Anyone over 50 at 4 watt/kg? Can I make it? (Long)

Can we change that to 46 to say 58?lol I’m 54 right now and I don’t need to be dropping like a rock.

I’m at 2.13 pounds per inch now and can get to 2.1 by loosing 2lbs, which I will likely do in order to get to an even 65kg.

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Yes I agree 100%. My point, I guess, was more along the lines of if you want to improve, it’s important to use data that is comparable. Going from a gym bike then to an SRM to virtual power etc…would make training adaptations much more difficult.

It’s supposed to be 10% per decade after 40, but most of the loss (up to 70yrs) can be offset by training. Delaying the decay is only observed in men though for some reason.

There is certainly a gradual drop in Vo2max with an increase in body fat as we age, but I haven’t seen any data showing a “cliff” at any particular point. From what I see, most people see the big drop off when they no longer have the motivation to train. That’s true whether they are 25 or 65, but it’s probably more common that people get sick of hard training after they have been doing it for many years. There are plenty of really fast guys in their 50’s and 60’s. I think Friel’s “fast after 50” book has some finishing times of elite athletes by age for running and cycling and I don’t remember seeing any particular drop off.

In open master’s racing, it’s not unusual to see guys in their 50’s beating guys in their 40’s and taking overall wins. When I look at the cyclists I know locally, I know a bunch of fast 50’s, a few fast 60’s, but I can’t think of any in their 70’s who are really fast. Hard to say how much of that is pure physiology vs. lack of motivation as we age, but I’m guessing it’s a combination of the 2.


Do you have a link to the study on the 10% drop per decade? Just wondering if it’s based on people who have never been active? Or maybe only elite athletes?

I’m neither elite or sedentary but, have a long history of riding. At 51 I’m basically seeing the same things I saw in my 30’s except max HR. I’m guessing there is a large group of cyclist that don’t follow this 10% rule. That and I’m in denial I’m old! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Not seen the 10% link but did you read the post that was linked by @nickcs (reply 7) Nate published his TR data for the bell curve of cyclists, this is for active TRusers… it shows an .25FTP/kg approx every 10 years on the bell curve. Thread is a good read if you have the time. You might have already read this and apologies if you have.

Top of bell curve for men
18-30 : 3.25 - 3.5 FTP/kg
30-40 : 3.0 - 3.25 FTP/kg
40-50 : 2.75 - 3.0 FTP/kg
50-60 : 2.75 - 3.0 FTP/kg
60-80 : 2.25 - 2.5 FTP/kg

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One aspect of this discussion that I am interested in is how much of a role does prior endurance training play into 50+ endurance performance. There are long-term structural adaptations that take years to develop, and don’t really go away. To what degree are 4.0 W/Kg 50+ riders also people who have been riding seriously for many (lets say 10+) years, or have done many years of endurance training. It’s one thing for someone who was 5 W/Kg in their 30s to be 4 W/Kg in their 50s, it’s a different thing for someone who started training seriously in their mid 40s, without prior significant endurance training.
How many 4+ W/Kg 50+ riders have 5-10 years of overall endurance training?


Hey Landis, link attached below. It’s a review covering a number of studies. I think only the abstract is available online. I do have a copy of the full paper that I can send on. I’m not sure what the rules are about uploading it are though.

Can anyone offer advice?

I think this might be plenty of motivation to keep training :sweat_smile:

“In sedentary individuals, this non-linear decline generally occurs during the twenties and thirties whereas athletic individuals demonstrate a non-linear decline upon decreasing or ceasing training.”


Interesting thread for me as it’s my target and my big 50 is in June 2020! 7 months to get the power up, then its a case of 4w/kg before or after 50… if ever, nothing is guaranteed! Realistically losing some weight would be easier to get me closer…going to see how the winter training goes before looking at my diet. I’m what I’d call new to cycling in the structured sense, have cycled on off for 40+ years, but leisure only, my fitness comes from a few years of running but a decade or two of racquet sports, tennis and notably squash which was a good leg/lung workout and I was a fairly good standard.

Would say I’m almost as fit as I was 20 years back, this indoor structured training is something I wish was around then, currently I’m getting faster and when I plateau, whenever that maybe, I’d be happy just to stay around there.

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This is really what I was wondering with the original post. I am totally new to endurance sports having done no type of endurance training at all until this February. I have always worked out with weights and stayed in that type of shape and my weight has never varied more than 10% since I got out of high school and even then, it was because I got on a kick to bulk up muscle wise.
It is amazing how your exercising has residual effects for many years, maybe for a life time. When I was young I worked on my bench press hard, but because of this I have always had shoulder problems, so I would go for years without benching heavy at all, but any time I got the desire to try it again, my body would respond really quickly. To the point that at any time over the last 30 years, if I could keep my shoulder healthy, within six to eight weeks, I could be close to my max bench press. I believe that this is true even today. The human body is an amazing thing.
So getting to 4 w/kg for someone who has been riding for years verses someone in their 50’s who has never done any type of endurance work until they were in their 50’s is probably a completely different thing.
I still think that it can be done. But either way I’ll find out.

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Sample of one i know, but i’m 56 next week, structured training since 2016 and cycling for a couple of 1-2 years before that and i am above 4 w/kg

I didn’t come from a strong sporting background prior to that. I ran when motivated for fitness or when needed to pull my weight back in line, otherwise i was fully focused on work and family and didn’t look after myself particularly well.

Point is, no special background for this late comer to cycling and i managed to get there, so i expect many others could too


Excellent question. My WAG is those who have the ability to transport 02 really well started very young.

I started cycling again in 2009 and gradually built up from a very short commute (5 miles each way) to riding long audaxes (200 + 300km) and completing London Edinburgh London in 2013. I did my first winter of training on the turbo in 2014/2015 and started using TrainerRoad in 2015 as I switched my focus to Time-Trialling (in the UK). I tend to follow the HV plans but substitute the weekend sessions with longer, slower rides. I mix it all up with some of my own creations too to keep it interesting. I’m 52 at the moment and around 4.5W/Kg. It definitely gets harder and harder to eek out improvements so really I just focus on the process if that helps, rather than the numbers

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Think for women the menopause and lack of hormones is making muscle build a lot harder as we age.

That being said, I regularly get my arse wiped by a 60 year old, so there’s no saying it has to be that way!


Yes, I think that hormonal changes plays a huge part. Women have a slightly different muscle fibre type than men (a smaller percentage of the larger fibres). But these larger fibres are more likely to degrade through sarcopenia. You would think that that would lead to VO2 capabilities being better conserved in females but that isn’t the case. So, you’re likely right, but as you said hugely individual.

Thanks. That is encouraging.
It looks like I am going to go from start to 3.5 w/kg in a little less than a year, so I find it hard to believe that I reached my full potential in that amount of time. So I “think” with another year of consistent training I can add 1/2 watt per kg. For me that’s about 40 watts. Sounds easy enough. lol


Hi mate
I started riding 3 years ago at age 48 and this year did a full TR program (SSB, Build, Climbing road race low volume) and have built my power from 3.3 w/kg to 4.5 w/kg now. As well as the tr program I do a couple of fast bunch rides, some masters racing, weight training and dropped 3 kg (65-62 kg) (through eating according to Matt Fitzgerald’s Endurance diet.
So yes, you certainly can get to 4+. I’m still aiming to improve on this.


Wow congratulations and good job and thanks for the feed back.

This is a great chart and pretty consistent with another data set I’ve seen. (If I am reading this correctly), the top 5% of the 50-60 age group will achieve 4W/kg+ and above at the peak of their training. The other point made about this being a data set from self selected athletes is also very pertinent. 4W/kg is achievable - get there and you are in with the elite crowd, there will no doubt be a smattering of ex pros and the inevitable genetically endowed individuals.
My experience ,(not an ex pro, not genetically gifted and a late starter) is that I needed to pull out all the stops to get up towards that level and it took several phases of training that built on each other. The correct balance of training volume, recovery and nutrition etc etc all had to come together.

BTW I am 61, 1.80m, 72kg (at race weight), and got to about 3.9W/kg at best (about 3 years ago). I had dropped from 89kg 3 years previously and had to shed the upper body muscle from multiple years doing weight training as my main form of exercise.

Thanks to all the other contributors - great thread


It’s my goal, 3.7 seems to be my top end
… life and food get in they way!

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