Here's exactly how one middle aged dude got to just a little less than 5W/kg...Ronnestad case study

Here’s a case study of a 37 year old cyclist that had been training for at least a decade? The paper says he had been getting tested at their facility for 10 years. Anyhow, here is a blow-by-blow accounting of about a year of training. At the beginning he was generating 3.6W/kg at 3mmol/kg & by the end he was generating 4.9W/kg @ 3mmol/kg. Not my favorite metric but still that’s a whopping great increase for an experienced guy.

Of course, we don’t know what his previous fitness level was like. He may have been more fit than this two years ago, or something. :smiley:

It’s interesting to note that for some metrics MOST of the gains came in that first 10 weeks. Previous to any strength training or HIT blocks. That makes me wonder if this rider started at what for him would have been slightly depressed fitness.

Note that his % increase in VO2max almost exactly matched the yoy % increase in volume. So you could make the argument that VO2max just followed volume. Wmax in this context is (I think) MAP…so this dude’s TR FTP would have increased right along with his Wmax…except that he lost some weight over the course of the year…so really this guy’s TR FTP would have increased by less than 20% over the course of this training protocol.

Also note this athlete put in 10 hours or less per week most weeks throughout this case study. For sure, there were some whopping 25+ hour low intensity blocks but most blocks were right at or a little less than 10 hours.

As discussed in my previous strength training thread, the strength training protocol this athlete used was pretty simple. Not a lot of exercises, not a lot of guile with respect to sets/reps/periodization. Here is a summary…(this is not exactly what the athlete in this paper used but the exercises are exactly the same and the set/rep scheme is very similar. Read the paper for more details on exactly what this rider did).


My only takeaway from this is I didn’t realize 37 was middle aged. Close to the 50 yard line for me :rofl:


Depends on where you are, probably. In the US 38 is the middle if you’re a dude. 50 is about the 2/3rds mark.

Each training block lasted 1-2 weeks and in total there

were 11 HIT blocks (4-6 weekly HIT sessions), 11 MIT blocks (4-6 weekly MIT sessions), 8

LIT blocks (7-10 weekly LIT sessions) and 19 recovery weeks where the weekly training

hours usually ranged between 7 and 10 hours.

The main idea was that it is important to

regularly emphasize the three main intensity zones for endurance training and to change the

stimulus from one block to the next block


About the blocks; I don’t see any pattern. There are HIT blocks here and there (and all the time little), couple clear LIT blocks. So how did they choose what block to do?

Good question! :crazy_face: I have NO IDEA! :rofl: We’ve probably all read or seen his presentation on HIT periodization so it’s not unreasonable to expect HIT every 4th week like in the 12wk block periodization paper. It’s certainly not that way! I could not recognize any pattern.

Thanks for the shot of reality.

**cries in 2.5 W/kg


Im 36 and feel FAR from middle age…but again id rather be considered middle age with a 5w/kg than a 3.1 w/kg lol

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…which makes this case report essentially worthless.


37 was when my weightlifting career ended during a piddly little 2x10x115kg warmup routine in the squat rack. Tore my superior inferior gemmasometing obtruator whatchamacallit. Anyhow, I don’t have all the muscles down there I used to. Middle age can happen suddenly. I’d say male athletes in their late 20’s early 30’s don’t have the appropriate sense of urgency most times.

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He’s been going there for tests for 10 years and was still at 3.6 W/kg? But then, within 10 months, he made it to 4.9 W/kg? What was he doing for the previous 9 years? Either there’s something odd about this, or this guy used to be at 5W/kg and got injured/ill and had to build back up, what they documented with the paper. Or maybe they picked him for the paper because of the potential those test showed. But why did they wait 10 years then?


Yeah. Like I said, look at all the gains he made in the first 8 or 9 weeks of just low intensity & sub-threshold work. Those were half or a little more than half of total gains for the entire 58 week period. That makes me think that his fitness level at week 10 is more indicative of proximal historic fitness.

Then basically yoy volume went up about as much as VO2max improved. So you could make the argument that he just ramped volume and saw some metrics improve along with that.

But for all those who ask what sort of training does it take to achieve ~5W/kg…well, here is a concrete example. It’s not that complicated. Maybe a half dozen different workouts. ~11.5hrs/wk. 4 strength training exercises.

If you do that will you also achieve…ummmm…

ill hold you to that! here i come :muscle: :leg:

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@mrpbenett with your attitude how could you NOT succeed??

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@splash…from the paper (just some add’l info):

“Depending on training status his maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) during these years ranged from 65 to 76.5 mL/kg/min, peak aerobic power (Wmax) ranged from 5.76 to 6.52 W/kg and pwoer output at 3mmol/L blodd lactate concentration (Power3la-) ranged from 3.4 to 4.1 W/kg. Best test results were achieved 1yr prior to start of the present study.”

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So he probably did some sort of rebuilding. Still going from 4.1 to 4.9 W/kg is a pretty decent improvement. Maybe there is an element of long term fatigue, recovery, and enhanced focus on training in it. Or his previous training was just plain wrong.

my first reaction too, and I’ve got 21 years on that dude. At least my hair is still (mostly) black and I look 40s :joy:

For the last 2.5 months during loading weeks (3 out of 4) I’m putting in roughly 10 hours/week cycling, and 2 hours/week strength+plyo+coreStability. The cycling is zone2 and some HIIT (mostly sprinting). Prior to that was 2.5 months of resistance training with 3-6 hours/week zone2 riding.

Haven’t done any formal field testing, but about 2 weeks ago I started seeing results. Already seeing my highest zone2 power “ever” which is since buying a road bike 5 years ago and starting to train with power in late 2016:

  • Nov 2017: ~165W
  • Nov 2018: ~155W
  • Nov 2019: ~150W
  • Nov 2020: ~175W


edit: NOT 10 hours/week cycling, its less than I thought:

that last bar will go up this weekend, its is a deload week and should finish at 5.5-6 hours


@splash I don’t think that data invalidate your key question, though: What the heck was he doing before?

Especially as there doesn’t seem to be anything revolutionary in his new training.

@bbarrera you should give yourself a pat on the back. Or tip your coach. :wink:

Seriously, do the math, the subject in the paper started with a TR equivalent FTP of 327W. He finished with a TR equivalent FTP of 375W. That’s a 14.7% improvement.

From November of 2019 to November of 2020 you bested him by 2% improvement in the same metric. And you did it in 8weeks less time. So, GOOD JOB!

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