24 Jun 2019

Increasing your watts per kilo

In order to improve your efficiency as a cyclist, you’ll be looking to get the highest max power output for your weight. There are three main ways to do this, these being:
Increasing your power output whilst keeping a constant weightKeeping your power output constant whilst losing weightIncreasing your power whilst also losing weight.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if your weight also increases with your max power output, your power to weight ratio may not actually change. This is where factors such as your training routine, strength training and nutrition come into play. Therefore, when you’re training to improve your power to weight ratio, shedding body weight but keeping the same power output is generally more beneficial than staying at the same weight and simply working on your aerobic fitness.

What to do to improve your power to weight ratio

If you’re a beginner, your best bet is to simply get more miles in, indoors on the Wattbike as well as outside. This will improve your aerobic fitness and you’ll lose body fat as you go. If you’re a more experienced cyclist or your fat levels are already quite low, adding more miles may just lead to burnout and subsequent muscle loss.

Therefore, targeting max power bursts in your training (through intervals or hill training) can help work on those short power improvements. Remember to work in enough recovery time in between sessions, as this will help the muscles repair and strengthen. Regular weight or strength training can also help prevent loss of power during periods of weight loss, and focusing on your pedalling technique can also help improve your overall cycling efficiency can also help you find those extra watts.

When you increase your power to weight ratio, your body composition changes. Fat is replaced with lean muscle, which has a number of benefits to your overall health and performance. Added muscle mass helps to improve water retention, meaning you’re less likely to get dehydrated as quickly. Interval, hill and strength training will also help you to improve your VO2 max, which in turn allows you to perform outside of your lactic threshold for longer durations, as increased oxygen efficiency helps the body to buffer lactic acid so you’ll spend less time in an anaerobic state before your next sprint or big push.

So, by concentrating on your power to weight ratio, not only will you be building a more efficient body for cycling, but you’ll be building a much healthier and more efficient body overall.

First published here: https://wattbike.com/gb/blog/watts-per-kilo-explained

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