Shrinking the Gap Between Flat FTP and Climbing FTP

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply
RyanH
Moderator
Posts: 1947
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

by RyanH

So, I've noticed that the gap between my ability to put out sustained power on the flat and on a climb has grown significantly. I weigh 69kg and can do about 365 watts for 10 minutes and 330 for 20 minutes but have trouble holding 305 watts for over ten minutes on the flat.

Most of my riding has been centered around climbing, but I'd like to start doing crits again so would like to get my flat power on par with my climbing power. Is it as simple as substituting the hills with flat efforts to retrain my muscles?

Currently, I'm doing uphill intervals 2x per week due to time constraints (I work 12 hours a day) and Saturday is a 40 mi high speed flat group ride plus 20mi "warmup/cool down" and Sunday is an uphill/rollers 40 min devishly hard group ride (10min at full effort then uphill rollers for the next 30 minutes).

I'd like to keep the two weekend group rides, since I enjoy them, but can probably bump my Weekday riding to 3x (1.25 hours at most including warmup/cooldown).
Strava
Current Stable. The Snob Machine
The Ex's. LS Siena: 6.21kg | Parlee Z5 SLi: 5.9kg | LS Xicon: 5.76kg | C59: 5.7kg | Cervelo R5ca: 5.09kg | Fuji Altamira SE - 6.2kg | Scott Foil - 6.2kg | Evo - 5.18kg | LS Classic - 6.7kg | The Crumpton - 5.9kg

efeballi
Posts: 472
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:50 pm
Location: Body in Milano, mind in Istanbul

by efeballi

I have the reverse. 330 watt FTP on the flat vs. 300ish on the climbs.(estimated, no PM)
I have kind of sourced it down to lack of core strength, core workouts brought climbing FTP from 290ish to today's level.
I neglected climbs for a long time because I was training for a crit, that must have contributed. Now I have as much hill training as I have flats.
I would suggest substituting one of the hillclimb interval days with a flat interval day. The group ride may be too easy for you to improve.
My two cents.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
SHUT UP LEGS
2015 Giant Propel Advanced
2013 KTM Strada mod. GOT IT BACK!
2011 Pinarello Dogma 60.1(loaner)
2011 Scott SUB 45(sold)

Politecnico di Milano Ingegneria Meccanica

HillRPete
Posts: 2292
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:08 am
Location: Pedal Square

by HillRPete

efeballi: I'm not convinced about the "core strength" suspicion. If you need lots of upper body effort for climbing, I would reckon your sitting position might be less than optimal, and you are out of balance. Up to ~10% of incline the sitting/balance should be relatively neutral.

Then there's specificity, namely cadence. If your preferred cadence on the flat is, say, 90rpm, and you don't have the gearing to ride in that range on the climbs, you might lose power, and also get the feeling of big "core effort". The old lore that real men don't use low gears is nonsense. Ride your best cadence.

That's not to say a certain amount of torso strength wouldn't be advisable, helpful, and generally healthy.

User avatar
Tinea Pedis
Posts: 8452
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:08 am
Location: Geelong
Contact:

by Tinea Pedis

efeballi wrote:I have the reverse. 330 watt FTP on the flat vs. 300ish on the climbs.(estimated, no PM)

Have you started with actually getting a powermeter? Might help appreciate a real world difference.


OP - I'd certainly start with some more specific training (read: training more on the flats) and see what results in. I'd bet there is a specificity component in this discrepancy.

efeballi
Posts: 472
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:50 pm
Location: Body in Milano, mind in Istanbul

by efeballi

HillRPete: you are correct, position is another issue. I am a spinner and I rarely go below 90 rpm on a climb, yet I feel it difficult to stabilize myself on the bike while climbing.

Tinea Pedis: I currently don't have the monies for a power meter. Stages Ultegra 6800 is definitely in the list though. I use Strava and BikeCalculator estimates for power, I know they are not quite accurate.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
SHUT UP LEGS
2015 Giant Propel Advanced
2013 KTM Strada mod. GOT IT BACK!
2011 Pinarello Dogma 60.1(loaner)
2011 Scott SUB 45(sold)

Politecnico di Milano Ingegneria Meccanica

User avatar
Tinea Pedis
Posts: 8452
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:08 am
Location: Geelong
Contact:

by Tinea Pedis

Not even remotely. A Stages will be a great investment, compared to those.

User avatar
devinci
Posts: 3039
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:43 pm
Location: Canada

by devinci

I think you answered your own question, i.e. you've been doing a lot of climbing training. Specificity rules, even when it comes to such narrow things as riding the flat VS climb. I personnaly can put out about the same power, whatever the terrain.

RyanH
Moderator
Posts: 1947
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:01 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

by RyanH

Here's the article that prompted me to post this question:

http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/09/climb ... -affected/

It centers around the idea that the lower kinetic energy of climbing results in more slow twitch (relative) muscle being used than the "topping off" of high kinetic energy flat TT style riding (favors a higher blend of fast twitch).

efeballi: The Saturday group ride is a large 50-100 person group ride, so as long as I'm diligent, I can do a variety of efforts in the ride (e.g. 1 min "intervals" on the front at 400-500w is no problem or sitting a few riders back and riding at threshold).


I'm not used to doing intervals on the flat, with the idea of specificity in mind, should I focus on seated intervals?
Strava
Current Stable. The Snob Machine
The Ex's. LS Siena: 6.21kg | Parlee Z5 SLi: 5.9kg | LS Xicon: 5.76kg | C59: 5.7kg | Cervelo R5ca: 5.09kg | Fuji Altamira SE - 6.2kg | Scott Foil - 6.2kg | Evo - 5.18kg | LS Classic - 6.7kg | The Crumpton - 5.9kg

mentok
Posts: 522
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:58 am

by mentok

RyanH wrote:http://cyclingtips.com.au/2013/09/climb ... -affected/

It centers around the idea that the lower kinetic energy of climbing results in more slow twitch (relative) muscle being used than the "topping off" of high kinetic energy flat TT style riding (favors a higher blend of fast twitch).


this article was posted somewhere that i read (wattage list maybe?) and there was some disagreement with the hypothesis. i don't know who to believe, just that it shouldn't necessarily be taken as gospel.

that said, devinci is right - specificity, specificity and above all, specificity. if you want your "flat" ftp to be closer to your climbing ftp spend more time on the flats. demands are similar enough on the trainer and motorpacing too if you can find someone to ride for you.

mrfish
Posts: 1630
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:49 pm
Location: Near Horgen, Switzerland

by mrfish

Get the power meter, find a flat road and ride at your chosen pain level, sorry, power level. Then go ride a couple of hours a constant power level. My experience is that the pm will discipline you to start easier and finish rides at much harder than your perceived exertion tells you. Then do the same with intervals on the flat. This will quickly build you into a stronger rider, both mentally and physically.

boots2000
Posts: 1438
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:28 pm

by boots2000

I agree that your flat riding is lacking- I am not sure that it holds you back in a crit though.
What type of rider are you? You say that you have no problem with repeated 400-500 watts efforts.
For crits it is more about that repeated ability, positioning, and ability to go deep in the last 5 laps.
That said, ability to hold power on flats is indicative of increased fitness. Maybe skip group rides and try to work on it in the off-season?

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post