Initial Setup of Kickr Core

I’ve just purchased a Kickr Core. I’m running it on a fairly old MacBook Air, early 2015, but will be moving over to Apple 4K TV when I’ve got my training space properly organised. I’ve started the 6wk Beginner FTP Builder program. Now, this may seem like a stupid question but I’m not sure about the levels of resistance I should be feeling. Can anybody what sort of App settings I should be running on both the Zwift and Kickr apps. Any other tips that might be useful would help too. Many thanks.

Hi Gary. As long as your system is working properly, “what resistance I should feel” is different for everyone. Do you have any idea what your FTP (functional threshold power) is? If so, you can manually set your zwift FTP, which will inform the workouts what resistance you should see. If not, look in Zwift workouts / FTP tests / step test. Do this step test before you start the ftp builder series. It will give you a good approximation of your FTP, which will inform your workouts as to the resistance you should feel. Be well rested before doing the step test and get your mind ready to put out a serious (painful) effort. You want to max out. After you complete the 6-week FTP builder, you can do another step test or 20-min FTP test and compare that output to this first one (i.e. to see if you’ve increased your power output/fitness).

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All you need to do is a spindown with the Wahoo Utility app on your phone. Then disconnect from your phone, force close the Wahoo app, and fire up Zwift.

Do that about once every 2 weeks

In a workout you will be using ERG mode, if not familiar with that then please check they have a great explanation of it.

I did the FTP ramp test before starting that FTP builder training plan. The test set my initial FTP level.

Thanks for your kind advice. Just some background. I’m 54 and weigh in at 115KG, I’m a past rugby player who played at a good level, and in my 20’s and 30’s was a sprint and keirin rider, but was 25kg lighter. My fitness level is poor, I did the FTP short test, and my FTP was 150. I began the 6 week FTP program today. I followed the suggested power levels for the workout, but although my speed moved up and down relative to the gradient, sometimes on the 8% gradient it was showing almost walking pace the resistance from my Kickr never felt like it changed and I never felt like i was being worked. Could this just be that the initial workouts are super easy, or am I possibly doing something wrong?

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sometimes on the 8% gradient it was showing almost walking pace the resistance from my Kickr never felt like it changed

  1. By the end of your FTP test, if you gave it everything, you should have felt like you were on the verge of collapse. If you didn’t, perhaps your FTP is really a little higher than 150 (and that might make the workouts feel on the easy side, since they’re based on/around your FTP)–but only you know that. Whatever the case, it’s almost certain that after these 6 wks, your FTP will have increased considerably.
  2. See the block quote at the top. Have you done regular free rides or only workouts? In workout mode, the Zwift system artificially “flattens” whatever course you are riding, so that you can focus on hitting the power (and, sometimes, cadence) that the workout demands without the variable terrain of the regular route. I.e. you shouldn’t expect to “feel” the uphills/downhills in workout mode. But you should feel them in regular non workout free rides; if you don’t feel any changing resistance for hills in free ride mode, maybe you need to adjust the trainer difficulty setting .

That makes sense. I’ll try a free ride and see if I notice the difference. Funny you should mention the FTP test. Twice during the efforts the trainer ‘locked up’ and I could hardly turn the pedals, then it freed itself up and i carried on. Your thoughts? Many thanks for your generosity.

Explanation of ERG mode here (courtesy of GPLama). “locked up” sounds like perhaps ERG mode was on for the FTP test? Is that possible? Did the “lock ups” occur during the warmup protocol (before the actual 20 min FTP effort)? My understanding is that if ERG mode is on during an FTP test, it’s only “on” for the warmup and cool down phases, and not for the actual 20 min FTP effort. If any of this speculation is at all accurate, it sounds like you were close to what GPLama (in the video) calls the spiral of death. Basically, ERG mode wants to hold you to a certain wattage, and if you let your rpms drop abruptly or simply too low, ERG mode clamps down a bit to maintain uniform resistance (or even increasing resistance, if you’re supposed to be increasing wattage)–but if you don’t actively keep on top of the pedal stroke, the “clamp down” might make it next to (or actually) impossible to continue.