Imagine driving a car at speeds approaching about 112 mph for about two hours, and at the same time bending circuits must be negotiated and ways to overtake opponents. This is what a Formula 1 (F1) driver will be racing through the streets of Monaco. It sounds exciting and exciting, but think about doing it with the most heartbeat for your entire race.

Research has shown that heart rate can be an average of 182 beats per minute during a race when heart rate responses and energy costs are similar to those seen by elite marathon runners and football players.

This is not just about driving, which is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports on the planet.

Physical demands

Drivers face extreme physical demands for two reasons. First, the car generates a large amount of heat as a result of the engine, with the driver having a cabin temperature of around 122 ° F at around 50 ° C.

They also wear specialized race clothing, designed to protect you from fire, but avoid keeping you cool. It is not surprising, therefore, that a driver’s loss of 5% of body weight through sweating during a race can cause hyperthermia.

Second, there are the dreaded forces of G. In a race, a driver suffers five times the severity of pushing over him, makes it difficult to breathe, wraps blood around his body, and moves his arms and legs. A, and if that’s not enough, the feet are sitting in a position where they match the chest.

So they have to be extra drivers, but clearly they have to be in extra mode.

Complex training

Drivers are trained to develop cardiorespiratory training. Just as physical responses are similar to marathon runners, so is the training they do.

To cope with high temperatures and G forces, both of which reduce the amount of blood that goes to the skin for cooling, drivers need to train their heart and cardiovascular system to be stronger and more efficient. The workout depends on the driver, but it will take long physical exercises to help increase the size of the heart muscle and the density of the capillaries, both of which are necessary to get oxygen to the working muscles.

However, due to the high energy demands and workload of the cardiovascular system, the muscles will begin to use energy from other sources that are not dependent on oxygen. Through this anaerobic respiration (without oxygen), the breaking down of food substances releases a small amount of energy in the absence of oxygen. These alternative sources provide energy but at a cost. They cause local muscle fatigue and thus make it difficult to control the car.

But it’s not just the suitability of the cardiorespiratory system, there are G forces that act throughout the body that need to be trained. To do this, drivers do strength training.

Strength training will be used to increase the size of muscle fibers, but also the speed at which muscles gather. This is not like training to be a weight shooter, it is about trying to keep the muscle from getting tired as the race progresses, increasing the speed of the muscles to contract and becoming more efficient. An F1 driver needs strength to keep the car on the road.

It takes a lot of strength to keep the car on the road, as well as to overtake. Davide Gennari / EPA

One area of ​​the body that needs to be strengthened is the neck muscles. When G forces push the body, it is more difficult for drivers to keep their head upright. So drivers take a form of training called isometry where the muscles are working against resistance, but they don’t change length.

Imagine trying to push as much as possible against a wall. The wall doesn’t move but you feel the muscles working. This is an isometric exercise. To develop the neck muscles, drivers will use resistance bands like you see in the gym, but with special helmets or helmets, special helmets that add weight to them, while trying to keep their head in a fixed position.

In addition, all drivers will need to practice their core strength, again using a combination of regular strength training and isometrics, while working against G forces to maintain their body position in the cab.

It is a physically demanding sport as drivers are required to train as Olympic athletes throughout the season while they have to do all the work with the car and the race. It may seem, to the casual viewer, an easy sport to drive a car around a track, but luckily now you realize that a lot of work needs to be done, making it the toughest sport in F1. world.

This article was originally published in The Conversation by Dan Gordon of Anglia Ruskin University. Read the original article here.