2018 could the considered the most challenging era for Formula One, both physically and cognitively, with cars now generating greater levels of downforce and increased performance in cornering. The consequence of this is higher levels of gravitational force (G force), which places tremendous strain on the driver’s body.
Why it’s important for a Formula One driver to be in shape
Rowing has been highlighted as a particularly good training method for driver’s due to the focus on shoulder, arm and neck muscles during the exercise. Technogym’s SKILLROW is an ideal training tool for a driver as it provides detailed feedback via the app, so the athlete can track their progress and results effectively.
It is important for a driver to condition the shoulder and neck complex, as their head is unsupported in a sideways and forward motion. Technogym developed a unique piece of equipment, which resides in the McLaren Fitness and Wellbeing Centre known as the ‘F1 Trainer’. This replicates the driving position and, in combination with a steering load system and additional equipment, develops the important upper body area.
The power-braking motion is performed by the left leg. To isolate this muscle, drivers perform unilateral (one limb) movements using the Technogym Leg Press. This is also supplemented by general leg-strengthening exercises using free weights, such as squat combinations, deadlifts, lunges and kettlebell swings.
Formula One driver training day example
Prehabilitation session involving mobility and flexibility exercises (yoga/pilates), pre-activation and warm-up protocol.
Endurance training with SKILLBIKE:
- Cadence: 80-100
- 30 min intensity build up
- 5x30 second high intensity intervals (simulating sector corner combinations)
- 5 min intensity steady state
- 5x90 second high intensity intervals (simulating multiple lap combinations)
- 30 min low intensity steady state
Warm up protocol:
- Raise body temperature (e.g. walk-jog, rowing, skipping)
- Activate muscles (e.g. glute bridges)
- Mobilise (e.g. alternating spiderman hip stretch, inch worm)
- Potentiate (e.g. hops, box jumps)
- Strength (four basic driver workout variations)
- Barbell front squat or dumbbell goblet squat
- Romanian deadlift (RDL)
- SL leg press
- SL calf-raise
- Dumbbell chest press
- Seated cable row
- Dumbbell shrug
- Lateral raise
- Hammer curls
- SB supine (single-leg) hip extension
- SB Russian twist
- Hall-ball V-sit and dumbbell rotations (steering)
- Pallof press/kneeling cable rotations with iso.
- Bird dog
- Seated harness extension isometric
- Seated harness side flexion (right) isometric
- Seated harness side flexion (left) isometric
- Seated harness flexion isometric
- F1 trainer steering drills