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

I have the impression though that volume needs a minimum level on intensity though, like if you do 12 hours a week at 0.56 IF, your CTL would still be pretty low despite lots of hours, (Griffin x6 = 378 TSS), that would give CTL of 54 (which in the ball park of where I run with 7-10 hours a week most recently).

What I am shooting for it to work up to ~7-8 hours Z2 in 0.60 to 0.65 range with 2-3 hours of intensity, hoping to get >450 TSS and CTL >65.

From my experience, I fear if I only did Z2 and just did a ton of hours, anytime the intensity ramped up I would get cooked and would have no snap or responsiveness on the pedals. Perhaps someone could achieve a higher FTP without that capacity though than if they are trying to maintain that sharpness and increase their FTP?

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Yep, totally agree. When I refer to volume, I think of that being inclusive of intensity (ie - volume = time * intensity). And while I’m sure you can get to a high w/kg just pushing a ton of Z2, a little time in the higher zones will move that along and is also really helpful in actual riding/racing.


Plus, we have to think in real world riding, where the variables, mostly intensity, is highly variable due to terrain, wind, group, etc.

So even though if one only does z2 rides outside as a volume-driver, there’s going to be some work in z3, z4. I’m not saying specific vo2 though, only a few sprinkles here and there.

I think this is an area where TSS isn’t necessarily comparing like with like, insofar as (to my mind) it’s a better measurement of how fatiguing an effort is rather than how great the stimulus is. It also ignores the compounding and possible metabolic effects (without wishing to open the fatmax can of worms) of just spending more time exercising.*

I strongly suspect that 12 hours/week at (only) ~0.6 would generate improvement in a lot of athletes. In fact, in the ISM thread, isn’t there mention of studies where athletes have done more or less only z2 but seen improvements in 5 to 20 minute power?

*100% anecdata, but my dad recently went into hospital for a planned minor procedure. He’s 75. While he’s never been an ‘athlete’, he has walked for an average of an hour a day since retiring 14 years ago. Pre-surgery, they recorded his RHR at 55 and his BP at 115/70. The medic checking him said they never see those numbers outside athletes coming in for injury repairs, and was 100% convinced that it was his walking. A bit OT, but I’m convinced that there’s magic in volume, especially consistent volume over time, and that intensity is a bit overrated.


I wouldn’t say it is overrated, but I think it can be overemphasized.

A better way of thinking about it is volume (especially over time) is the cake and intensity is the icing. The majority of the cake is built through volume, but the best and tastiest part of the cake is the icing, but that comes at the end.


Reminders me of…

" Most athletes significantly underestimate the benefit of volume on performance and significantly over-estimate the value of intensity on performance." AC


Latest test for me was 3.95 W/Kg on 4 hours a week (TR low volume). ~40 years old living and training at moderate high altitude between 5,600 and 8,500 ft for most rides. Not-adjusting FTP for sea level equivalent.

As I’ve said many times in these threads before, I’m not arguing that I wouldn’t be faster with more volume, just that low volume allows me to hit a reasonable level of fitness with minimal time commitment. I have no impressive athletic background, was computer nerd who played video games rather than sports until I picked up cycling in my mid 20s. Have been riding relatively regularly, some years more, others purely occasionally for fun, for about 15 years now.


So 20 years cycling, and a relatively high responder… yes that will do it.

Nice work btw. I wish I was like that. 15 yrs (22 counting rowing) and it takes me 10 hrs to get to 3.9.

15-16 hours gets me 4.5 - 4.6 (once) when I also focused on weight (only done that once… too much effort on hours and weight.) But it shows unless you’ve gone all in you arent near the limit you think you are.

I thought 3.9 - 4.0 was my limit until I found a way to get 15 plus hours in for 9 months… peak weeks 20 hours.


Total guess but if you had time for more hours and the recovery needed… you’d be 4.5 - 4.8 ish. Not taken weigh into consideration so might be along way out. I was doing an eggs and eggs thing. All things equal.

I’m still confused if people are sharing 20min or ftp or some other metric for their w/kg. No one clarifies. :sweat_smile:


60 seconds max power, of course!

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And how about them Kg’s? Is it my driver’s license weight or the day after the holiday party? :crazy_face:


Can’t speak for others, I’ve been giving updates on AI FTP calculations. I’ve only done one ramp test since AI FTP rolled out and it matched my calculation but I haven’t done one in a while so :man_shrugging:

For weight I do regular weigh in’s and track trends via Garmin Index.


What do you mean? Is there anything else than US?

I reached 4W/kg after 1 second of training and then it went downhill the longer I kept pedalling.


this is the way :muscle:

So apparently I’ve made the 4w/kg club. Who knew?

I started cycling (more than just 20 minute commutes several times a week) in 2020. My longest ride in 2020 was 30km and during 2021 I was getting into it more and more. Did my first 100km, nearly died with a weird little crash, and Dec’21 bought some power meter pedals. First FTP test (on a dumb trainer with the pedals) was 136w - because I was off the bike for 3 months after the aforementioned crash. Quickly went up to around 170w and sat there for most of 2022. Did my first 100miles in 2022 and by the end.of the year FTP was around 200w.

Last year I had high hopes, started the year well but then had a kidney infection and it really held me back. Despite that I completed my first 200km ride and a sprint triathlon. By November 2022 my FTP was up to 240w. Oh, by this point I should say I weigh 67kg. I’m 38yr Male and have been 67kg for as long as I can remember, rarely fluctuate. So this takes me to 3.58w/kg by this time.

This year I had a very strong January on Zwift and then signed up to TR in March. My first TR ramp test was 247w and since then AI detection has suggested a couple of watts extra but I’ve ignored given it’s so close. However, I did a climb portal of Zwift last week and picked up a new FTP - up to this point interval has pretty much tracked with by FTP through Garmin and now TR. On this climb I held 295w for 20minutes, so suggested a new FTP of 287w or 4.28w/kg.

I have a long sportive on Sunday (216km with over 3,500m of climbing) so I’ve not done any ramp test, but hoping to validate after a few rest days. Will be interesting to see if it’s not an anomaly. It would mean a step from final ramp being 320 up to around 380. Seems like a lot. Has anyone else had any experience of jumps like this?


Update on this:
So, like most people, I’ve been doing FTP tests on the trainer. My first TR FTP test came out at 247w back in March.
Then a month ago I did a Zwift portal climb and gave me an updated eFTP of 287w - potentially I needed a calibration here!
Today I did an outdoor 10mileTT (on a road bike with aero bars) in 24:53 with an average power of 246w. So as suspected I’m probably not over the 4w/kg threshold just yet (I’m 67kg) - but getting closer. I think some more specific training around this kind of time will help, most of the year I’ve been training for 10 hours rides so it’s quite different.


Congrats for your evolution!

I wouldn’t care too much about FTP numbers. Of course you need a ballpark, but your FTP today isn’t the same tomorrow. If you tested indoor vs outdoor. You profile, goals, etc. There are so many variables.

It appears that you go for long challenges, so I’d focus in sustained power for longer periods, and not in get 350w in a 20min test. That means nothing when you’re doing your 200km ride.

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Some fair points there. It’s very easy to focus on FTP as a metric :+1: