We get this question often. It lands in our inbox, tentatively phrased, often by a Couchlandrian refugee. They're looking to discover their inner Sufferlandrian, but need to be shown the way. Here's this Minion's best attempt...
In short, all of our videos are a good place to start (just don't do them all back-to-back - yet!). I say this because no matter your fitness level, no matter if you're looking to exercise more to improve your health or win a World Championship, everyone suffers - EVERYBODY HURTS!
All our videos are built on this philosophy and each workout is structured around a 'Suffer Scale' from 1 to 10. That way, you can work out to your own (dis)comfort level.
The SUFFER SCALE, explained:
SO YOU CAN'T GO WRONG. BUT THERE ARE SOME VIDEOS THAT ARE A BETTER PLACE TO START...
If you're really looking to dip your toe in the Lactic Acid Sea of Agonia as opposed to diving in head first, then you may want to start with one of our easier videos. They are far from easy, but feature lower intensities and are a great introduction to the structure interval training that features throughout our workouts.
Elements of Style, for example, is a workout that focusses on the core principles of technique, body awareness & positioning and pedal stroke. It's a far cry from our typical videos, but an essential part of anyone's training, from the new rider to the serious racer.
To Get to the Other Side is another moderate intensity video and another departure from our typical workout (I say "typical", referring both to the footage and the intensity level). This one is 90 minutes long, focuses on endurance (vs. top speed and strength) and features some stunning footage of the Italian Dolomite mountains.
Another great place to start, and in particular if you're looking to improve your fitness and competition level, is Full Frontal. This hour-long test is the same one Coach Neal Henderson uses to assess the fitness of the pro cyclists and Olympic athletes he trains. It measures your performance across 4 separate maximal efforts to create a comprehensive 4-Dimensional Power Profile, assign you a rider type, and personalize the power targets in your workouts. It all starts to get a bit technical here, but we've got answers to questions you didn't even know you had yet in our Full Frontal FAQs.
If Full Frontal is a bit of a jump - and it certainly can be because it requires some extra bits of hardware, like a heart rate monitor and power meter - then stick to the Suffer Scale, it's a great guide to structuring your training.
OK, SO I SUFFERED (A BIT). NOW WHAT?
Revolver is as brutally simple as they come. After a brief warm-up, you're in for one-minute max intensity efforts punctuated by a merciful one minute of rest. Do that 15 times. A blunt instrument to make you faster.
The Rookie uses on-bike footage to throw you into the sprint train, where you're tasked with turning yourself inside out in the pursuit of VICTORY. We dare you not to be engaged by the immersive storyline, as well as the killer soundtrack!
What can we say about Nine Hammers? When we first saw this workout, designed by the brilliant Sir Neal Henderson, KoS, we didn't think it was possible to complete. We hesitated a bit - was this workout too hard?! Then we tried it. We groveled, but we persevered. What we came to love about Nine Hammers is how the agony is so well-balanced with the recovery sections. Throw in another killer soundtrack and you'll be delighted with the results,
Why Angels? Angels has the power to make eight minutes feel like an eternity. Try this one for yourself and discover why it is one of our best selling workouts of all time.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?
Yes! Once you've discovered your inner Sufferlandrian and you're serious about improving your power on the bike, then you need to look at our training plans. Designed by the elite coaches at SUF Coaching, these plans take the guesswork out of how and when to Suffer, when to rest and recover (and even when to get a massage or clean your bike). The plans can be done exclusively indoors, but if the weather's nice outside then you can go out into the great outdoors as well, we suppose...
Now, believe it or not, we haven't even scratched the surface! I haven't even had to chance to tell you about pain shakes, our national anthem, what the heck IWBMATTKYT means... There'll be time for that, but right now, the only thing you should be asking is:
Is it time for intervals yet?!