The sport of auto racing, particularly open wheel IndyCars, is extremely physically and mentally demanding. On a standard road circuit, the driver will shift hundreds of times per lap, steer the 1500 pound car through high speed corners and stay focused on the other drivers while driving over 100 mph for two hours. On an oval, the driver encounters speeds up to 230 mph and must make lightning fast decisions in races that last up to three hours. During these races, the driver will experience a heart rate ranging from 150 to 185 bpm and high body temperatures, all while wearing a full fire suit.
Training the shoulders and core are two primary areas to focus on with these athletes. PitFit has been using the TRX to do this since 1997 when the company’s founder Jim Leo first discovered the TRX. The TRX exercises Leo creates specifically for drivers are always greeted with nervous excitement when they show up at PitFit Training headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, and J.R. Hildebrand was no exception.
Hildebrand, 22, (above) has quickly risen to prominence on the American racing scene, thanks to impressive results in the junior formula and, most recently, his 2009 victory in Indy Lights, the feeder series to the USA’s premier racing championship. Hildebrand has been working with Leo to prepare for his first IndyCar races at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma tracks in August 2010. These are two of the most demanding courses on the circuit, but J.R. is physically prepared for the races, largely in part from his training with the TRX. The three exercises demonstrated in the video above by Leo and Hildebrand focus on maintaining strength in the arms, shoulders and core for 60 second intervals. These exercises can be used by those who are living life in the fast line... and for those who want the toned arms, shoulders and core of racing's finest.
JR Hildebrand is not the only racecar driver using the TRX Suspension Trainer. Check out the video above showing 25 drivers from the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup "Racing Under the Green" series get trained on the TRX before they get behind the wheel of the racecars.
Jim Leo began his career in motorsports conditioning in 1994 when he worked for top level team Penske Racing. He founded PitFit Training (www.pitfit.com) in 1997 and has grown the company into an international business with clients from nearly every major racing series. The PitFit facility in Indianapolis features a 3,000 square foot training center, a 700 square foot heat training lab and chiropractic and massage therapy onsite.