Driver Fitness: Strengthening the Neck


JIM_LEO – One of the main areas to train for a driver is the neck. The neck handles a lot of the g-loads that a driver goes through and a variety of angles. Lateral g’s, forward g’s, g’s from the rear, moving g-forces as you go through a corner, all these things. Why you need to train the neck is that if the neck isn’t able to hold the head up at certain angles, the vision is affected. Therefore your reaction is slowed down and you may not be able to drive the same lap, the same way, every single time. You’ll have deficiencies. We have high-tech equipment but there’s also some simple drills that you can do. One of the simplest is manual resistance on your own, and that simply is you, taking a hand, putting it against your head and you pushing against your hand. Holding, holding, holding. Put your hand back — use two hands if you want — push back. Holding, holding, holding. Obviously this way and you put your hands in this angle and push forward. You can add movement to that as well by going back-and-forth, back-and- forth, back-and-forth, back and forth and so on and so on. Those are some simple drills that you can do and then you can add some implements into this kind of training. For example, you take a stability ball also called an exercise ball. Take this, put your neck up against here, and you want to lean into it. Now one thing for safety, put a foot down here in case you start to slip. Without that foot down there you’re kind of susceptible to falling over and hurting your neck. But pushing yourself against the neck and changing, now you can turn this way — back-and-forth back-and-forth. You can stabilize, you can hold but it’s good to hold the ball as well so it doesn’t slide around. Back-and-forth again and then take it around this way, come in forward back-and-forth. Different angles of the neck. And, again, come around this way and put it from the back and do the same thing. Taking the neck back-and-forth side-to-side or just simply holding in an isometric contraction just like that. So those are simple drills that you can do with just about any stability ball, exercise ball or just with your hands anywhere in the world. Another simple piece of equipment that you can purchase from our website is the neck hat. The neck hat is a device that was designed
by a race car driver, designed to strengthen the neck in various areas using elastic resistance and a hat. So the way the neck hat works, put this across your head, make sure that it is secured…. We’ll take the same movements that we did earlier… back and forth, back and forth, or you can do a static hold. Step it over and hold. Hold, hold and release. Thirty seconds at a time or 30 seconds of continuous movement. Take it from that angle, you can then flick it around, facing forward….. Back… bring it around this way… forward…. Like that. Holding or you can step it out. Hold, hold, hold. You can turn it side-to-side, side-to-side…
The neck hat. You want to hold these drills for probably based more on time, duration, and the longer you can go the better. Adding too much resistance to the neck, there’s a greater chance of injury, strain. We don’t want to have that so it’s better to go for more muscular endurance. Start off in increments of 30 seconds and then work 10 seconds up at a time, so go to 30 and eventually 40, 50, 60. The thing to look for when you start to find your form start to go in the wrong direction, you don’t feel the same position as you
did in the beginning, you’re starting to fatigue, you’ll want to stop. The neck is an area of the body you don’t want to play around with so when you start to get too fatigued,
you want to slow down. ADVANCED NECK TRAINING.
This is a machine made by Hydra-Gym the neck trainer, and this is a hydraulic piece of equipment that helps exercise the neck as well so you can have additional resistance. So Oliver Webb here is going to clamp him down, tighten that up against the chin, chest up against here, and he’s simply going to go forward and back to emphasize the forward and rear g’s. All the way back…. So you get a little more resistance with this movement safely done because it’s hydraulic and not just a weight stack which can sway back and forth and hurt the neck. And he’ll do this exercise for reps or for time depending on the kind of workout we have him on. Today he’ll probably do about 20 reps and we’ll switch over to the other side but this way he covers the back and the front of the neck, kind of back-and-forth. To strengthen the neck for lateral g-loads we also use the neck trainer. We’ll tighten this down and Oliver Webb here will hold on tightly and he’ll move the neck back and forth, simulating the lateral g’s
he’d go through in the car… keeping the body very, very
stable because in the race car the body does not have a
whole lot of movement, so you want to keep the shoulders fairly stable as what their clamped down to when they’re in the car. And again you can see the muscles of the neck straining to withhold… and these are the muscles that will stabilize and when weak, the head will start to move to one
side, again affecting vision in an unfavorable manner. SAFEisFAST.com www.PITFIT.com

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