Pit crews go through all sorts of training and recently Speedway Media was invited to see how the Stewart- Haas NASCAR over the wall teams train for their pit stops. They use what’s called a VertiMax system (www.vertimax.com) which they describe as “an innovative training system that allows pit crew members to simultaneously strengthen arm swing velocity and leg drive for maximum explosive speed, which is crucial when every millisecond counts.” Their product information describes how other professional or elite athletic groups use their system. The system itself has been around for more than twenty years and their current iteration of the product has been around for three years. The VertiMax rep, Michelle Grant informed me that a new wall model would be out soon.
On their web site they boast, “VertiMax is the most advanced sports training equipment designed to increase athletic performance and abilities across all sports and ages. If you’re looking to increase speed, vertical jump ability and overall athleticism, VertiMax is the one sports training equipment designed to do it all and do it right. It is the only sports training equipment in the world that can simultaneously apply a load to both the legs and arms for Maximum Vertical Jump Development and it’s also the world’s top speed training equipment due to its ability to simultaneously load both the drive phase (foot in contact with ground driving) and swing phase (foot is airborne traveling to the next step) for maximum speed increases in any sport. No other sports fitness equipment can provide these training advantages to improve sports performance!”
This system is very unique and like nothing else I’ve ever seen. The VertiMax system works with different colored cords that can be individually adjusted for more resistance. This allows the Stewart Haas team to strap themselves to it and move like they are making all the moves that they would normally use on pit road. According to Stewart-Haas strength and conditioning coach Adam Davis, the VertiMax has sped up their stops on pit road because of this unique training tool. There are so many different ways to use the system, like the waist harness to run or jump in. There is a wrist harness that the tire changer uses to increase the strength and give him overall faster times. In talking to Davis it has already made a couple steps difference in stops. As competitive as a NASCAR pit stop is, a couple of steps could be the difference of coming out first or fifth.
VertiMax is used by most other professional sports teams in the NFL, NBA and MLB but Stewart Haas is the only NASCAR team currently using the system. You could see by the looks on the faces and the struggling to catch their breath that it a obvious workout. These crews are truly some of the best trained athletes in all of sports and it looks like the VertiMax is going to give Stewart Haas racing a advantage over other teams.
With the training that the crews currently go under this training process just adds one more element to the training that crew members will undergo. If the Stewart-Haas teams start to have a marked improvement in their performance on pit road other teams will start to use the training system that they’re currently using. It was a pretty neat thing from what I could tell.