Power-to-Weight Ratio Training
Your power-to-weight ratio is the single greatest determinant of cycling performance. It is calculated by dividing your watts by your body weight in kilograms.
Power-to-Weight Ratio Training is best accomplished in three ways:
#1 Build a big base
#2 Perform intervals
#3 Lose weight
How to build a big cycling base
Before you put a roof on your house, you need to build a solid foundation. Your aerobic endurance is your foundation. Build this foundation as deep and as solid as you can by riding a lot.
The primary ingredients in your foundation are Zone 2 riding (your all day pace), Zone 3 riding (or ‘tempo’) and Sweet Spot. When you’re out on your weekend ride, try to maximize time in these zones and minimize time spent in Zone 1.
Related reading: Five Fundamentals for Faster
Yes, we hear you; most of us do not have unlimited time to ride for hours and hours every day in Zone 2. So, Sweet Spot Training is for you! It’s the most time efficient way to train that still lets your body recover. Learn more here about Sweet Spot Training.
How to perform intervals
Once you have a solid foundation, start building the walls and that elevated ceiling with intervals.
When we talk about power-to-weight ratio, we are talking about the maximum amount of watts you can do for a given duration. Sometimes it’s your threshold w/kg; sometimes it’s your 5-minute power. But in all cases it’s the absolute top end of what you can sustain for that time period. And you can’t improve that top end without working on it.
Threshold intervals in Zone 4 are useful for climbing, time trials, mountain biking, gravel and fondo disciplines. Even multisport. Any event where you are required to ride steady hard for greater than 6-7 minutes and less than 60 minutes demands threshold power output.
VO2 Max Zone 5 intervals are are some of the most difficult intervals yet they yield the greatest increase in power output. We like to progress athletes through a "3 > 4 > 5 minute VO2 progression" but the best VO2 Max interval workout to start with is four 3 minute VO2 intervals broken up into two sets of 2 x 3 minutes on 3 minutes off with a 6 minute set break.
Anaerobic Capacity Zone 6 intervals are basically as hard as you can go for one minute.
Here is how to do Zone 4, 5, and 6 intervals.
How to lose weight
There are two parts of the w/kg equation: the power you put out, and the mass that power is propelling. Improving either side of the equation is helpful!
Nutrition and food choices are a key component of weight loss for all endurance athletes.
There are some dietary changes we suggest before plunging into a caloric deficit (diet). Oftentimes simple lifestyle changes will result in a leaner, healthier, and faster athlete. For example, think about foods as being ‘go slow’ or ‘go fast’. Go slow foods include those with lots of sugar, partially hydrogenated fat, saturated fat, and alcohol. Go fast foods include complex carbohydrates, fruits and veggies, and lean proteins.
Also, eat often, aiming for three meals a day and four snacks. And drink lots of water!
We believe that 80 percent of weight loss occurs in the kitchen through food choices, and 20 percent occurs from exercise.
Read more about losing weight the healthy way here.
Inside WorldTour success with Joanne Kiesanowski
Ask a FasCat #23
Road Racing Intervals
- Increase your functional and race-specific power output
- Includes Sweet Spot, VO2, Anaerobic, Threshold
Foundation : 3 Weeks
- Perfect for all cyclists beginning off season training
- Raise your CTL and the all-important muscle tension intervals
Road Race In-Season
- Weekend racing and group rides with weekday training and recovery
- anaerobic efforts like criss cross, Over/Unders Sweet Spot, Threshold
Phil Gaimon's Strava PR Plan
- Perfect Plan for Those with Less Training Time, starts at 15 minutes per day
- VO2's, 1 minuters, Tabatas, threshold, suprathreshold, and even Sweet Spot