Interpreting Your Power Curve

Hi Forum,

Can anyone explain how to interpret your power curve? how do you know something is a strength or weakness? If there’s a link to an existing discussion please post below!

thanks,
Kevin

https://www.cyclinganalytics.com/blog/2012/06/watts-kg-on-the-power-curve

yeap, familiar with that chart. my question is how do you interpret the numbers?

say you’re a flat line in terms of w/kg for 5s, 1 min, 5 min, FT? vs someone a V shaped profile?

I am not sure what you mean. The way I look at it is if I am a top 70% rider in 5 second sprinting and bottom 10% in 120 minute then I’m probably suited for short track vs endurance. Is that what your asking?

Me personally am at about 700 watts for 5 sec and 200 watts for 60 min. I think that means I am better in sprints but suck at endurance. I am quite heavy at 230 lbs. So not winning races soon…

Ps. I think a I saw a video on this exact topic…I think it was GCN

There’s a danger that you read more into your power curve than it merits, or that it’s a source of confirmation bias - i.e. your curve tells you what you want to hear. For many of us, the curve just reflects the riding and training we do … mine would show poor numbers at the sprint end, because I don’t do much of it.
I think there have been several mentions on the podcast of not painting yourself as a particular type of rider. Reality is that most of us non-pros can largely be whatever type of rider we want if only we train effectively.

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That’s what I understand too, at least at my level as a recreational cyclist.

Main use I have is as another metric to compare improvement between seasons and/blocks.

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Hi Kevin, here is an old explainer video on the power curve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIQcXFdOxqo&feature=emb_logo. Apologies the quality is low, I need to re-do it

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perfect thanks!

It sounds like you are talking about your power profile?

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I’m the opposite: I can do over 310W for an hour but barely 1000W for 5 seconds and that tails off really quick. So, i’m not winning races anytime soon either.

How old are you, and much do you weigh?

M49, 75.5Kg

Unless you live somewhere particularly hilly, that ought to be enough to win the occasional masters race. Not in a sprint, though - you need to commit 100% to being in a breakaway, then figure out how to win from it.

my power curve has a bit of a dip. what does this mean?

5 second : 17.69 w/kg
1 min: 7.53w/kg (very low according to the training peaks chart
5 min: 5.38w/kg
FT: 4.41w/kg

Check this GCN youtube…It explains it quite well

By the way. How did you generate the chart in Training Peaks? Is this a paid report?

nah just circled where my numbers landed

As best I can tell you are a “All Rounder” or crappy data…or a 3rd category (which is better than me!)

(-) Generally horizontal plot, i.e., all four values falling at about the same point on their respective range (-): this pattern is characteristic of the typical “all rounder”, i.e., a rider who doesn’t necessarily excel at any one thing, but is likely competitive in their category across a broad range of events. Given the fact that only specialists will likely truly excel at the extreme durations, very few individuals will show this pattern and still fall at the upper end of each range. On the other hand, the vast majority of non-elite athletes will likely show a generally horizontal power profile.

(V) Sharp V-pattern: an unlikely combination, given the expected inverse relationship between neuromuscular power and lactate threshold, and the positive relationship expected between VO2max and lactate threshold. Should such a pattern be observed, care should be taken to assure that the values being used are truly representative of the athlete’s abilities, and to be sure that the pattern isn’t simply being misinterpreted (i.e., considering a generally horizontal or “w” pattern to be a “V”). The standards are based on the performance capacities of young adults, and thus do not account for the effects of aging (or development). The possibility of developing age-specific standards was considered but rejected due to the lack of sufficient direct data as well as the complexity of attempting any corrections based on known physiological changes. For example, while VO2max declines by ~0.5 mL per min per kg per year (~0.35 mL per min per kg per year in women) starting at around age 30, muscle strength and power are generally well-maintained until around age 50, then begin to decline somewhat more rapidly thereafter. Such observations imply that, for maximum accuracy, different age-based correction factors might need to be applied to the different columns. It is unlikely, however, that these differential changes with age are sufficient to significantly alter a rider’s “profile”, and it is suggested that the tables simply be applied “as is” regardless of a rider’s age.

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I just cry when I put my numbers in the chart…mostly cause of the 230lb waist line :~(