by Molly Hurford

We recently interviewed Graeme Street, the creator of the Cyclo90 H.I.T. Program, and now that we’ve had time to check out the DVDs in his collection, we’re bringing you a review of his program. Cyclo90 H.I.T. focuses on high intensity training, core strength and rapid fitness gains in a 90-day period. The workout videos are available either as a DVD or a download, and there’s a package that includes a written training program to follow for 90 days, at which point Street guarantees that the rider will be “stronger, leaner and more powerful on the bike.” Although not geared specifically for cyclocross, the H.I.T. (or high-intensity training) efforts target building the top end – crucial to ’cross. Set up in workouts for on the bike (where Graeme “does” the workout with you on the video) and off the bike (the core work is intense!), the workout program as a whole is great for the off-season, and the individual workouts can still be scattered throughout the cyclocross season as well, especially when bad weather forces you indoors. You can learn more about the Cyclo90 program on the Cyclo-CORE website.

I opted for the download option of the program, and if you’re anything like me in that you’re constantly moving around, it’s a heck of a lot easier than toting around a bunch of DVDs. The files can also be opened on a smart phone, tablet, Netbook, laptop, et cetera, so there were a lot of play-back methods I could use it with, which made life a lot simpler when traveling.

Graeme has such an upbeat personality that you can’t help but be motivated to finish the sessions. I tried a couple of the core workout videos, and bits of some of the short, intense trainer workouts, though I couldn’t follow the 90-day plan, since it’s not what my coach has on tap for me.

Even if you aren’t going to follow the 90-day plan that comes with the program, the workouts themselves can be mixed and matched to suit your needs or to complement what your coach suggests for you, especially when it comes to the core work. In fact several of these workouts would be great choices for a coach to prescribe to athletes as the trainer workouts are engaging and the off-bike efforts more specific than a vague, “go do some core work today.” For winter training, these certainly make trainer rides less tedious, and as Graeme has pointed out, even though they’re short, you still should feel like you’ve put it all out there by the time you finish.

Street focuses on short trainer sessions with high intensity to improve fitness.

Street focuses on short trainer sessions with high intensity to improve fitness.

The core workouts are actually pretty intense as well. My personal favorite was the shortest: just 13-14 minutes of all-out crazy core work that left my sides sore for the rest of the day (in a good way!) And with a PowerTap, doing the short intensity workouts on the trainer was way more fun with the video playing, as opposed to just going for an hour. It’s a great way to sort of get a feel for if you’d be interested in having a coach, or if you’d be interested in focusing more heavily on intensity training. Especially for someone who hasn’t ever had the privilege of having a coach, this program can be a step in the right direction, though for me, nothing will take the place of an actual flesh-and-blood coach like the one I have! I could definitely see how, as a rider with a full-time job and a family, this program is ideal.

The biggest “con” I have with the program is the production quality. I’m a bit of a film snob, so I couldn’t help but notice the rough-around-the-edges nature of the filming, but the hardcore athlete most likely wouldn’t even notice it when intensely involved with the workouts. There were moments that I wish he had redone (in one of the core workouts, he mentions that he’s not doing the full extension because he’s injured, which led me to wonder why he didn’t just re-shoot when he was uninjured), but overall, I really enjoyed the videos. It was nice to have someone to “ride with,” even if it was just someone on my laptop screen (perhaps I need to get on board with the rollercam craze that seems to be the new thing!)

If your looking for new workouts to spice up your training, these are definitely worth a look – especially since Street is offering a free download of one of his H.I.T. workouts on his website. Check it out here.