Wednesday 2nd of March, 2011
Every year the team at Ford Performance Racing run an intensive four day training camp for their drivers. Last Wednesday I had the privilege of training Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison for one morning of those four days.
As I've already mentioned, you couldn't exactly call me a fan of V8 Supercars (please don't send me hate mail if you're a raving fan). It's not that I disliked it, but just never got into it. After training Mark and Will, and seeing the intensity they put into their time with me, I have a new found respect for these guys.
Let me explain; You may be like I was previously, and never given any thought to how fit these guys really are. While the training they did with me was quite different for them, both Mark and Will are definitely athletes in the true sense of the word. Will regularly competes in triathlons and if you've seen Mark competing recently on Rexona Australia's Greatest Athlete, you know that the guy is in great condition (outperforming all previous drivers on the show).
The majority of races in V8 Supercars follow an endurance format of between 300 kilometres (approximately 2 hours 15 minutes) and 500 kilometres (2 races of 250 kilometres over 2 days, roughly 2 hours each). So it goes without saying that these guys need a very high level of endurance, both physically and mentally.
In fact sport scientists (Exercise Research Australia , the Victorian Institute of Sport) have proven that V8 Supercar drivers are definitely elite athletes, having equal and in some areas a higher level fitness to the very best football (AFL and ARL) players.
Mark and Will were telling me that moving the gearstick, which they do every few seconds, is the same as shifting up to 25kg with one arm. And when breaking, the force applied to the pedal is up to 100kg.
Dr Troy Flanagan (Head Sport Science co-ordinator at the Victorian Institute of Sport) says that, "Very few athletes suffer such extreme conditions as V8 Supercar drivers. For example, the heat generated inside the car and fire suits is similar to that experienced when playing AFL football in the hottest part of the day in Darwin or a cricketer playing in the east continent.”
So what did the guys do with me last Wednesday? You can check out some of it in the video clip below. I was aware that they already do a lot of endurance training, so I wasn't going to just give them a different flavoured repeat of what they were already doing. My focus was to push them mentally, by putting them right out of their comfort zone. Plus give them something totally different to what they've done before.
I also took them through a partner tyre flip for 30 meters, with our 320kg beast (photo at top of page). Then we finished off their session doing some density work with battling ropes and sledgehammer training. Considering it was their first time to this type of training, I reckon the boys put in a solid performance. Both Will and Mark definitely gave a monster effort on each task I gave them! So they've earned my respect.
How would I train them if they were ongoing clients of mine? Exactly the same way I train all my other athletes. Everybody needs a foundation of strength. Your strength endurance has a direct correlation with your max (or low range) effort strength. I would also give them extra core work (you haven't trained your core until you've done it with me), and have them training to balance the strength disparity they have in their bodies (injury prevention and longevity of overall body health). While encouraging them to of course continue the endurance training they are already doing.
Let me wrap up by saying, don't underestimate V8 Supercar drivers. They would probably kick your arse in a training session with me!
Always moving forward,
John Wayne Legg
P.S. If you want to become the best athlete you can be or don't compete but want to get in the best shape of your life, contact us to arrange your trial session.
P.S.S. Maybe you're wondering what Mark and Will thought of their training session at Melbourne's Underground. Check out what they had to say below: