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SPECIAL ISSUE: MEN'S HEALTH

Workout keeps him in the driver's seat

October 16, 2006|Janet Cromley

Want to train like a race car driver? These exercises may not get Southern Californians through rush hour any faster, but they are helping to keep Jeff Burton in the title chase.

* Neck blast: Enlist the help of a workout partner to stand in front of you and put his or her hands on the back of your head. Begin with your chin on your chest, then, as your partner provides gentle resistance, press your head backward until you are looking upward toward the ceiling. Do not overextend. Repeat about 12 times. Then, while looking at the ceiling with your workout partner's hands applying gentle resistance on your forehead, press your chin to your chest. Repeat about 12 times; then perform on left and right sides. Do not go beyond a comfortable range of motion. This exercise strengthens neck muscles, helping combat the fatiguing effects of G-forces.

* Weight gripper: Hold a 25-pound weight straight in front of you, chest high, with arms bent slightly and hands at 9 and 3 o'clock, as if gripping a steering wheel. Rotate 45 to 90 degrees to the left and 90 degrees to the right. Repeat about 12 times. Strengthens shoulders and upper arms, to better wrestle the car when it's not performing as it should.

* Knee kicks: With your workout partner holding foam pads on his or her hands about waist high, grab your partner around the neck and do knee kicks into the pads, similar to the running-man dance. This exercise, which boosts hip and abdomen strength, is designed to counteract back pain caused by sitting for hours in the car.

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