Heart Rate Training

Appreciate many people like to train based on ‘power’ and ERG mode makes this work well. But think it would also be a good feature to allow heart rate training - i.e. so you could set the HR (absolute or as a percentage of maximum heart rate) and Zwift ramps the power up or down to maintain that HR.

There is this request with a very knowledgeable response form Jordan Rapp: Heartrate controlled workout

I use HR training all the time, I just keep an eye on where my HR is and adjust accordingly.

Welcome David.

I have been playing with the ANT+ and bluetooth protocol, and from what I found I don’t think that Zwift control ERG, zwift only send a power number to the trainer and your trainer then keep you at the correct power level. I did not look for heart rate option to the trainer.

Cycling based on power seems to be more popular these days (perhaps for good reason?) but there are benefits to training based on HR as well. Seems quite a common feature of gym static bikes - so imagine it’s quite possible to do.

You are correct that you can do it ‘manually’ with the bias function (and that’s effectively what I do now) - would just be more accurate and convenient if the application did it by slowly increasing or decreasing the wattage based on the desired heart rate.

It could even do bigger wattage changes the further you were from the desired HR (i.e. when you were starting up) - that way it would get you to the set HR quicker but then only make small changes as HR changes.

Power is more of an absolute whereas HR will vary due to other factors like lack of sleep, stress and hydration. But that is also perhaps a benefit - i.e. to reduce the risk of over-training if your body is telling you it’s tired. It’s not for everyone but just thinking for the size of the Zwift community it would be a useful / valued feature to consider.


I don’t think the trainer would need to know the HR data - it would be done through Zwift. For example if you wanted to train at a HR of 130 bpm and your current HR was 115 bpm and current power was 175 watts - Zwift would just need to tell the trainer to increase the ERG power setting to 175 watts + X watts and then check again in Y seconds. Changes in HR will lag changes in power - but I’m fairly certain it’s possible?

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I do agree it is not impossible but it will have to be controlled from Zwift, that mean Zwift has to change the way they send data and monitor data. sound like a big undertaking. But if it is valuable I would think Jon Mayfield can make it work.

I was just pointing out that it is very different than ERG.

Of course the problem with training with heart rate is heart rate drift i.e. over time it drift’s upwards so to maintain a constant heart rate the power will drift down. That’s one reason why power based training is now the preferred training option. Then you’ve got issues of heat, amount of accumulated fatigue all affecting what your heart rate will be on any given day.

Yes - that’s exactly the point - on longer rides (or if you were more tired etc.) it would gradually get easier rather than pushing your heart faster.

You could probably achieve the same thing with a very long cool down segment - perhaps only dropping 10% of FTP over quite a long time (like 40-60 minutes). But I’d rather be able to set a desired heart rate and it change the power to match that HR.

Would work the other way around as well - i.e. if you were feeling fresher and as you get fitter it would increase the power to reach a specific HR level. Basically power and HR both have their merits and would be nice to be able to do it either way.

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Hi David,
I agree. I’d like more heart rate info from Zwift.
I’d like time in zones available from Zwift etc.

What I’d really like is Zwift to become like Garmin or Polar
and have a page with all the history of my rides and all my data,
Heart and Power in graphs. I wouldn’t have to bother with Strava, Garmin,
and all those other sites.

They could even branch out into coaching, or giving us the data
to see how we are performing. i.e. overtraining, under training etc,
to help us to coach ourselves.

They have plenty of data they just need to use it.

“Ride On”