SYNERGY | Tecnhogym + McLaren
Little is known about just how dynamic F1 drivers are, the unique stress and training they undertake in order to sustain them throughout the race and also to allow them to function in good health after spending hours in a fixed, unnatural position behind the wheel. Earlier this ‘summer’ I visited the Technogym UK head office and McLaren Technology Centre to find out more behind the training process and the equipment that fuels it.
Although this will be new news to many, the Technogym and McLaren partnership actually dates back 13 years, with both parties’ collective obsession with performance and innovation bringing them together in 2004. I’ll also be quick to point put that it’s not just F1 Technogym specialise in; they are also official equipment supplier to Juventus, Inter Milan, A.C. Milan, Ajax, Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea FC.
Back to Technogym HQ and having been given the expert run out on the new technology by the Tecnhogym experts, McLaren’s own Human Performance Manager, Simon Reynolds, put me through my paces as he would Fernando Alonso or Stoffel Vandoorne (pictured). Well, not quite the same as them; due to the time constraints our sessions were abbreviated and ‘softened’ to account for the fact none of us were professional athletes. But still, this glimpse into the precision and unique range of exercises specifically designed with F1 drivers in mind gave true insight into the flexibility of the Technogym equipment that I otherwise taken for granted.
It’s not just the technology evident in their more unique products such as the ‘Kinesis’ but the expertise required in reinventing equipment that most are accustomed to seeing at your local gym. Take the SKILLROW for example: launched this February (2017) and developed with feedback from international Olympic rowers, it’s the first indoor rowing product capable of improving anaerobic power, aerobic capacity and neuromuscular abilities in a single self-powered solution. On a less technical level, for me it was the first rower I’ve used that actually felt realistically that you were on the water; close your eyes and you could almost picture the Coxswain shouting “Stroke, Stroke” as you glide down the river Thames – they call this AQUAFEEL. Another benefit is this gradual resistance, significantly reduces the strain on your lower back.
At the futuristic gym in the McLaren Technology Centre, one piece of equipment particularly caught my eye. At first glance it looked like a mix between a driving simulation machine and an analog gaming contraption, but it was actually a bespoke piece of equipment designed by Technogym specifically to prepare drivers for the rigours of F1 driving. From the weighted steering wheel, to the neck weights attached to the helmet simulating G-Force, this summed up perfectly the synergy between the two brands as they push the boundaries in their respective fields looking to gain – or to help you gain – that extra competitive edge.