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Finding out what it takes to be an America's Cup Sailor

Fitness expert Ross Edgley powering through in a Grinding test against Land Rover BAR sailor Neil Hunter
© HARRY KH

Six fitness writers and bloggers visited the Land Rover BAR base in Bermuda to experience what it takes to be a modern-day America’s Cup sailor. They were pushed to their physical limits in an intense gym session with Head of Strength and Conditioning, Ben Williams, focusing on a twelve-minute grinding challenge and a one minute sprint test.

Watch the video below to see a head to head between fitness guru Ross Edgley and Neil Hunter, Land Rover BAR’s newest recruit promoted from the Land Rover BAR Academy.

Modern America’s Cup athletes are unusual needing both excellent sustained power output – like an endurance athlete – but also needing to produce a significant force at certain key moments – like a weight lifter.

READ MORE: The fitter they are the faster they fly

For the ‘power house’ grinders on board our race boat, made up of four sailors, the grinding machine is a key piece of equipment and is becoming more commonly found in the gyms of America’s Cup teams. It trains the sailors to work on maximum strength development and increases their cardiovascular levels.

Land Rover BAR Sailors, Freddie Carr and Giles Scott, training hard in the gym
© Jack Abel Smith

READ MORE: Why supreme athletes are key to the Cup

Restricted by an on-board weight limit, each sailor also follows a tailored diet plan based around each of their individual needs – these are designed by KXLife nutritionist Aidan Goggins who analyses blood reports, suggests food groups that will supports their immune systems. This is to ensure that each crew member increases their overall fitness and builds strength but also achieves the optimum weight.

The strength and conditioning programme has the sailing team training for 12-15 hours a week in the gym combined with yoga sessions to enhance mobility and prevent injury. They will also sail up to 5 days a week, when the weather in Bermuda permits, on top of the technical aspects of their jobs.

Watch the behind the scenes reaction from Bulldog Gear Ambassador Ross Edgley and America's Cup Sailor Neil Hunter's head to head