Road to 4w/kg, what does it take?

Hi everyone, I’m trying to get an understanding of what it takes for an average person to get to 4watts/kg as a goal.

I started cycling 8 months ago. I couldn’t even ride 10miles on flat road at the time. Now I’m doing 60mi/6k rides without needing too many stops. I have a goal of reaching 4watts/kg. I told myself I’ll get a new bike if I reach that goal :slight_smile:

My current FTP is at 208 on the trainer. I weigh 62kg, so I’m hovering around 3.3w/kg. I’ve been riding a lot outside as well as training inside on the med volume plan. I sometimes skip a workout due to scheduling or soreness, but I’ve always been able to complete all the workouts I start. The AI detection puts me at 215watts, but when I take the ramp test, I end up with 208. Maybe I give up mentally too early, or maybe the detection is very far off. But either way, I still have a long way to go.

My question is, do I need to incorporate weight lifting, special diets, or is it just doing years of training in order to reach 4w/kg? I would like to have a regular diet if possible, since rest of my family just eats “normally”.

I don’t want to/can’t lose any more weight, so increase my ftp is the only way to reach my goal. Is 4w/kg something super ambitious? Is it reachable for everyone?

Thanks!

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pick the right parents

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That sort of depends on your current BMI, if your BMI is high you probably just need to continue doing what you are doing and shed body fat and upper body musculature if your BMI is low it could take some time

I’m definitely skinny side, but not fat either. 5’10 height. This might be a pipe dream for a while then I guess :sob:

More, more volume.

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Time. Just keep riding consistently and you’ll be there in no time. At current weight you need to get to 250, that’s not much considering you’ve only been riding 8 months.

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It’s just a number. Forget about it and enjoy riding bikes. There’s so many amazing experiences ahead of you.

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How tall is that for everyond else in the whole world except the US?

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When I first started riding ‘seriously’ eg multiple sessions per week with growing volume and intensity, it was the 2nd year when I realy noticed big changes - muscle shape and composition on my legs, big bump in FTP, endurance suddenly jumping etc. That was with 4-5 ish rides per week and continued indoor work during the winters, at age mid 30s and coming from a few years regular running (half marathons etc).

Nobody can tell you the answer to your question as it depends on so many things - age, genetics, nutrition, type of training, consistency, other life stuff etc etc, but I’ve read plenty of times that 4w/kg is generally achieveable for most people IF they get all the stuff above done right - of course that isnt univeral and many people just never make it while others are 4w/kg pretty much off the couch…

As others have said its just a number and has zero impact on your enjoyment of cycling, so be careful about making this an obsessive goal and focus on goals within your control and that you can progress to and acheive. I’ve acheived gold medal age group times in GFs in the mountains and not been at 4w/kg and had huge amounts of fun on the bike when FTP has largely been irrelevant. Nothing wrong with wanting to get faster though, but it doesn’t have to be in the form of a purely numericla, and maybe not achievable (?), number goal :wink: Its just as valuable sometimes to focus on the ‘process’ of getting faster and see where that takes you!

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177.80 cm

I have a question: How can people be so light?? I am 172cm or 5’8" and 64-66kg. I have very little to no fat under my skin. When I grab my belly there is a thin layer of fat between skin and muscle. I have pretty big leg and butt muscles but nothing noticeable in civilian clothes. Upper body is skinny but with ok muscle mass. You would not notice me in the beach. Just another small dude.
So how are some 175-185cm people are 65kg< without being too skinny!? I am small in terms of build too.
Does muscle density differ that much between individuals? 20 years ago I was 75kg with very low fat. Lifting pretty heavy for my size. Lost all that muscle during a 6 year sedentary period (fag u education, who needs to learn when there is google and tiktok).
I have big hands and feet though and a deep chest. Maybe that.

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No idea - genetics?

My wife’s side of the family is tall and skinny. As long as I’ve known him my father-in-law has struggled to maintain 60-61kg…and he’s 6’/180cm…and eats loads and used to lift. My son is similar while I’m 180cm and always 76-80kg!!!

Basic fitness - just play lots of sports, go to the gym, swim, cycle whenever. 4W/KG shouldn’t require any special training.

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178 cm.

Apparently, I have the capacity to use two systems. Who knew?

Ive never learned the US system since I am not in the US and no one except for the US uses that system

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@N8fyn you didn’t mention your age. I think that is a relevant statistic.

FWIW, I bounce on the razors edge of 4w/kg throughout the year @ 53 years old, 63kg and 5’9" (175cm).

I do not use a specific TR plan, but am on the trainer 6-8 hours a week, plus ~4 hours outdoors, year-round. My TR stuff is a mix of Tempo through Anaerobic, and I rarely do the super light stuff (I just take a day off) or the Sprint workouts (just not my jam). I only play the Progression Level game, and try to keep them all moving. My FTP hasn’t materially changed in 18 months. :face_with_spiral_eyes:

Bottom line? It seems to me, in my incredibly small world-view, age does matter – and literally ever day I’m holding onto the same metrics, I consider it a win. I swear, my riding friends however, are getting younger each day. I’m not. Quality+volume.

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One could google the imperial to metric conversion instead of asking for someone else to do it on a Forum :face_with_monocle:.

To the point of this thread:
I gotta disagree with the call for large amounts of volume.
4Wkg can definitely be achieved on something like 5hrs of riding a week.
Ultimately, the FTP is determined by a short test, not over a 4 hour ride.
If your genetic ceiling is at or below the magic number, this might be a different story. I however believe, that there are far more young, healthy, male cyclists out there who could realistically achieve an FTP beyond 4Wkg, than people think.
I will say that most people over focus on FTP. I have hardly improved in FTP (based on test results) since Nov 2020. I have however become a much, much better cyclist, being able to get much closer to my best power when racing in the mountains, or racing iTT.
On the other hand, I do understand why improving FTP is desirable.
It’s easy to measure, a good (not great) way of measuring progress and fitness, and… let’s be real, easy to communicate.
Cycling people I meet always ask „what’s your FTP, bro?“ and with just 3 digits (as an absolute number) I can convince them of being super fit.
For all of the non-racers/ non-pros among us, I still find FTP useful.
I am a numbers guy, and I am also obsessed with marginal improvements. Riding fast, feeling fit, and yes, being faster than others, has kept cycling interesting for me for years now, and is an important and motivating part of the sport for me, that gets me off the couch and on to the turbo, even after a hard day‘s work.

Sorry for rambling on for so long.
What is needed for a 4Wkg FTP?
My 2 cents:

I see it as an equation with 3 variables.

  1. Fitness
  2. Weight
  3. ability to access your fitness when needed
    ———

(Edit: I didn’t type the (4.) nor can I delete it.

As a relative novice to the sport, weight training might not be a bad idea to incorporate into training. When racing, it is very common to do that during the winter months, to focus more on specific on the bike training during the season.
When not racing, it doesn’t really matter.
Weight training will definitely improve fitness, and can not be substituted with stuff like big gear work.

The most time efficient way of building on the bike fitness will be intervals. I’ll probably not make a lot of friends here, but polarized training is very time efficient, and helps to Prime for the pain of a ramp test.
What ever Route you go here, I don’t think that riding 15 hours a week is at all necessary to reach 4Wkg.
That is of course, if your hours riding are spend training. Riding a bike and training are not the same thing. Training is riding to zones (power in this case). This is what gets most people to 4Wkg and beyond. Riding around for hours and hours can help you improve, but it is extremely inefficient.

Rest is also part of this equation. Monitor how much you sleep and how you feel. Sleep is not only important to build fitness, but also to stay healthy and mentally sharp long term.
That’s another reason why I don’t think overdoing the „base miles“ is a great approach. It can build up a lot of physical stress, takes up a lot of time that could
otherwise be used for rest, and builds relatively (time to outcome) little fitness towards your FTP goal.

  1. weight… ride your bike, eat high carbs, high on veggies, fuel your work outs (so eat well before, during and after your workouts), keep fats and protein relatively low. You’ll reach a good cycling weight very likely just by doing that.
    I myself tried starving myself early on to embrace the cycling look, and ended up becoming significantly weaker as a cyclist. For me, 71 to 72kg (I am 6‘3// 191cm) has come out as the sweetspot, and 68kg (where I once was) has hurt me mentally and physically.
    Don’t over Stress the „being light“ stuff.
    A high absolute FTP is significantly more important than a super low weight. You need food to perform, the rest will usually fall into place.

  2. being able to really kill yourself during a test is an important skill, that takes practice. It will also be a relevant skill when you get into racing.
    Many people don’t reach their physical limit in tests or races, because they crumble mentally. After the test/ races, you usually feel like kicking yourself for not having dug deeper.
    For me, intervals have really helped me. This is also where I think sweetspot work has its‘ place. A long sweetspot or threshold interval is extremely mentally tough to endure. With that mental challenge on a frequent basis, an FTP test will be much less of a shock to the system.
    Also, find something that motivates you. It can be loud music (which has been proven to enhance performance), imagining yourself winning a mountain stage, idk. Through riding more, you’ll likely find something to give you that extra edge.
    Lastly, break efforts up into segments that seem manageable (not literally break your efforts up, this is a mental exercise of how you view what you have done already and how much you have left).
    This has helped me a lot. Not thinking „oh no, it’s 95% left, I have done nothing yet“ but more like: „only a little longer and I’m at 10% - let’s see from there.“

Hope this helps a little

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I call bs on that unless you are very gifted genetically.

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no man… that’s not true… I consider myself pretty gifted with regards to genetics when I compare myself with others in my environment, I got to 4w/kg on a LV plan, but for most people on a few hours per week. 3.5 is already pretty decent, if you get to 4 without “special trainig” it would definately be worth it to invest in “special training” and see if you can get a pro contract :slight_smile:

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knowing your actual ftp to me is important because the equipment we using these days require us to input our FTP

1: Trainer
2: garmin watch/device , wahoo…etc…
3: tracking software like strava/zwift/tp/TR and etc…

without setting ftp correctly, you probably riding in the wrong zone.

Really? I’m perhaps being slightly flippant but honestly if you have stayed active during your life then 4W/KG shouldn’t be any kind of challenge to achieve.

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