One of the first things you’ll notice about 3LC’s training DVDs is that there’s only a single hour-long session on each disc. You might think boredom would set in pretty quickly, but you’d be wrong. The beauty of these workouts is that your intensity is gauged by cadence, so depending on the gear you’re pushing you can go as hard or as easy as you want.
This five-part series covers all the bases of road competition – men’s and women’s racing, sprinting, time trialling and climbing all get their own DVD. Each disc sees a group of riders line up in the manner of a spin class. And as the Train with the Manx name suggests, they're all from the Isle of Man – home of producers 3LC (Three Legs Cycling). But these aren't just any cyclists.
Reigning world champion Mark Cavendish shows up in the racing and sprinting workouts, offering pointers from the sidelines before breaking out the Lycra and showing just why he’s the number one sprinter on the planet. Other well known faces, such as Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh and former Saxo Bank rider Jonny Bellis, crop up throughout the series.
Each DVD opens with a series of optional stretching exercises with fitness instructor Donna Whalley before getting stuck into the 60-minute session. The hour is broken down into incremental sections which depend on the the focus of the session, whether it be sprinting or hill climbing, with clear visual instructions to increase or decrease intensity. The speed at which you go is controlled by these instructions, through your cadence and your RPE (rate of perceived exertion), which is a scale of 1-10, 1 being easy and 10 being maximum. How hard you approach the session is up to you – just adjust the resistance on your trainer or slip into a higher or lower gear.
Getting Cavendish on board was an undoubted coup. The sight of the world champion suffering as much as you is encouraging and the advice he dishes out from the sidelines during the road race DVD is one of the series' highlights. Granted, this may get repetitive after several viewings but the way the DVDs have been put together, you can switch off the sound, put some music on and still follow what's going on via the on-screen graphics.
Time and effort has clearly gone into the production of the series and the decision to use 19 cameras, including some mounted on handlebars, was a wise one. It leads to a more urgent and dynamic workout, and the close-up bar shots in particular show you the pain the riders are putting themselves through, reassuring you that you're not the only one.