When I took part in my first actual go-kart race, I never expected to feel sore afterward. I had always heard about how go-karting is similar to a workout, but I didn’t really believe that. That was a big mistake on my part. At the end of the race, I was exhausted. My arms were hurting, and so were my palms, as I should have expected after fighting with the wheel for 20 minutes.
So, should you improve your hand strength?
The answer is yes. Go-karting is a sport, so it is intense to the body and I found that hand strength and endurance are vital in order to keep the fast pace on the track. Your body is constantly getting thrown around the cramped space of the go-kart while you feel the forces on your entire body.
Since then, I found ways to increase my stamina and improve my muscle strength, which is exactly what we’re going to talk about in this post.
That being said, most beginner kart drivers like myself experience a lot of soreness in their arms. This raises the question of how important it is to improve your hand and arm strength for go-karting.
Why don’t we find out?
Why Is Arm/Hand Strength Important For Go-Karting?
Asking why it’s important to have strong arms for go-karting is like asking why footballers should have strong legs. While in both sports, your whole body gets exhausted, the body parts under most strain are the legs and the arms (in football and go-karting, respectively).
Because you’re fighting the car through every corner and down every straight, you’ll need to have exceptional arm strength. Throughout a race, you’ll need to consistently stabilize yourself against the g-forces on your body when turning into a corner. Go-karts don’t have power steering, so it’s not as easy to turn as it is with cars.
From my experience go-karting, every turn feels like pushing a huge box around. Since I’m not the fittest person in the world, this gets tiring really fast. And I haven’t even talked about the straights.
While most karting tracks don’t have really long straights, trying to manage the kart through the vibrations at 70km/h is not a breeze. The burn that you’ll feel on your wrists and palms when you’re on a straight towards the end of a race is abysmal.
So, I’ve personally established that I need to work out more if I don’t want to be sore after every trip to my local kart track. I found some workout plans and equipment that you could use to increase your arm and hand strength. We’ll take a look at these below.
Before that, I wanted to quote something that Fernando Alonso said before his return to F1 this year. Alonso stated that no matter how much time he spent on the simulator, he needed a lot of actual driving time to train his body for the races.
This pretty much means that going to your local go-kart track regularly is the best way to get stronger.
How To Improve Shoulder Strength For Go-Karting?
The shoulders are the only other body part that gets as sore as the arms. While technically being part of the arm, most of the exercises that you can do to train your shoulders aren’t that great for your entire arm.
Speaking of which, I know that most of you don’t want to get bulky and fit, but you just want to not feel so sore after go-karting for 20 minutes. So, I’ve got three different ways for you to do that.
The key thing to remember about the shoulder (and specifically the deltoid muscle) is that it’s one of the largest muscles in your body. That’s because the deltoids’ job is to lift your arm. So, as you can imagine, most shoulder exercises include raising your arms over your head.
My favorite way to train my shoulders is by using some equipment at home. I currently use a set of resistance bands and an arm exerciser. I also aim to start doing a full workout at home, just like the one below.
That being said, if you have access to a gym, you can consult your trainer to create a shoulder workout program that suits you best. Otherwise, I’ve found a solid workout program that’ll surely eliminate all the soreness after go-karting.
How Can I Increase My Grip Strength?
Grip strength is equally crucial to arm strength when you’re go-karting. Your hands must be strong enough to turn the wheel, as well as keep it steady when you’re sprinting through a straight. And you should also be able to make a correction in the middle of a turn; otherwise, you’ll hit the wall.
Getting better grip strength is a matter of training your wrists, your fingers, and your forearms. Now that I say that, blogging might be the best way to train these, judging by how sore they get after a long day’s work.
All jokes aside, there are a few different gadgets that I use to increase my grip strength. The first is a grip strength trainer, while the second is a set of grip strengtheners and finger stretchers.
Since your hands aren’t the largest part of your body, you won’t feel exhausted when you train them. So, you can use the equipment that I mentioned above at different times during the day. I personally love to use them when I watch the F1 races on Sundays.
Once again, if you’re already going to the gym, you should speak with your trainer to find some exercises that will improve your grip strength. From what I understood, you can simply carry two dumbbells and walk around (Farmer’s walk), and that’s enough to increase your grip strength.
So after we talked about our needed muscles and improving them for better strength and endurance, let’s talk about how to improve our grip to the next level while holding the wheel.
Are Gloves Necessary For Go-Karting?
Before my first kart race, I wondered why professional drivers wear gloves. I soon found that I had made a big mistake for not wearing them.
The benefits that gloves offer for go-karting are so many that they become essential for go-kart races.
Gloves can give you next-level grip and control of the wheel, which in turn gives you complete control of the kart. Their design will also lessen the strain put on your hands, so you’ll be much more efficient and consistent on the track.
Additionally, if you’re racing on an outdoor track, the gloves can actually protect your hands from getting too cold. While I’ve only raced on indoor tracks, I can only imagine how gruesome it is to race when it is 0 ℃ outside.
On top of all that, there are so many different glove designs, so you can show off your style. Most kart drivers don’t opt for really fancy designs on their gloves, but they choose some that have elegant colors. This keeps them professional and trendy at the same time.
That’s pretty much all I had to say for training your arms. Overall, it’s vital to keep your arms in good shape if you want to take up karting. Not only will you avoid soreness, but you’ll also be less likely to get injured.
Stay tuned for more articles just like this one!