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The Best Workout Routines for a Racecar Driver

author image Meredith Crilly
Meredith C. has worked as a nutrition educator, chef and community health projects since 2011. She received a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from the University of Tennessee and is currently completing an MS/DI program in nutrition.
The Best Workout Routines for a Racecar Driver
Race car drivers are skilled drivers who focus on strength and stamina to improve their racing times. Photo Credit: IvanMiladinovic/iStock/Getty Images

Race car driving is a physically demanding job. Professional racers are not only skilled drivers, they're also athletes. No matter what the sport, the highly skilled and trained person holds an advantage in competition. Because racing requires stamina and strength from its top drivers, driver fitness programs are so important.

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Total Body Workout

While each exercise program varies depending on the driver's physical condition and desired results, general conditioning and strength training are recommended. A total body workout two to three times a week makes up the core of a driver's workout routine. Exercises in these routines include squats, pull-ups, pushdowns, standing calf raises and wrist curls. Specific resistance routines for the upper body, core and neck are key elements of driver-focused workouts. The sets for each exercise range from two to four, with repetitions per set ranging from six to 12, depending on each driver. These exercises work all major muscle groups in the body, ensuring optimal performance on the track.

Cardio for Car Racers

Race car drivers may ride mountain bikes as part of their fitness routines.
Race car drivers may ride mountain bikes as part of their fitness routines. Photo Credit: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Cardio activities also contribute to a driver's fitness. Most race cars do not have air conditioning, but a proper training program helps drivers endure the heat effects and gives them an edge over the competition. IndyCar drivers like Ryan Hunter-Reay and Duncan Ende incorporate cardio into their workouts. The best cardio routines involve intervals of long-sustained efforts and elevated heart rate. Not only does this build fitness, it also mimics the conditions a driver will encounter on the track. Running and cycling are two favorites that make up driver's workouts.

Increasing Flexibility

Not only do drivers need to stay lean and light, they also require a wide range of motion. Stretching exercises promote increased flexibility. While this component of the workout is not the main area of focus, flexibility training is essential in a well-rounded fitness routine for race car drivers.

Sensory Motor And Balance

A race car driver may use obstacle-based speed work to improve reaction times.
A race car driver may use obstacle-based speed work to improve reaction times. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

A driver must have excellent hand-eye coordination and react quickly. Sensory exercises focus on the ankles, knees, core muscles and neck stability. Race car drivers may stand on one foot on a stability platform while bending and touching the opposite foot. Obstacle-based speed work and boot camp-style exercises can be incorporated into a workout to improve reaction time.

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