Power Profile: Very Low 5s and 1m

So I’ve calculated my power profile according to the standard method, found here, among many other places: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/power-profiling/

My profile is as follows:
Weight: 142 lbs (64.4 kg)

5s = 713w (11.07 w/kg)
1m = 374w (5.81 w/kg)
5m = 274w (4.25 w/kg)
20m = 238w (3.70 w/kg) I actually used my ftp here which is 95% of my 20m value.

If I highlight my data points on the charts I am definitely a “/” shape. My 5s and 1m values are very low compared to my 5m and 20m values. My concern isn’t necessarily that these values are lower, but that they are extremely low! They are bordering on the “untrained” level. I’ve been riding for 10 years (my age is 37) and riding somewhat seriously for about 2 years now.

Is it possible that I simply lack raw leg strength? I’m a small wiry guy (5’8") with not a ton of muscle mass anywhere. I know the common belief is that building up your legs is generally not helpful for cycling since most of your power comes from your aerobic capacity. However, I feel like my “anaerobic power” is so low that I’d likely see major improvements if I targeted this weakness.

Hopefully someone with more experience than myself can shed some light on this situation. Thanks for taking the time :).

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How much vo2 training have you done?
It is something that is luckily very trainable, but if you dont focus on it you quickly lose that top end power.

You could try doing a few vo2 workouts over the next week or 2 and start to build up towards longer durations, starting with something like 30sec on/off @120% and eventually getting to 3 minute repeats at 120% and see if that gives you a good improvement.

I know its a struggle for me every spring since I dont really train that top end at all during the winter, I am trying something like what Chad suggested in this thread right now and the much gentler progression seems to be working great for me but that might change once I get to the 3 minute ones.

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I think power profiling is a neat exercise because it neatly lays out relative strengths and weaknesses. That being said, it’s definitely not something worth getting wrapped up in or necessarily concerned about. Are you able to accomplish what you want to in your riding and/or racing? Yes? Keep doing what you’re doing. No? Would changing the power profile in your weak areas help? It might, it might not. It’s all subjective.

As an example, I race primarily cyclocross. It does demand long sustained power, but also lots of short bursts and surges. According to the TrainingPeaks profile, I have cat4 level 5s power and cat5 level 1m power. I race the domestic UCI field. And although I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the guy for a sprint finish, the short surges tend to be the places where I do the most damage in my races. The classifications on those numbers don’t mean anything.

Work to ride how you want to ride, and don’t get too wrapped up in the charts.

Short power is highly trainable, but it comes and goes quickly. You can build it up fast (esp 1 min), but you can’t maintain it for long durations like your FTP.

My suggestion would be to concentrate on building your base / SS / threshold power. Then, you can build your 1-min power on top of that. The more base you have, the more you will get out of this. But, don’t try to “keep” it for too long.

To wit, I did a power profile last season and did 1-min @ 400W @ 75kg in Feb, then followed my own advice and kicked out a 437W and a 500W in two subsequent cycles of anaerobic training (May, Oct). At both points, my base was deeper and my FTP was built up, albeit just like 20W

Your desire to use it will prove every bit as big as the power # itself. My 500W minute was still peanuts, but I was able to place high in long sprint finishes because I was just one of the few willing to launch it after a long leg of high output and pack surges.

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You’re very very very light. Next offseason hit the gym fiercly. Weight gain would do you a lot of good here for bigger numbers

Did you calculate your profile, or did you actually test it with max efforts? Maybe you just didn’t do anything like that for a while.

I also think I’ve read that the chart includes track riders, who absolutely kill it in short power.

FWIW, similar to jeremy above, I race cross and have good (imo) short burst power, but my profile still says my 5s is cat4 and my 1 min is untrained.

I don’t put faith in the cat system anymore, or to the very least, I just use it as a very rough guideline. Due to my weight, my max 1 min power from last season just barely crawled out of cat.4 - which is much lower then those of the local guys I race with. Yet in pure watts, I managed to drop a nearly 750 watt bomb for an entire minute which outperforms the same guys with better w/kg ratios than mine.

So I guess do try to improve where you’re weak, but don’t get obsessed with where you are in those artificial tables :wink:

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I kinda had the opposite problem. My 1 minute power is strong - 750w/10.1 w/kg and my 5s is ok, but my FTP and 5 min are/were a bit meh by comparison. SSB is getting to work on that!

I enjoyed sprinting after Strava segments and it motivated me, so I did a lot of 1 - 3 minute all-out sprints - maybe 5 or more on a ride. Find a way to pursue 1m all-out efforts that really motivates you and you’ll get there. Kind of the same for any PRs, but freshness seems to be vital for the really top-end stuff. Don’t expect to squeeze out that final 10% of your capacity at the end of a hard ride.

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Your 1 minute is the outlier for me.

My best 1min is 170% of my best 5min. Yours is only 136%.

However your 5 second sprint has pretty much the same relationship (250% ish) to your 5min as mine. So I don’t think there’s a general issue as you go upwards - just with the 1min figure.

I’m absolutely convinced that if you find a 1 minute climb / drag, and just absolutely leather it up there, sprinting at 95% to start off and then holding on for grim death, you’ll be able to significantly improve on 374.

Is there some sort of official correlation percentage wise in relation to each interval time like you mention? I.e. 1 min being 170% of your 5min. Or is it just your personal way of measuring your numbers to those of others?

No not really, just comparing it to mine.

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Hi hernejj
I can reassure you your values are a long way from “untrained” despite what the coggan chart says! I can also assure you that your profile is not atypical in fact it is in the top 60% for “consistency”. How do I know this? Because we have been compiling large datasets from up to 5000 “regular cyclists” with power meters not just pros / highly trained individuals in the coggan data. You can even check it for yourself using golden cheetah public data…but if you want a short cut we have done all the hard work for you just click this link for a chart of your performance: http://fft.tips/rankme. For the record your percentiles are 26%@5ms 20%@1min 25%@5min 27%@20m which we would class as “early developer” . Best wishes and happy training ! see rankme|690x343

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Replies to several threads here…

Torinhowe,
I have not done a ton of VO2 specific training. I’m working my way through SSB2-low right now.

Jeremy,
The big dudes at our weekly club “races” ride away from me pretty easily. I’d love to be able to keep up with them at least a little bit. I guess that is my goal for right now. Someday I’d like to be somewhat competitive at circuit and road races, as well as hill climb events (even though there are not many of those in my area).

Splash,
My profile numbers come from my Strava power profile which includes outdoor and indoor efforts on TR and Zwift (racing and training rides).

Triathlete,
No, I’ve only made my way through SSB1, working on SSB2 now. I think my technique is good.

4ibanez martinheadon,
I also have a few segments I chase. Most are 1-3 minutes with some being 5-8 minutes. I hit them at max effort when I’m feeling up to it. Perhaps I need to do it more?

Alex,
Thanks for the link!! I’ll study this carefully. Any advice on what to work on, or how to improve, give these numbers?

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If you haven’t targeted 5 second / 1 minute power then you shouldn’t be overly concerned with being on the lower end of them. As someone else mentioned, those charts are anchored at the top by world champions in specific events (for those durations, match sprint or kilo riders I’d expect). It’s not a chart of what people in a given category are putting out after a x number of hours road race or circuit race.

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That’s pretty cool, am going to have a play around later.

Although I already know my VO2 is poor, curve drops like a stone after 30 seconds. But I’ll be working on it next week.

“Alex, Thanks for the link!! I’ll study this carefully. Any advice on what to work on, or how to improve, give these numbers?”

Yes sure, as a quick recommendation its in the same sheet in cell G53 “train your weakness”
For a much more detailed training plan use our training periodization planner http://fft.tips/tpp

regards

That is pretty cool! I do have a pet peeve though - even though I selected “female senior” at the top, it still compared me to male seniors under the FFT category in tiny writing. The categories themselves seemed fine (apart from being very unimpressive, it must be wrong…)

It also said I had a track sprinter profile! Made it into the top half with my power. The (female) Coggan chart still says I’m cat 5 though. :smirk:

Anaerobic power potential is largely genetic.

It can be trained regardless of your potential, but anything above your baseline is very much a “use it or lose it” type of thing.

Technique is a fairly significant portion of 5s power. 60s not so much. Technique includes the ability for your mind to recruit a lot of muscle fiber all at the same time, position on the bike, grip on the bars, tension of your arms, and stuff like rocking your bike side to side in such a way that your upper body contributes and your leg position is optimized for each pedal stroke.

It’s worth it to train technique because aside from the obvious benefits of immediate performance and safety improvement, you don’t lose it as readily. You may lose muscle conditioning, but not muscle memory.

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Hi Splash, “still compared me to male seniors under the FFT category in tiny writing” I think you are referring to the tiny grey writing “coggan says”…yes we only imported the comparative male data from coggan (which wasn’t in itself helpful so we didn’t bother to import the female data which in any case isnt age adjusted like ours so that’s another reason it was pretty pointless). Anyway I am glad you found it useful!!

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Both agree and disagree.

Last season for my A Race I was the lightest I’ve ever been – 140lbs on race day (off-season weight 155lbs). Two things: i) my numbers were higher than the OP (14.2 @5s and 7.6 @1m w/kg), and ii) I did ~3 months of strength training. So…yes, strength training may help increase your short power but you don’t have to gain weight in order to gain power.