Mechanics Corner Issue #4 - Winter Training Tips
Released: January 28th, 2010
Winter Training Tips for Drivers
All right, who out there is sitting on their couch right now exercising their right arm as they watch reruns of the Sopranos? Are you that same driver who didn’t make the Sunday sessions at a race weekend last year despite the car being ready to go or are you the one who lost focus in the closing laps and got beat at the end of a race?
Did you ever look at the top finishers after a race – did you wonder why they look so fresh and ready to go another round of laps and you can barely drag yourself out of your car? Well now is the time to get on board the fast track and start doing a few things which will help you last a full race weekend and give you more focus and staying power behind the wheel.
For this edition of the Mechanic’s Corner we’re focusing on giving our bodies, rather than our race cars a winter tune up. For this purpose we’ve enlisted the support of Scott Lamb, driver trainer and head physical therapist at the Courtside Club in Los Gatos. We dragged Scott away from the training room at Courtside where he is currently prepping PR1 Motorsports #1 Driver, Max Hyatt, for the 24 Hours of Daytona which he will run later this month in the #32 PR1 BMW. Max is a 23 year old driver whose CV includes graduating with honors from Skip Barber, victories in SCCA competition as well as a first place finish at Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport Circuit in the very competitive F2000 Championship. When he returns from Daytona, Max will be doing a little bench racing and displaying his BMW at the Daytona 500 party on February 14th at Club Auto Sport. We are also pleased to announce that Max will be part of the Borelli Motor Sports Driver Development Program in 2010 where he will act as one of our professional coaches. For more information on Max or to arrange a coaching appointment contact him at M.Hyatt@att.net, Phone: 505.699.8385.
Scott has kindly agreed to give us a few of the training tips and techniques he’s using to keep Max limber, toned and ready for some serious seat time in the Daytona 24 hour race. We think that these will have more than a bit of relevance for any racer. Scott is available for private consultations and may be reached by contacting him at email@example.com or on his cell phone 408.204.6322.
Improving the flexibility and the strength of your bodies CORE is the most important part of the performance enhancement training of any Motorsport Enthusiast outside of improving your Cardiovascular System. But, what is the CORE? Most people believe that the CORE only makes up the abdominal muscle. It is true that the abs are the most obvious part of our CORE body; however the CORE muscles incorporate all muscles that support the Spine and the Hips/Pelvis. There are many muscles that are used to maintain the posture of the spine and the position of the hips and pelvis just like there are many parts of a car that improve the performance. Focusing on just the abs for your CORE training is like adding a stage 3 ECU upgrade while keeping all OEM options from your Air Intake to Exhaust. It just doesn’t make sense. If you want to add 150bhp to your body you need to upgrade the entire CORE package, not just one part.
First you must improve the flexibility of your CORE muscles by performing a Quad Stretch, Hip Flexor/Psoas Stretch and Pirifomoris Stretch. By improving your flexibility in these areas your body’s ability to feel the road will dramatically improve because the nerves will not be as compressed by these tight/tightening muscles which will create faster reaction times on the track..
Quadricep Stretch: Stand with “Tall” Posture grasping one ankle/foot. Push your hips forward while engaging the Glute of the stretching leg and pulling your ankle/foot to Glute.
Hip Flexor/Psoas Stretch: Start in Kneeling Position with back leg in internal rotation. Push your hips forward engaging the Glute of the down leg. To enhance the stretch, reach same side arm up and over. It is important not to deviate forward or backward while reaching up and over.
Pirifimoris Stretch: maintain upper body posture. Flex at hip until stretch is noted, hold for 20-30 seconds.
After stretching these CORE muscles perform these strengthening exercises; the Stability Ball Leg Curl, the Romanian Dead-Lift (RDL) and the Side Plank. These exercises will increase the body’s strength endurance allowing the driver to maintain a higher lever of performance longer and also prevent injuries from occurring if involved in a high speed bump or collision.
Stability Ball Leg Curl: Start by lying on back with arms outstretched and palms up. Place heels on ball with toes pointing straight up. Squeeze glutes to raise your hips from the floor. Next, curl your heels toward your glutes by bending your knees. Slowly return to the start position while maintaining the level of your hips throughout the entire exercise.
RDL: Begin with light weight as technique is crucial. Grip the bar and point the elbows away from each other. The intent is to hinge at the hips (keeping the knees slightly bent) and bow forward at the waist … keeping the back flat. Once in a flexed position, only descend as far as you can maintain a flat position in the spine … if you start rounding the back the range of motion (ROM) and / or the weight may be too much. Reverse the action by driving the head up towards the ceiling (NEVER LEAN BACK) and “pushing the floor down” with the feet.
Side Plank: Lie sideways with legs straight, bottom arm straight under shoulder. Squeeze the glutes and lift up the hip squeezing the hip muscle closest to the floor. Hold for 10-20 sec and rest for 5 sec. Repeat 5-10 times
From a fitness and focus standpoint there is one other suggestion I would make and that is to check out your local go-cart track. In the South Bay my favorite is Le Mans Karting, www.lemanskarting.com, which is located at 45957 Hotchkiss, Fremont, CA 94539, phone # - 510-770-9001. Le Mans uses 4 stroke gas carts and is a fast track, and a racer friendly environment. It’s a great place to develop some endurance and to keep your driving skills up to speed.
For those of you in the North Bay stop by Driven Raceway, www.drivenraceway.com, which is located at 4601 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park, Ca 94928, phone – 707-322-7229. Driven has a very social scene and uses electric carts which on the tight turns at Driven give you massive opportunities to practice keeping the momentum going and the cart underneath you and ahead of the driver behind you.
One word of caution – if winning at the go–cart track is your priority – don’t bring your sons. Mine kicked my butt at Driven. I’m blaming it on weight advantage and youth. Maybe I just need to get in better shape.
I encourage all of you to ask yourself the same question and then put yourself on a program using suggestions like the ones Scott has listed so that we can enjoy ourselves and the thrill of driving as much at the end of a race weekend as we do at the beginning.
HSCRS Competition Committee Member
This article last modified: January 28th, 2010