Question concerning weight of short riders

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by ridiculous, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. ridiculous

    ridiculous New Member

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    I was reading a thread earlier concerning a poster who was 117 lbs and 5'3", a small rider, who was wondering about his/her power on the flats, etc.

    I too am a very small rider, a little over 5'3" and at 111 lbs. Within the past few weeks, though, I ended up gaining about 4 pounds...without making any effort to eat more and not really overeating myself either. I see no real gain in fat, and am pretty positive that this gain is lean muscle mass which I have gained from eating nutritious food and from training well with interval sessions, long rides, climbs, and other types of workouts. In addition, I do not feel as if I lost any of my climbing abilities.

    My question is this: is there any correlation between pro cyclists' bmi and an unsually small cyclist's bmi? For example, Tom Danielson is considered a climber and weighs in around 130 for 5'8". This gives him a bmi of 19.76 and he is also under the common thought of climbers being less than 2 pounds per height in inches (Danielson: 130 vs. 5'8" which translates into 136 lbs.). On the other hand, my bmi for my height and weight is 20.12, which is greater than Danielson's bmi. But then, there is a greater discrepancy between my weight, 115 lbs, and my heightx2, 126 lbs. I know that it is harder to be less than 2 lbs. per inch of height when a person is taller, but I am wondering if it is generally thought that climbers usually have certain bmis like Danielson's under 20, or is it that they tend to be under 2 x height in inches? For someone my height, I could weigh even 120 lbs. and still be under 126 (5'3" x 2) by 6 pounds but my bmi would be 21. At this weight, are people still able to climb well? Obviously, 120 is still a very very low weight but for someone around 5'3", it is not out of the question.

    If people around 5 feet tall tried to match the pro climbers in bmi, they would end up weighing around 100 pounds vs. most pro climbers weights of 120-140 pounds. Clearly, 100 pounds does not help you very much on the flats and in terms of power, which plays an important role on hills too. Therefore, if people this short in stature were to weigh more...say around a bmi of 21-22, would they still be able to climb well because they are simply small and weigh little or must they match the pro climbers in bmi and really weigh ~100 pounds to climb very well?
     
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  2. dm69

    dm69 New Member

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    I am 5 foot 11 and 123 pounds..duno what my bmi is though? The hills are power to weight so you need a good combination of both...try not to worry about your weight at all and just work on training your arse off and really push on the hills. The weight will come off no matter what when you ride 650km's a week!

    Sacrificing power for less weight is a definite no no because you might struggle to even make the front bunch before you start climbing. Lance Armstrong was the best climber at the TDF for the last 7 years...his stats read like this-5 foot 10 and 160 pounds (minimum race weight) very similar to jan ullrich however i do believe he was a tad taller than Lance.
     
  3. dm69

    dm69 New Member

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    By the way have you ever heard of a guy called Tom Boonen :p . He is almost 6 foot 4 and 80 kilograms, If you've seen him climb over the belgian hills recently I am sure you will have dismissed this whole theory that you have to be light...You need truckloads of nuclear weapons to match the power some of those big guys have on the uphill sections no matter what weight you are.
     
  4. meandmybike

    meandmybike New Member

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    Body Mass Index is a pretty useless indicator of anything for active people, from what I've read. A body builder could be 5' 8" and weight 15 or 16 or 17 stone yet have sub-10% body fat. His BMI would class him as overweight.

    Power to weight is what you need to consider for cycling. If you've put on a few pounds of lean muscle is your power rising also? Paolo Bettini is a sparrow of a man yet he has no trouble powering on the flat because his power output relative to his height/weight is very high.
     
  5. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    Agreed.

    Go to cyclingpeaks.com on the Power411 section and download Coggan's 'Power Profiling' charts. Watts/kg is a much better predictor of fitness/performance than BMI.
     
  6. ridiculous

    ridiculous New Member

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    I understand that in climbing, it all comes down to power to weight ratio. I also realize that usually if one were to put on weight in the form of lean muscle mass (like I have done), it will increase power output...especially if you are small and weigh very little to begin with.

    Therefore, is it advantageous, in general, for people of short stature (5'-5'5", 5'6"ish) to be a little heavier in terms of bmi than those pro climbers who are taller (5'8"ish) because...
    1. climbing is about power to weight ratio so the increase in weight is offset or maybe even improved by an increase in power
    2. cycling is not just about climbing so on the flats, if a short person tries to match the bmi of pro riders and ends up weighing around 110 pounds, that doesn't do much good for sprints, flat power, and staying with the pack.

    Basically, for competitive, short cyclists who wish to stay with the pack and excel on climbs, is it worthwhile to be heavier than taller, pro climbers...in terms of bmi,? Because a bmi equal to that of a pro climber at such a short height obviously does not do much for staying with the pack leading up to climbs...

    ex: Danielson bmi of 19.76 for 130 lbs. at 5'8" translates into 112 lbs. for 5'3" rider. Is this desirable or is it better to weigh more in terms of bmi...say 120 lbs. for 5'3" (bmi 20-21) to maximize climbing performance while still having enough power on the flats to stay with the pack?
     
  7. sparkywowo

    sparkywowo New Member

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    This is the question you really need to answer, if you put on a couple of pounds of muscle, is that muscle being put to good use and actually giving you increased power. You may find that in fact you haven't put on any useful "muscle" and your power output is no higher than it was when you were lighter, and with peak conditioning you could be both lighter and "stronger".
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    There's no advantage at all to mimicking another rider's bmi. As has been said, bmi is not a performance predictor, as can be witnessed by non-cyclists having identical bmi's to pro cyclists. No correlation.

    What is advantageous is to be able to produce as much power as possible, and to have the lowest weight (for climbing) and/or aerodynamic drag (for riding flats) as possible. Seek those, rather than a particular bmi number, regardless of how tall/short you are.
     
  9. netscriber

    netscriber New Member

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    On a similar topic, being 5'4", 115 myself I always wonder what the threshold for small guys could be. Can such a small muscle be generating over 300W FTP?
     
  10. sparkywowo

    sparkywowo New Member

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    I should add, that my understanding is when adding "muscle" you may not be getting the increase in performance "common sense" would tell you for two reasons:

    The "fast twitch" vs "slow twitch" argument, you may not be developing the fast twitch which gives you the anaerobic power you may be looking for, and

    By increasing the vascularization of your muscle, and more efficiently supplying oxygen, nutrients, and better waste removal, you performance will improve without packing on muscle mass.
     
  11. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    You guys must be really skinny. I'm 5 3.75" 149 lbs, lowest was 139.2 lbs last year.

    Are you small guys fast on the flats? Like what's your avg speed at 87% Max Heart Rate?

    I had a better top speed when I was 165 lbs then when I was in the 140's. I guess I lost lean mass, but I did not diet - just rode a lot.
     
  12. mises

    mises New Member

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    Some recent numbers from Bicisport magazine on some climbers:

    Rider/height in meters/weight in kg/threshold power
    Cunego/1.69m/59kg/400w
    Garate/1.79/61/385
    Parra/1.69/58/385
    Rasmussen/1.75/59/410
    Rujano/1.62/50/370
    Sella/1.66/54/360
    Simoni/1.70/62/440
    Mancebo/1.75/62/420
    Valverde/1.78/64/430

    Some of the numbers clearly have some fudge added based on their prior performances, Simoni and Sella in particular, but it gives a decent idea of the capacities. Clearly small muscles can generate quite a bit more than 300w with the right engine.
     
  13. Hypnospin

    Hypnospin New Member

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    these guys all weigh less than this, i would speculate, once having ridden themselves into the ground, i mean into shape, during the tours.



     
  14. netscriber

    netscriber New Member

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    Good to hear that. Thanks everyone. I always get demotivated when 220lb blokes at work with 3 months of legs sometimes beat me on the flats. But I am working on changing that... more 2x20s baby! :D
     
  15. netscriber

    netscriber New Member

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    Thats a difficult question. But I'll try. My 1hr av. on a real flat with no wind is around 18mph. HR? I dont know...maybe a little over LTHR.
    And then I am coming back from the couch...I'd be surprised if at this point I generate more than 200w ftp. But like I said, I am working on changing that.
    I am nowhere near "fast" on any kind of terrain right now. :eek:
     
  16. sparkywowo

    sparkywowo New Member

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    Rujano/1.62/50/370

    If this is correct, I am more than impressed!
     
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