Guide to Wahoo SYSTM: Fitness tracking and workouts for your smart trainer
Wahoo’s fitness app is one of the best dedicated training platforms for cyclists wanting structured and high-quality workouts at home
Online Production Editor
It’s that time of the year again when attention turns indoors to turbo training. Indoor cycling used to be a monotonous routine of spinning the pedals while staring at a wall, but now there are lots of indoor training apps available that make it a fun and immersive experience.
One of those apps is Wahoo SYSTM, an indoor training platform that is specifically catered to cyclists who want to focus on training. It doesn’t feature virtual worlds like Zwift, instead providing high-quality training plans along with inspirational content.
Want to learn more? Here’s a full guide to Wahoo’s online training platform.
What is Wahoo SYSTM?
Wahoo SYSTM is an online training platform for cyclists
Back in 2021, SYSTM replaced Sufferfest as Wahoo’s dedicated online training platform. It took the existing popular Sufferfest design and packed it with many more features to create one of the most holistic cycling training apps available. This includes cycling workouts, structured training plans, mental training, strength training workouts, yoga exercises, plus a plethora of videos and inspirational content (there’s more on all of the features available below).
Wahoo expanded its online platforms further in 2022 when it acquired RGT, a virtual cycling app more similar to Zwift. Together, RGT and SYSTM sit alongside each other in one subscription service called Wahoo X, but not for long.
Wahoo recently announced that the RGT side of the platform would close down on October 31, so the brand will now put all of its focus into SYSTM instead. As a part of the transition, Wahoo has offered its current members a three-month free subscription to Zwift so that they can still explore virtual worlds.
The news doesn’t affect Wahoo SYSTM, though, which will continue as “the complete training app for cyclists”.
How much does Wahoo SYSTM cost?
Currently, a subscription to Wahoo X costs $14.99 per month or $149 per year. If you don’t want to dive straight in and pay for a subscription, Wahoo offers a free 14-day trial so that you can test out the platform.
As of yet, Wahoo hasn’t announced whether there will be any changes to the pricing structure following the news that RGT will close down.
What equipment do you need for Wahoo SYSTM?
The Wahoo SYSTM app can be downloaded on iOS, Android, macOS and Windows devices.
To use the app, you’ll need a bike and a trainer, ideally one that can send your power data to the app. The best solution for this is a smart trainer as these can control the level of resistance as you train for a more immersive training experience. Smart trainers can connect to the app via Bluetooth or ANT+. If your trainer only has ANT+ connection, you’ll need an ANT+ dongle to connect to a device.
Wahoo offers a range of smart trainers
Wahoo offers a wide range of smart trainers which are all compatible with the app, including the recently released Kickr Move and Kickr Bike Shift, plus the regular Kickr, Kickr Core, Kickr Bike and Kickr Rollr - as an added bonus, many of the Kickr smart trainers currently come with a one-year subscription to Zwift. Most non-Wahoo smart trainers are also compatible with the app.
Don’t have a smart trainer? It’s still possible to use Wahoo SYSTM but you’ll need to pair your trainer with other devices. The first option is pairing the app with an on-bike power meter. With this setup you’ll get live power data but the app won’t control the resistance level.
Alternatively, you can use a speed sensor for the rear wheel and the app will calculate virtual power, although this won’t be as accurate as using a dedicated power meter or smart trainer and once again the app won’t be able to automatically alter the resistance.
As Wahoo SYSTM has a strong focus on training, we’d also recommend using a heart rate monitor, plus you'll need a fan to keep cool.
Read more: Which Wahoo smart trainer is best for you?
What does Wahoo SYSTM include?
A lot – the Wahoo SYSTEM is designed to be a holistic online training platform, covering everything a cyclist could possibly need, and it certainly delivers on that billing. Here are all of the key features to be aware of:
Wahoo SYSTM training plans
Training is at the heart of the app and a key part of this is the training plans. Wahoo has covered all bases by offering stock and custom training packages.
Ideal for beginners, the essential (stock) training plans involve three workouts per week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays, although these days can be swapped around. Designed to be practical, the mid-week sessions are usually shorter with longer sessions reserved for the weekend. To keep them as simple as possible, making them great for anyone who wants no-fuss training, they don’t include any strength, yoga or mental training, but these can be added in manually if desired.
Plans and workouts can be altered in a calendar
For those who want more dedicated training, there’s also building block training plans. These are three and four week training blocks that can be put together to form an overall customised training plan. They’re perfect for anyone who has more specific training needs, for example if you’re targeting an event, where the stock training plans may be a bit too generic or simple.
Unless you’re confident in creating your own plan, it may be best to stick to the stock options to start off with, although Wahoo has guides to help with creating custom plans here.
The key to any successful training plan is knowing your power numbers. Without a power benchmark, it’s hard to accurately identify your training zones and plan the correct workouts.
The solution for most training platforms is the common FTP test, but Wahoo does things a little differently, instead using 4DP (Four-Dimensional Power). Instead of testing just FTP, 4DP measures four key performance metrics: neuromuscular power, maximal aerobic power, functional threshold power and anaerobic capacity. By using more than one metric, a cyclist gains a greater understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and a more complete power profile. For example, a regular FTP test won’t identify a weakness in someone’s top-end sprint power, but 4DP would through the neuromuscular power part of the four-metric equation.
Anyone familiar with FTP tests will know that they can be tough…really tough! For most apps this is a 20-minute all-out effort.
The bad news here is that the 4DP test is even harder, consisting of two five-second sprints, a five-minute maximum effort, a 20-minute maximum effort, before finishing with a maximum one-minute effort.
That test is known as the ‘Full Frontal’, but there is also a ‘Half Monty’ which is essentially a ramp test. This is a popular type of test used for beginners in which the resistance gradually increases and the aim is to ride for as long as possible.
The ‘Half Monty’ is the better option for less-experienced cyclists but Wahoo recommends doing several workouts in the app before attempting any of the tests.
Wahoo creates an extra narrative with graphics and annotations, like this shot from the directeur sportif's car
A hugely popular feature, Sufferfest brings pro races to your living room, and plenty of pain along with it.
Sufferfest takes videos of pro races and essentially overlays them over a workout, with each video targeting one of the key training metrics covered in the Four-Dimensional Power test. The workouts are often tough but a narrative and fun is created by motivational messages and annotations.
It’s an immersive way of training, so much so that it used to be its own free-standing platform before Wahoo bought the app in 2019.
A week with and pro rides
Try to survive a pro race through the Pro Rides feature
Beyond Sufferfest, there is also a wide range of other videos, such as pro rides. These provide on-board footage of pro riders at races with their power files overlaid. That power is scaled to your own fitness level. The task? Try and survive a pro race.
Through a week with, things are taken a little further, allowing you to spend a week in the shoes of a Wahoo-sponsored athlete, emulating their training sessions.
Of course, training isn’t always about flogging yourself as hard as possible, and for those easier days there’s a wide range of documentaries and other inspirational video content for you to ride along to.
Strength, yoga and mental training
The cycling side of Wahoo SYSTM has basically every base covered, but the app also goes further than virtually any other training app by incorporating strength and mental training, plus yoga workouts.
Most cyclists neglect off-the-bike exercise because, let’s be honest, they’re not always that fun. Plus, many of us simply don’t know what exercises to do. Wahoo SYSTM makes life much easier with a comprehensive library of non-cycling activities that will aid your cycling performance.
Need more indoor cycling help or inspiration? GCN's ultimate guide to indoor cycling has you covered with advice and guides on everything from turbo training tech to workouts. Check it out here.
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Online Production Editor
Tom is our Online Production Editor who creates tech content for the GCN website