With VirtualPower®, you don’t need a power meter to get the benefits of structured indoor power-based training.


It’s unanimous, the primary metric to train with today is power. But power meters are pricey, and not everyone is ready to invest in one. The good news is you no longer need one! VirtualPower allows you to get the most out of your indoor training while on a budget by turning your speed readings into watts.

What is VirtualPower?

VirtualPower is a wattage calculation that’s based on your speed and the unique make and model of the trainer you’re using. Every make and model trainer on the market has a distinct speed-to-power ratio (often referred to as a power curve). Thus, if we have your speed readings, we have your power readings (in watts).

What trainer do I need?

If you have an indoor trainer, odds are we have the power curve. Not often do we run into one that we don’t support. And if we don’t, we do a pretty darn good job at adding power curves for new trainers that have entered into the market.

Find Out If Your Trainer Works With VirtualPower

Is there anything else I need?

All you need is a speed sensor, and boom, bam, zip! You’ll have power readings to perform structured indoor training sessions!

Speed sensors are often sold in tandem with cadence sensors, making purchasing the bundle a bit more of an economical choice. Either of these will do the trick: Wahoo’s or Garmin’s.

How accurate is it?!

The accuracy is largely dependent on the accuracy of the trainer’s power-to-speed ratio. That said, there are a few things you can do to make sure your VirtualPower readings are as precise as possible. Those things include maintaining a consistent training setup by doing the following:

  • Trainer pressure: The amount of pressure being applied to your tire by the trainer’s roller defines your rolling resistance. This constitutes an extremely important variable when it comes to maintaining a consistent VirtualPower setup. Whether it’s two cranks or three and a half, you’ll want to make sure to keep this practice constant.
  • Tire pressure: Keeping your rear tire at a consistent PSI is another important variable to keep in mind. Since your rolling resistance is a relationship between your tire and the pressure from the trainer’s roller, keeping a uniform tire pressure will deliver consistent results.
  • Note: trainers that are affected by heat: Certain trainers have slight deviations in their power curves as they heat up. This isn’t a huge concern as a majority of workouts have a warm-up period, however it should be noted that you may see a slight change in resistance with particular trainers.

Why VirtualPower?

It’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to train. Most people see ‘structured training’ and think they can’t hang since they don’t have a power meter. VirtualPower changes that mentality. It’s simple to set up, provides reliable training and makes power-based training accessible at a reasonable cost.

FAQ

“What if my VirtualPower readings aren’t 100% representative of my power outdoors?”

As long as you keep your training setup consistent, your results will be comparable. So when you see an increase in FTP, you’ll know you’re getting stronger.

Does that mean my FTP using VirtualPower isn’t 100% representative of what it is outdoors too?”

This may be the case. However, for your indoor training purposes that doesn’t matter. Since you’re on a budget, this will be the most cost effective way to account for changes in your fitness.

“I already have my FTP. Should I retest using VirtualPower?”

Yes. Before using VirtualPower for your workouts, you’ll want to perform an FTP test using the VP setup you plan to train with. This will adjust your training to account for any potential discrepancies between your on-road power and your VirtualPower.

“Can I use VirtualPower on any version of the app?”

Sure can! All platforms of the TrainerRoad app (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android) support VirtualPower.

“Will my speed sensor work with VirtualPower?”

We support Garmin, Bontrager, WahooFitness, and any other ANT+ speed sensors. If you have any question as to if we support yours, drop us a line at support@trainerroad.com.

“What if my trainer has multiple resistance settings?”

When you set up VirtualPower, you’ll be given an option to select which resistance setting you’re on. Make sure the resistance setting on your trainer matches the selection you make in TrainerRoad.

“I did a workout under the wrong resistance curve! How can I fix that?”

Shoot an email over to support@trainerroad.com and we’ll reprocess the workout under the correct power curve.



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Nick Kanwetz

Nick Kanwetz is a writer of all things cycling. Whether he's creating content, interviewing coaches or digging through studies, he's doing it all to make sure you become a faster cyclist and all around better athlete.

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