39-49 Years old and 4+ W/KG - how hard is it to get there and maintain at that age?

Hi there,
I was wondering about the question above. I feel like that at some point it should be super hard to either get to 4 W/KG or even maintain a certain power output. Who is in that age group and even exceeds 4 W/KG. If so, how much power have you already lost due to age?

winoria

This is less about age and more about where you sit compared to your genetic potential.

If you are 39 years old doing structured training 15+ hours per week and maintaining 4 w/kg, you are going to struggle to hold that as each year goes by. If you are sitting at 4 w/kg on 6 hours a week, it’s much more reasonable to think you could hold 4+ well into your 40’s, 50’s, and probably 60’s. You just need to up the training stress to offset the effects of aging.

Your ceiling will certainly drop as you age, but most of us are not up against our ceiling so we can balance things out (or even make improvements) as we age. At some point, you are going to lose performance, but it can be fought off pretty well. Friels “fast after 50” book does a nice job explaining the effects of aging and how to best delay the inevitable.

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I’m 47 and when things are going well - in good form and right on race weight - I am 4.5 w/kg. When things are not going well I am around 4.3 w/kg. My FTP has remained pretty constant since I was about 42 so I feel that by doing the right work I have been able to maintain. I have however definitely noticed declines in my recovery rates and also losing a little power in much shorter durations like 30 sec - 1 min.

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I’m pretty much “that guy” that you describe. I’ve found that my wattage is actually easier to control than my weight. For me it just gets harder to get super lean and build power at the same time. I can do one or the other but both together seems harder than it did when I was 35. So I’m finding myself trying to maintain a weight that keeps me competitive and fast with my power numbers similar to what they were 10 years ago. The issue again being I’m easily 10lbs heavier then I was back then, on good days.

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I’m 43 and sit around 4.1 - 4.3 w/kg from January to December. I average 7-9 hours per week and 4 of those hours will almost certainly be TR sessions. I have found that I can do this quite comfortably.

My person reference, with regards to your question, are my team mates. Three of them are 50+ and they can easily hand me my arse on the flat or going up hill. Yes, they train but they don’t do 4+ TR sessions each week.

That said, they have cycled for years and two of them have been at the sharp end of things in years past. I do think genetics plays its part but I believe that if you listen to your body and train smart, rather than just train hard, it can be maintained with relative ease.

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I’m 45 next month. I built up to 5w/kg earlier in the year with wanting to beat chemo last year as my main motivation, then having beaten it I had fresh motivation to press on to 5. Then the c hit. I’ve fallen away quite a bit to around 4.1-4.3w/kg mainly due to lack of motivation combined with snacking. Interval training has countered it a bit and whilst I don’t think I’ll get back to 5, I can’t see how 4+ can’t be maintained for a bit longer with training.

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45 and FTP typically sits in the 4-4.5W/kg range depending how diligent I’m being with my training and nutrition. Only been using power for 4 years (though a lifetime of endurance training before that) but certainly doesn’t seem like achieving/maintaining that kind of fitness and weight is getting any harder with age yet.

What is diminishing is my ability to recover from hard sessions, so I need to be a bit more disciplined with planning and recovery than when I was younger. And also noticing that it’s getting increasingly hard to regain strength in the gym as I get older, so am moving towards lifting all year round as seems that it’s going to be a lot easier to maintain strength than to get it back once it’s gone.

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I’ll let you know in March 2021.

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Well Im at 44 almost 45 and Reached 4.5w/kg last may. Now probably a bit less. The most important for me to reach this It was weight. I must have Lost around 6kg in the last year and a half. My FTP is higher also but most of the gain came from weight loss.

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Just turned 41 and hit 4.1 earlier this year after 1.5 years of structured training. I ride about 8-9 hours per week. It helped that I lost a little over 10 pounds. If I were at my prior weight I wouldn’t be at 4.1. I maintained it throughout the season without doing anything special. Just consistency.

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I got to 4w/kg at 38 with no more then 10hr a week. I was consistent and didnt waste training days doing group rides.

I didn’t get to use the fitness as there was no racing. I am a former Cat2 that had quit riding for 8 years, that might have assisted in the growth. I think it took me 4 months of training to go from 3w/kg to 4w/kg

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Very interesting. It sounds like 4 W/Kg is very reasonable, 4.5 W/Kg still doable despite not being the youngest out there :slight_smile:

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I only took up cycling when I was 49, and turn 57 later this month. I had no endurance background other than sporadic running for weight control and fitness.

Once I shed 11-12kg I didn’t need and started structured training I got to 3.9w/kg relatively quickly on 10-12 hours per week. I found it quite hard to progress past 4 w/kg for a number of years, but moved up to 4.2 w/kg earlier this year after a solid stretch of HV TR training. My weight did not drop to achieve the latest bump

I have eased back a bit since with some other life issues taking priority, but seem to be able to hold that level still. I probably need to be more cognisant of recovery needs as the years pass than i am, but overall the harder I work, the better i get still, so at this point I don’t consider advancing age a limiter, and I haven’t had to increase my load to maintain current levels.

So with structure and discipline, i would say not too hard to get there and not too hard to maintain for many years to come for you!

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49 @ 4.3W/Kg here on about 6 hours per week average. Only started riding 4 years ago. So it’s doable for sure.

I often wonder if i could get to 4.5W/Kg if i more closely followed Chad’s wisdom and didn’t also run and swim and do random rides every time it’s sunny. I think so.

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39 here. I was a good Cx racer as a teenager, and a moderate TTer in my early 20s, but fell away from cycling in my late 20s and didn’t take it up again until 36. I only started structured training/TR when lockdown came in. My first FTP test put me at 3.0 w/kg (early April); I’m currently at just under 3.8, despite doing random rides whenever the weather is nice and I have the spare time. I’m not at 4w/kg yet, but I’d hope to be there fairly early in the new year. For reference I’ve generally followed a LV plan plus a weekend ride (TR workouts Tues, Weds, Thurs and a long ride on Sun).

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With the caveat that you’ve posted a thread asking specifically for responses from people in their 40s with a W/kg >4, on a forum populated by people who as a cohort already train more and with more structure than your average cyclist. So you’re getting a slightly skewed view of “very reasonable”! I know plenty of cyclists under 40 who for a whole variety of reasons have never got to 4W/kg. Genetics, diet, discipline, consistency, not enough structure, not enough volume, etc. Also at least one guy in his mid 50s who I’m pretty sure is still close to 5W/kg.

Only way to find out what you’re capable of is to give it a good go and see where you end up :smile:

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I’m at 4w/kg at 32 and most of the guys who can blow my doors off are in the 39-49 age group, FWIW

Similar to other replies. I’ve been a cyclist for 20+ years but new to TR’s stricter structured training, but with rowing background, and lots of running, swimming, and some triathlon – decent results but nothing special, and the bike has never been a strength (though TrainerRoad (and smart trainer) has been a game changer). After age 35, recovery has noticeably gotten slower. One key for me is lifting – I find it helps peak power and sustained power a lot. Most of all, I tend to lose weight when I lift, at least up to a point, which is helpful because I could probably put on weight pretty easily. Diet and sleep are also really important, but I tend to slack a little on both.

Hi there - I’m 42 and have been a casual cyclist on and off for ~20 years but got a power meter in May and started structured training a few months ago. I’m sitting at 3.9W/kg after the last ramp test so just below your target but hope this will continue to climb. It was <3W/kg when I first got the power meter. This is on the LV plan so 3-4h/week. Age doesn’t seem to be a limiting factor yet (max HR is still as high as it’s ever been over the last 10 years or so - hit 188 on the last ramp test) although I won’t be very happy when I start going downhill!
Also - weight isn’t really a factor. It’s stable at 71kg and I wouldn’t want it any lower but also find it very hard to gain anything. Cheers

At 4.5 watts/kg for FTP you should be able to regularly win 40+ road races in even the most competitive districts in the US. All you need are some loyal teammates and a thirst for victory.

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