How do NASCAR Drivers Work out?

How do NASCAR Drivers Work out? 

November 30, 2023

When people watch car racing, no matter whether that’s Formula 1 or NASCAR, they often think it requires huge mental training but that it’s ultimately not a huge fitness challenge. And so the assumption is that drivers aren’t particularly fit and that they don’t need to go through the traditional athlete training route. 

However, that’s a significant misconception since all drivers have to go through rigorous training regimes to be fit enough to last through the long races. That is why there are many different aspects to the driver’s workout program, as it needs to help them develop strength, endurance, flexibility, and heat acclimatization. And so, plenty of different exercises need to be combined together in order to create the best possible training for a NASCAR driver.

However, before we dive into that, we will talk more about why physical training is needed for drivers; only then will we talk about what is expected as a fitness level from a world-class driver and an example of a workout program. 

So, if that sounds like something you’re interested in learning more about, then keep on reading. 

Why is Fitness Training Needed for NASCAR Drivers? 

When they’re racing, NASCAR drivers have to remain in their cars for a very long time, sometimes over 5 hours. And that’s through all kinds of conditions  – rain, heat, and even cold. Throughout that time, they need to be fully concentrated and able to react quickly to whatever is happening on the road in order to avoid crashes so that they’re able to win the race. 

In order for them to be able to do all of that on the highest possible level, they need to be incredibly fit. They have to be able to endure having elevated heart rate and body temperature while still being able to concentrate at 100% in order to be able to make the proper decisions on the track. And that kind of conditioning can only be achieved through frequent and dedicated fitness training. 

What do NASCAR Drivers Workouts Consist Of? 

Whether you think they’re athletes or not, the reality is that top-level drivers are in incredible shape. They’re strong, able to endure long races and to keep focus, regardless of how they’re feeling. To achieve that, they need to work on all the aspects of their physical and mental self, and in the next paragraphs, we’re going to take a deep dive to show you exactly how they do that. 

Strength Training 

One of the foundations of fitness is strength training. It’s what helps drivers build muscles, gain strength, and preserve their bone density (an important detail that’s vital for preventing injuries). Typically, their workout plans include 2-3 days per week with a main focus on training for strength. 

That means doing exercises such as the squat, deadlift, bench press, pull-ups, push-ups, and other kinds of machine work, allowing them to develop all muscle groups. Having said that, most drivers’ workouts will have a more dedicated focus on the core, arms, and back, as those muscles are more likely to be used during a race. 

If we have to be more specific, a training day in the gym for a NASCAR driver will include 3-4 exercises with upper body focus, one leg-focused exercise, and 2-3 movements dedicated to improving core strength. 

Cardio Training

As we already mentioned, during races, the heart rate of all drivers increases, and it can go as high as 170 beats per minute (BPM). In order to endure that kind of stress on the cardiovascular system, they need to spend hours training it, which is why different kinds of cardio sessions are programmed into their fitness routines. 

For example, as a driver, you can choose to go on long-distance runs, you can also go swimming, or if you prefer, you can do your cardio on a fitness machine, like rowing machine. Regardless of which option gets chosen, the main goal is to train so that you can go for hours with a heart rate of around 160-170 BPM, as that will prepare a driver for what’s to come on race day. 

Yoga & Meditation

Yoga is a great way to help not only train the body but also the mind. In order to be a world-class NASCAR driver, you have to be able to maintain your focus and concentration, regardless of how you’re feeling or what the conditions outside are. Learning how to become more focused and preserve that state of concentration is complex, and it requires a lot of mental training – a part of sports that is often neglected in mainstream media. Yoga and, more specifically, meditation are terrific ways for drivers to train their minds while also working on their bodies. That way, a driver can become more mobile and flexible (vital for injury prevention) while also training his ability to remain concentrated and in the moment (key for winning races). 

In Conclusion

Hopefully, this article sheds light on why fitness training is needed if you want to become a professional driver and what NASCAR drivers have to do to remain in peak condition for their sport. Regardless of whether they’re considered “real athletes” or not, there’s no denying that they have to be in great physical and mental shape in order to sustain good performances on the track. 

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