From the outside, The Sufferfest may look like a scary place to train.
With workouts named things like ‘The Violator’ and ‘Fight Club’, you can be excused if you’re intimidated by the whole idea.
But while The Sufferfest may revel in the glory of suffering and bestow titles like ‘Knight of Sufferlandria’ on anyone tough enough to ride 10 sessions back-to-back, it could also be a great place to kick-start your indoor training.
In short, The Sufferfest is an indoor training app thank links up with your turbo trainer to offer structured workouts and training programmes, along with yoga and strength training regimes.
If you’ve ever wanted to dive into the rabbit’s hole of structured indoor workouts, The Sufferfest might just be the perfect option for you.
Neal Henderson, performance coach to the likes of Rohan Dennis and the man behind The Sufferfest workouts, said: “If you’re stuck indoors or without any gym, keep in mind that The Sufferfest app offers a free two-week trial. In addition to cycling workouts, we’ve got in-home strength training workouts, yogas workouts, mental training and treadmill running workouts. Give it a whirl!”
With dozens of interval sessions pre-loaded onto the app complete with race footage from major events like the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Britain, there is a workout the perfect length and intensity for everyone.
And with a two-week free trial for anyone getting started on The Sufferfest, now is as good a time as any to inject some suffering into your training.
So here are the best workouts for anyone wanting to kick start their new life as a ‘Sufferlandrian’:
At the lower end of the Training Stress Score (TSS) spectrum is Igniter.
This 21-minute workout is designed to warm up the engine, getting the body in the perfect place to dig deep ready for a training session or race, but it also works nicely as a steady introduction to indoor interval training.
Featuring footage from the Giro d’Italia, the session opens with a steady 10-minute ramp up from zone one through to five, before dropping down to zone two ready for the real interval work.
After a 30-second stint above threshold, you then head into three short sprints of increasing intensity, before a brief final warm-down.
For those just starting out on The Sufferfest, this is a perfect introduction that may just tempt you into something more intense.
Intermediate: Elements of style
Slightly longer and slightly more intense than Igniter is Elements of style.
This session is designed to help you build on the basics and prepare you for the serious suffering the app also has installed.
Featuring six drills, Elements of Style will work on your riding position, how to generate more power with a stable core and engaged glutes, a smooth pedal stroke, and staying relaxed.
It’s also narrated by the legendary cycling commentator Carlton Kirby, who gives clear instructions on what to do, when and why.
This one is a real game-changer
Hard: 4DP Full Frontal
It’s no secret that fitness testing is hard – the entire point is pushing yourself to the very limit to find out exactly where your fitness runs out – but the 4DP is a whole other beast.
This workout is only an hour long, but for pretty much all of us it will include a section that we really, really hate.
But of course the 4DP is an essential tool to find out where your fitness lies, what you need to improve, and where your zones need to be set for future workouts.
During the hour you will undergo four separate tests, one for each type of power.
After warming up, you’ll first be thrown into two seven-seconds sprints to find your maximum power, then it’s a five-minute uphill time trial to gain an insight into your maximum pursuiting power.
Next up is the threshold effort – riding as hard as you can for 20 minutes – before you settle in for a final one-minute attack effort.
This is just as horrible as it sounds and by the end you should be feeling completely empty, but Sufferfest will then be able to tell you exactly what kind of rider you are and every session will be customised to make sure you’re training the right areas – its an invaluable asset once you’ve finally made it through.
Insane: Kitchen Sink (Mash-Up)
As you’d expect from an app named after suffering, there are some workouts on The Sufferfest that are just downright absurd.
The most intense workout available is Kitchen Sink (Mash-Up) with a mind-blowing TSS of 233.
This workout is just shy of three hours long and combines all the nasty bits from 11 different workouts, making sure you taking a beat across all four power types – neuromuscular, anaerobic, maximal aerobic and threshold.
A warning – this is a serious workout that might just leave you in tears by the end. Do not underestimate.