Review – Carmichael Training Systems Video Podcasts

  • The only thing you'll ever see in a Carmichael video podcast

    The only thing you'll ever see in a Carmichael video podcast

    Rating – * (out of *****)

  • Summary – good workouts, but repetitive, boring video and music
  • Price – 10 USD per playlist
  • Download at Train Right

There is no doubt that Lance Armstrong’s coach, Chris Carmichael, knows what an effective workout is. Eight – whoops, sorry, seven Tour de France victories prove that. Perhaps a little of that expertise might do me good? To find out, I downloaded a series of his training podcasts – both video and audio.

First off, the website is downright frustrating to use. Just getting around the place and figuring out what is what is a workout in itself. Chris – get some help with that site..I know some customer experience guys that can help you out.

Here is how the video podcasts work – you buy a “playlist” that’s arranged like one of Carmichael’s workouts. The playlist consists of video “tracks,” such as a 10minute warm-ups, 4minute “steady state” sessions, 2minute climbing sessions, 30 second sprints, 5 minute recovery sessions and 10minute warmdown as well. In theory, this is a great idea, as you can create your own workouts using the tracks you’ve downloaded.

Choosing from the 18 workouts available, I downloaded the “Over/Under” playlist, which is a 10min warm up, 1minute interval, 2minute recovery and then four repeats of 4minute steady states, 2minute climbing and 5 minute recovery. A 10min warm down closes the workout for a total of 15 “tracks” and 60minutes.

Now, Chris might know what he’s doing with workouts, but he certainly doesn’t know what he’s doing with indoor spinning. A big part of an indoor workout is that it keeps you entertained, and stays fresh. Halfway through this playlist, you’re hoping the bike breaks so you can get off and get your sanity back. Here’s why:

  • The video is of someone riding a spin bike. My god. You have to be kidding. I get bored watching myself ride a spin bike – how boring is it watching someone else? Every once in awhile there is a close-up of a spinning crank, or hands moving to a new position on the bars. Whooeee! Granted, there is are some graphics on the screen indicating the desired effort and cadence level, and a countdown clock letting you know when the boredom is over. But it’s more a gimmick than anything else.
  • Even though there are 15 tracks, there are only 6 videos. This is because every time you do, say, a four minute steady state, the same four minute steady state video plays. With the same music. With the same person. After the third repeat I wanted to chuck my iPod across the room. (Now, granted, I’m the kind of guy who likes a lot of variety to keep things interesting – if you like more familiarity, perhaps you like this repetition.)
  • The music is an odd mix of rock and roll and grungy pop - none of which you have heard before, and little of which you want to hear again – and certainly not four times in the same workout! Not very motivating stuff. And the problem with a video podcast is that you can’t turn down the volume and listen to something else. Your iPod won’t let you do that. I did this workout a few times, and ran the video through iTunes on my iMac, and listened to different music on the iPod. The video wasn’t any more interesting though, and I soon stopped watching and just did the workout from memory.

In total, I downloaded three playlists, and while the workout itself is good, I would just as soon write it down on a piece of paper, turn on my own music and have at it. And, the good news is that you can do just that by clicking the link above. Write down the playlists, and then do them yourself without having to pay the 10 bucks that Carmichael wants for these videos.

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  • Lori

    thankyou for your suggestion on writing down the profiles, I am a new spinning instructor, and not familiar with his abbreaviations for the profiles,( i am madd dog certified)

    what do each of his discriptions mean like,, stomp, power interval, ect.. he has terms in his workout, that i saw on the clip climb interval it was 10 min, and he say’s 1 min on and 1 min off for 9 effort, can you please list the others.