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Chart on best body Weight/ Height ratio for cycling?(31 posts)

Chart on best body Weight/ Height ratio for cycling?nestorl
Oct 9, 2001 8:54 AM
Hello anyone knows of a good web site that provides a good chart for the best weight for different heights among endurance people? I know that the traditional medical charts for the 'recommended weight do not always apply because of the increased body mass the athletes have, which increased weight. So does anyone know a good chart?

OR does anyone know the weight/height of some pro CLIMBERS? Pantani, Lance, Hugo Pana, Rubiera, the small Mexican guy who rode amazingly during the Giro (forgot his name). Thanks, Nestor
Oct 9, 2001 9:41 AM
or body mass index... used to be a calculator and table of pros' values on the SD Cyclovets site, but it's gone now. Pantani was at/near the top, and he's about 5'7" and 120# or so.
Chart on best body Weight/ Height ratio for cycling?Allen az
Oct 9, 2001 1:37 PM
I'm about 5'9" & 120 lbs. 5'9" is 69 inches. So, the ratio would be 1:1.739...did I do this right?

re: Chart on best body Weight/ Height ratio for cycling?morey
Oct 9, 2001 9:44 AM
I won the Jr. Mr. America (class), and I am exceptionally strong. My weight is 200 + at a height of 5'10". I cannot climb well. Then I saw the best climbers, they all weighed 120-130 lbs were 5'4"-5'10"- then I knew I was never going to be a good climber. One weight chart said I should weigh 164 lbs. I have not weighed this little since Jr. High. Some of the Exercise Physiology texts, particularly by Lamb might have some weight charts for different sports.
re: Chart on best body Weight/ Height ratio for cycling?Jon
Oct 9, 2001 10:13 AM
I believe both Friel and Burke give weight to height ratios in their books.
Rule of thumbBipedZed
Oct 9, 2001 10:53 AM
I've heard different sources quote a ratio of 2 pounds per inch of height for the best climbers. That means at 68 inches I should optimally weigh 136lbs. My wife would kill me.
hmmmmmmmmm...something fishy about these numbers?Js Haiku Shop
Oct 9, 2001 11:19 AM
at 235/240 i looked big. at 195 i look normal and feel still a little overweight. at 175 i will look fairly thin, perhaps a little underweight.

according to the 2:1 pounds:inches ratio, i would come in at around 148 (6'2"=74", 74x2=), at which i would appear anorexic. i understand this is an optimal climbing weight for my height.

BMI online calculators find me overweight at 195 (score=25.08). a score of 18 is underweight, and 148 puts the score at 18.65. 175# brings me in around 22.5, near median of the 195 and 148 score. looks like 18-24.9 is the acceptable "normal" weight range.

i've heard/read in the past that the BMI is considered much too general for body composition, meaning the amount of muscle (or non-fat) to fat, as well as frame type and otherwise body makeup, is not well taken into account.
Pro climbersBipedZed
Oct 9, 2001 11:31 AM
The first time I saw Jonathan Vaughters in person I couldn't believe that he wasn't being blown over. He's something like 6' 130lbs...other pros that I've seen are ridiculously thin in person. Photos definitely don't show how small and skinny these guys really are.

There was an article on Cycling News last year that measured the BMI of some Tour de France pros. Most had BMI right around the minimum acceptable value if not a little less.

At 5'8" 150lbs and approx 8% body fat my wife and many of my friends think I'm already looking too thin. At this weight I make great power on the flats and my strengths are TTs and cyclocross, but I certainly can't climb with the truly skinny guys.
So are the calculators wrong?Kristin
Oct 9, 2001 2:08 PM
or are these guys striving for an unhealthy weight in order to gain a competitave pro-gymnists? Though I find it difficult to imagine that pro cyclists can do these long races at anerexic body weight. Can they? I would guess that gymnists get away with anerexia for a time because they only need short bursts of energy. All guesses, of course.
Fishy indeedscottfree
Oct 9, 2001 11:43 AM
You're absolutely right. It's a blunderbuss. Using BMI, someone with lots of muscle mass and only 5 percent body fat could easily be considered significantly overweight. I've been amazed at how readily BMI is accepted by people who should know better.
Running comparison....Len J
Oct 9, 2001 12:56 PM
I think the 2 or less rule of thumb for climbers is correct. Remember you are trying to achieve a high power to weight ratio so you have to keep weight down. Back when I was a very competitive runner I was 6"0" 119 lbs or 119/72 or a weight to height of 1.65. Not only that, but a large % of my weight was below my waist (Legs, guys legs). I was all power & endurance (relative to weight). I would bet that if I were riding at the time I would have loved hills.

It is doable, just not for every body type.

hmmmmmmmmm...something fishy about these numbers?Tig
Oct 9, 2001 1:02 PM
Those numbers are fishy any way you cut 'em. I'm 5' 7", 136 lbs, which puts me in the 2.03 pounds per inch. The problem is, I've still got got a solid 1 1/2 inch to pinch at my gut. This is as fat as I've ever been since a wee baby! None of this makes a difference with my climbing however. I'm still not in great shape and my climbing sucks! This is my normal weight but I think I've traded muscle for fat the last few years of being too lazy. The good news is my form is improving so I should be in decent shape by spring. Just keep me away from the icecream !!!
Rule of thumbCliff Oates
Oct 9, 2001 11:28 AM
I think it's kilos (2.2 pounds) actually, not pounds. I don't remember where I read that though.
Rule of thumbmorey
Oct 9, 2001 12:41 PM
This probably right, 2.2 lbs. The ideal weight say's I should weigh about 164 lbs. By your standards I would weigh about 150. Real skinny, but this is what it takes to climb!!!
aha! this brings me from 148 to 163 pounds. more feasibleJs Haiku Shop
Oct 9, 2001 1:09 PM
only 32 more pounds instead of 47. vely intelesting.
More feasible...Cliff Oates
Oct 9, 2001 1:44 PM
for younger guys, I think. The lightest this 45 year old has managed to get is in the low 180's, about 25 pounds over a theoretical target of 156. My doctor was quite pleased, so the heck with the target...
I recently had a physical. I was shocked how fat everyoneMB1
Oct 10, 2001 5:42 AM
in the doctors office was. Including the Doc. Just cause they can talk the talk doesn't mean they can walk the walk.
I recently had a physical. I was shocked how fat everyonemorey
Oct 10, 2001 7:45 AM
I did a body composition survey which lasted over 1 year.
Average body fat for men 21.7%, for women a whopping 30+%.
The average for men should be 12-15%, women 18-20%. The results were horrible when you consider these were college freshmen(women) 18-20 years old. Having been in the health club business for over 20 years, people are getting in worse physical condition.
What is safe on the low side?MB1
Oct 10, 2001 7:59 AM
I'm thinking I know someone who is getting a little too lean. But how can you tell when everyone else looks so big?
What is safe on the low side?morey
Oct 11, 2001 6:03 AM
In bodybuilding I have gotten someone to 1.5%, I have been down to 3.5%. However, this does not last long, and is definitely unhealthy. Fat is a protective mechanism, a certain amount is needed. I would say 12% is about as low as you should go. Below this colds, bruising, opportunistic diseases could be a problem. Women should be about 2% above men, primarily due to breast development.
Thanks. nmMB1
Oct 11, 2001 6:08 AM
I recently had a physical. I was shocked how fat everyoneCliff Oates
Oct 10, 2001 1:48 PM
According to a C. Everett Koop site (, middle aged men should range from 11-21%, while middle aged women should average 23-33%, so your numbers aren't too far out of whack.
Lance's Stat. . .js5280
Oct 9, 2001 12:43 PM
First name : Lance
Last name : Armstrong
Date of birth : 18/09/1971
Nationality : UNITED STATES
Height : 179 cm
Weight : 74 kg

For us Mericans. . .
5'10" 163 lbs.

2.3 lbs. per inch. That's obtainable for most mortals.


Be like Lance - you wish:
Ever wondered what kind of numbers the boy can generate? Lance's coach, Chris Carmichael sent us these key stats for LA:

Resting heart rate: 32-34
VO2ml/kg: 83.8
Max power at VO2: 600 watts
Max heart rate: 201
Lactate Threshold HR: 178
Time Trial HR: 188-192
Pedal rpm's during TT: 95-100
Climbing rpm's: 80-85, sometimes faster when attacking
Average HR during endurance rides (4-6 hrs): 124-128
Average watts during endurance rides: 245-280 watts
Training miles/hours, endurance rides: 5- 6 hrs / 100-130miles


Just what is VO2?
"OK, I know VO2 max is important - I just don't know what it is!" No worries, here's what's what: your VO2 max measures the volume of oxygen your body can consume while exercising at max capacity (or aerobic fitness). So "VO2 max" is the maximum amount of oxygen, expressed in milliliters, you can use in one minute, per kilogram of bodyweight. Most charts have anything above 50-60 as "high" - Lance is an 83.8...

VO2 max is often tested on an exercise bike with a big mask covering your mouth and your nose pinched shut (joy). But there are other tests available using estimation instead of this detailed way - like the Rockport Fitness Walking Test

Bottom line: a higher max = a higher ability to intensely exercise. Note that VO2 max can be improved via a good training program...
Weighing In and VO2 MaxEames
Oct 9, 2001 1:36 PM
Sure VO2 Max can be improved but it is hugely genetic. Most training people can get up to 50 - 60. Anything else and you have to have gifted genes. There is a reason they call it the "ticket to the club" at the Olympic Training Center. If your VO2 Max isn't high enough you are not going to have a prayer.

For what it is worth I am a climber. Part of it is that my profile is so large that I suffer on the flats and have to make up for it on the hills. The other half of it is that I've been called anorexic all of my life. 160#, 6' 4" ( 76" ), 4% body fat.
or by loosing weightcyclopathic
Oct 9, 2001 3:42 PM
VO2max is O2 consumption divided by weight
That's why Lance after chemo is not Lance before, better

btw your climbing ability on 4-6min (ft per min) is good indication of your VO2max. On longer climbs it is a good indication of your LT power.
Weight to Height Ratios of the ProsJon
Oct 9, 2001 7:29 PM
I just looked it up. According to Friel the best climbers are 2 lbs. per in., while most pros fall in
around 2.2 to 2.3 lbs. per in. He says that no one in the peleton is more than 2.5 lbs. per in. Lance is
2.25 lbs per in.
I'm 2.07cyclopathic
Oct 10, 2001 6:46 AM
and yet guys with worse ratio outclimb me

I think heightto weight is too generic (how someone 5'8" 29" instem compare to 5'5" 31'? or how 170lbs guy with 7 litre lung capacity compare to 125lbs guy with 4l?) if there's a "scientific" formula it should include lung capacity and instem.
I'm 2.07morey
Oct 10, 2001 7:48 AM
Remember "its the size of the heart in the dog, not the size of the dog"
The Size of the HeartJon
Oct 10, 2001 5:37 PM
You're right. The weight to height ratio assumes all other things are equal. VO2 max for all the
pros is going to be 70 or higher. Interestingly, the smaller riders have proportionately more
lung surface relative to their body mass with which to exchange gasses. Don't know if the same
thing would apply to heart stroke volume and total cardiac output?
You can't overcome genetics.Len J
Oct 11, 2001 4:06 AM
It is really amazing how many "ceilings" are determined by genetics. The interesting thing about sports is when someoone with "weaker" genetics is able, through persistance & tenacity to defeat someone with "superior" genetics. Ultimatly though, two individuals with equal motivation, tenacity & training competing, and the one with the more sport appropriate genetics will usually win (luck aside).

You can't overcome genetics.morey
Oct 11, 2001 12:02 PM
Genetics is the ultimate winner. However, from my experience as a pro athlete, most people with superior genetics find it way too easy; therefore they do not try as hard. If you work your butt off, give it 110%, you will win most of the time. There is always that genetic freak that works hard too-you cannot beat him!!!