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Power-to-weight ratio explained: why W/kg is important and how to improve yours

Power-to-weight ratio explained: why W/kg is important and how to improve yours

Power-to-weight ratio is one of the key metrics that determines how quickly a cyclist can climb uphill. Of course, the total power output you can…

Tuesday, Mar 08

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Power-to-weight ratio is one of the key metrics that determines how quickly a cyclist can climb uphill.

Of course, the total power output you can produce plays a role in determining your overall cycling performance, but raw wattage alone doesn’t always tell the entire story, especially when climbing hills comes into the equation.

This is where your power-to-weight ratio – expressed as watts-per-kilogram – is key.

Normalising your power output to your body weight can provide a better means of assessing your ability over hilly terrain and comparing your performance to other cyclists.

Here, we’ll look at how to calculate your own power-to-weight ratio, how to improve it and what effect that improvement can have on your cycling performance. Calculating power-to-weight ratio

Your power-to-weight ratio can be calculated as watts (W) divided by your body weight in kilograms (kg), expressed as W/kg.

All you need to do is take the power output you can sustain for a given duration or at a certain physiological threshold (we’ll come on to that) and divide it by your body weight in kilograms to find your own W/kg.The watts used in this calculation will most commonly refer to your power output at your maximal steady-state power, which could be an identified lactate concentration (e.g. 4 mmol/L), critical power or, most commonly, Functional Threshold Power (FTP).For example, if you complete an FTP test and your Functional Threshold Power is determined to be 250 watts, and you weigh 75kg, your power-to-weight ratio here will be 3.33 W/kg.While lactate concentration, critical […]

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