Back pain: F1 Driver Performance Coach details how to reduce back pain during long drives

By | April 11, 2021

Simon Reynolds worked at the Formula One Team McLaren for over a decade as a Driver Performance Manager. Now the sports therapist has spoken exclusively to to detail how to reduce back pain for long-haul drivers. Having managed the athletic development of F1 racers Kevin Magnussen, Alex Albon, Heikki Kovalainen and Stoffel Vandoorne, Reynolds will share his tricks of the trade.

Get set, go

Reynolds expressed the gravity of seat ergonomics when driving long distances.

“The steering wheel height may also need adjusting to help prevent the shoulders from hunching, which may lead to increased tension and/or pain.”

To help prevent stiffness, Reynolds shares his little secret – he awakens the gluteal (bottom) muscles by “squeezing them together 10 times and holding each repetition for two counts”.

“This helps relieve any discomfort in the lower back and means when you step out of the car, you can do so more easily,” Reynolds added.

“Small movements every 20 minutes may help prevent neck and back pain,” he suggested, although he stressed: “Maintain focus on the road at all times.”

For drivers who are really feeling the ache, Reynolds has four exercises which might help. These are:

  • Trunk rotations
  • Arm raises
  • Bottom clenchers
  • Chair squats

Trunk rotations

“Find a bench, sit upright, with knees bent at approximately 90-degrees, feet firmly on the ground, and hands placed on the thighs.

“Gently rotate your torso to the left to a comfortable range, whilst sliding the right hand down the thigh towards the knee. Repeat on the right side. Perform five to 10 reps each side.”

Arm raises

“Perform seated or standing with good posture. If standing, maintain a slight bend in knees.

“Gently raise your arms out to the side and overhead with your palms facing forward.

“If you have difficulty raising overhead, simply raise to shoulder level. Perform: five to 10 reps.”

Bottom Clenchers

“Perform seated or standing. If standing maintain a slight bend in knees.

“Simply clench your bottom muscles and hold for two-five counts, while at the same time tightening the mid-section. Perform five to 10 reps.”

Chair squats

“Place your feet approximately shoulder width or slightly wider, with toes slightly pointing outwards.

“Next, whilst maintaining a neutral spine, tighten the midsection and simultaneously bend the hips and knees to lower down to lightly touch a chair or bench with your bottom.

“Ensure the knees do not collapse inwards and remain inline with toes. Perform five to 10 reps.”

Simon Reynolds is the current director of Formula to Perform Ltd and is working alongside Motorsport Tickets – the UK’s leading motorsport ticket provider.

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