24hr Fitness: Assessment & Stretching

We’ve enlisted the help of top Personal Trainer, Paul Suggitt to help us better prepare for a race.

Paul is qualified thorough the worldwide recognised training provider Premier International.  Premier international is renowned as one of top personal training qualification out there and Paul has been teaching since Jan 2006.

Paul runs his own personal training business called PSPT situated in Norwich, Norfolk.  Paul is already heavily involved with the motor racing scene working with racing drivers from the American Le Man series and is also the trainer for the Great Britain National Speedway team.

Paul says: “Having worked with other racing drivers and motor sport riders, gives me confidence in my training with Lloyd, although racing for 24 hours is a completely different ball game!  The stress and strain on the body during a race is intense but doesn’t normally last over 2-3 hours.  Lloyd will face all these difficulties every lap, for 24 hours.”

Having met with our driver Lloyd, Paul soon put together a plan of action that Lloyd needed to stick to.  Lloyd has had some down time during the off season from last year attempt and this has given Paul plenty to work with.

Paul adds’ As Lloyd is still at university this doesn’t give us a ideal amount of time to train for this type of event, however Lloyd does have the ability and focus to train during any time off from the classroom.  I recently took Lloyd to Stafford Chase which is a big national park full of hills, tracks and cycling routes.  The Chase is perfect for our training, steep inclined hills for cycling and steps for running up.  This type of training really gets the heart rate up and the short recovery times, keeps it up.  A short recovery time teaches the heart to recovery quicker, therefore lowering the resting heart rate because the heart is becoming stronger (health benefit-lowers risk of heart disease) but also lowers the time the body needs to recover so he will be able to train at high intensities for longer.

This is just one of the new training programmes Paul has injected into Lloyds training plan, intense gym based workouts heavily involve the core muscles of the body and the yoga classes offer an ideal way to relax and recover from the past few days training.

‘Yoga is superb for recovery and flexibility but also gives Lloyd the time to focus.  You can really switch off during a yoga class and concentrate on the mind’.
The mental ability for a 24 hour endurance race is absolutely crucial, if the mind isn’t prepared you are setting yourself up to fail.  The body will want to switch off and shut down during stages of the 24 hours, it’s the mind that keeps the body going.  Yoga really helps you prepare for such intense challenges.

The first time I went to see Lloyd I wanted to do some fitness tests to show the current state the body.  Body composition tests with fat percentage, skinfold totals and circumferences where just some of the them. The Stalk is a good test to show the balance and concentration of a driver.

  1. Stand upright on one leg
  2. Place the opposite foot against the opposite knee with the knee pointing out
  3. Place your arms out straight, above your head with your hands together  and raise the body up onto the ball of the standing foot(heel is off the floor)
  4. Start the clock and hold for as long as possible, stop the time if the foot comes off the knee, you lose balance on the standing leg or your hands apart
  5. Complete the test three times and take your best score, compare below (times in seconds)

Poor         Below Average          Average          Above Average             Excellent

Male                     20                           20-30                    31-40                     41-50                              50+
Female                 10                           10-15                     16-25                     26-30                              30+

The Plank is a great core stability exercise, working all of the involved core abdominal muscles.  This is essential for all drivers to hold a good core section and remain good posture whilst driving.

  1. Lay on your front with your body resting on your forearms (elbows underneath shoulders)
  2. Raise your body up so you are holding yourself up on your forearms and toes (legs straight)
  3. Make sure the pelvis is tilted in and upwards (a straight back, no curve inwards)
  4. Hold this position for as long as possible (remain still)
  5. As soon as the lower back starts to sink, either correct or stop the test (compare below)

Poor         Below Average          Average          Above Average             Excellent

Male                     -30 secs                               31-45 secs           45-60 secs           1-2 mins                     2 mins +
Female                 -15 secs                                16-25 secs           25-50 secs           50-1:15                       1:15 mins +

As stamina plays an important part in Lloyds test, it is crucial that the body is able to provide the stamina for such a test

2000m Row will test the body’s ability to perform a cardiovascular exercise.  This test is a maximum effort to get the best time you can.  Before you start this test you must warm up first (10 mins light rowing) and make sure that you are in good health with no restrictions (speak to your doctor first if you are unsure, have a fitness expert there with you when you perform the test)

  1. Set up the rower making sure the feet are strapped in (the strap should be across the bottom of the laces of your shoe or across the lower part of the toes
  2. Choose your level (1-10) this can be any level, but be aware level 10 may not get you to complete the 2000m any quicker.  Choose a level where it allows you to spin the rowing wheel repetitively
  3. Use the pace guide on the rower to help you pace yourself.  The average 500m time is a great tool.  Set the rower up so you see projected time, this will show you your estimated finish time from your current pace.  This will help you keep a steady pace all the way through the test
  4. During the test try to keep upright and hold good posture, rowing is all about the technique!
  5. Note down your time, repeat after a couple of weeks and try to beat your best

Stretching is one of the most important factors to improving your fitness.  Stretching the muscles allow flexibility to be improved which not only keeps/improves posture but also helps keep the body injury free although general all over body stretching should be performed every day, during a training session it is sensible to stretch out the muscles that have been worked.

Rowing pretty much involves all of the body’s main muscles.  Quads (front of thigh), Hamstrings (back of thigh), Calves (back of shin), Glutes (buttocks), all back muscles, triceps, biceps, shoulders and abdominals. The plank is also considered an all over toning exercise, but mainly focuses on the core abs, shoulders and the quads.

General stretching for motor sport drivers should include a long 30-60 second stretch to the following:

Forearms (Wrist Flexors)
The forearms continuously work hard holding the steering wheel, tired forearms


Shoulders (Deltoids)
The shoulders rotate the arms and can be under intense strain during a race


Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff muscles are the most important of all, these muscles rotate and lift the arm in weaker positions


Triceps hold the wheel tight and under smooth control, all good racing drivers will have strong tricep muscles


Upper Back (Trapezius)
These muscles help to hold up the shoulders, the upper trap also helps keep the head upright.  Very crucial when put under g-force
5Paul Suggitt Personal Training