Start Your Engines!

The barriers are up, the course is set and the drivers will arrive soon. You can feel the anticipation building in Melbourne, with only 9 days left on the countdown till the start of the 2019 Formula 1® season.

The smell of high-octane fuel, carbon-ceramic brakes and the sound of engines starting-up in the distance will grace the Albert Park circuit next weekend for Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the 2019 season. There is something exhilarating about watching cars fly around the circuit while exceeding speeds of 300 km/h. However, travelling at these speeds for extended periods of time requires superhuman strength, reflexes and a particular disregard for fear!

Most people might overlook the fact that Formula 1® drivers are elite athletes; the endurance of a race requires a certain type of fitness, mental agility and coordination not to mention those superhuman reflexes.

While Lewis Hamilton might not be breaking any athletic world records, F1 drivers have some of the most physically intense fitness regimes in the world.

Functionally Fit

Now, you’ve likely done a variety of functional fitness exercises without knowing it. Think those same, repetitive tasks you complete daily – sitting and standing from a desk, turning to hand something to a colleague. Just like any repetitive task, the more we do it the more efficient we become at performing it again later.

Similarly to the average Joe, Formula 1® drivers participate in functional fitness training. Although, their ‘functional fitness’ programs are less traditional in the sense that they are highly specific for their sport, helping them to fly around corners while pulling 3 to 3.5g’s without injuring themselves – unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the cars.

Now, you may not be dreaming of setting lap records in an F1 car let alone anything competitive with your training. However, there are two key ideas we can take away from a Formula 1 drivers training program.

Specificity

As functional fitness is about preparing you for life, rather than a big race like the Australian Grand Prix, turning your everyday actions into exercises is a great way to start targeting your training needs. Think squatting down to pick something off the floor, or turning around to pass something to a colleague. Now, not all exercises are for everyone due to differing needs, goals and fitness levels.

Ensuring training specificity is highly recommended, as this helps to improve our strength and efficiency for that given action. Think back to picking an object off the floor. By mimicking this action with progressive resistance we can help create a balance among the muscles and help decrease the risk of injury. Similar to the way Formula 1® drivers train their necks to withstand the g-force in the corners; the training program should be focused on longevity and injury minimisation.

Have fun

I know you’ve heard it before, and I’m sure you’ll hear it again. How else would we enjoy our wellness journey if we’re not having fun?

Even Formula 1® drivers are allowed to incorporate exercises that they enjoy such as, cycling and swimming into their training programs. Sure, these exercises serve a purpose in the program; however they are used to increase the ‘functionality’ of the programs.

If you enjoy swimming, you could incorporate it into your functional fitness program to help increase joint mobility. It also acts as a great recovery mechanism by relieving some of the stress and pressure from your joints.

If you’re going to spend time working on your fitness and improving your overall quality of life, you may as well enjoy the journey!

Events

If you’re in Melbourne and are looking for something to do next weekend, The Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix runs from Thursday 14th till the end of Sunday the 17th March.

Other events

If you’re a bit of a petrol head but can’t make it to the Formula 1®, here’s a comprehensive collection of motorsport events.

As always, please let me know if there are any particular topics you would love us to look into or you have any queries or concerns.

You can call me on 03 9963 4804 or email me directly.

Oliver Szklarz