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  1. #1
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    FTP 300 W, 20 min 400 W (standing)

    Hello,

    I have a problem, my current FTP (1 h power) is 300 W ( I am 155 lb). But in 20 min I can do 400 W, but only out from saddle in 60-65 cadence. If I try to sit it seems impossible to put enough force to the pedals.

    My background, I'm 29 years old and been riding ~1,5 year. I have done racing in cross country skiing many years, which has giving me an ok VO2 max. I think it necessary for XC-mtb races.

    What type of training you suggest to improve my riding from saddle? Stand on the bike and pedaling has always been very easy to me. On the saddle my legs feels weak.

    Sorry my poor english, not my own language.

    Jon

  2. #2
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    Are you trying to push too big of a gear? Have you tried spinning at 90 rpm sitting? I'd say next get a professional bike fit. No reason you shouldn't be able to sit and out the power down. But I'm no expert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floxy
    Are you trying to push too big of a gear? Have you tried spinning at 90 rpm sitting? I'd say next get a professional bike fit. No reason you shouldn't be able to sit and out the power down. But I'm no expert.
    On my own bike I have tried to use higher cadence also, even more than 100. But there is no way I can put out a same power as when I'm standing and riding in cadence ~65.

    The test bike was ergometer without gears (power automatically adjust, lower cadence -> harder resistance), and yes I tried to spin over 90 and even over 100 rpm... I could not do it for long but after I stand up and the cadence decreased I continued several minutes.

    Maybe I should get a professional bike fit. At least then I would know that the problem is not in my saddle height etc.

    I just dont't understand why there is so big difference in riding from saddle vs standing. There must be something wrong in my riding position.

  4. #4
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    400 watts standing? That's a FT of over 5.5 watts/kg. You should consider immediately turning pro as that type of power exceeds what most "professional" mountain bikers can sustain.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by drews97
    400 watts standing? That's a FT of over 5.5 watts/kg. You should consider immediately turning pro as that type of power exceeds what most "professional" mountain bikers can sustain.
    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing!
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

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    Quote Originally Posted by drews97
    400 watts standing? That's a FT of over 5.5 watts/kg. You should consider immediately turning pro as that type of power exceeds what most "professional" mountain bikers can sustain.
    Yes that is the number I have reach in the test, but it is not that simple... Like I say, my FTP "1 h power" is only 300 w (4,28 w/kg). Definitely not a pro's number. There is so huge difference if I'm riding on seated or not.

    That 20 min/400 w is also done with 60-65 cadence and that is pretty low. No way I could do it with 80 or 90. My avg HR in that test was 186 (97 % from max) and max lactate in the end was 14,1. So that was the best I can do and could not continue one second more.

    And of course in XC-races there is so many things effecting to the result... technique, mentality, bike etc... And I need to improve lots of things if I want to be a pro (and even that it probably is just a dream). And maybe I'm too old already.

    Thanks for the replies, professional bike fit is the next thing I'm going to try.
    Last edited by Battle Duck; 01-01-2011 at 01:00 AM.

  7. #7
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    You sound like me. We're about the same weight (guessed from your w/kg) and I put out much more power out of saddle, though I've not done a 20 min. test that way.

    Maybe you are just used to putting out wattage standing (from xc skiing)? I'd bet more time on the bike would improve the ability to put out wattage in the seated position.

    I think lighter guys can often put out more wattage standing.
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  8. #8
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    I would suggest to you that riding and racing a bike takes time to gain the skills and efficiency to do well. You've only been riding for 1.5 years? That's not much time.
    You will probably always generate more power when you stand (body weight, more upper body incorporated), but it's very inefficient for long periods of time.
    Start with the basics and build on that.
    1. Bike fit properly
    2. Ride/ train with a purpose of building fitness and skills
    3. Find a coach, if you're interested in possibly speeding up the first 2

    I also would suggest listening to anyone that tells you to go straight to the Pro level of racing! Just because you have a big motor doesn't mean your ready for the speed, skills and experience of Pro level racing! Give you body time to learn the craft before you jump in with the Big Dogs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by n8rhino
    I would suggest to you that riding and racing a bike takes time to gain the skills and efficiency to do well. You've only been riding for 1.5 years? That's not much time.
    1,5 years and mtb only. Total training hours from the start is about 350. I understand that's not much comparing to many other racers on the trail. But of course thousands of hours training in endurance sports before that, specially skiing and running also.

    Last season was my first in XC-racing. It was very fun and I'm very well motivated for train to the next season.

    Quote Originally Posted by n8rhino
    You will probably always generate more power when you stand (body weight, more upper body incorporated), but it's very inefficient for long periods of time.
    Start with the basics and build on that.
    1. Bike fit properly
    2. Ride/ train with a purpose of building fitness and skills
    3. Find a coach, if you're interested in possibly speeding up the first 2
    Standing Is inefficient, I know... In long races, of course I have to stay more seated but uphills, I never ride them from the saddle. That would put me back of the group.

    There is lot of things to improve for me, and I think I need some kind of training program and some "big picture" to follow. This far I've been only riding, sometimes hard, sometimes easier. Following my instinct. Coach is a great idea but it is difficult to find one. I guess I'm trying to coach myself at least for the next season, and see how it goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by n8rhino
    I also would suggest listening to anyone that tells you to go straight to the Pro level of racing! Just because you have a big motor doesn't mean your ready for the speed, skills and experience of Pro level racing! Give you body time to learn the craft before you jump in with the Big Dogs!
    I totally understand that, and I am not actually setting my target to be a pro one day. I have a day job to care and really it does not sound realistic to me. I will just try to improve my riding, and have experience from racing. Most important thing for me is to find my limits. How far it takes, well maybe I find out one day.

    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74
    Maybe you are just used to putting out wattage standing (from xc skiing)? I'd bet more time on the bike would improve the ability to put out wattage in the seated position.
    You are probably right about that. I'm used to carry my body weight in skiing, and that's what need to do in standing on the bike also. More time on the bike, definitely!

  10. #10
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    I'm curious regarding whether we've got other riders who have ever tried a 20 minute power test standing the whole time--and if so how their 20 min. wattage number compared to their "on bike" wattage number where you are actually riding a real bike and standing the whole time would rarely be realistic.

    Could a setting where you can stand the whole time and mash a big gear give rise to a higher 20 min. wattage number due to increased use of your body weight?

    Maybe that is skewing the numbers. I doubt anyone would ever stand and mash a big gear while standing for an actual hour on a real bike--unless maybe someone has that great of fitness to be able to stand while working that hard on a super long climb. So maybe the 20 min. test mashing a big gear while standing on an indoor bike doesn't really translate well in estimating FTP (which, by definition, is max mean power over a full hour).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatorback
    Maybe that is skewing the numbers. I doubt anyone would ever stand and mash a big gear while standing for an actual hour on a real bike--unless maybe someone has that great of fitness to be able to stand while working that hard on a super long climb. So maybe the 20 min. test mashing a big gear while standing on an indoor bike doesn't really translate well in estimating FTP (which, by definition, is max mean power over a full hour).
    An example of that would be Marco Pantani. He rode out of the saddle most of the time when climbing in the mountains. He was only 5'7" but used 180mm long cranks for additional leverage. Have a look at this video of the Col de Peyresourde from 1998: (turn the sound off on the video)


  12. #12
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    Not an expert by any means here....but maybe another reason for the lower numbers when seated is an inefficient pedal stroke? If you've only been riding for 1.5 years, you may have not yet developed the smooth, "circular" pedal stroked when seated?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battle Duck
    Yes that is the number I have reach in the test, but it is not that simple... Like I say, my FTP "1 h power" is only 300 w (4,28 w/kg). Definitely not a pro's number. There is so huge difference if I'm riding on seated or not.

    That 20 min/400 w is also done with 60-65 cadence and that is pretty low. No way I could do it with 80 or 90. My avg HR in that test was 186 (97 % from max) and max lactate in the end was 14,1. So that was the best I can do and could not continue one second more.

    And of course in XC-races there is so many things effecting to the result... technique, mentality, bike etc... And I need to improve lots of things if I want to be a pro (and even that it probably is just a dream). And maybe I'm too old already.

    Thanks for the replies, professional bike fit is the next thing I'm going to try.
    Have you considered that perhaps the low cadence and standing somehow gives false numbers?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatorback
    I'm curious regarding whether we've got other riders who have ever tried a 20 minute power test standing the whole time--and if so how their 20 min. wattage number compared to their "on bike" wattage number where you are actually riding a real bike and standing the whole time would rarely be realistic.
    I'm curious too... But I think you are right, that 20 min standing test doesn't give a direct correlation for the real riding. Like example, could it be realistic for me to ride 20 min TT with 400 watts, standing? I don't think so. It is much easier inside, no need for control etc. just focusing to pedal stroke.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gatorback
    Could a setting where you can stand the whole time and mash a big gear give rise to a higher 20 min. wattage number due to increased use of your body weight?
    It is possible, my technique in standing is pretty much that I press the pedals very hard, not spinning. So it is not static it is more like running on the pedals. Difficult to explain because I don't know all the terms in english. But it makes sense that I'm using very much all my body weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gatorback
    Maybe that is skewing the numbers. I doubt anyone would ever stand and mash a big gear while standing for an actual hour on a real bike--unless maybe someone has that great of fitness to be able to stand while working that hard on a super long climb. So maybe the 20 min. test mashing a big gear while standing on an indoor bike doesn't really translate well in estimating FTP (which, by definition, is max mean power over a full hour).
    I agree... And on the flat tracks it's better just stay seated because it is much more efficient... And that is the problem, I need to improve my riding from saddle to use all potential in my legs. Although I'm currently riding a HT, so it's necessary to stand a lot if there is rocks and roots... Like there usually is. Hmm, that sounds confusing... sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces
    Not an expert by any means here....but maybe another reason for the lower numbers when seated is an inefficient pedal stroke? If you've only been riding for 1.5 years, you may have not yet developed the smooth, "circular" pedal stroked when seated?
    For sure, it is not very smooth... But I can spinn ~120 without bumbing on the saddle, though on the road I usually ride with 85-90 cadence. Due the test raports, my efficiency is going in the right way (I'm using less oxygen / same HR / Watts). It just takes time, and for the XC-rider smooth pedaling it is maybe not that important as on the road?

    Quote Originally Posted by MightySchmoePong
    Have you considered that perhaps the low cadence and standing somehow gives false numbers?
    Actually that's what I was thinking first, but I asked it from the place where I made test, and they said that ergo gives lots of resistance even with low rpm. It was something like 500 w / 50-60 rpm. I hope it is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by WR304
    An example of that would be Marco Pantani. He rode out of the saddle most of the time when climbing in the mountains. He was only 5'7" but used 180mm long cranks for additional leverage. Have a look at this video of the Col de Peyresourde from 1998: (turn the sound off on the video)
    That was an amazing video, thanks! It looked so easy when he attack. And they were all ready rode, what... 180 km? It is interesting how "aero" his position is while standing. Must be very hard to ride like that, but of course he was number 1 in the world. He's engine was probably huge.

    I'm using 175 mm cranks, and I'm 5'9" tall. I have a relatively long inner leg, 34". 180 mm cranks could be too much but it would be interesting to try.
    Last edited by Battle Duck; 01-02-2011 at 01:16 AM.

  15. #15
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    what are you using as your power meter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbal
    what are you using as your power meter?
    I don't own a powermeter, the test was done in the sports academy lab. They are using this wattbike:

    http://wattbike.com/uk/

    I don't know if you are familiar with it, but it is very robust and feels surprisingly natural. I would like to have one in my home but the price is "a bit" too high...

  17. #17
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    cool, just wanted to make sure you werent using a power meter that "estimates" power and the different position was throwing it off.

    standing and sitting uses different muscles. plus standing allows you to use your body weight more. i wouldnt over complicate things - you need to focus on improving your power whilst sitting - the fact you have only been riding for 1.5 years tells me the adaption hasnt been made. all of your intervals should be done seated and you'll need to be patient. eventually you'll see the results as the ability is there.

    I was very similar and had to almost start from scratch when it came to seated power. took me almost 6 months to be able to replicate standing power (not sprints but threshold intervals) whilst seated.

    good luck.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304
    An example of that would be Marco Pantani. He rode out of the saddle most of the time when climbing in the mountains. He was only 5'7" but used 180mm long cranks for additional leverage. Have a look at this video of the Col de Peyresourde from 1998: (turn the sound off on the video)


    The Little Pirate. Man do I love watching pro cycling and can't wait for the spring classics to get here. I wish I had gotten to see more of Pantani. I didn't get interested in cycling until his career was near its end. I'm about his height, definitely a climber's body so that climbing is my clear strength, and a guy like that is someone I can identify with--(but not necessarily all the off the bike stuff that came along with him because he definitely lived a troubled life.)

    I can certainly produce more overall power when I stand, and sprinters obviously stand when it is time to throw down the hammer. I'm assuming it probably takes a guy with fitness like Pantani had in 1998 to stand that long while really throwing down the power. I know I've seen Amstrong in one of his tour wins stand for a long, long time while climbing. But not many guys can do that.

    (Now whether those guys had a little extra help to perform those feats is a discussion for another forum.)

  19. #19
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    Why not try the test again and limit your standing to a more realistic 3 or 4 minutes?

    Your wattage value will be more realistic for real-world cycling, even if you have to give up a bit of the prestige of the bigger numbers.

    The scenario reminds me of competitive rowing, where good scores on the ergometer are given a lot of importance by some coaches. That was a good thing for me because I could usually post strong scores on the machines.

    I pulled 6:28 for 2,000 meters on the Concept 2 erg as a 70-kilo lightweight, which is good but not great. However, I rowed with guys who were much faster than me on the water despite posting slower erg scores, and several who made boats go slow because their rowing technique was poor, despite impressive scores on the ergs.

    Seems like you realize most of this, but I'd say you're completing the test in a style that will not translate to real-world results.

    What do you think you would see as a result for your FTP if you stayed seated for the duration of the 20-minute test?

  20. #20
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    I don't think the issue is technique.

    The norm for most riders is they can sustain a higher power output seated then they can standing. When standing some of your energy goes towards supporting your weight. To be able sustain a high percentage of your seated FTP while standing is a highly developed pedaling skills that takes thousands of hours to develop.

    The discrepancy in power outputs in probably related to either
    a) you (like most) have problems doing a good 1hr test.
    b) a difference if fitness or freshness for the two test.

    I wouldn't be surprised if your seated 20 minute power is higher then your standing 20 minute power.

    As for cadence most people can produce their highest sustainable power output around 70rpm, seated or standing. It takes years of practice to produce high power at higher RPMs.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN

    As for cadence most people can produce their highest sustainable power output around 70rpm, seated or standing.
    My experience, exactly.

    However, what I have found is that while I can sustain a much higher power output at a lower heart rate at 65-70 rpm than I can at 90-95 rpm, I can adapt to changes in power and/or rpm if I'm riding at a higher cadence than if I'm slogging along at a lower cadence. One or two good accelerations starting from 70 rpm and I'm shot. Changes in tempo from 90 rpm don't mean a thing, as long as I don't go over redline too often (or too far).

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battle Duck
    My background, I'm 29 years old and been riding ~1,5 year. I have done racing in cross country skiing many years, which has giving me an ok VO2 max. I think it necessary for XC-mtb races.

    What type of training you suggest to improve my riding from saddle? Stand on the bike and pedaling has always been very easy to me. On the saddle my legs feels weak.
    One possibility is that it could be related to the cross country skiing background. Whilst riding out of the saddle you may be activating more of the muscle groups in your legs, back and arms which you specifically use when cross country skiing. These are probably well trained and developed from all the years of cross country skiing so being able to use them when cycling could maybe give you the performance increase that you're seeing.

    In terms of riding seated it might be worth experimenting with your position. It might be that moving the saddle forwards could work to increase your seated power by activating your strongest muscles more? If you look at articles such as this one about tri bikes then seat angle can have a big effect with a forwards position recruiting different muscles:

    "As the authors discuss the results they say, "Unexpectedly, the time to completion of the 40km cycle section was faster under the 81-degree 'steep' than the 73-degree 'shallow' condition." This underscores the tendency, I think, for the traditional view to hold sway in the UK, which is that if steep is faster, itís only because it helps during the run. Obviously the authors were forced to rethink that position, especially as there is still the untested (by them) issue of wind resistance to consider.

    The authors only guess at the causes for the enhanced ability to perform with the steeper seat angle, and posit about the,

    "greater contribution of the hamstrings and gluteus muscles (Heil et al., 1995). Although muscle recruitment cannot be determined from the present results, alterations in muscle recruitment or activation patterns can have the effect of distributing muscular work over a greater muscle mass (increased contribution of the hamstring and gluteus muscles) that would theoretically reduced the work rate per individual muscle fiber (Coyle et al., 1988)."

    Juxtapose that statement, in which the operative phrase is "distributing muscular work over a greater muscle mass," with what Price says in the study above: "We speculate that increasing the tube angle improves effective force transfer during the second half of the pedal stroke." It seems that both authors feel that steep seat angles might distribute work over a greater range of the pedal stroke and in so doing lessen the peak torque that must be applied if should that power application be concentrated over a shorter arc."
    Slowtwitch.com

    http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadin...seatangle.html

    Pictured below: A Tri Bike has forwards saddle position relative to other bikes recruiting different muscles when pedalling.

    http://university.tri-sports.com/201...l-progression/
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FTP 300 W, 20 min 400 W (standing)-tribike2.jpg  

    FTP 300 W, 20 min 400 W (standing)-tribike.jpg  


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    The norm for most riders is they can sustain a higher power output seated then they can standing. When standing some of your energy goes towards supporting your weight. To be able sustain a high percentage of your seated FTP while standing is a highly developed pedaling skills that takes thousands of hours to develop.
    I'm not sure why the tests had such different numbers. (Could be a testing discrepancy--like others have said.)

    But, if you really cannot produce power very well in the saddle, the obvious fix is to ride more in the saddle. This might sound coy, but I think that's the obvious solution.

    As to the quote above, I found it very interesting for a couple of reasons.

    (1) If it's really true that most riders can't sustain (how long that means, I'm not sure--I'm guessing 10+ mins) as much power while standing compared to sitting, then I suspect that it is true, at least in part, simply because it's a habit--most riders also spend most of their time sitting, so it would make sense to me that they do better sitting. If you forced them to stand more often, I would suspect they would improve their standing, sustainable power. Whether they would improve standing power beyond sitting power would require that they stand most of the time, I would think. For example, I know someone who I ride with that climbs canyon roads on his road bike standing up at least 80% of the time--he simply goes faster that way and I'm sometimes surprised that he can sustain it so long. He's in the habit of standing--I'm in the habit of sitting. He's also a fairly stout guy--more mass than me by 20 lbs and shorter than me. He also doesn't have a lot of body motion when standing.

    (2) Yes, you spend extra energy supporting your body while standing (which is partly why heart goes up when standing v. sitting), but it seems to me that you also get an advantage from your body weight while standing. It seems obvious to me that your body weight gives you an advantage while standing (more force to the pedals because of body weight being pushed down on pedals while standing). Isn't that why you naturally stand up when to really need to put some torque to the pedals? Does this extra body weight created power advantage cancel out the extra energy spent supporting your body? At least for my one canyon climbing friend, it seems to.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by millennium
    Does this extra body weight created power advantage cancel out the extra energy spent supporting your body?
    You would think so. At least for a short amount of time. I know theres a couple small climbs I do on my road bike that work better if I just stand and power up them real quick. Seems like if I stay seated and dont shift to an easier gear, my legs start to burn almost right away. I think the added speed (momentum) from standing probably helps too. I mostly sit on the mtb though (soft tail).

  25. #25
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    You could get into singlespeed racing and take advantage of your out-of-saddle power output. With 400Watts, you will be superior to many sport and expert riders.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    GF Superfly 29er HT
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

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