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What is considered a good FTP based on my age and weight?

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What is considered a good FTP based on my age and weight?

Old 09-05-14, 12:02 AM
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This is fun.

Power is dependent upon a ton of things and isn't a singular measurement that can be used to predict performance.

I have personally trained a lot of racers that have had power/weight ratios that should have made them the most competitive in the region only to watch them fail over and over because...they were bad racers.

I have also watched "cagey old people" racers who wryly end up on podium after podium without "having the power" that the rest of their competition has.

Power, in and of itself, is not a predictor of racing performance, but unfortunately for a large number of individuals who are competitive by nature they sometimes feel that the only way to "compete" without actually "competing" is by comparing numbers in a vacuum.

What power CAN be is first and foremost an extremely effective training tool when used to personally set up your training and using it as strictly a personal guide and secondarily as what is referred to as a "hygiene" factor. Meaning a high power to weight ratio at FTP isn't in and of itself a predictor of performance, but the absence of a modest amount of it is definitely a predictor of "poor" competitive performance.

It truly is a balance of power to weight though that does net out your performance overall. After training at a high, focused level for many seasons the huge gains one sees from newly coming to the sport just simply disappear. You can "tweak" your power here and there, but the large increases and gains in FTP are at some point just really hard to come by and take a large volume of training load to affect. At the same time dropping weight is one of the easier things to accomplish that will result in the same sort of overall performance gains.

I worked with an ex-pro who has been coaching for 20-ish years. During a computrainer class we were running once one of our established clients was asking "what's the best way for me to increase my performance for 'x' event?". Her response was, "tape your mouth shut. It's your only hope."

It sounds harsh and it's stuff like that which gives us roadies a bad name, but it's true. You don't have to like it or even agree with it. You simply have to abide by it because that's just how the laws of nature: physiology and physics work. You can spend all your hours looking on the internet for someone who will agree with your own viewpoint on it or you can get faster. Your choice.

OP - you asked what a good ftp was for you. We all know what you are trying to ask. It should be a relatively "easy" thing to answer, but the reality is actually extremely dependent upon what you are trying to do. If you're trying to be competitive in a certain dicipline then it may be one thing. If it's to be healthy then it may be another thing.

After having been a dealer of power meters of all sorts as well as running a computrainer multirider studio for 5 years now I feel that I can state this with a bit of authority: every rider who has come to me and use the numbers they arrived at through the use of a trainer's curve and their speed has been woefully off the mark. Usually by 20% or even more. The funny thing is....it's meaningless. The point of having a "number" is to know how to train and to gauge improvement or decline so if you get your "number" from a trainer and you always use that trainer when testing against that number or training with that number then it's "absolute value" or "Accuracy" is meaningless. Luckily we don't decide races or other competitive events by the "numbers" we post. We do it by lining up next to each other and seeing who crosses the line first.

If you're training across a lot of different devices due to situation, travel, etc. then the absolute value of the measurement or accuracy of the device is an important consideration, but only in as far as how it impacts your own training.

As I mentioned before - while power to weight isn't a measuring device in and of itself as a predictor of performance we CAN usually say what is competitive in this area for the races we do. In essence if you're below that 3.0 W/kg ratio then historically we have seen poorer performance in our local competitive races. Not to say success isn't possible it just means that we tend to help the rider focus on improving at that Cat 4 level to improving into the 3's instead of throwing a kit on them and giving them wheels with the hopes of them dominating podiums.
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Old 09-05-14, 12:34 AM
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Coggan says he actually did away with that w/kg chart due to the number of people who misunderstand it. He says that he brought it back when a large number of coaches begged him to. BTW, here's a link to a more current version of the chart (he is constantly updating it based on race results.)

https://www.bicycling.com/training-nu...files-cyclists

Last edited by Dunbar; 09-05-14 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 09-05-14, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by HOWSER
Good compared to what? Figure your watts per kilo then refer to this chart.

https://www.livetrainrace.com/wordp/w...ight-chart.png
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Old 09-05-14, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar
Coggan says he actually did away with that w/kg chart due to the number of people who misunderstand it. He says that he brought it back when a large number of coaches begged him to. BTW, here's a link to a more current version of the chart (he is constantly updating it based on race results.)

Power-to-Weight Ratios: Bicycling Training | Bicycling Magazine
Close: in version 2 or 3, I did away with the category labels, but then brought them back at the request of coaches who found them useful.
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Old 09-05-14, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
how many cyclist to Coggan survey to construct the table, and how does that impact comparisons to data one might glean from the tens of thousands-- hundreds of, maybe even?-- Strava users? Within that framework, what does the Veloviewer Score tell us that the Coggan chart doesn't?

Secondly, as a percentage of total cycling population, do USAC licensed racers constitute .1%? More? Less? And what percentage pros? If, say, 94% of all cyclists test an FTP of sub 2.5w/kg, a 3w/kg FTP rider, while placing amongst the top 10% of all riders, still barely breaks Coggan's lowest tier, Untrained.

My point being that, while the Coggan chart may be useful for comparing one's self to pro cyclists, it doesn't say much about how you'll stack up on the road against those you're likely to ride with and run across.
The answers to your questions can be found here:

Power Profiling | TrainingPeaks

(Note that the chart linked from that article is out-of-date....it's up to version 8 now.)
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Old 09-05-14, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso
According to Coggan, I should be downgraded.
No, you shouldn't. The only way to reach that conclusion is by misinterpreting the power profiling tables.
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Old 09-05-14, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
I have a hard time believing the "untrained" section of Coggan's table.
The lower anchor point (i.e, center of untrained range) of each column is based on literature values for average, untrained, young, lean men or women. If you or someone you know can't match those values, then you/they must not be young and/or lean, and/or you are simply below average. (Of course, given that physiological capabilities generally follow a normal distribution, the latter would apply to ~50% of all individuals.)
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Old 09-05-14, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Makel
13
Don't be ridiculous!
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Old 09-05-14, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew Coggan
The lower anchor point (i.e, center of untrained range) of each column is based on literature values for average, untrained, young, lean men or women. If you or someone you know can't match those values, then you/they must not be young and/or lean, and/or you are simply below average. (Of course, given that physiological capabilities generally follow a normal distribution, the latter would apply to ~50% of all individuals.)
I do match them, but during my rides the majority of people I see on bikes don't, and the handful of Strava segments I see don't match up, so I am skeptical of your claim.

I think you need more levels underneath "untrained"

Last edited by wphamilton; 09-05-14 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 09-05-14, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew Coggan
No, you shouldn't. The only way to reach that conclusion is by misinterpreting the power profiling tables.
Yeah, I was being facetious.

Anyway, it's interesting to see that I fall pretty much exactly on the all-arounder profile. I can work with that. The trick now is to push all the values up.
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Old 09-05-14, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79
Don't be ridiculous!
Okay, 14.50 then, but not a cent higher.
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Old 09-05-14, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
I do match them, but during my rides the majority of people I see on bikes don't, and the handful of Strava segments I see don't match up, so I am skeptical of your claim.
How on earth can you determine a perfect stranger's FTP by observing them on a ride? I ride in a place with a ton of roadies and there's no way I could eyeball somebody and determine their FTP. I have a power meter so if they were chasing me up a climb for at least 5 minutes I could get a rough approximation if I could guess their weight fairly close but that's about it.
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Old 09-05-14, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar
How on earth can you determine a perfect stranger's FTP by observing them on a ride? I ride in a place with a ton of roadies and there's no way I could eyeball somebody and determine their FTP. I have a power meter so if they were chasing me up a climb for at least 5 minutes I could get a rough approximation if I could guess their weight fairly close but that's about it.
I watch them go as hard as they can, and falter.
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Old 09-05-14, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
I watch them go as hard as they can, and falter.
And let me guess, you don't have a power meter? I can think of even worse ways to estimate someone's FTP but it's not easy...
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Old 09-05-14, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by IronHorseRiderX
Think of watts for rider as of hp for car.
Watts/hp alone will not tell you how fast rider/car is - only combination of both will.
On side it's pure human physiology - bigger rider should produce more total watts (assuming same body fat %: more muscle mass = more power).
So if you measure your own performance (as OP intended) it's important to know which category you fit in hence the whole watt/kg scale.
Definitely true for climbing, and mostly true for acceleration. But for speed on flats (i.e, time trialing) w/surface volume is more significant than W/kg, which is why bigger guys (such as Cancellera) kill it in TT's against little climber guys that have the w/kg to drop them in the high mountains.

Applying this to cars hp/kg will tell you a lot about the zero to sixty time of the car, but hp/ frontal area x drag coefficient will tell you more about the top end speed the car is capable of.
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Old 09-05-14, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar
And let me guess, you don't have a power meter? I can think of even worse ways to estimate someone's FTP but it's not easy...
Who say's I'm estimating their power? Knowing that it's below some number isn't the same as estimating the number.

Geeze.
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Old 09-05-14, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
Who say's I'm estimating their power? Knowing that it's below some number isn't the same as estimating the number.
And what percentage of riders take you up on your MUP racing challenge?
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Old 09-05-14, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
I do match them, but during my rides the majority of people I see on bikes don't, and the handful of Strava segments I see don't match up, so I am skeptical of your claim.

I think you need more levels underneath "untrained"
When looking at Strava don't underestimate the power of a stiff tailwind. I have not looked at a recent version of the chart but I think the word "untrained" is a little misleading and perhaps leaves a bad taste with some. In the PC world perhaps we should be aerobically challenged?

At 58 I flirt with "untrained" at FTP (despite a fair amount of training) and can still almost touch "Cat 2" at 5s. The combination tells me something and is a pretty accurate description of my capabilities as a rider. And that profile has been consistent despite years on and years off the bike.
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Old 09-05-14, 08:26 PM
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After reading this thread, I can see why Dr. Coggan took out the category labels.
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Old 09-05-14, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar
And what percentage of riders take you up on your MUP racing challenge?
Who said anything about mup racing?

Last edited by wphamilton; 09-05-14 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 09-05-14, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76
When looking at Strava don't underestimate the power of a stiff tailwind. I have not looked at a recent version of the chart but I think the word "untrained" is a little misleading and perhaps leaves a bad taste with some. In the PC world perhaps we should be aerobically challenged?

At 58 I flirt with "untrained" at FTP (despite a fair amount of training) and can still almost touch "Cat 2" at 5s. The combination tells me something and is a pretty accurate description of my capabilities as a rider. And that profile has been consistent despite years on and years off the bike.
I'd expect the top end of the chart to be dead on, on general principle if nothing else.
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Old 09-06-14, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew Coggan
The answers to your questions can be found here:

Power Profiling | TrainingPeaks

(Note that the chart linked from that article is out-of-date....it's up to version 8 now.)
Thanks, Doc. To be clear, I wasn't impugning your work, rather asking what your findings tells us compared to what can be gleaned from Strava data.

I just wonder to what extent, when you say, "In theory, tables of standards for power output for different durations could be generated by simply collecting data on a large number of cyclists of widely varying ability," that Strava does precisely that, and further provides a more real-world (i.e. amateur) comparative picture as opposed to benchmarking off professional athletes?
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Old 09-06-14, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso
After reading this thread, I can see why Dr. Coggan took out the category labels.
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Old 12-09-23, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by IronHorseRiderX
Think of watts for rider as of hp for car.
Watts/hp alone will not tell you how fast rider/car is - only combination of both will.
On side it's pure human physiology - bigger rider should produce more total watts (assuming same body fat %: more muscle mass = more power).
So if you measure your own performance (as OP intended) it's important to know which category you fit in hence the whole watt/kg scale.
This is not entirely accurate. There are diminishing returns for bigger riders when it comes to TIME at power (FTP as a popular measure of same), and, with the weight in the denominator of power to weight ratios, certainly reduces one's power to weight ratio. Yes, bigger may translate to more muscular and more powerful, but...for how long? Bigger (read more metabolic liability) is typically a disadvantage when it comes to endurance and certainly over an hour at "max" for that hour (FTP). Just want to be a bit more clear. Power lifters have some of the best power to weight ratios, but typically won't last more than a minute or so at their max power (or even close) on a bike.
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Old 12-09-23, 07:32 PM
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EDIT: This is a zombie thread, but this might be of interest to some readers.

If you're really interested in knowing how your best power "stacks up" against others of the same age, Training Peaks app has a beta feature called StackUp that will show you your percentile.

Here's a screen shot from my app:

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