Physical demands, injuries, and conditioning practices of stock car drivers

William P Ebben, Timothy J Suchomel
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2012, 26 (5): 1188-98
The purpose of this study was to assess the physical demands, injuries, and conditioning practices of stock car drivers. Forty stock car drivers from 27 states in the United States participated in the interviews for 43.9 ± 13.9 minutes. The interviews examined background information, the physical demands of racing, injuries associated with racing, and the athletic and fitness background and practices of the subjects. Numerical data were analyzed using Pearson's correlation coefficients. Responses to open-ended questions were analyzed using inductive content analysis. Results revealed significant correlation between track points standings and the length of the resistance training sessions (R = -0.71, p = 0.002) and subject self-assessment of their fitness (R = -0.53, p = 0.045). Results also revealed that "upper-body strength" was identified as the most important physical demand. Extreme fatigue was the most common feeling after a demanding race. Subjects reported that shoulder fatigue was the most common form of muscle soreness experienced after a race. Back and torso injuries were the most common injury, although head injuries most frequently required medical attention. The subjects' biggest fear was fire, followed closely by head and neck injury. The bench press and running were the most commonly performed resistance training and cardiovascular exercises, respectively. Subjects reported that their highest motivation for training was to improve their racing performance. Many subjects had athletic backgrounds with football identified as the sport they had most commonly participated in. This study provides additional detailed information. Results of this study can assist strength and conditioning professionals in the development of strength and conditioning programs for performance enhancement and injury prevention that are specific to the needs of this population of athletes.

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