Changing Level during Full Frontal on a Dumb Trainer

Is it ok to change levels on a dumb trainer during full frontal?

Here is a longwinded backstory about why I’m asking.

I tested with FF back at the start of November NM 315 AC 281 MAP 239 and FTP 209. I screwed up my gearings for the sprints and hit the 5 min test too fast so inevitably MAP and NM were both flagged and adjusted to NM 365, MAP 240. I was given rider type time triallist and MAP was identified as my major weakness so I did a 4 week MAP building block.

All seemed well and good, until I started a 4 week AC/NM block when the workouts suddenly felt too easy so I posted on the forum @coach.spencer.r replied and suggested manually increasing AC to 310W this seemed to do the trick to start with, but as got stronger I noticed that I was hitting a power ceiling of 316w even when I changed up a gear and maintained the same cadence. I contacted the minions for help who confirmed that 316w was indeed the power ceiling when using resistance level 6 on my trainer due to the virtual power curve used by the app only working up to a wheelspeed of around 50km/h. @rebecca.bell suggested using higher resistance levels for workouts like Violator, which was due in my plan within the next week. I bumped the resistance up a level during Vioalator and saw a 5sec NM best of 445w, but was still spinning out. I did primers last night on level 9 and saw a new NM 5sec peak of 1355w despite giving what felt like the same effort as my 316W efforts at level 6.
Could my NM power really be 4x higher?
Is my rider type completely wrong?
If I ride FF in level 9 for the NM and AC parts of the test and the MAP and FTP parts in level 6, are the results still valid?

1 Like

I do not see any reason why changing levels is a bad thing.

You can look at it as if swapping your cassette and chainrings every time you change your level :joy:

Just because of the watt ceiling you mentioned, changing levels is essential.
Your trainer can only produce so much power on each level.
So, in order to get more out of it, you have to increase:

  1. cadence
  2. gear (either front or back)
  3. the level

It may be annoying at first, but with practice you will find out the level that suit you and your current workout.

A tip is to find the level that will not force you to change many gears between the different efforts.

For example (random numbers), on lvl1 you may have to change from small to big and 4 gears on the back in order to hit the watts on a MAP interval after recovery and the opposite when going back to recovery.
While on maybe lvl6 you may only have to change from small to big and 2 gears.

If by levels on your dumb trainer you mean the resistance setting on the trainer itself, this depends on if you are using virtual power or some power meter.

In short, if power meter: yes, change resistance levels (this is exactly how I do it to meet my NM “requirements”).

If virtual power: no because then the app is using the wrong power profile.

1 Like

Yes, the resistance setting on the trainer itself, of course I would also have to change the setting in the app to match. I’m using virtual power, a power meter costs more than my bike.

I can’t remember but can you then dynamically change the resistance setting in the app?

I guess there’s plenty of time in between each segment of FF to do that

No, with virtual power you need to stick to one setting for the entire test. Even if you change the setting (on the trainer and in the app) between rides you may find that the numbers don’t quite match up against each other so best to stick to one setting for the test and majority of your rides if you can. For high power efforts like Violator you just need a setting that lets you go as hard as you can, doesn’t really matter what the numbers say or do.

[You may get a lot of replies from people thinking you’re talking about level mode for a smart trainer. For those, something like a Kickr, yes you can change level mid-FF but not the same thing]


I am just curious - what is your setup? (what is the dumb trainer setup)

11 year old Tacx Sirius. I have a cheap road bike that only gets used on the trainer, 53/39 chainrings and a 8 speed 12-25 cassette. In level 6 I can hit the power ceiling in 39:12 ( cross chaining, I know) and only use the big ring for low cadence work, conversely in 39:25 bottom gear my cadence is 10-20 rpm below target to get down to target recovery power between intervals.

Well I went ahead and changed the resistance level on my trainer and in the app during FF earlier this evening. I used lvl 6 during the 5 and 20 minute efforts and level 9 for the 5 and 60 second ones, they felt very different to before when I was just spinning out. Here are my results.

What workout should I try next?

Violator, obviously :grinning:

1 Like