Wahoo SYSTM: your complete guide

What Wahoo SYSTM is, how it works and the equipment you need to get started

Wahoo RGT indoor training

Wahoo SYSTM is an indoor training app designed mainly for indoor cycling. Its training plan builder creates a programme tailored to your targets and level of fitness.

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It’s pitched at dedicated athletes who want to complete a number of sessions a week as part of a training schedule, rather than have an occasional online smash with their mates.

There’s no virtual reality riding, but you can ride to videos of iconic cycling routes. Some sessions replicate the intensity of real pro-race finales.

Some workouts that don’t have footage can be done outdoors. The multisport platform has running workouts and yoga as cross-training for cyclists.

As we’ll explain later, having swallowed The Sufferfest, Wahoo SYSTM has more in common with no-nonsense TrainerRoad. It’s similarly priced, but different from Zwift with its focus on gamification and growing number of virtual worlds.

To access Wahoo SYSTM, you take out a subscription to Wahoo X. This has a 14-day free trial period for new members, after which it is priced at $14.99 per month, or $149 a year.

What is Wahoo SYSTM?

Wahoo SYSTM training app
Wahoo SYSTM caters for a range of athletes and offers cross-training for cyclists.

Wahoo SYSTM is an all-encompassing training app that can be downloaded on iOS, Android, macOS and Windows.

The app combines a large archive of interval-based cycling workouts with strength work, yoga and mental training in order to improve your on- and off-bike fitness.

Wahoo SYSTM contains The Sufferfest – which Wahoo acquired in 2019 – and in keeping with that spartan training tool, dispenses with some of the bells and whistles of its rival cycling apps.

How does Wahoo SYSTM work?

Instead of creating a virtual world in the vein of Zwift and others, Wahoo SYSTM builds you a training schedule from a plethora of workouts and content, and then helps you complete it. Or, you can pick and choose workouts as you go along.

Wahoo SYSTM uses the brand’s own Four Dimensional Power (4DP) profile (a more sophisticated version of Functional Threshold Power, which has more in common with Critical Power), to create plans and workouts bespoke to an individual’s fitness that address their strengths and weaknesses.

What equipment do I need to use Wahoo SYSTM?

Smart trainers compatible with Zwift
A smart trainer will enable you to get the most out of Wahoo SYSTM.
Simon von Bromley / Immediate Media

For indoor cycling workouts, you’ll need a bike and a trainer, whether that’s low- or high-tech.

If you want to stay within Wahoo’s ecosystem, Wahoo SYSTM pairs with Wahoo’s smart bikes and trainers, such as the latest Wahoo Kickr Move, as well as its other trainers, the Wahoo Kickr Bike, Wahoo Kickr, Kickr Core, Kickr Rollr and Kickr Snap.

You can also connect your Wahoo Elemnt Rival smartwatch and use it as a heart rate monitor.

Composite image showing different power meters all against blue backgrounds
If you don’t have a smart trainer, a power meter or heart rate monitor will also help you get started.
Simon von Bromley / Immediate Media

If you don’t have a Wahoo device, most ANT+ or Bluetooth-compatible smart trainers will also work.

If your measurement device is Bluetooth-compatible, you should be able to connect it to your computer, tablet or smartphone via that protocol. Alternatively, you can get an ANT+ USB dongle and use that. Wahoo has an online tool to check device compatibility if you want to be sure.

If you don’t have a smart trainer, a ‘dumb’ trainer paired with a heart rate monitor, a power meter, a wheel speed sensor and a cadence sensor will also suffice.

If you don’t have a power meter, SYSTM can calculate virtual power on most non-smart turbo trainers, if you pair a wheel speed sensor with the app. The data won’t be as accurate as with a real power meter or smart trainer, however.

While all Wahoo SYSTM workouts also have heart rate and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) targets, at a bare minimum, we’d recommend you ride with a wheel speed sensor and a heart rate monitor.

While you could get away with just a speed sensor and riding based on RPE, an inexpensive heart rate monitor will give you useful insight into your fitness.

How do I get started on Wahoo SYSTM?

The Wahoo SYSTM workout screen is packed with data.

First, download the Wahoo X app and set up an account, or log in if you’ve got one already.

The next screen requests personal information to create your 4DP profile. You can do a test later to update your values.

Next, you can choose the introductory training plan to get a taste of what is on offer, or design your own before starting the free 14-day trial.

What courses can I ride on Wahoo SYSTM?

Following a Wahoo ambassador on the app is the closest most of us will get to turning pro.

Besides The Sufferfest’s workout library, Wahoo SYSTM includes:

  • On Location: Sessions set to ride videos of famous cycling parcours.
  • ProRides: Race simulations that combine pro rider camera footage and race data, adjusted to your fitness level using the 4DP profile.
  • A Week With: Spend a week in the shoes of a Wahoo-sponsored professional athlete, copying their sessions and going ‘behind the scenes’ for insight into how they live and train.
  • No-vid: Play your own tunes or film and follow on-screen text prompts.
  • Inspiration: Endurance and recovery workouts are accompanied by classic cycling films and documentaries, such as A Sunday In Hell and Outskirts.
Yoga stretches for cyclists.
The app includes yoga and other workouts for cyclists.
Joseph Branston / Immediate Media

Despite being cycling-centric, Wahoo SYSTM also includes the following sports and activities:

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Strength training
  • Mobility
  • Mental health training

How do I join a group ride on Wahoo SYSTM?

Using Wahoo SYSTM is a largely solitary affair, for the most part. The platform lacks some of the interactive and social elements of Zwift or Rouvy, such as group rides and races.

You can post questions for Wahoo’s coaches and socialise with fellow SYSTM users on the app’s dedicated online forum, though.

Additionally, if your friends also have SYSTM accounts, you could meet digitally on Discord (or any similar communications app) and complete workouts as a group.

Can I race on Wahoo SYSTM?

There is a large selection of interval-focused sessions but no racing on Wahoo Systm.

There’s no virtual racing on Wahoo SYSTM, but ProRides sessions challenge you to replicate a professional’s power output in the last 60-120 minutes of a race. The efforts are adjusted to your ability while you watch footage from the racer’s onboard camera.

Can I use Wahoo SYSTM for structured workouts?

Structured workouts are the essence of the app. The brand also says Wahoo SYSTM’s training plans balance tough and easy workouts to enable adequate recovery.

Wahoo SYSTM is integrated with the brand’s bike computers, such as the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt V2 and Elemnt Roam V2. This enables you to send structured workouts from the indoor cycling app to your head unit and complete them outside.

How do I do a Wahoo SYSTM workout?

Wahoo SYSTM incorporates activities, such as yoga, that benefit cyclists.

There is a choice of two workout modes. In Level, you change gear on your bike or trainer to adjust the resistance. ERG mode sets the resistance for you to meet your target power. Wahoo SYSTM suggests the one best suited to the session, but you’re free to choose whichever you prefer.

To begin, you need the app to read your power somewhere, such as a smart trainer or power meter. It’s best if a heart rate monitor is also connected in the Devices tab, so the app, and you, can better track your performance.

Under the Display tab, check that ‘show storyline’, ‘heart rate’ and ‘power’ are showing, then you’re ready to roll.

How do I upload my Wahoo SYSTM rides to Strava?

Workout data can be automatically uploaded to Strava, Garmin Connect, Final Surge, Today’s Plan and TrainingPeaks.

Under Settings in the app, click on the Authorized App tab and select your preferred platform. You’ll be asked to log in and then it should appear under the Connected Apps section of SYSTM.

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You can upload manually by pressing the Share button to the top-right of a completed workout. Or, you can email yourself the workout, download the .FIT file and upload that.