there’s always a direct correlation between the position of these orange/green segments on the cadence meter and the target power! I’m no longer sure why they are there, and why they move up and down in accordance with power targets. Perhaps this feature is intended to be used as a training aid for track cyclists.

In any case, going forward I will ignore the coloured segments on the cadence meter in the PC session player, and just pedal “normally” :slight_smile:

Once again, thank you both for your responses.

Hi @ridgerider2

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, I was watching the power gauge (and the coloured segments on the cadence meter within that gauge) on the session player on the PC. This is now starting to make sense to me.

Regarding your question about the colours in the Workout Designer, yes, they are the same on my PC. I wasn’t aware of the CO feature, and I had mistakenly assumed the CO targets displayed were somehow manually defined and set for the various workout intervals in the Workout Designer.

As suggested, I’ll ignore the recommended target suggested by the CO for now and see how it adjusts over time.

Hi everyone!

The cadence optimizer makes the assumption that a higher cadence is generally ‘better’ for high-intensity efforts, while a lower cadence is more ‘efficient’ for prolonged cycling, but it also does ‘learn’ your cadence preferences and factors that into the cadence recommendation.

I believe there is a 2009 study that investigated the ‘optimal cadence’ for cycling. From what I remember, their general analysis was that a high cadence (100-120 rpm) was best for sprint efforts, a moderate cadence (~90-100 rpm) for longer efforts, and perhaps even lower cadence (~70-90 rpm) for endurance efforts > 4hrs.

Ahh, found it… for those interested in reading more:

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Hi. First week of Xert Trial. Somme feelings and questions

  • Are you running the 30 day trial or are you a subscriber?

  • What equipment do you have for training indoors and outdoors? (meter type, trainer type, bike type, bike computer or phone)

    • indoor: garmin 830 (HR) ,Assioma pedals, Tacx fortius pre-smart trainer. desktop PC and phone
    • outdoor: garmin 830 (HR) ,Assioma pedals, plus
  • Are you young (20-30s), older (60+), or in the middle? :slight_smile: (no need for exact age)

    • older 60++
  • How experienced are you with training by power? (newbie or X years using another platform)

    • experienced . 2020 Sufferfest. 2021 TR . I usually use Garmin Connect to record , Strava to share , to plan and analyse, Golden Cheetah to analyse my rides
  • Are you a recreational rider or competitive racer?

    • recreational rider
  • What are your goals? (example, special event in 3 months or best fitness for riding this summer)

    • be fitter and faster . In general one event in may (2023-05-27) this seaso,) and one in september
  • How many weeks or months of recent power data have you loaded into Xert?

    • three month of Strava
  • What is your current star status? (example, 2 stars)

    • 2,5 stars
  • What Athlete type did you select? (determines focus duration target)

    • I tried several types. Actualy Triathlete to get the most endurance workouts. I think my type will be Climber for the events
  • Which Improvement Rate (IR) did you select? (hours/week training load)

    • Maintenance
  • What TED (target event date) did you enter? (determines what phase are you in)

    • actually 2023-0428 to be in early base phase

I really appreciate the app and the flexibitlity that is offered.
I read and watched a lot and and thank you for all the links posted on this forum
For three years my training is mostly based on power curve values.
Acually i’m in a base endurance phase High Z2, low Z3 (7 model)

Even if i choose Triathlete type, the trainig advisor suggest a lot of workouts with sweet spot or tempo and of relatively short duration ex : Dance with the Devil - 3.0 instead (for ex) Heart of Gold – 105. And it seems to correct the training deficit by increasing the intensity and not the volume (duration). Is it a Trial subscription side effect? Is there a way to modify that?

I have some issues with Focus. Not with the definition or the application in a workout but with the results after saving the ride.
My last workout, done with Garmin IQ App, was Recovery 40, Focus 180min. I did it as a steady state low endurance power 150-160w , during 60’. My LTP is 207W. I got 59 XSS, 154W equiPower, Pure specificity and Focus= Time Trialist !!. My watts have never been in the TP range. I just done 57 sec in the 200-215W.
It’s the same for three other endurance activities this week
The fifth was a VO2 (4X6X30-15 R3’) workout : Focus Breakaway Specialist - 04:53, Mixed Specificity

In the Progression Chart/ Strain chart, the focus is GC for each activity
In the Planner/ Weekly stats tab, the focus of the week is Climber 11min52

Need some help

With Xert , is it possible to compare your workouts to verify a correct execution (HIIT) or to look at progress after 3 or 4 weeks (HR-Power for endurance phase) ?

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The 30-day trial includes a subset of workouts from the Standard library folder.
Pre-base phase with Maintenance improvement rate is more or less free-to-experiment mode. :slight_smile:
You will get a variety of workouts suggested in pre-base at/above/below focus for the selected athlete type. You decide which direction to take things.
You can also use Filter and select a different focus and duration to see what differs.
If you want to force endurance phase now you can set a TED less than 120 days out. Ex., April 10th. Base phase is 45 days long.

Xert is a three-level strain model (low, high, peak) where anything below TP is considered low intensity. That means endurance level workouts will include SS and tempo intervals. However, most SMART workouts float through those zones and don’t hang there like old-school %FTP blocks. That makes a big difference IME. I assume you’ve seen my Base to TED experiment.

Time-Triallist focus could result from any momentary rises above LTP during that recovery workout. Since you don’t have a smart trainer to tightly control wattage, my guess is you are spiking a bit.
Post the workout reports for those activities if you’d like so we can see details. Select WorkoutReportIcon icon next to Cycling Summary.
Note the endurance quadrant in this chart –

Was your VO2 workout sourced and performed elsewhere?
Even a VO2 workout can end up classified within the endurance quadrant.
Compare this one to this one. Note differences in MPA drawdown and difficulty (shaded portion).

The Progression chart table reflects the athlete type currently selected under Goals.

Are you populating the Planner for the week ahead with workouts you selected manually?
The Planner is a what-if-I-do-this tool rather than a traditional calendar to populate.
You would normally leave it blank when following a phased progression and instead make daily selections based on recommendations for each day.

You can view workout activity details and enable Target Power beneath the chart to compare your compliance to targets.

Reference –
Sweet Spot, Threshold and Polarized Training … By the Numbers – Xert (
Program Phases – Xert (
Training Right For Your Event – Xert (

here the last activity

the others cant be export so i made them public

The Fortius Tacx trainer is controlled by a proprietary app on PC but can’t exchange live data because no Ant or bluetooth capability. It can work in erg or slope mode. I use it in slope mode with increment of 0.1% . Power, cadence are given by Assioma pedals.
I don’t populate the planner and look for the suggestion every day.
I didn’t choose workouts until sunday because i have had some pb with Garmin IQ. I loaded the activities after the ride.

The workouts analyses looks normal to me.
The blip into aqua above LTP resulted in a Focus Duration of Time-Triallist for Recovery 40.
That was also enough to raise difficulty score from Easy to Moderate and Specificity to Mixed instead of Pure. One odd thing is the HR dip at the 3/4 mark. Position change?
END H MTI and Drills Vélocité are Pure in comparison with a 1:00:00 Focus.

Do you intend to import workouts into Xert and perform them with EBC? That will ensure target power is included, plus imported workouts are converted to SMART intervals during import (XSSR and MMP by default).

Regarding VO2max workouts (and other types of workouts) there are distinct benefits to Xert’s fitness signature approach as demonstrated in this video lesson –
Episode D3 - Mastering Xert - Discover - Fitness Signatures and Conclusion - YouTube
Xert can offer unique power targets such as hard start XSSR based curvilinear intervals in the SMART Closer series or MPA Reserve based targets in the SMART Elastic Heart series.

Reference –
Specificity Rating – Xert (
Introducing Smart Workouts – Xert (

Yes it was : increase ventil, grab a bottle

I can’t perform a workout with EBC (because of the trainer) so i will use GarminIQ
Trial subscription offers few exercises !!! and not those . I will import some workouts.
During this period , i prefer micro intervals. Just as a reminder.

I’m surprised that a few seconds (in a total duration of 60 minutes) change Focus duration, difficulty and specificity.
Do you have an idea for the focus in weekly stats and in progression chart ?

Focus for the weekly stats will reflect weighted-average.
XATA also uses weighted average over a rolling 7-day window for the Training Pacer.

Focus will fluctuate during a phased progression from endurance only then zero in on your target focus by Peak phase. You can also manipulate athlete type during a progression either on-the-fly using Filter to change recommendations for the day or by changing type under Goals.

From the glossary –

Here is an example training program for a Puncheur. In the base phase, training is focused on Endurance. In the peak phase, it is focused on Puncheur. In between, the change is periodized.

Hi, I’m new to all of this…

1. Are you running the 30 day trial or are you a subscriber?
Just subscribed this week

2. What equipment do you have for training indoors and outdoors? Include meter type, trainer type, bike type, bike computer (if you have one), and phone (Android or iOS).
Indoors: Wahoo Kickr bike, Kickr fan, laptop running windows, iPhone, HRM (BT and ANT+).
Outdoors: just have the HRM and my phone, no power meter.

3. Are you young (20-30s), older (60+), or in the middle? :slight_smile: (no need for exact age)
Just turned 40 :sob:

4. How experienced are you with training by power? (newbie or X years using another platform)
Used Trainerroad in the off season for a few years before I had kids (they’re now 5 and 1). Started using Zwift last year, mainly with structured workouts.

5. Are you a recreational rider or competitive racer?
Mainly recreational, but I used to do a bit of regional short course XC MTB racing pre-kids and I’d love to do that again this summer.

6. What are your goals? (example, special event in 3 months or best fitness for riding this summer)
Get fit, lose the belly flab that my kids seem to have brought with them, and maybe do some short course XC MTB racing this summer (no dates available yet but likely to be late spring/early summer

7. How many weeks or months of recent power data have you loaded into Xert?
About 18 months. It’s very unstructured though, and includes some stuff when I was pregnant

8. What is your current star status? (example, 2 stars)
Half a star :joy:

9. What Athlete type did you select? (determines focus duration target)
GC specialist. I loaded some historical XC races into Xert and that’s what they got categorised as

10. Which Improvement Rate (IR) did you select? (hours/week training load & ramp rate)
Slow. My time to train varies depending on work and kids so I didn’t want to overstretch

11. What TED (target event date) did you enter? (determines what phase are you in)
I switched the mode to Continuous as I don’t yet have a TED

So I have some slightly random and unrelated newbie questions…

  1. Do Smart workouts/dynamic intervals work in ERG/auto mode? I find my power output is all over the place if I’m left to control it with gears and cadence so I quite like Erg mode whilst training.
  2. Do the dynamic intervals only occur on workouts labelled as #mixedmode?
  3. I’ve read different things about setting the decay - as a beginner, where should I set it? My training time can be a bit haphazard so some weeks I might do lots then other weeks very little
  4. How is best to choose workouts? Just load the training planner and pick the top one? Do I trust that this will train both endurance and high intensity systems?
  5. I’ve been enjoying doing some Zwift racing recently - will doing this help or hinder the algorithm for doing workouts on other days?
  6. The training pacer tells me I’m very tired at the moment (which is true - both due to volume of training and those pesky non-sleeping kids!) because I’ve just started trying to structure my training so I’m doing way more volume than before. Should I just persevere with doing sessions and it’ll slowly adjust to the new volume, or should I dial back a bit in the first few weeks?
  7. If I don’t know my TED exactly, should I stay in continuous mode for now or estimate a TED so as to get a base/build/peak phase in my training?
  8. If I only do Xert workouts, will Xert automatically throw in workouts that allow me to get a Breakthrough every now and again, or will I have to find one and do it periodically in order to update my fitness signature?


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GC Specialist is a good place to be especially if that fits the profile of your future events.
You can jump around using Filter to view recommended workouts at other focus duration points and see how they differ. Or change Athlete Type under Goals, Update Advice, and note changes before switching back.
For example, I manually select a sprint workout every so often for high/peak stress. Some sprint workouts even qualify as endurance work since the sprints are short (ex. 15 secs), few in number, and have long RIBs (rest-in-between) below LTP. I feel recharged (jolted?) when I do these workouts and can feel a difference on subsequent rides/workouts. ZRL can also serve this purpose.

Slow IR is fine. Increasing TL is the single biggest contributor to a rise in fitness so your goal should be to reach as many stars as your schedule permits.

  1. SMART intervals include a variety of interval types that scale to your fitness signature. One type is dynamic which monitors your compliance to target and varies power or duration to endure target strain is met. For example, if you are slightly under target during a dynamic power interval you’ll feel/see a slight increase in resistance towards the end of the interval to reach the strain target. Scaling also allows Xert to individualize intervals by using values such as XSSR and %MPA. A VO2max interval might be 110% TP for one cyclist and 120% TP for another even though both have the same TP. Intervals can also be curvilinear with resistance smoothly arching during the interval in either direction (rise or fall).
    AUTO mode on EBC provides ERG trainer control so you can ride in one gear on your trainer while resistance varies to match target. Experiment to find the right gear combo for you. Many find the small ring works best as a higher gear revs up flywheel speed at the same resistance.

  2. EBC in AUTO mode supports MIXEDMODE workouts that will switch between ERG trainer control and Slope resistance when an interval is defined with a % slope. You’ll use gears/cadence during Slope mode intervals to achieve targets. This is typically done to ensure you don’t experience a smart trainer death spiral when jumping from low to high watts, but it also means you can’t fail the interval. Simply try your best to hit targets. During a sprint interval you may even exceed the target. The goal being high/peak strain rather than specific watts.

  3. As long as you have occasional max efforts to failure to prove your signature, I’d leave it at the default of Optimal to start with. You can switch to No Decay or Slow Decay if you won’t be doing max efforts for an extended period. For example, Base phase is 45 days centered on endurance level workouts/rides. Without any BT events your signature will decay at the rate selected.

  4. Don’t just pick the top one. Review your choices which includes top four and Load More. Note the Suitability rating of the top four and XSS points. You’ll drift further away from that rating as you descend the Load More list. The list can also be recast to match your schedule. E.g. change Duration if you have more or less time to train today. XATA will adapt to whatever you decide to do.

  5. The driving factor is calculated form. If a HIIT workout or ZRL event drives you to yellow/tired status (high/peak strain system stressed, not too tired to train), only endurance level workouts will be recommended the following day(s). When form returns to fresh (blue/green) HIIT workouts will be recommended. Exception is Base phase (TED set) when only endurance level workouts will be recommended. However, you can jump outside the guidelines on occasion or use Freshness Feedback slider when calculated form doesn’t match how you feel.

  6. The first few weeks you are feeding the model. No need to heed deficit/surplus numbers yet. Ride as you are able. The Training Pacer needs a couple weeks worth of data before recognizing changes in your weekly pattern moving forward.

  7. I suggest playing around while in Continuous and experiment with various options to see what they do and what changes. Then set an imaginary TED 110-120 days out to put you into Base phase training which is all endurance in Xert. That endurance, however, includes a range of workouts from “easy” endurance (LTP over/under or below LTP) to “hard” endurance (sweetspot/tempo zones). You can choose what you like best (scan the alternates).

  8. XATA warns you with a (!) icon below your account name when no BT is detected in over 3 weeks. Time to manually select a BT workout (or consider a ZRL event). If you choose a BT workout for this purpose (search workout library for “fitness test” in quotes), make sure to ride it entirely in Slope mode using gears/cadence to acheive targets and prepare to ride to failure during intervals designed for that purpose. The goal being a maximal effort under fatigue.

The collection of workouts/session expands as you reach 2 stars status level. At one star or less there are few choices but your main goal at this point is increase hours/week rather than worry about variety. :wink:

If you haven’t already done so in the Wahoo trainer app, it is best to disable power smoothing to ensure accurate power graphs.

Welcome aboard. :slight_smile:

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That’s so helpful, thank you so much!

Hello! New to Xert and almost novice rider

Are you running the 30 day trial or are you a subscriber? Trial

What equipment do you have for training indoors and outdoors?
Only ride indoors. Road bike on a Jetblack Volt smart trainer. No bike computer. Android phone using ANT+ at the moment because unfortunate lost of Bluetooth after Jetblack firmware update.

Are you young (20-30s), older (60+), or in the middle? 51 :blush:
How experienced are you with training by power? A year using Fulgaz and now RGT
Are you a recreational rider or competitive racer? Recreational
What are your goals? Not training for ant event. Just train to get fitter mainly for healthy aging but love to understand what I am doing and analyze data, that it what motivates me. I am weak both because of only one year of training not hard (2-3h/week average) and not very genetically gifted: Now approaching 5h/week. I want to stay in the pack in group rides in RGT. Everyone seems to be so fit!
How many weeks or months of recent power data have you loaded into Xert? 3 months
What is your current star status? 1 star and a little of the second star
What Athlete type did you select? Time triallist. Not sure what to choose. I chose Century Ride first but may be too low intensity. I am very cautious about high intensity at my age and still not a very good base. But I do not have any health condition
Which Improvement Rate (IR) did you select? 5h/week at slow rate. Probably not going much longer, maybe 6h. I will switch to Maintenance probably soon
What TED (target event date) did you enter? 2nd of june, which sets my at the beginning of Base. I have just finished a Conditioning plan I purchased so I guess pre-base is unnecesary

Question: I am seeing always the same workouts : SMART - Takin’ Care of Business - 60 and Recovery workouts. Is that just because I am in Trial or because of my settings? If I click Load more I see others but are “out of focus” or "Premium

Thanks ofr your support!

Check the Ranking tab to see what Xert calculates as your relative strengths and weaknesses compared to selected age group of Xert users.
You may want to pick a lower focus duration point such as GC Specialist, Rouleur. or even Breakaway Specialist to work on that quadrant with higher intensity workouts. You can always test the waters by riding in Slope mode to see how it goes or dial down % intensity if you feel it’s too much.
In Base phase only endurance level workouts will be recommended. You could adjust your TED date if you want to shorten Base phase. Higher intensity workouts generally don’t show up until mid-Build.

Workout variety expands as you reach 2 stars.
The workout and session libraries also expand when you move from a trial to a subscription.
In the meantime, to view currently available options at the one-star level go to Training, Workouts or Sessions library and use Filter to display all 1 to 1-1/2 diamond entries (Difficulty option). Then try 1.5-3 stars and note the difference.
Suitability will reflect your current Goals settings, progression phase, and calculated form.

Reference –
Training Suitability – Xert (

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I will switch to GC specialist and try to get 2 stars. This is very motivating :)Thank you!

I have suscribed to premium :grinning: . After uploading a whole year of activities my LTP is a 9% lower and my base rides all feel like recovery rides, with my HR around 100 bpm. Should I manually raise it? My last breakthrough was 1 month ago. Should I try a fitness test when it is out of focus (I am in Base)?

If have read about expected ratio between PP and HIE and I am off:

Probably PP is understimated because I normally do not do sprints.

I thought it could be a good idea to try this workout:

Could also HIE be overstimated because wrong data? How could I explore this?


It does sound like you maybe need to do a test to try & achieve a breakthrough, or something like a Zwift race, if you use Zwift?

I did a fitness test workout at the end of last week - Fitness Test for Breakthrough version 2.
One thing I would say is that the sprint intervals are very short - on the one I did they were only 7 seconds & my legs and the trainer were really only just getting up to a decent power before the interval was over & the resistance dropped off.
I would consider doing those sprint sections in slope mode & perhaps hanging on for a bit longer than the 10s interval length to get the most effort out of your legs.

There’s some good info here:

Help with Fitness Test for Breakthroughs Version 2? - Support - Xert Community Forum (

My result is in there at the bottom.
I did virtually the whole thing in slope mode & it worked well.


If it’s been a while since your last Breakthrough/Maximal Effort, then it’s very possible that Xert may underestimate your fitness. As others have mentioned, the best way to remedy this is to prove Xert wrong - aim to push for some sort of maximal effort. Could be a fitness ‘test’ or breakthrough workout, or a hard effort on a group ride or favourite Strava segment, a Zwift race, etc.


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Thanks for the link. I will try tomorrow. I has to be in “resistance mode” because I have to send my smartrainer to service so I will use my classical trainer.