An F1 driver has to have the cardiovascular endurance of a marathon runner, the upper-body strength of a boxer and the reactions of a fighter-pilot. Luckily, Spaniard-agitator and Britain’s latest F1 hero, Lewis Hamilton, has all of these. With McLaren’s championship hope competing in the British Grand Prix (starting July 6), our fastest sportsman takes FHM through his gruelling training regime and reveals what it takes to be the best...
“A typical training day might consist of getting up early, going for a run and then coming back for a good breakfast,” says Hamilton. “After that I’ll head for the gym, so I have to keep an eye on what I eat to fuel my workouts. Nutrition is very important.” Which is why Hamilton swears by the following food plan...
8am – breakfast A combination of cereals, whole-wheat or full-corn bread, both of which contain antioxidants and lower the risk of heart disease; fruit and berries, from which flavonoids help kill cancer cells; fat-free yoghurt, cheese and eggs, which all contain protein to help build muscles. And a protein and carbohydrate shake, which provides energy for training.
10:30am – snack Another protein and carbohydrate drink mixed with soya milk or orange juice, which is a good source of the potassium that will reduce high blood pressure.
1pm – lunch Wholemeal pasta, vegetables, salad, fish, lean meat or chicken, one breast of which provides about 70% of your daily protein requirements.
3:30pm – snack Fruit and another serving of protein and carbohydrate drink with orange juice or soya milk (lower in fat than cow’s milk) to recover from an afternoon’s qualifying.
7pm – dinner Wholemeal pasta or potatoes with salad and vegetables, as well as chicken, low-fat meat or fish, which is high in heart attack-beating omega 3s.
9pm – pre-sleep Full-corn bread with ham and/or cheese, a good source of calcium to strengthen bones.
2/ Exercise plan
The workouts that keep our man’s pedal to the metal...
Method: Place one leg forward for stability, grip handles with fists in alignment and elbows at right angles. Press forward until the handles almost touch. Return to start position under control. Keep your core strong throughout the movement.
Muscles worked: Pectorals.
Dumbbell push-ups to rows
Method: Place hands on dumbbells and set your feet in a wide base. Lower the chest to between the dumbbells and extend to start position. Stabilise the body and raise one dumbbell to front of the shoulder. Lower under control and repeat on the other side.
Muscles worked: Pectorals, triceps, upper back, core.
Wrestlers twist to plank
Method: Lie on side, hips off floor, one leg over the other with the foot in front. Rest on your elbow. Rotate body, keeping elbow in. End with body in a parallel position. Return under control. After set rest body on toes and elbows in horizontal position. Keep core in neutral position. Repeat wrestler’s twist on other side.
Muscles worked: Core.
Reps: 8-10 each side, hold ‘plank’ position for 1 min.
Dumbbell squats to push-press
Method: Feet set slightly wider than shoulder width and dumbbells in front of shoulders, bend the knees until they’re parallel to the ground. Knees over toes, push-up through the feet and knees. As you rise, press the dumbbells overhead.
Muscles worked: Legs, gluteals, deltoids, core.
Method: Start with arms extended, palms facing in. Pull your body up until your chin is over the bar. Lower your body in a controlled manner to the start position.
Muscles worked: Lats, biceps, forearms.
Bar dips / bench dips
Method: Bar dips: cross legs and support body with straight arms. Lower body until elbows are at 90º. Extend arms to start position. Bench dips: put feet on opposite bench. Lower arms to 90º, then extend to start position.
Muscles worked: Triceps.
Medicine ball throws to rotates
Method: Lie holding a medicine ball above your head. Rise and throw the ball to a partner. Catch ball in a sitting position. Rotate torso to both sides (feet off floor). Lower to start position. “When you’re in the car your feet sit higher than your bottom,” says Hamilton. “It’s like being in a bath with your feet resting on the taps. As you can imagine this can be added stress on your back and leg muscles.
Muscles worked: Core.
F1 Driver core challenge
Method: Sit on stability ball, leaning slightly back, feet on two medicine balls placed against wall. Hold weight disc in steering wheel position, turn disc and tilt head and body to one side (simulating cornering). Allow knees to touch as you tilt. Return to start position.
Muscles worked: Core.
Reps: 10-15 each side.
3/ And beyond...
Mastered the essentials? Then turn your attention this way...
Masked bike riding
“The dreaded V02 MAX” – a full-bore peddling workout on a static bike in which 25 watts of resistance are added every two minutes. You ride, wearing a mask, until you collapse and the machine gives out a rating based on your heart’s beats per minute, the amount of force you managed to push and how long you lasted. The idea is to increase the body’s ability to transport and use oxygen during the incremental exercise.
The Technogym Neck machine is a special helmet attached to a weight machine that replicates the G-forces put on a driver’s neck. “It’s the piece of kit I rate most,” says Hamilton. “With the Technogym I can imagine I’m driving a circuit like Barcelona in which the physical pressure builds as you pile on the power.”