When we first glanced at the structure of the workout that would become Nine Hammers there was... hesitation. Sir David McQuillen, Chief Suffering Officer remarked, and I may be paraphrasing here, "This is too hard. Sufferlandrians are not going to be able to finish this... we're going to have to make it easier."
This is the story of Nine Hammers.
What we didn't know at the time was how painfully well-balanced this workout really was. Composed by none other than Sir Neal Henderson, Nine Hammers is a marvel of walking the knifes edge and eeking every last possible watt out of your legs...and then doing it eight more times.
Sir Aaron, our Minion of Sufferlandrian Support, did Nine Hammers during his Knighthood Quest. Here's his data from the Sufferlandrian Training Centre app. It's silky-smooth courtesy of the integration with the Wahoo KICKR, but there are some tell tale signs of weakness. I spotted a "cliff dive", where his power just bottoms out. He did well to recover, but the drop in heart rate tells me he may have had to talk himself in to starting to pedal again.
Frank is on the fence...
Sir James has shed a bit of holy water to Nine Hammers
Karen, well... have you met Karen?
Who were we to doubt Sir Neal Henderson's ability to craft a painfully delightful workout? Silly us! Nine Hammers is all about hitting the high notes - you guessed it - nine times. There are six VO2 max intervals and three threshold intervals, each lasting between 2m 30s and 4 minutes. Then you get to rest for about 2-3 minutes. You're done in just under an hour and, if you're like me, crawling to the shower with a huge grin on your face, humming a catchy tune.
There's some debate about which Hammer hurts most. Is it Hammer Two? Five? Nine? I wonder what Frank G thinks about this one...
The footage features some all out attackss and breakaways from the 2014 Tour de Romandie & Tour de Suisse, including footage of Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Rui Costa and Esteban Chaves.
The recovery footage was provided by none other than the Col Collective and features Mike Cotty letting gravity do the work (and sitting down for once).
Naturally, we worked our own brand of enterPAINment into the video...
I know it's controversial, because music is a matter of personal taste... but Nine Hammers might just have the best soundtrack ever! With funky electro bangers from LehtMoJoe, the surf rock of Ming Ming and the Ching Chings, the ever popular "In Michigan" by Sunny Side Up - to say nothing of Coke Machine.
*drops the mic*
Nine Hammers is a seriously good video to use when you're preparing for a crit, race or really snappy group ride. The VO2 and threshold intervals will push your speed and pain tolerance up to new heights and see you putting in attacks and being the wheel everyone wants to suck (not that you'd let them).
Nine Hammers is also great training that...
I'll let Dame Rachel dole out the wisdom here:
Now that summer is here, surely there is a tough hill or race you want TO CRUSH WITH YOUR BLINDING POWER?! If so, then plug in Nine Hammers, turn up the volume and shed holy water like the good Grunter intended. You can purchase Nine Hammers here, and app subscribers can stream or download the video for the ultimate experience.
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