Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

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Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby .isaac. » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:06 pm

It's been a while since I've last posted a tech question but I've got this question that I've been meaning to ask for a while so here it goes...

You have two 'climber' cyclists, lets just call them cyclist A and B.
Cyclist A is a tall fellow at around 186cm's and he is extremely skinny and weighs around 63 kg's. His body type is otherwise referred to as ectomorphic.
Cyclist B has a shorter height at around 170cm's and he is also 63 kg's, though his height and weight are accepted as mesomorphic.

These riders have similar well rounded training plans, routines, diets and do the same amount of strength conditioning and stretching:

Does one cyclist have a clear advantage over the other one that would separate the two as much to say that one has less opportunity to do as well as the other?
Would one cyclist climb better than the other cyclist or be more suited to the hills?
-Would power output be greatly affected between them?
-Would maximal oxygen consumption (Vo2 max) be greatly affected between them?


Isaac.

And now for some quick flicks of the less hefty pros, cos who doesn't love looking at pro's?? ;)
Cyclist A ectomorphic: 186cm/68kgJoe Dombrowski, 186cm/64kgChris Anker Sorenson, 183cm/60kgWarren Barguil
Cyclist B mesomorphic: 176cm/62kgAlejandro Valverde, 175cm/63kgSimon Clarke, 168cm/58kgMarianne Vos
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by BNA » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:13 pm

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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby cyclotaur » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:13 pm

Well Valverde and Clarke are the best (male) climbers of that lot, but they're both 2 inches (5-6cms) taller than your mesomorph.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby .isaac. » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:59 pm

cyclotaur wrote:Well Valverde and Clarke are the best (male) climbers of that lot, but they're both 2 inches (5-6cms) taller than your mesomorph.

A and B are just examples of two individuals used to express my question better.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby trailgumby » Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:25 pm

Without looki g at specific examples, I would expect the shorter rider to climb better. My reasoning runs along the lines that the taller rider would be expected to have a greater percentage of his mass taken up with skeletal structure, assuming similar body fat percentage. The smaller rider would have more muscle for the same body mass, facilitating a higher power to weight ratio.

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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:38 pm

Im not sure what the point of your question is?
Body type has very little to do with cycling performance. Ability to climb or sprint or TT is due more to genetics than height and weight.
According to your figures Chris Sutton and Caleb Ewan are "climbers".
A brief look at lists of former world champions in the different disciplines shows a huge variety of body types.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby .isaac. » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:22 pm

Derny Driver wrote:Im not sure what the point of your question is?
Body type has very little to do with cycling performance. Ability to climb or sprint or TT is due more to genetics than height and weight.


Something I didn't know or clearly understand^ :). What do good genetics affect in an athlete? Will someone with average genetics never be able to compete at the same level with someone with good genetics?

EDIT: oops, I've gone off the main idea of the topic a bit here.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby jules21 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:31 pm

chris froome - (wikipedia) - 186 cm, 72kg.
Joaquim Rodríguez - (wikipedia)- 169cm, 57kg.

it's not clear-cut, just from size and weight. the best measure of climbing ability is power-weight ratio (while climbing), but of course that's not what you asked. you have a good power-weight ratio, you can be short or tall, but you must be light. you can be relatively less light if your power is greater - which is likely to be the case if you are taller and have longer muscles.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby Dr_Mutley » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:14 pm

Um er... Froome 72kgs at the tour? Don't think so...
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby jules21 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:16 pm

Dr_Mutley wrote:Um er... Froome 72kgs at the tour? Don't think so...

he's still a lot more than purito, whatever he's slimmed down to at the Tour

edit: he can't be much less than 72 kg. that's what i weighed when i was 19 yrs old. i'm 190 cm and back then i was skin and bone.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby Dr_Mutley » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:13 pm

I'd be surprised if he wasn't low 60s in the alps....
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:26 pm

jules21 wrote:it's not clear-cut, just from size and weight. the best measure of climbing ability is power-weight ratio ....

True... however the great thing about cycling, is that there are so many other factors that come into play beside raw power figures. 2 riders with the same power, same weight, wont climb the same hill identically. One may be mentally stronger, one may be able to hurt himself and suffer more than the other one, one may be more aggressive and take risks, one may be tactically superior, one may psyche out the other and make him believe he is stronger when he isn't. One may believe in himself where the other bloke doesn't. Power numbers are never the whole story in cycling.
My point of genetics is that I can have 3 blokes same height and weight, one is a freak who can put out fabulous power on a bike, his dad and grandparents were all champions and he is a born champion as well, one is just an average Joe who even with all the help and support in the world will only be a club B grader at best, and the last one cant even balance or ride a bike at all, cant catch a ball but is pretty good on a computer or something.
You can always punch above your weight in cycling no matter what your body type. History shows that champions come in all shapes and sizes. Fausto Coppi was a weak sickly dude with the wrong body type to be a cyclist.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby vander » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:34 pm

Unfortunately DD in this day and age power numbers are 90% of the story, when you can watch your numbers and know what you can do for an hour it makes it easy. Before you had a more attacking approach these days if you watch the tour they just ride to their numbers, unfortunately. A big part of that is not to go too deep, as they know is they ride X watts they will be able to back up the next days, if they do x + 5% (which they may be able to do on a good day) they will not pull up well the next day.

Thats getting of topic. They main thing about climber physiology from research papers I have seen is they were all 18-19 on the old BMI scale. They is no matter how tall they are they are skinny for their height (these were studies of the anthropometry of pro teams with riders grouped based on their role in the team)
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby Ross » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:39 am

According to Google Froome is 71kg, Wiggins is 77kg, Contador 62kg and Cav 69kg.
Edit: Just saw another article that says "that Froome's weight has barely varied over the two years, being around 68 kilos, with variations of less than 900 grams."
So that's interesting. Froome proved to be a very strong climber as well as winning TDF overall and Cav is one of the best sprinters in the world and only weighs 1kg more. Robbie McEwan reportedly weighs 67kg and he is a sprinter as well.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby george-bob » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:31 am

trailgumby wrote:Without looki g at specific examples, I would expect the shorter rider to climb better. My reasoning runs along the lines that the taller rider would be expected to have a greater percentage of his mass taken up with skeletal structure, assuming similar body fat percentage. The smaller rider would have more muscle for the same body mass, facilitating a higher power to weight ratio.

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Interesting point, but the taller cyclist can also use larger cranks (more easily at least) and exert more torque per rotational distance.
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:33 am

When we ran into Froome and Porte on the Col de Madone last year a couple of days before the TDF he said his weight was down to 68kgs.... I expect he would lose another kg or two during the tour. He looked lethally lean :-) .
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby jules21 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:42 am

toolonglegs wrote:When we ran into Froome and Porte on the Col de Madone last year a couple of days before the TDF he said his weight was down to 68kgs.... I expect he would lose another kg or two during the tour. He looked lethally lean :-) .

as i said above, i reckon that's gotta be about his limit. i was 190 cm/72 kg when i was younger and there was nothing left to lose - i was skin and bone. even my cheeks had receded into my mouth :)
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Re: Climber Physiology and Anthropometry

Postby Squigs » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:21 am

Ross wrote:According to Google Froome is 71kg, Wiggins is 77kg, Contador 62kg and Cav 69kg.
Edit: Just saw another article that says "that Froome's weight has barely varied over the two years, being around 68 kilos, with variations of less than 900 grams."
So that's interesting. Froome proved to be a very strong climber as well as winning TDF overall and Cav is one of the best sprinters in the world and only weighs 1kg more. Robbie McEwan reportedly weighs 67kg and he is a sprinter as well.


This article could explain why Cav is better at sprinting and Froome is better at climbing even though they are just about the same weight.

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