Tag Archives: karting fitness

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




24hr Fitness – Lloyd de Boltz-Miller

Spinning is an ideal way to improve the cardiovascular stamina required for endurance racing.  Interval training on the spinner is also a great way to stay alert and focussed.

Continious spinning produces fantastic leg stamina, fat loss and a lower resting heart rate (impotant for health but also helps the body stay calm and relaxed when racing for prolonged periods of time)

The programme:
Sessions one:
Intense bursts of spinning 85-100% for short intervals followed by light, repetitive rest periods.
30 second bursts with a 30 second recovery on a firm resistance (85-100% rapid speed, 50% to recover at a slower speed) x 20 sets.
Predominately for calorie expenditure and its fat burning properties, cardiovascular outcomes of improving resting heart rate level, decreasing the recovery time and improving cardio output.

1Uphill running on high resistance for leg stamina.  This time we set the bike to a high resistance (too high to sit down and peddle).  Take an upright position on the spinner and drive the legs down in a slow technique.  1-2 minute intervals with a reduced resistance recovery X 10 mins.

Lloyds own sessions would include an easier intensity but continous spinning using all the techiques above covering 40 mins.  The maximum output lloyd would expell is about 70% max but the fact that the work is continous we really maximise on fat burning, reducing lloyds fat mass and weight so the kart can travel quicker, and faster acceleration out of the corners.


2This is a great exercise for short intense bursts and also for a continuous effort for leg stamina, especially in the calves (for advanced prolonged pedal work, key for braking times)
I set lloyd a skipping regime after finishing on the spinner, comprising of 1 minute fast skipping (alternating feet for each jump), followed by recovery of a 45 seconds of slow jumping (feet together)

Rehydration pic

Keeping hydrated, especially during interval work is absolutely crucial. A drop of 1% in hydration can lead to a 10% drop in concentration levels.  As we all know as drivers this could be disasterous out on the track.  I have been working closely with Lloyd on hydration, practising different hydration strategies with water, energy drinks and foods.

3Keeping an eye on sweat levels, amount of water consumed and excreted are all noted and revised.  During the 24 hour race, Lloyd will always have a form of rehydration in the kart with him.  This will be a drinks bottle feed to him through his helmet by a straw. (this is not only because he cant sip the drink with his hands, but also drinking through a straw means you will sip less, as gulping will only level excess water in the stomach, creating a nausea feeling.  Sipping small amounts regularly will give the body want it needs and no more.


4Pad work isnt easy!  This really is the hardest fitness work whilst standing on the spot.  Quick feet and high concentration is needed for high intensity pad work.  There are som many benefits to doing boxing with a trainer.  Firstly, you have the muscualr benefits of the impact of punching, forearms shoulders, chest and back mucles are all targetted heavily and this will all create fast hands.  Stamina in these muscles will improve enormously due to how they are moving.  Secondly, you will reap the cardiovascualr benefits of the intense training.  The heart rate will push near to 100% effort when hitting the pads at full power, the feet and calves get a beasting whilst moving around perparing the body for the next combination.  Thirdly, the focus and concentration needed is very high, remembering what pucnh comes next, at what time to stike the pads and as you can see form the pics, when to get out of the way!

5All these benefits will come together and make Lloyd a quicker, lighter athlete required for endurance racing, giving him the ability to drive competiviely for 24 hours, also obviously breaking that World Record.

If training with a personal trainer wasn’t hard enough, Paul keeps Lloyd at the top of his game by setting a personal plan for him to follow.  Some of the plan includes work on the spinner, skipping and boxing (shadow boxing on his own for perosnal reflection and concentration or zoning)
Zoning is a technique created by Paul, using a mirror for focus where Lloyd completely shuts off but is still doing exercise.  Lloyd can perfect his tecniques in the mirror at a slower pace and really concentrate.  Lloyd will also use this time to think about the upcoming record attempt and help himself plan for it, using the time to think and relax.

Core stability is another area we should focus on, all drivers will know how their body takes a pounding when racing karts.  Stronger abdominals and lower back muscles will all contribute to a fitter, faster, injury free you!  Working with a swissball allows Lloyd to keep pressure off the lower back to prevent injuries but also heaviily targetting the core muscles.  This is needed for a good posture.

6We also use the swissball for a standard ab curl but made harder by holding a 5kg weights plate above the head.  Lifting and holding the weights plate above the head increasing the intensity ten fold as there will now be more weight over the abs and less in the feet .  Lloyd will do 12-15 reps and 4 sets with a minimal rest period.  I try to have lloyd failing at 15 reps so that he cant do any more to really target the abs

7The swissball twist assumes the driving position but with very limited balance.   A shoulder rotation on the swissball whilst remaining upright is hard enough but I have Lloyd lifting his feet up and together onto a medicine ball.  Having a slower technique (as quicker movements would create momentum and swing) will work the muscles a lot harder but will also give the body’s core time to react to any imbalance issues.  Lloyd would perform these exercises at the end of a session as we would require his core strength for all the other exercises above.  Specifically targetting the core at the end will give lloyd the best training possible to get him where he needs to be.  10 slow reps x 2-4 sets.

8All the exercise above can be encorporated into your fitness plans to help you improve your karting.  These are not only specific to Lloyd but can be tailored to you, maybe you don’t need to trim down but actually need to build a bit more muscle to give you more control over the kart?
A common problem is that the forearms burn so much due to the workload on them, this can be focussed on in your training with a few simple changes to your routine with out having to specifically work them.  Also you can specifically target the wrist flexors and forearms giving you superb stamina in the muscle to prevetn it from burning out or cramping during the fianl important stages of a race.

Please get in touch on paul@pspt.me.uk for any fitness or nutrition advice regarding Karting, Paul will always be able to help.

For up to date, in-depth free nutritional information go to his website www.pspt.me.uk/nutrition.php

Preparing for karting – Fitness & Equipment

Karting is a physically demanding sport. The first thing to suffer when a driver isn’t
fit enough to race is their concentration, the focus required to hit apexes, overtake drivers and win races. Often there is an extended break over the winter period between races and if the driver doesn’t take part in any testing as well, their first day back in the kart can be a shock to the system due to the fact that karting uses such specific muscles. While a healthy cardio fitness will help, running, cycling, swimming etc, it is more important for a good level of strength in the upper body, core and neck. Drivers don’t necessarily need to attend the gym to work on the upper body and core, there are a number of home workouts that can be found.

Karts, just like drivers, need saving from the elements. All equipment being carried over to following season should be cared for appropriately, it is good practise to keep engines out of the cold or to drain all the water from the radiators in order to avoid them cracking if they freeze. It is important to clean all equipment and check it for any potential problems, this will avoid time wasted the next time out. It is important to ‘shakedown’ this equipment before the first race. Year Plan With some time off from racing, drivers can plan their year ahead in terms of which series they may wish to compete in, or which events they want to do. This often comes down to the time and budget available, this of course is unique to each driver but the same theory applies. There are a large number of things that need to be done just to get the kart out on the track. This includes: arranging all the equipment and preparing it, transporting it to the circuit, setting up at the circuit, entry fees, memberships, licences etc. Mistakes come with stress as actions become rushed and focus isn’t on the job in hand. The driver should plot a calendar before the beginning of the season, highlighting key events, it should include all test days.