In undertaking a customized workout with a smart trainer in Zwift, ERG mode may be an available option. This unique feature enables Zwift to regulate your trainer’s resistance automatically, helping you attain your target watts irrespective of your cadence or the nature of your course terrain. In this blog post, I will guide you on how to activate ERG mode and highlight key aspects to consider when utilizing it with specific smart trainers.”



To enable ERG mode in Zwift, the first thing you need to do is pair your smart trainer as a controllable trainer in Zwift PAIRED DEVICES menu. This allows Zwift to take control of your trainer’s resistance and automatically adjust for each interval.


Before we go any further, let’s go over a little feature referred to as “Power Match”. One of the best features of smart trainers is their ability to provide power numbers. But what if you have your own power meter and you prefer to use your power meter instead?

Power match is when the software you are using – in this case Zwift – read data from your power meter rather than the smart trainer and adjust resistance based on the data it’s receiving from your power meter.

To enable power match, all you need to do is pair your power meter as the power source in Zwift’s PAIRED DEVICES menu as you see in the screenshot below. That’s it!


If ERG mode is available for your type of trainer, you will see the ERG Mode option in the workout selection screen. Make sure that box is checked before starting your workout.


  • You will no longer feel course gradient changes. This is important to understand. When in ERG mode, Zwift will ignore any changes in course gradients. It will only adjust resistance according to your intervals. However, it will still calculate your speed based on your power and take course terrain into account.
  • Your trainer will automatically adjust the resistance to reach your target watts. If the interval calls for 200 watts, the trainer will increase resistance until you reach 200 watts regardless if you pedal at 120 rpm or 50 rpm. The slower your cadence the higher the resistance.
  • No need to shift gears.


Zwift allows you to adjust workout intensity when in ERG mode. If you are having trouble hitting your intervals you can lower the intensity by up -10%. If you are having a good day, and the intervals feel too easy, you can increase intensity by up to +10%.

Adjust Workout Intensity Using Zwift Companion App

  • Use Zwift Companion app. When in workout mode, you will see a dedicated Workout screen as you see below.
  • When ERG is ON, you can use the BIAS button to adjust intensity. You can increase or decrease it by +/-10%.
  • You an also skip a certain block but swipping left or right and tap the “SKIP” button.

You can also control the intensity with the following:

  • On iPad/iPhone, tap the screen and a menu will appear from the bottom of the screen. You will see up/down arrows that you can use to adjust workout intensity.
  • On Apple TV, using the remote control, swipe up and a menu will appear from the bottom of the screen. You will see up/down arrows that you can use to adjust workout intensity.
  • On a PC, click the arrow up button on your keyboard to bring up the bottom menu. You will see up/down arrows that you can use to adjust workout intensity.


  • You can use Zwift Companion app to enable or disable ERG mode. Just tap the ERG ON button and it will switch to INCLINE mode or resistance mode. You can adjust resistance by pressing the up or down arrow or simply changing your bike gear just like you do when you ride outside.

  • On APPLE TV: Using the Apple TV remote, swipe up on the touchpad to bring up the bottom menu and tap the ERG ON button and Zwift will disable ERG mode. You can turn ERG mode back on by bringing the bottom menu back up and tapping the ERG OFF button to enable ERG mode.
  • On iPhone/iPad: Simply tap the screen to bring up the bottom menu and tap the ERG ON button and Zwift will disable ERG mode. You can turn ERG mode back on by bringing the bottom menu back up and tapping the ERG OFF button to enable ERG mode.
  • Using a Computer: Press the arrow up button bring up the bottom menu and press the ERG ON button and Zwift will disable ERG mode. You can turn ERG mode back on by bringing the bottom menu back up again and pressing the ERG OFF button to enable ERG mode.


When ERG mode is disabled or if ERG mode isn’t available for your type of trainer, Zwift will switch to resistance mode. In resistance mode, you have full control over resistance. You can adjust resistance by either shifting gears, or adjust resistance by using the same arrows in Zwift Companion app or the bottom menu. Simply, tap the up and down arrows and that will adjust the trainer resistance without having to shift your bike gear.


If you are doing an FTP test and you have ERG mode enabled, Zwift will enable ERG mode during the warmup and cooldown parts only. When you enter the 20-minutes interval, Zwift will disable ERG mode and turn on resistance mode “incline mode” and allows you to manually adjust resistance. The whole idea of FTP testing is to find your ability to sustain the highest possible power you can sustain during a set period and using ERG mode can be problematic.

If you find yourself running out of gear during the 20-minute test segment, you can use the up/down arrows in the Zwift Companion App to adjust your smart trainer resistance.

FTP Testing TIP: I prefer to turn ERG mode off from the beginning of the test during warm-up just so I can find the right gearing and “INCLINE” setting. That way when I enter the 20-minutes test section, I am using the correct gearing and resisntance setting.


One unique feature the Tacx NEO has is road feel. This allows the Tacx NEO to simulate different roads such as dirt, cobblestone, gravel, wooden boards, etc. You can enable this feature in Zwift in the settings menu.

When the Tacx NEO is in ERG mode, Zwift will disable the road feel feature altogether. However, if you are in workout mode and have ERG mode disabled, Zwift will enable road feel – if you have road feel enabled in settings – and you will feel the resistance increase if you hit a cobblestone section for example. This can be problematic if you are FTP testing or holding on dear life during the last few minutes of a hard interval and you suddenly feel the resistance increase.

If you decide to disable ERG mode, you might want to also disable You can disable road feel. You can access road feel setting in Zwift’s menu under settings.


Some trainers such as Wahoo KICKR and SNAP offer power smoothing.  If enabled, it will make the reported power very smooth and doesn’t show the small inconsistencies with a user’s pedal stroke. This functionality will not impact the way the trainer work or effect ERG mode in any way. It’s only a display function.

Power smoothing is on below. Note how smooth the power graph is:

Power smoothing is off here. You can see little variances in the power graph below:

ERG mode is my personal favorite. Set my desire target watts and let the trainer adjust to keep me honest during training.

Thanks for reading!

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  • Thank you for all the Information.
    My question now is, if I use a trainingsplan offered by zwift, can it be used in erg mode?

    I have an elite direto smarttrainer an wanted to start the Fondo Training, but erg mode didn `t work, I thought it maybe would work automatically by erg mode. Do you have any experiences?

    Thanks for your Response.


    • When you start a workout, make sure the ERG mode button is selected. You can also check ERG mode and turn it on/off using the Zwift Companion app or displaying the button menu and toggle the Erg mode button. Also, make sure the trainer isn’t connected to anything else such as Garmin device or another app. Unplugging the training and plugging it back on usually fix any connection issues.

  • Thanks for the article. Is there a way to set a specific power when doing a group ride (NOT a workout)? While doing a ride last night, someone said their Di2 battery was dead so they were stuck in 53×12, and another rider recommended that they go into erg mode and adjust power manually, which I didn’t think was possible during a group ride.

    • It’s not possible in sim mode like in a group ride or even a group workout. Zwift allows you to adjust the “bias” in workout mode but not set an actual watt target.
      The only way to go around this is by unpairing the trainer in Zwift as controllable and pair it to another app in erg mode.