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Power to Weight Ratio – Training

By Jiri Kaloc

How to improve power-to-weight (PWR) ratio? One way is certainly through your training. Let’s take a closer look at what you should do as a beginner to improve your PWR and how does it change as you become a more experienced cyclist.

To improve your PWR through training, you need to increase your power output while keeping your weight constant or decreasing it. We will focus on weight management in the following article. So, let’s look at the best strategies that will improve your power without making you heavier.

Riding on an indoor cycling trainer is always a good option to have. 

Beginner cyclists

If you’re a beginner, you have the easiest task ahead of you – just ride more. Your PWR will keep improving almost no matter the type of cycling workout you choose, just keep gradually increasing the overall workload. As you spend more time in the saddle, your aerobic metabolism will improve, which means you will be able to maintain more power for longer. And it gets even better. This gradual increase in physical activity might even help you lose some excess body fat, which further improves your PWR.

Experienced cyclists

For more experienced riders, it gets a bit more complex. Chances are you are already riding quite a lot as a seasoned veteran. Increasing the time spent in the saddle might not give you much benefit and could even lead to overtraining or burnout. Even losing fat can be tricky because you are likely pretty lean and mistakes in nutrition could lead to muscle loss, which would result in loss of power too. The best option is to include more training sessions that would be specifically tailored to improving power. That means various intervals, hill repeats, and lactate-threshold sessions. You can check out a few examples of these rides in our Build Your Own Training Plan series.

© redsnapper / Alamy / Alamy / Profimedia

Weight training

One strategy that will help everyone, from beginners to the most experienced cyclists, is weight training. Studies show that resistance training improves muscle efficiency, loss of muscle power during periods of high-volume training, and even during periods of weight loss. Implement regular weight training for the key muscles – quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, once or twice a week to see a benefit. Check out our previous article for help with the workout selection.

How about a lighter bike?

Probably the most popular strategy for improving power-to-weight ratio among cycling enthusiasts is buying a new, lighter bike. And it works, your bike’s weight needs to be added to your body weight in order to get the true PWR. Plus, every experienced cyclist knows that feeling of speed and power you get when upgrading to a new machine. Just keep in mind that the UCI limit is 6,8 kg and all PWR calculations for pros are done without the weight of the bike because everyone has the lightest possible bike. We hope you get as close to that limit as budget allows!

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