Looking for more information on what differentiates power and VirtualPower-based workouts? You're in the right place.
VirtualPower turns your indoor-cycling trainer into a power meter. Just hook up an ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart speed sensor and select your trainer. When you start to ride, your speed will be converted to power based on the known power curve for the trainer.
The faster you go on a trainer, the more watts you put out. We've quantified this into a resistance curve specific to your trainer. This allows us to plug in your current speed and display watts. We've built this into our software so it happens on the fly and is seamless to you.
Training with power means using a device that directly measures power, such as a power meter (e.g. PowerTap, SRM, Quarq), or a smart trainer (e.g. KICKR, Computrainer, Powerbeam Pro).
The main factor to consider when choosing between power and VirtualPower is cost. Power meters and smart trainers are, simply put, pricey! If you're not ready to shell out USD$800-3,000, you'll want to use VirtualPower. Power meters are great to race and train with but if you're not quite ready to make the leap, or just want to get a feel for training with power, VirtualPower is a great option. Obviously this won't give you power data for your outdoor rides.
We think VirtualPower is a much better way to train than by heart rate or RPE. But when it comes down to it, a power meter will still be more accurate than VirtualPower.