Cycling and body types

You didnt mention your body composition. Are you overweight? If youve got substantial fat to lose then that seems like the most obvious solution to your body issue. Hell, even if its muscle you can lose some of it if you dont need it.

However, from a performance point of view youll probably make easier progress by building ftp than losing weight. What kind of rider you want to be depends on the type of riding you want to do, but higher ftp is helpful in every situation!

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I’m 190 cm and 97 Kg. I’m naturally good at sprinting with a max output of 1748 watts hitting speeds up to 70 Km/h with a bit of a lead out. So try sprinting. For racing I would suggest training to survive till the end. So try out sprinting your mates at the end of a hard flat ride or do a 2000-3000 KJ ride and then sprint your balls off ones a week. They can be shorter off course but that depends on your race length and intensity.
Long hard sweet spot rides should make you better at this.

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I’d like to add that you’re going to hear overblown numbers from a LOT of people, so I wouldn’t trust too much of the “data” or perception of how fast other people are. I was lucky enough to race on the road professionally (albeit poorly) for a couple years, and the highest FTP I had was in the vicinity of 360w @76kg. I was riding 20+ hours/week with highly structured training weeks. Honestly, I doubt I could’ve actually done any more than 350w for a full hour at any point. Mind you, those are my BEST performances. I was not capable of that on any given day.

My point is this: I can just about guarantee you there aren’t “lots” of skinny guys on your local group rides that are in the 300+ w FTP range, realistically. It’s just not happening that a large group of people are that good. 4w/kg is a VERY significant output, and I’d argue that being anywhere near 3.5w/kg is plenty for a good group ride or occasional road race up to cat 3 unless there’s a mountain. I learned pretty early in my career to generally avoid mountainous races, and I’m not a particularly heavy guy. :sweat_smile:

Now, to your question about what to focus on to be an effective cyclist: TR’s race analysis videos. You don’t need monster power to be skilled and take advantage of momentum. Those videos will help you learn to use the speed you’ve gained to create gaps, close gaps, and prevent gaps from forming so you can maximize the power you DO have. Some of my best racing, in a stacked local criterium field of cat 1/2s, has been with my FTP in the 3.5-3.6w/kg range (roughly 290w at 83kg). I have been able to hang in to finish (and even win a prime or two) because I used the same skills those videos teach. I couldn’t match the output of the better guys, so I was forced to learn those subtle and unintuitive skills to even hang in the races.


That’s true. According to my Withings scale, I’m overweight at 26% body fat. I dropped down from about 35% from a year ago but I feel like I’ve plateaued a bit; I was on a caloric restriction diet but it caused my training to suffer dramatically, so I’m now focusing on eating quality and eating just enough.

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posted this somewhere else, if you have the time to train then my experience is that its easy to lose weight at similar size/weight/BF% simply by focusing on a) portion sizes (and macros), b) cycling 5000+ calories a week, and c) doing basic strength training with dumbbells and bodyweight.

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I too am a bigger guy. I deal with this by using my legs for sprinting and time trialing. Two different cycling disciplines but both I do well at. At my best I am 85kgs, 178cm. I wont be a climber of a long climb, but can get over bergs, descend well, and time trial which has come in handy on a couple of stage races. Where I can get dropped, descend and TT back on. You need to realise what your given and then use that to your best ability.

Also, enjoy your riding and racing whatever body fit you are

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Relatively high raw power but poor W/kg = flat crit rider or TTer.

For TT’s, CdA is a significant factor. You can spend a lot of money on gear and working on your position and still not be competetive if you cant’ cut a small hole through the air.

With your build, you can probably make decent raw power. Aerodynamics don’t matter much in a crit if you’re sprinting - you can mostly sit in until the last 3 laps. Any course which is flat and will let you maintain momentum through corners lets you use your raw power to put the hurt on others. I’m 6’4", 88kg and these courses are my bread & butter.


Have your tried Track Cycling? Some of those guys are not small…


Have your tried track cycling? Some of those guys are not small…

If you want to be competitive, you should just find a discipline that suits your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. I agree with the others that this would probably be crit racing, TTs or flat races. You should probably stay away from hill climbs. Or, if you have team mates and your physiology allows it, you could become a sprinter. Alternatively, you can just compete against yourself.

While I am of a different stature (1,78 m, 72 kg), I’m actually in a similar situation — since I live in Japan. Most of my competitors weigh about 10 kg less than me, some weigh as little as 52 kg, less than my wife! Unless I am losing limbs (and I am not planning to), I will never weigh that little. I’m the heaviest guy on my team (who participates in races). On the downhills that gives me an advantage, but of course it is easier for the average Japanese racer to have a higher power-to-weight ratio and beat me on the climbs. So for you to be competitive in road raceds you’d also have to carefully pick your races and choose your strategies.

By the way, the heaviest rider I know in the local racing scene is an American who weighs 86 kg. He is a sprinter and regularly podiums in crit races, he is good. In regular road races with rolling terrain I’m faster, though. In hill climbs, we’d both get destroyed by our competition :laughing:

Nevertheless, I have entered a hill climb. I already know that this isn’t my strong suit (relative to my competition), but it’ll be fun! On the other hand, long, sustained efforts do suit me, I enjoy scraping just below my FTP for long periods of time. So my goal is to pace well and follow the strategy I chose for myself. I’ll be very happy if my average and normal power are close to one another and my average power is close to my FTP.



Yowamushi Pedal has Jin Tadokoro!

Despite his bulkiness, he is the team’s ace sprinter, and oftentimes throughout the series, takes advantage of his large body to perform his signature riding style “Human Bullet Train,” where he drafts wind for the team as they ride behind him. He is sometimes seen as the “fatherly” member of the team.

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

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I get where you are coming from as I myself am 179 cm and now around 85 KG (was 95KG when I started cycling last year April) and I too am broad in the shoulders and back.

Ever seen a cartoon where a circus bear rides a on small tricycle? That’s basically me (I was even given a shirt by my friends with that image on it).

I am not sure if you race, I don’t but what I have learned the last year when it comes to cycling and body types is that you should create your own identity on the bike and feel good about that.

When I started cycling, I started doing rides with a friend who was then about 12 kg lighter than me and had been cycling longer.
I followed his way of cycling including climbing style etc, it was hard but it helped me get to a higher level a lot quicker. But at one point I started realizing that his way of riding, especially up hill just didn’t suit me and try as I might I was not going to keep up with him up hill.

So I changed my climbing style, instead of doing small burst/recover I started doing a more sustained power type of climbing, pick 1 gear, 1 cadence. That was a game changer for me, all of a sudden the difference on the climbs between the two us shrunk significantly.

I like being on the front of a group doing the work, or dropping back from the first group to the riders that fell off to help them close the gap back to the group.
I don’t like being behind someone for a long period of time, and if that hurts my climbing times I don’t really care anymore, one of the reasons the guys get better times on the climbs during such a ride is because I did a lot of work for them. I started seeing it as combined achievement.

At the end of the ride we all ‘cross the line’ at the same time and everybody got to enjoy that part of cycling they like the most.

I also started MTB’ing a bit since January or so, this helped me to see things more in perspective when it comes to my road biking. I might not be the fastest on the tarmac, but the guys I ride with on the road won’t be able to hold my pace on the dirt.
I guess MTB just fits me more.

Guess what I am trying to say is, don’t put emphasis on what you might perceive ‘negative’ points of your body but try to find a way that they can make you feel positive/proud.

Does that mean you shouldn’t try and work towards certain goals such as being a faster climber or being lighter in general?
No, but you might have to accept it’s going to take a bit longer but if you are to focused on negative aspects at the moment it’s going to take longer as it’s taking the fun out of cycling.

I saw you were using a Whitings scale, I use one was well.
Check the manual for athlete mode what the criteria are for that and if you meet them, your plateau could just be ‘faulty’ readings because you don’t use your scale the way it’s intended.

I hope this helps in some way, just to try to keep the cycling fun for yourself.
What’s the sense in riding and spending so much time on it if doesn’t make you feel good.

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My problem is I’m a big guy … who does Ironman (have for 13years)
So I have a lot of bulk to carry a long way … then I still need to have enough in the tank to run


Could have been me… I am 5’8’’ as well and weigh 64-65kg; I once rode up Cormet de Roselend and a bunch of dutch guys shouted “ohhh he looks like Kittel…” Maybe they were referring to my painface…


Just for your amusement: there is a real-world Yowamushi Pedaru pro cycling team in Japan that is apparently sponsored by the anime. Yup, you can’t make this up.


Firstly, that’s a huge improvement so well done!

Maybe you can ask yourself what your main goals are. If you’re racing regularly then I’d stick with what you’re doing and maintain weight whilst building fitness. If body composition is more important then I, personally, would try and stick with sweet spot base training with a small (200ish) calorie defecit most days.

I’ve experienced the same as you which was that losing weight with a 500cal defecit per day meant I couldn’t perform workouts properly in the build phase. Base phase wasnt so bad though.

I’m not sure where you’re from, but it’s getting colder and wetter in my part of the world now. For me, that would be the perfect time to maintain volume, drop intensity and focus on improving body composition. Once I’d done that, I would aim to introduce some intensity back in before the summer.

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Thanks for the tip on the scale! Hadn’t realized this was an option.

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First thing for the OP to do is to get under 15% bodyfat. All kinds of physiological changes happen there and that should be the focus of anyone overweight. Carrying fat isn’t just a physics disadvantage, its also creates some physiological problems.

FWIW, I don’t think there’s a ‘perfect’ body composition. Us smaller climbers lust after the big guys that just put in big watts on the flats or the guys with a natural sprint but no FTP. Being a Nairo Quintana clone in amateur cycling isn’t all its cracked up to be, especially with so many road races being cancelled.


Great thread, and something i’ve been wondering about myself for quite some time. I’m 89kg, 6ft2 with an FTP of 325w. Back in March i was closer 100kg and 270w. On the long drag home in the group rides they stick me on the front… I have big lats!

Just find a discipline you enjoy and try and get good at it. You’ll never catch KOMs on a climb, but you could get some on that flats and descents. Suck wheels all the way then blast out 1500w and leave your team mates for dust.

Most of the hills in my area are 8min climbs max - i can still put out 4.5w/kg over that time and i drop a fair few people. It the long and steady where i scream help.

The question for me now isn’t which can i get good at… coz hell i’ve got enough determination to get good at all disciplines. It’s which discipline can i do near to where i live?

If you’re still hung up on it. Check out Richie Rude (enduro rider 90kg). Or get yourself an expense areo bike. Tuck your self in. Keep pedaling. Increase you FTP.

Oh man i love riding my bike!!!



“All kinds of physiological changes happen there and that should be the focus of anyone overweight”

Interested what you mean by this? Can you get faster then by losing weight?