I'm not worrying about FTP/kg

Just beginning a new S&C program and already after a weigh-in:

  • Bodyweight up from 92.9kg to 94.5kg.
  • Bodyfat down from 22.5% to 21.7%
  • FTB/kg plummeting!

I don’t believe I would be any slower now with general riding but I could accept I would be slower up a long climb. I’m pretty much fast twitch and only have to breath in a gym and I get heavier. I’m focussing on CX and TT this year so it shouldn’t matter too much.

Do others really care about FTB/kg?

Too many people focus on w/kg (probably influenced by TR as they seem to use it as a measure of cycling success). Unless you’re climbing mountains for long periods of time, doesn’t matter as much as you think.


It shouldn’t matter unless you’re in competition. Offseason should be about building strength / power which if you’re doing right, you’ll gain weight as you’ll need to be eating a caloric surplus.

I can’t think of a single power/weight sport where people are walking around at competition weight outside of their competitions.

Zwift is the worst offender in terms of making people think about this, especially in the part of the season they shouldn’t.


I very much care about FTP/KG, but all of my riding is essentially mountainous. The difference it makes for that is HUGE for me.

If I did any significant amount of riding on the flats then I’d definitely care less, though to be honest I doubt I’d be that much stronger at higher weights anyway.


You do you


So I had 4.0 w/kg as a sort of goal of mine for 2 years and I just recently reached it. I wasn’t really aiming for 4 w/kg by changing my training (or weight loss) but I’d always thought it would be amazing to reach it. Well, it was cool for like a day or two and I went out to the trails and quickly realized it meant nothing.

The danger in focusing on w/kg is that you can derail training and recovery by not eating enough to get your weight down. I have to always remind myself that it’s my training, consistency and fitness that matters and losing a few pounds will not make a difference on race day. I’d been beaten by plenty that have a bike 5 pounds heavier than mine and weigh 15-25 pounds more than me, they were just fitter/stronger. I’ve also beaten guys that I weigh 30+ pounds more than.

Focus on the fitness and the weight will take care of itself.


I went through a full season plan, gained 5 pounds but gained 20 watts. I’ll take that any day. Weight loss can happen anytime, my focus is on performance lately.


I thought it was interesting to learn many TdF riders gain weight over the length of it as the nutritionist over feed them for injury prevention and to keep them from getting sick.

Not talking a lot, but a kg or two isn’t going to be the end of things.


Makes sense, I definitely felt better eating in a calorie surplus than if I was trying to lose weight. I think base season is the easiest time to cut some calories cuz the intensity isn’t as high as a build and specialty phase.

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It’s the only thing that matters to me. Indirectly. I like to climb. Cheers

I have a good friend that would strongly disagree with you on that. He’s monstering the training (has been the last couple of years), but is still 25kg over where he wants to be.

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55lbs is not training weight. I’m not sure how you can be that heavy if your diet is correct, short of a medical condition or some other genetic anomaly.

Power strength athletes (freestyle / roman greco wrestlers, mma fighters, etc) typically carry 2-5kg (5-10lbs) above competition weight while training. Obviously this would scale some with size.

Sure, and obviously his diet isn’t correct, that’s my point.

You can’t outwork a sh*t diet, and the weight definitely wont take care of itself for a lot of people.


I think there are two main reasons people use W/kgs as a number for comparison.

The first is that for steep climbs it is the metric that matters most in the real world. And in general it’s advantageous to weigh less for the same power.

The second is that comparing raw Watts doesn’t work between riders of substantially different sizes. For instance my 5ft, 100lbs friend is never going to be able to output as much power as my 6ft, 200lbs friend, even if the smaller friend is in much better shape. So then as an overall measure of fitness it makes much more sense to use W/kg than W.

W/kg is important, but correct me if I’m wrong, there are a few other factors:

On the flats, given similar riding positions and W/kg, the heavier rider should be a bit faster, as rolling resistance and frontal area (drag) are usually not linearly proportional to rider mass.

On a climb, given similar riding positions and W/kg, the heavier rider should be a bit faster, as rolling resistance and bike + equipment mass are usually not directly proportional to rider mass.


Sort of…I don’t target a weight anymore. I focus on getting leaner and where the weight ends up in the training cycle is where it will be. I’ll never be a lightweight climber, however, being lean (for me) means better durability, takes longer to get into the red, can recover faster from huge accelerations etc…you have to get to the finale to go for the win is my perspective. All things equal, being lighter and leaner is a big part of getting to the end to fight for the win.


False. Weight (muscle mass) increases with the cube of height while muscle strength increases with the square of height (cube-square law). So the taller cyclist (at equal body fat %) will be slower climbing and faster descending than the shorter cyclist.

For flats, aero drag increases at a fraction of the proportion of muscle power. So a taller cyclist has an advantage.

This discussion is about weight, but height difference at same body fat is the same as saying putting on lean muscle mass. It’s adding structure that benefits you from more muscle area, but hurts you because the muscle volume is being lugged around.

However, clearly there’s more to it than that. You need the right kind of muscle in the right places. If your legs are super strong but have to push against a weak core, you will waste lots of energy moving your torso side to side. If you have huge forearms that isn’t helping your crit racing, except the finishing sprint (if you have good technique). But huge forearms can help a lot to pump terrain in mountain biking.

So in other words, focus on making yourself better for what you are trying to achieve. Eat lots of veggies. Drink lots of water. Strengthen relevant muscle. Work on flexibility (to enable a more aero position). Make yourself a better athlete and let the weight fall where it may.


^ Exactly.

My brother and I have always weighed the same since high school. He’s 5” taller and an ectomorph. I’m a mesomorph. He’ll never be able to put on muscle or have shoulders as broad as me, and I’ll never be a noodle armed bean pole.

We have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sports that no amount of diet or conditioning will change.

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All of the factors you discussed like body composition are taken into account by equalizing W/kg, which I did. There’s a reason nobody ever discusses ‘watts before losses due to lack of core strength’ or ‘watts per kilogram of lean muscle mass’ or ‘watts per inch.’ It’s output wattage that matters. On a steep climb, its output watts per total mass that matters. As for flats, feel free to discuss height as a variable, but I didn’t.

I’M all about the RAW WATTS.