Lewis Hamilton Is Ushering In The Era Of The Jacked F1 Driver

15 March 2020
Workout, Exercise, Formula 1, F1 Driver, Lewis Hamilton, Grind
Image: Courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger

Plus a workout that'll get you strong enough to take to the grid

Pretty much since the days when James Hunt used to rock up on track with a drink in one hand, 20 Marlboros in the other and eat a massive  portion of cottage pie before a race, the ultimate journey of an F1 driver, fitness-wise at least, has been more akin to that of a jockey than any other sport. Just with more neck exercises.

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The turning point in racing fitness, it's widely argued, came when a deadly serious young German named Michael Schumacher entered the sport. Upending a landscape where the likes of Senna, Prost and Mansell could get away with spending most of their time away from the track living it up on the med, here was a person who instead opted to spend most of his time optimising his body as much as possible, making use of his alpine home surroundings to cycle and run, and also took a meticulous approach to nutrition.

As F1 cars got even faster and more brutal to drive throughout the '90s and 2000s, very quickly drivers woke up to the fact that the only way to challenge drivers like Michael would be to match them. These days, you don't get anywhere near the grid without the level of fitness and strength required to not only rival most other elite sportspeople in terms of athleticism, but also cope with insane amounts of G-Force for an extended period of time.

The caveat to all of this has long been that due to a rather unfair clause in the sport's own regulations that meant the driver's own weight was factored in to the total mass of the car (which has to hit a standard minimum), drivers have had to maintain such strength while staying at truly miniscule weights. For a brief period around the turn of last decade, it wasn't at all uncommon to see drivers tip the scales below 60kg.

This is no longer the case, and now that every driver with all his gear now needs to weigh in at a minimum of 80kg, the entire grid is now embracing the newfound freedom that comes with this. Naturally, the first to show off their new found bulk was world champ and previous aficionado of topless selfies, Lewis Hamilton.

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Every year I try to find the right balance between being the fittest athlete I can be, a good businessman and deliver on all platforms. It is far from easy but I give it my all. I listen to my body, fuel it to the best of my knowledge. This year, I’ve managed to push further and be fitter and stronger than the years before which I’m so happy about. I feel more ready than ever as I embark on my journey to the first race of the season. I just want to encourage you all out there, your body and mind are one. Take care of it, feed your body and your mind with the right ingredients. Health is wealth! If you believe you can’t do something that is just the wrong attitude because you can do anything you put your mind to. You need to develop a positive frame of mind and working out will help you do that and feel better about yourself. I know you can do it, now you need to know it too!! #teamlh #youcandoit #believeinyourself

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on

"Every year I try to find the right balance between being the fittest athlete I can be, a good businessman and deliver on all platforms," he wrote on his Instagram. "It is far from easy but I give it my all. I listen to my body, fuel it to the best of my knowledge. This year, I’ve managed to push further and be fitter and stronger than the years before which I’m so happy about. I feel more ready than ever as I embark on my journey to the first race of the season. I just want to encourage you all out there, your body and mind are one.

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Hamilton has clearly bulked up this year, which will no doubt increase his body's capacity to cope with the unique rigors of being an F1 driver. Even compared to six months ago, he's put on a considerable amount of mass around his chest and shoulders, and the difference to his body just a couple of years ago is pretty stark.

"Take care of it, feed your body and your mind with the right ingredients. Health is wealth! If you believe you can’t do something that is just the wrong attitude because you can do anything you put your mind to. You need to develop a positive frame of mind and working out will help you do that and feel better about yourself. I know you can do it, now you need to know it too!!"

Hamilton claimed early last year that he had been mixing up his training routine to include more strength-building exercises, also working on sports like surfing and martial arts to help him towards a target of what he called 'defined muscle.' "Every year when you get back into training it's painful. But trying different methods – I worked with several different people for once - to try different things throughout the weeks was exciting," he told Autosport. "And I get to take that throughout the year. Deep-rooted, core-wise, I feel stronger than I've been in a long time."

"We have had to be a certain weight, each of us drivers and it is not particularly great," he said of the previous regulations. "We have to miss meals and all these different things to try to hit the right weight limit."

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"It is better for the drivers. You can be in a healthier state and I do feel in a healthier state than I have been in in 12 years. Simply because you can eat more and you sleep better, you have more energy, so I am definitely happier."

Want to try and bulk up in a lean way like an F1 driver yourself? Try this Red Bull-approved F1 workout, combining it with multiple different sports and disciplines that you have fun with to keep your motivation and cardio up. Make sure to ensure you're going as heavy as possible while maintaining quality reps for each exercise.

The F1 driver's workout

Exercise Sets

Reps/Time

Romanian deadlift 4

10

Goblet squat 4  10
Dumbbell press-up 4  10
Renegade row 4  10 per side
Half-kneeling shoulder press 4  10 per side
Weighted dead bug 4  45 seconds
Seated Russian twist 4

10 reps per side


Via GQ Australia