Get In Race Ready Shape

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Back from the spin through your colony? Sweat out your slob with moves from IndyCar champ Ryan Hunter-Reay’s workout regimen.

 

The Neck

“On road-course corners we pull 4 Gs, so if your head normally weighs 4 kg, it weighs 18kg. I have a device, a hat with two resistance bands that you attach weights to—it works the different angles of the neck. If your neck gives out in a corner, your mind loses its sense of equilibrium, which can be bad.”

 

The Core

“Having a strong core is crucial for steering. I work with medicine balls to simulate the driving position, then do a side-to-side movement as well as some exercises in the plank position, lifting an arm and a leg and holding as long as possible. I try to stay away from the machines. It’s always better to use your own body weight.”

 

Leg Work

“We put about 1,200 pounds of pressure to the brake in the car, so you have to strengthen your legs. There’s a certain flex range you can do on a half-ball that almost replicates what happens in the car. Basically, holding free weights in your hands, you balance on one foot to do isolated lunges on the ball.”

 

Reflexes

“There are certain reflex-training exercises where you hit lights on a board at a specific time. That stuff helps, but I find the best physical preparation is in the six-speed shifter karts. I take them to the track and use them in the off-season. They’re super physical—most people will get winded after five or six laps the first time they try them.”