New to Training - "How to" Questions

Hi All!
I have just started the FTP Builder training plan for beginners and have a handful of questions now that I have completed a couple of the workouts:
If I have been Zwifting for a long time (120ish rides), do I need to do the (unpleasant/scary) ramp test? Zwift has an FTP for me that has apparently been calculated from the rides I have done so far.
Today’s workout had me doing 10 seconds at 190W followed by a minute 50 at 60W (over and over). I never managed to get a star for the 60W part because the wheel was spinning too fast and I couldn’t slow it down quickly enough. I thought I wasn’t ever supposed to use the brakes on the trainer, so I just flailed around trying to shift and pedal in some way that would make the 60 appear on my screen and eventually I always got there, but not quickly enough to get a star. Is braking the only way to get to the low wattage quickly enough? Is there another trick?
Sometimes a message pops up telling me to have a cadence between 90 and 100. That popped up for the cool down today. Does that mean I should do the whole cool down (or whatever segment the message pops up for) at 90-100 or just until the message disappears. It didn’t feel very cool-down-like to be pedaling so fast…
If anyone has any tips for me I’d be very grateful!

I would suggest that you do the short FTP test before starting a workout plan. It is not as bad as people say it is.

Do you use ERG for your workouts. What trainer do you use.

EDIT: Never use your brakes on the trainer, it is not good for the tire or the trainer. Most trainer manufacturers say not to brake.


Beth, I’m assuming you have a wheel-on resistance trainer and not a smart trainer. The resistance trainers typically slow down very quickly. Make sure the tire is tight against the trainer flywheel. Using your brakes should not be necessary if everything is setup properly.

As for the FTP test, you don’t have to take one. You can increase or decrease your FTP manually to make the workouts easier or harder. Once you find a setting that seems not too hard and not too easy, it should be good.

If you’d like a better experience training indoors, you could consider getting a smart trainer.

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Hi Gerrie!
Thanks for your response. Ok, I have a free day in the training plan today, so I will do the FTP test. I do have ERG mode turned on and I have a Wahoo Kickr Snap wheel-on trainer.

I thought I had read not to use the brakes, but it is not possible, unless there is some trick to it, to slow the wheel in time to get the star for the 60 watt efforts. If I stop pedaling altogether, and come to a halt, the wheel is still spinning. I had about ten chances to try to make it work and managed one half star once.

I wonder why it goes all the way down to 60W anyway…? I can’t imagine that that is doing me any good training-wise. Maybe after I do the FTP test today, things will look different.

Hi Roger!
Thanks for your response. I do, indeed have a wheel on trainer! It’s the Wahoo Kickr Snap… That is a smart trainer, isn’t it? I have the tire pumped up properly and give the little handle its 2 and a quarter turns. It seems quite tight to me, but you are right that I should likely double check all of that.

Once I finish the 10 seconds at 190W, the wheel just spins freely as if I had done a spin-down calibration. I does eventually slow, but not within the timeframe allowed to get the star for the segment. I wonder whether maybe I should try shifting to a harder gear and whether that would slow it more rapidly :thinking:.

Hi Beth, once you do a FTP test you should see better wattage targets during your workouts. All workouts are based on your FTP, which should be set at close to your maximum effort that you can maintain for an hour. If your FTP is set too low then the workouts won’t be very useful. Sounds like Zwift gave you an estimated FTP based on your best 20 minute effort so far during your past rides, however, if none of your past rides were at maximum effort such as a hard race, then your FTP is probably too low.

You shouldn’t need to shift gears at all when in ERG mode, the trainer will adjust the resistance automatically regardless of what gear you are in. The best way to adjust to the lower wattage intervals is to reduce your cadence. If normally in the 80-100 range, drop it down to 60-80 and the trainer will automatically adjust to hit the wattage target.

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Another thing to check is that your trainer is connected to Zwift as the “Controllable” and the “Power Source” using FEC.


note that FE-C is for connections with ANT+ only, if you are using Bluetooth then it will not say FE-C.


Hmmm, I’ll have a look. I am connected via bluetooth and the companion app using an Apple TV. When it all works well, everything appears to connect: controllable, power source, HR monitor, and cadence sensor. Thank you both!

Thanks for clarifying, Mike.

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The point of the low-power part in this workout is to give your legs a bit of a rest before the next interva, the actual wattage is pretty much irrelevant. Worrying about getting a star for it is just counterproductive in my opinion.


but the XP!!!



Yeah, I’ve read the workout mode XP spec several times and I still don’t have a clue about how it all works (not that I care all that much) :thinking:

It is simply time based rather than distance based, but if you don’t get a star then you don’t get any XP. This generally means you get more XP in a workout than in a free ride.

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Thanks Anna,
I thought I had to get enough stars to complete the workout… but I glean from the following comments that that is maybe not the case. There were so many of those segments that I thought it might make a difference. If it doesn’t matter then I’m going to stop worrying about it!

Yeah, stars or not, your legs will know if you completed the workout, that’s what really counts. As far as the training program is concerned, I think you can in principle skip through all the blocks and it won’t make any difference.