The Sufferfest Elements of Style training video will improve your pedalling efficiency through simple drills and higher self awareness on the bike.

Now if you are familiar with the The Sufferfest you’ll note there was no reference to suffering there. In fact that introduction may even have sounded a little Couchlandrian. Elements of Style takes a very different but very welcome direction. But trust us it’s still a tough workout – you’ll be using muscles that have got a bit lazy as bad habits creep in to all of us!

Ever heard the Francophone Pros say “I had good sensations today” and wondered what on earth that means? Or watched a rider in your group spin at 100rpm with not so much of a muscle move in their upper body? Been baffled as a commentator says of a seasoned pro “He’s pedalling squares”?

The Sufferfest Elements of Style is a collaboration with the classy riders over at CyclingTips that will help unravel the mysteries of how to ride with souplesse!

Elements of Style Preview

Elements of Style Review

Systems Check

One of the tips we give all our riders who take on Sportives in Switzerland is to develop a mental checklist along the lines of the System Check advocated at the very start of Elements of Style.

Just like the adage of eating and drinking when you feel good rather than waiting until you are bonking, it’s a good idea to build in a Systems Check into the start of your ride, mid way through a climb and also on long Alpine descents.

The Sufferfest Elements of Style - Systems Check

Buddy Up

Filmed against the beautiful backdrop of Wanaka in New Zealand, Elements of Style benefits fully from the new clear overlays that have been rolled out across Sufferfest’s training videos recently. The clear graphics and calm narrative from Eurosport’s Carlton Kirby encourages you to really feel and think about how you are riding.

I found myself re-doing sections and moving mirrors into place so I could get that instant feedback loop going – it’s the perfect training video to do with a mate so that you can help correct each others form.

The Sufferfest Elements of Style - Pedal Downstroke


Reap The Benefits of Low Cadence Drills

It’s great to see specific low cadence drills included in The Elements of Style as too often the focus with climbing drills is high cadence. Yes high cadence is the goal – but when you are dealing with 10% climbs for 10Km like the Passo Giau then realistically your cadence is going to be much lower. Low cadence climbing places greater strain on the joints and muscles and it’s important to condition your body to these unique demands before you experience them for real on an Alpine col.

Including low cadence drills in your outdoor rides will help you build powerful climbing legs even if you only have modest hills to train on – climbing a 4-5% 2km hill at 50RPM is very good training for what you’ll encounter here in the Alps.

The Flow

All the drills in this training video lead you back to the Systems Check – when you are under pressure and fatigue your form drops off…just when you need to be as efficient as possible. Going through that mental checklist again will help you relax, gain composure and perspective. The key to saving energy in the Alps is relaxing the mind and not giving yourself a hard time mentally, the drills that you will learn in The Sufferfest Elements of Style training video will help you prepare to get your head up (but not too much) and enjoy the view!

Double Header – Rubber Glove and Elements of Style

This is the perfect training tool to use in conjunction with the Rubber Glove Functional Threshold Power Test – test yourself 3-4 times a season and follow up the test the following day with Elements of Style to help correct any errors that have creeped into your pedalling technique and cycling posture.

Elements of Style Training Tips

  1. Set a workout date with a mate and help correct each others form
  2. Use front and side mirrors to check your body positioning and pedal stroke
  3. Bookend your training blocks with an Elements of Style and Rubber Glove double header
  4. Implement the drills into EVERY outdoor ride
  5. Use the Systems Check before you lose form in a sportive or breakthrough ride

Test out Elements of Style yourself and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Buy Elements of Style: A Cycling Style Guide

Now you know that you can ride better there’s no excuse – get ready to suffer in style!

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Buy Elements of Style online today at The Sufferfest and take advantage of our exclusive discount by using the coupon code “CHSUFFERS”


Credits: Image, video and workout all courtesy of our Partners The Sufferfest

Comments (2)

  1. Anth.Q


    Thanks for great review Tom, really enjoyed your perspective and tips at the end too. Yep, after spending time in Pyrenees this Summer I agree I spent more time at lower cadences than I’d practise if I only did Angels, Hunted and ISLAGIATT – and I finding myself doing system checks on the road too, especially when it starts to hurt :-))


    • Tom Eeles


      Hi Anth – Glad you liked it. I think one of the really interesting things we all forget is change of cadence too, we probably all focus a bit too much on getting in that tempo climbing zone at the expense of doing efforts that simulate getting round the steep hairpin turns you get in the Pyrenees and Dolomites!

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