What Is A Good Peloton Output? (Explained)


Average power output is one of the most important metrics on a peloton bike you can track because it’s an indicator of your progress. In this article, I will explain what is a good peloton output and what factors affect the numbers.

On average, the good peloton output is between 150 to 250 watts. However, this number will depend on several factors like the type of class you take, your current fitness level, age, and gender. Plus, things like lean body mass, daily recovery, and diet can also contribute to the results.

What Is Good Peloton Output?

A good peloton output is a reflection of how much work and energy you put into your workouts. Higher numbers mean your body is getting more accustomed to aerobic and anaerobic demands, as well as improving cycling your economy.

What is the cycling economy? In short, the cycling economy refers to your efficiency on the bike. People with a good cycling economy can generate more watts and maintain higher intensity rides while using less energy and less oxygen.

In other words, you know that your power output and cycling economy is improving when you notice that you can do classes with less effort and muscle fatigue.

Is good power output important? As a whole, the good peloton power output is important because it’s a strong predictor not only of athletic ability, but also a critical component of longevity, performance, mobility, and health.

One of the most important factors that will impact your peloton output is the class duration. You can maintain significantly higher power output during the short rides, compared to long 90 minute workouts.

My PR for average power output in a 20-minute class is 244 watts. On the other hand, my best average output for the 60-minute class is 202 watts.

Now watch this.

A study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance by Martin J Macinnis documented trained cyclists and their output score for 4, 20, and 60-minute rides (MacInnis et al. 2018).

See the graph below.

Average power output for 4, 20, and 60-minute class

As you can see, the results show that trained cyclists can maintain (on average) 417 watts in the 4-minute ride, 342 watts in the 20-minute ride, and 309 watts in the 60-minute ride. Also, there is not a large difference between 20 and 60 minutes rides.

Of course, keep in mind that these numbers are from experienced cyclists, and will differ from the numbers that you see on the peloton leaderboard.

What is a good peloton output for short rides? As a whole, the good peloton output for short rides is between 220 to 270 watts, depending on the type of class and workout protocol. High-intensity interval training requires significantly more effort, therefore, it calls for higher output levels.

What Is A Good Peloton Output Based On?

Peloton output is a great way to track your results and know if you’re going in the right direction. However, it should not be used as a metric to compare yourself with others because there are multiple factors between individuals that will impact the score.

Here are some of the factors that will determine good peloton output.

  • Class intensity – Peloton rides that are more strenous require higher resistance and cadence, which will results in higher outputs. This means that 20-minute HIIT ride will results in higher average output, compared to 60 minute steady-state low-impact or power zone endurance ride.
  • Training history – Training history and fitness level will impact your peloton power output because untrained people has lower metabolic clearance rate, compared to trained individuals during the high intensity rides.

The metabolic clearance rate is the rate of how fast the body can remove substances like lactic acid from the blood.

Studies have shown that “at matched exercise intensities, the metabolic clearance rate in trained individuals was 97% higher than in untrained” (Messonnier et al. 2013).

This means that people who are more accustomed to riding the Peloton bike can maintain higher output for longer.

  • Gender – Men are able to generate greater peloton output than women because there are major differences between female and male skeletal muscles. Men have more fast twitch muscle fibers. Those fibers have a relatively low oxidative capacity and a large fiber size compared to type I fibers.

Studies have shown that “type IIA fibers are generally significantly larger than the other fiber types in men, whereas type I muscle fibers are generally the largest in women” (Chalmers, 2011).

This means that women have a significantly higher type I area distribution in the muscles than men, which explains the lower values of power output.

  • Age – Ageing and loss of muscle mass is one of the factors contributing to strength and output decline. Older men and women will have lower output on peloton due decrease in the average type II fiber size.

Studies have shown that the “percentage of the type I fiber area reductions ranges from 1 to 25% and the type II fiber area reductions ranges from 20 to 50%” (Lexell et al. 1988).

This means that fast-twitch muscle fibers significantly decrease with age, whereas the size of type I fibers are much less affected.

  • Riding position – Changing the cycling position from seated to out of the saddle will have an impact on your output numbers. People who frequently use a stadning position when accelerating, climbing steep hills, or sprinting will generate greater power output.

Senior Lecturer of Psychology from Lancaster University, Stefan Vogt, has compared cycling power output produced during flat vs mountain stages in the Giro d’Italia.

The results have shown that seated positions during flat rides (on average) generated 239 watts, whereas the standing positions generated 367 watts, on average (Vogt et al. 2007).

  • Time of day – Time of day can impact your peloton output because of the differences in muscle temperature. In general, the muscle temperature normally fluctuates throughout the day, with the lowest levels in the morning and the highest between 4:00pm and 6:00pm.

Studies have shown that “power output is significantly higher (about 8%) in the afternoon than in morning” (Souissi et al. 2003).

As you can see, the good peloton output is unique to the individual and should not be used as a comparison metric between two different people. However, it is still an excellent indicator of your personal improvement.

Good Peloton Output For 20 Minutes

As a whole, the good peloton average output for 20 minutes is between 200 to 250 watts, depending on the type of class you take. Classes that are are more strenuous like HIIT and Power Zone Max ride need greater resistance and cadence.

On the other hand, your output will be significantly lower on any 20-minute rides that are less intense like recovery rides, low-impact rides, or beginner rides.

A good peloton total output for a 20-minute ride will be between 200 to 330 kJ.

How do I get more kJ on peloton? The only way to improve your kJ and total output on the peloton is by increasing the intensity of the class, as well as choosing longer sessions. Total output is the sum of average output multiplied by the number of seconds in the class and divided by 1000.

This means that you can generate twice more kJ in a 45-minute class than in a 20-minute session.

Good Peloton Output For 30 Minutes

In general, the good peloton output for 30 minutes is between 180 to 250 watts, depending on the intensity of the ride. A good total peloton output for a 30-minute session is between 300 kJ to 500 kJ. One of the best classes for higher output is the 30-minute Tabata ride.

I think a 30-minute Tabata ride is perfect if your goal is to improve your output. These classes have a 2:1 ratio of work to rest, which requires a much greater effort level.

What is a good peloton output for professional cyclists? As a whole, the good peloton output for 30 minute class for world-class cyclists can range between 300 to 400 watts.

What is the best peloton output? Overall, the best peloton output is over 2000 kJ on some of the 45-minute rides, according to the leader board. However, please remember that these numbers can be due to incorrect calibration, where the bike register higher output hat usual.

I won’t be covering here all the details about how to correctly calibrate your bike. I’ve already done that in my article “peloton calibration“, which I recommend you read.

Good Peloton Output For 45 Minutes

In general, the good peloton output for the 45-minute class is between 150 to 220 watts. A good total output for 45 minutes class is between 400 kJ to 650 kJ. The best 45 minutes classes to get higher output are climb rides, interval rides, and power zone rides.

I think that 45 minutes is the sweet spot between endurance rides and HIIT training. This means you can improve your aerobic capacity, as well as VO2max.

These classes generally use a combination of sprint and uphill climbing, which means you will be out of the saddle more often.

What is a high output on a peloton? Overall, the high output on the peloton is between 300 to 350 watts, which is the level of pro-level elite athletes. For example, the British road racing cyclist Christopher Clive Froome can maintain over 400 watts for just over 41 minutes.

Conclusion

Getting a good Peloton output is one of the indicators that you’re getting fitter, however, this metric should not be used as a comparison tool with others.

A good peloton output will depend on multiple individual aspects like fitness level, lean muscle mass, gender, age, and type of classes you choose to do.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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