How did you 5w/kg+ riders make it there?


I’m not one of the 5w/kg riders but at my current trajectory it would take two more successful offseasons. Considering I’m 40 now it might not happen, but my goal for each successive year will be to gain 10 to 15 watts from previous year peak. So far that has equaled a 10 to 20 + bump in <=5 min part of curve which is more of a determinant of success on a mtb than ftp alone. To give myself a better chance to get up there I think I’m going to need to do a base/build/base/build type offseason from here on out, or some sort of mini VO2 specific block. I’m pretty sure that my VO2 abilities are going to be my limiting factor… I’m not trying to get down in weight much more.

1 kg to go to get down to 68 kg, which is heavier than some of the higher w/kg guys at the same height of 5’8" some of them are around 60 kg. Nino is the same weight, but he’s just a freak, and the XCO events favor raw power, since the climbs are relatively short, not much sustained.


Last year on A Race day I was 140lbs — the lightest I’ve ever been, even when I identified as a climber (instead of a TTer). Calculators tell me that my optimum race weight is 138lbs. I think that would require a high degree of attention to diet, one which I don’t have the knowledge to do.

Once I return to riding outside again I’m going to pay attention to what Pete says about pedalling the bike forward vs just pedalling. Still don’t fully understand that… :man_shrugging:


I think i know what he means. I went for a new bike fit and they analyzed what I always considered my perfect pedaling action and it turns out i was very ‘up and down’, he encouraged me to round out my pedal stroke a bit i did this by getting on the power earlier and almost pusing my feet forwards…it feels smoother its redcied my cadence from high nineties to high eighties and i do maintain marginally smoother power through the stroke…I’m usual sceptical about stuff like this cos Im old and read and heard a lot of crap over the years but im willing to try this


My rowing coach used to say similar. Some days I could feel it, other days not. When I felt it, the boat was moving great. He meant the state of mind which helped to internally focus and get the feel of propulsion, at that state all body movements naturally converged into one and the only purpose - moving forward. At this state there is feel of lightness, efficiency resulting in effortless speed. It’s a very vague feeling and many never get it, but when it happens, it is unforgettable.


On a bike this only happens around a peak or peaking for me. Or at least that feeling when you just have extra matches and power to spare (relatively)…


Its been said before, but the percentage of people who are genetically even able to obtain 5w/kg is vanishingly small.

It would be a miracle if I ever hit 4w/kg


You mean like this:


FWIW I’ve found this post to be a good illustration of the factors that go into the numbers:


Depends on where you live but in Texas I agree completely. I rode on a solid amateur team for years and some of the fastest guys were closer to 200 than 150 and while they didn’t have magical FTPs they would rip the legs off of the lightweight super high FTP guys.


Most races are not hilly. Big climbs limit the amount of entries in the race. Riders like race where they can compete for the win. Flat race and lumpy races are more open, therefor they are much more popular.

With my 300watts FTP @ 60kg, I won’t get drop on the flat by heavy hitters 350+, but I can’t drop them either. I never won a race, but I can do top 5 in hill finish.


I just ran some numbers for myself based on the derived values from WKO4 (which will obviously have much larger variability but they are reasonable numbers that I have without paying for a VO2 test)

Based on my own data that the model has seen, 5w/kg is a reasonable goal for the next one or two seasons, with 5.5w/kg being the very upper likely bound for my performance, which will come likely more from fat loss rather than threshold values. Further improvements beyond this would only be likely possible from producing unseen power numbers or obtaining a large improvement in my fractional VO2 utilization.

How I determined this using WKO4 and Dexa:

  1. Use the relative mFTP chart look at your mFTP % of VO2max (e.g. 85%)
  2. Capture several data points for max VO2 in liters per min: (e.g. 5.0L/min)
  3. Pick an mFTP, mFTP% of VO2max, VO2max and weight from that time period to derive your w/kg and find the appropriate chart to find GME
  4. Use a Dexa scan to determine the lowest genetic weight possible (add lean mass + bone content)/.92 (roughly 8% on Dexa which is very lean)
  5. Divide max observed VO2 by theoretical lowest weight
  6. Find the intersection of this theoretical relative VO2 and your previous GME and fractional utilization

(note: this excludes non-functional muscle sculpting, which I’ll never participate in since I will never get paid to ride my bike)


I don’t think 5 W/kg is an attainable goal for most of us, because a lot really depends on natural body decomposition and other limiters.

Body weight is a major factor here: I live in Japan, and many of my riding buddies weigh 10-15 kg less than I do. I’m currently at 74.5 kg, but I have gained 2 kg in December (my low was 72.5 kg in December). Perhaps I could go to 70 kg, but apart from chemotherapy I don’t see any way how I could go to 60 kg.

And W/kg is not the only metric that matters, absolute power is equally important. When you ride on flat terrain, absolute power matters much more. W/kg is maximally important on steep climbs. And for less steep climbs it is a combination of the two.

Then there are plenty of other factors such as the amount of time you can dedicate to your training, your job (e. g. I travel a fair bit) and other life circumstances (I am married and have a kid, and I would like it to stay that way). IMHO we should focus on the joy of sports, the competition with ourselves and others of similar ability. Otherwise you will always find someone who is a lot quicker on his bad days than you on your best days.


Ummmm…yeah…“body decomposition” – natural or otherwise – is usually a pretty major limiter. :flushed:
If you had even a hint of it, you’d be lucky to hit 0.5 w/kg!

Then again, the cast of ‘28 Days Later’ seems to have a fair bit of speed and stamina… :zombie: :woman_zombie:

All Natural Body Decomposition! :copyright: :grin:


In short, I think it’s all it’s about weight. We’ve got a 360 ftp guy with 4w/kg at 190 pounds and a 300 ftp guy with a 5w/kg 130 pounds. I’m right between at 323 ftp at around 4.4w/kg at 160 pounds/73kg. There’s an obvious trend there.
You gotta ride your bike too :wink:
I was fast when I was younger but it was pre strava and had never heard of ftp so hard to say how fast. So i have a history of riding til i die, never “trained”. Took probably 10 years off and haven’t ridden much at all, just in summer the past 3 years, up until this year where I went from first ramp test of 280ish-323ish in 3 months or less. Ramp test next week so we’ll see it keeps going up. Would be nice. I turn 40 next week and feel pretty good and getting faster.


@stevemz In addition to the power gains (the focus of this thread), that’s impressive weight loss from 2015-2017. Congratulations! And given that you did it “gradually”, you are highly likely to be able to keep it off indefinitely. I’m curious how you did it.


Trying to obtain 5 w/kg is my big goal this year too! Like most, I too believe that dropping weight is key to hitting that benchmark. I’m 6’5” @ 188-190 lbs (85-86kg) my current ftp going into SSB2MV is 381. I’m hoping by then end of General Build I’ll have a FTP of around 405, maybe 410. I know I can add some watts to my FTP, but loosing 10lbs (maybe a few more) will make or break my goal. I’m running a very small calorie deficit (250-300 calories a day) to try to accomplish my weight loss goals but I’m scared of going to far down the weight loss path because I know it will hamper my FTP building efforts. It is such a fine balance of gaining strength and loosing weight. No matter the end result, it will be fun trying to get there… and the real fun will be putting buddies in the hurt locker on group rides :wink:


I mean, its a lot about weight, but most people will never see a 300 watt FTP either.


I used the app Lose It and just did the best I could to track my food as accurately as possible, and when in doubt, I always rounded up. The first year, the weight came off quickly, and the subsequent years it followed a similar pattern of

  • Lose 8-10%, body starts to fight back a bit
  • Dial back the strict calorie counting a bit for a month or two until I settle back at about 3lbs above the bottom
  • Start tracking more closely again, lose 8-10% until body fights back, rinse repeat

Only recently have I really started to eat a lot healthier. For most of 2016 and 2017, I had a homemade croissant and a latte for breakfast. It’s really just calories in, calories out for me until I start to get very lean. Again though, I’m very lucky to not have any other health issues and I was skinny as a teenager (about 63-64kg when I played tennis in high school) so I have a much easier time than a lot of people since I “know” I can be that size again, which helps with the long term motivation.

Food trackers are the power meters for your diet.


I think it’s far easier to reach a 300w FTP than it is to drop weight in order to reach 5.0 w/kg. But then again, at 6’1" and 78kg (172 lbs) I may be biased. My wife, family, friends, co-workers already say I’m too skinny, but I think I can sneak in another 1-3 kgs of weight loss. That would still only get me to 4.0 w/kg (300/75). I’m gonna need to bring that FTP to 365+ and loose a few kgs to get there :slightly_frowning_face:. I’m sure there are some useless organs, limbs, body parts, etc. I don’t REALLY need.


@stevemz if you want to say are you in your 20’s 30’s 40’s?