Tech Info: Xert Adds Support for NPE Cables, Adaptive TrainerRoad Training Exits Beta


News of indoor-focused workout apps will be all the rage for the next time as companies try to pique your interest in the colder seasons here in the northern hemisphere. Although, in this case, both companies also support outdoor training. Here are two shorter articles that have fallen on my desk over the past few days, which I decided to dig a little into.

Xert adds support for NPE cables:

Xert added NPE cable support to their iOS and Android apps, which means that if you have a CABLE device, you can now use ANT + sensors even on iOS (which does not natively support ANT +). NPE’s CABLE has been around for several years as a way to bridge the ANT + / Bluetooth Smart divide, primarily for connecting older ANT + devices that do not themselves have Bluetooth Smart streaming. For example, an old heart rate strap or a power meter that only transmits ANT +.

Of course, nowadays pretty much every sensor made is dual ANT + / Bluetooth Smart, so this tends to be less of a problem than it used to be. However, not everyone frequently upgrades their trainers or power meters, and in general, these are the types of devices that are less likely to have full / correct support for Bluetooth Smart.

The second area of ​​use here is for devices that actually have dual ANT + / Bluetooth Smart support, but only one channel of Bluetooth Smart connectivity. For example, a power meter that supports a Bluetooth Smart connection. If this user wants to use this power meter with Zwift, while recording their route on a Polar or Suunto watch (to take into account the training load), this will be impossible. While CABLE can basically disable another Bluetooth Smart channel based on ANT + broadcast.

Now some of you are like “But couldn’t I do this with CABLE already?” – to which I say – yes, you could. The difference, however, is that Xert has added native API support to CABLE, so it can connect to more types of sensors, including controlling smart trainers via ANT + FE-C. Plus, this makes sure that once you connect to the CABLE on a single channel, it will list all of your nearby ANT + devices.

Its use is quite simple. First, make sure your CABLE is up to date using NPE CABLE Util. I’m not quite sure when this firmware will be released as I can’t find any release notes on the NPE site yet. But my CABLE has been on vacation for a while, so I got the latest firmware on every ride.


Then make sure your Xert EBC app on your iOS / Android device is up to date, this update is out today. Once the update is complete, open the Xert app and go to Settings and you will see “ANT + adapter” under the sensors, then “CABLE (ANT + adapter)”. You can tap on it to rename it.

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After that you can pair ANT + sensors in normal categories as before (trainer control, heart rate, cadence, speed, radar, power) except you will just see ANT + sensors – not just Bluetooth Smart sensors. . As with CABLE itself, you can rename these sensors and it will register them for the next time.

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It will automatically reconnect to CABLE the next time you open the app, and then your ANT + sensors will automatically connect as well. As a reminder, CABLE can only be connected via Bluetooth Smart from one app / device at a time. So if you have paired it with the Xert app, the CABLE app itself or other third party apps cannot connect to it. So just be aware of that in general (no change here, just a reminder).

TrainerRoad Adaptive Training exits beta

Adaptive training

Last spring, TrainerRoad launched its Adaptive Workout Platform in beta, which aims to use machine learning to dynamically adjust your upcoming workouts (based on a workout schedule it also generates). to ensure that the program and workouts give you the most bang for your buck, physiologically. Along with that, they also launched the beta version of TrainNow, which basically gives you three options for a one-time workout if you don’t have a schedule, but want something to do now, based on your historical data. .

As of this week, both are now out of beta and in production. Over the past 7-8 months, TrainerRoad claims that they have ultimately made up up to 25.3% of their user base using the beta at some point, including switching new users to it. ‘default adaptive training use / offer. Adaptive training is more than a computer that logs your training, but also gives you perceived exertion feedback after your workout to turn the computer side into the real side of things. And beyond that, it’s about what to do when you skip a workout altogether (because of the things in life).

Training session

The two stats they shared were that they saw a 50.45% decrease in workout failures year over year. Adaptive training aims to reduce training failures by tailoring the size of the workout to your (barely) ability to complete it. Some might see this as a likely tacit acknowledgment that TrainerRoad plans / workouts were historically too difficult, or that users often mistakenly selected a plan “above their pay grade”, choosing a training plan beyond. beyond their capacities (mainly in volume). Additionally, the company claims that so-called adapted workouts have a 38% lower failure rate than unsuitable workouts.

While reducing failed workouts is nice from a warm and fuzzy point of view, the most meaningful metric is whether the athlete is actually improving more in an algorithm-based workout flow than not. TrainerRoad says beta athletes were 20% more likely to increase their watts / kilograms (roughly, increase their power output). For this claim, they only filtered out athletes over 3 w / kg (watts / kilogram), in order to weed out new athletes who would likely see significant gains. They also noted that realistically this claim is probably suppressed because the beta was mostly held in the summer for the northern hemisphere (mid-season), rather than in the winter where they believe athletes are seeing an upgrade.


Now, as big as some of those numbers may be, there are still some pretty big actual holds on the platform. In particular, it does not take into account all your outdoor activities. Specifically, the unstructured. These are not taken into account in the algorithm. So if you’re going for a boot camp somewhere, or if you’re just going out for a weekly outing, adaptive training doesn’t look at that data. It only looks at data for a specific workout from TrainerRoad and then specifically pushed to a Garmin or Wahoo device (there are other minor temporary caveats about tracking Wahoo devices as well, but that gets into the bad a bit. herbs). Thus, users of other platforms, such as Hammerhead’s Karoo series, would also not be able to get “credit” for outdoor workouts. This contrasts with the aforementioned Xert, which essentially takes all trips entering the platform into account in their algorithm and updates your workout accordingly. You can see the value of this week’s workouts in September, all of which would have had no impact on adaptive training despite a few pretty big outings (in a few of those outings below, it doesn’t have any impact on adaptive training. power data because I had multiple devices with me and he first grabbed the one that was not powered).

No Impact Workouts

Likewise, adaptive training is only really powerful for cyclists now. While the platform can “intelligently” move around running and swimming workouts, it doesn’t look at the quality of the workout. This means that it is not the scoring of your workouts. It’s like ‘did you do it’, whereas in cycling it looks at how well you did it.


Meanwhile, the feature that I personally used the most – TrainNow, has also been released from beta. This is designed for people who don’t have a specific plan yet, or who haven’t planned anything for a given day. You select a duration (duration) and it will spit out three workouts. You can see the statistics on the workout and decide if you are attracted to the curves of this particular arrangement of blue blocks. Otherwise, you can click the refresh icon to get three potential new dates.

Train now

Either way, this article is technical information, not a review or anything else. So, enough goodies. If you want more details they have their help center here, or you can hit their forums to see how real world users are doing.

With that, thanks for reading!

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