The Push Hog Reviews: 3LC.tv Train with the Manx – Road Race & Sprinting Turbo Sessions

British winters can be cruel to the fair weather cyclist, we have very few choices if we want to keep up our fitness, with one of those answers being the dreaded Turbo Trainer, the bane of many cyclists, but is that about to change…

The problem with the turbo is that, unlike cycling on the road, we need entertaining; some try setting up in front of the television, whilst others plug in an iPod, all with the inevitable consequence of feeling like using an indoor trainer is a chore rather than something to enjoy.

20140217-000102.jpg
Three Legs Cycling, aka 3LC.tv, a company hailing from The Isle of Man, is amongst a burgeoning industry offering indoor training videos to not only entertain the static cyclist, but to also motivate, improve fitness and work on technique, all whist using the turbo. Here I look at two of their offerings…

Title: 3LC.tv Road Race
Length: 1hr 1min 50secs
Formats: DVD [£14.99p] or MP4 [£9.99p]

20140216-235343.jpg

As an entrant in The Heart of the Wolds Sportive in East Yorkshire I received an email containing a free trial for the 3LC.tv Road Race digital download.

The trial was via their website and as soon as I pressed play the session began, I wasn’t even on my bike yet, so my experience began in a bit of a panic, not that it really mattered as the Road Race begins with a decent 10 minute warm up.

I must admit that I was expecting something slightly different, I hadn’t seen any demos, so I was surprised to see that the video is filmed entirely in a studio, with a selection of pros, elite and club riders cycling on their own turbos while Rob Holden presents the session, flanked by Mark Cavendish who offers advice as he stalks around.

20140217-000408.jpg

As the camera pans around the room, zooming in on the various familiar faces, I note a smiling Peter Kennaugh in his Team Sky kit, in fact they are all smiling, it’s five minutes into the warm up, I’m blowing already and they appear to be enjoying themselves, yet it wouldn’t be long until the smiles are wiped away!

The visual concept on paper might not sound too spectacular, especially as some rival companies focus their sessions on archive film of classic road cycling, so in comparison it might all sound a bit dull watching younger fitter and more efficient cyclists on their turbo trainers, but I promise you that this isn’t the case.

Now settled into a rhythm and feeling comfortable, I notice toward the bottom of the screen a ‘Now & Next’ graphic, indicating the current recommended Cadence* [3LC.tv tend to concentrate on cadence rather than power to judge effort] and a RPE Level [Rating of Perceived Effort], this works very well as I can prepare for the next effort without any nasty surprises.

*Don’t worry if you don’t have a cadence sensor, I don’t, use RPE instead and judge your own effort.

20140216-235511.jpg

The second thing I notice, different to other instructional videos I have used, is that these sessions encourage using the bikes gears rather than the resistance adjustment unit connected to your turbo, this offers a much more road like experience.

The turbo session itself is just over 60 minutes long and split into different sections to simulate a road race, beginning with a breakaway, covering moves etc. Then the race moves into the hills, before finishing with a steady increase in effort as you close out the race. The session eventually culminates with a lead out and final sprint and then ends with a 10 minute warm down.

During the session the cadence shifts from a ‘pedestrian’ 80 rpm to a ‘heart busting’ 130+, with the format shifting from short fast efforts, such as the sprinting, to longer less intense efforts, such as chasing down the breakaway – all thankfully sandwiched in between recovery stints.

My personal highlight was the lead out and final sprint, it was the culmination of my biggest effort on a turbo and I am not ashamed to admit that I got into the spirit and actually managed a Cav-esq dip for the line!

Verdict

The whole session is extremely well structured, I quite like the turbo in any case, but this video was really enjoyable from start to finish.

The session is set at a level which should suit from beginner up to advanced cyclists, with enough variety to keep you coming back for more.

The USP for 3LC is having the input from the coaches and riders, and although I missed out on much of Cav’s monologues due to the noise of my turbo, from what I could gather he was offering friendly advice and seemed genuinely keen to help out.

20140216-235747.jpg

There is very little to fault and I certainly recommend giving it a go, in fact I’m going to buy the Digital Download I enjoyed it so much.

4.5 out of 5 sensisuperSTARS!

20140217-000807.jpg

Title: 3LC.tv Sprinting
Length: 59min 15secs
Formats: DVD [£14.99p] or MP4 [£9.99p]

20140217-201347.jpg

My second offering was a free trial offered by 3LC.tv for their Sprinting session, staring Mark Cavendish, this time in full HTC kit and on a turbo trainer, I’m a big fan of the Manx Missile, so I was looking forward to seeing how he trains…

20140217-234142.jpg

The session begins with a 10 minute warm up at a brisk 80/90 rpm, ramping up after the first three minutes to eventually reach 90/100 rpm, each minute going up one gear at a time – This was certainly a tough introduction.

As the focus of this session was sprinting the training was based on intervals, for example:

Warm up sprint 6 seconds at 100+

Recovery 54 secs at 80/90

Sprint 1 10 secs at 100+
Recovery 50s 80/90

Sprint 2 10 secs at 100+
Recovery 50s 80/90

Sprint 3 10 secs at 100+
Recovery 50s 80/90

Sprint 4 10 secs at 100+
Recovery 50s 80/90

Sprint 5 10 secs at 100+
Recovery 50s 80/90

This was very different to the road race session and more frantic, although it was good to see a selection of non-pro riders sat on their turbos, they seemed to be struggling too!

Mark Cavendish is on good form, explaining the difference in power output between “apes” like Greipel and a smaller rider, like himself, with an unorthodox technique – To to uninitiated, ‘Cav’ uses his bike to generate power and at times wildly swings from side to side during his final sprint – this isn’t a technique he could employ on a fixed turbo!

20140217-203028.jpg

Rob Holden is back on hand to guide you through the session and manages to both push and motivate as you build up a head of steam, my favourite comment being…

“If it were easy footballers would be doing it!”

All this does well to divert your attention from the fact that this session is hard work, often relentless, and I admittedly struggled at times to keep pace, dropping out of sprints like a sulking prima donna!

Roughly half way through the work out you are introduced to ‘ISO-LEGS’ , this proved to be a revelation, essentially it’s cycling on one leg, pushing you to cycle in circles. I was slightly pessimistic at the beginning, but it actually works and the feeling of pedalling properly was fantastic.

The session repeats itself a couple of times, moving from sprinting intervals to ISO-LEGS, before closing out with Time Trial / Sprinting Intervals at 100+ rpm or ‘MAX EFFORT’ as the screen prompts. All this culminates with a lead out and final sprint, where the Manx Missile almost pops his bike off the rollers…

20140217-233457.jpg

…thankfully the session ends with a 10 minute warm down, I needed it too as this proved to be a hard work and judging by the way Cav walked off, he felt the same way too…

20140217-233903.jpg

Verdict

Once again the session is very well structured, at slightly under one hour, it is well judged and by the time I finished I felt that I’d worked hard, with the constant motivation from the coaches really getting me through the tough sprint intervals.

Although I enjoyed the work out, compared to the Road Race session I found it slightly repetitive, which it’s meant to be, yet it was too specific for my liking. This session is no doubt excellent if you want sprint training, but as a lardy beginner I preferred the variety of the Road Race and as such I feel this video might suit racing cyclists from club to elite level, rather than the beginner looking for an overall workout.

I certainly recommend giving the session a try, I can see the benefits of following the training and the excellent ‘ISO-LEGS’ technique is something I’ll incorporate into my own turbo training sessions.

4 out of 5 sensisuperSTARS!

20140217-235648.jpg

As well as the Road Race and Sprinting sessions, 3LC.tv currently have three other videos available through their website or other retailers, priced at £14.99p for the DVD’s or £9.99p for the Digital Download:

Time Trial
Climbing
Ladies Road Race

3LC.tv also offer a rent on demand service, so for £2.99p you can see if the sessions are for you before buying the full version.

3LC.tv Demo

The company also offer a set of Training Plans based on their instructional videos for £4.99p, as well as other products such as Team Kit and T-Shirts.

For notifications of new blogs and updates follow @sensisuperstar on Twitter and/or join the email list.

Also, please feel free to share this blog post using the widgets below.

Thank you.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Cycling, Sport, The Push Hog Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s