Our previous physical performance blog post looked at how to taper physical training in the lead up to a race. This time we are going to look at how you can warm up physically when you are actually at the track.
Warm ups are used across all sports but are still not something adopted by all drivers competing in Motorsport – therefore you can use this to your advantage!
The aim of the pre-performance routine is to ensure you are at your optimum both physically and mentally when you get in the car. Not just jumping in and hoping for the best.
An easy way to remember the aims of a warm up is the RAMP protocol.
Raise - Body Temperature, Heart Rate, Respiratory Rate, Blood Flow and Joint Viscosity
Activate - key muscle groups that will be used in the car
Mobilise - key joints and ranges of motion used in the sport through dynamic movements.
Potentiate - Activities that improve effectiveness of subsequent performance (usually involves more power based exercised - most sports specific exercises)
How can this be achieved?
Dynamic stretches not static – static stretches have shown to actually reduce muscular power immediately after, therefore they are more appropriate to a cool down rather than a warm up. Focus on dynamic stretches with movement e.g. arm circles, leg swings, torso twists.
Appropriate intensity – stretching alone isn’t enough! Make sure you include some exercises that increase heart rate, good examples can be skipping, jogging on the spot, jumping jacks.
Specific Activation - Include exercises that replicate the demands of the session ahead. For example if it’s going to be tough on the neck then include some extra neck exercises such as using your hand or a resistance band for resistance. Do you need to hit the brake hard? Then include some calf exercises such as calf raises or use a resistance band for calf extensions.
Being Mindful – Focus on your warm up, don’t get distracted by what’s happening around you or by thoughts about what happened in the last race or what might happen in the upcoming one.
Hydrate! - Aim to drink 400-600ml of water during the 2 hours leading up to the event, this allows adequate time for hydration and urination.
Finally it is a good idea plan when your warm up routine will be most effective. For example, it can be a good idea to do a longer warm up first thing in the morning to set up your day and then a shortened version before getting in car.