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Land Rover BAR Academy – Physical & Mental Preparation with Strength and Conditioning Coach Charlie Quigley

It’s been two years in the making, the Land Rover BAR Academy have been through blood, sweat and tears. They’ve pushed themselves to their absolute physical limits, all in preparation for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup (RBYAC) which will take place in Bermuda 12th – 15th June (Qualifiers) and 20th – 21st June (Finals). 

We caught up with the Land Rover BAR Academy’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, Charlie Quigley, to find out how he has helped our youth sailors reach peak physical performance.

The two years of intense physical training has involved committing individually for 10 – 12 hours a week. The athletes follow a detailed fitness plan which is tailored to their position on the boat all alongside having two, 2-hour weekly group sessions at the Land Rover BAR base in Portsmouth. The sailors complete and share their gym training logs, including heart rate measurements, with Charlie online so he can keep an eye on how they are doing when they are training away from the base. 

“From the moment the Land Rover BAR Academy athletes were recruited, through our talent ID scheme, we have been supporting them to maximise their physical potential on-board the boat. Every month, we conduct physical tests to monitor the sailors’ performance and identify areas for improvement. We have highlighted key exercises that are essential to performance on-board the AC45F and I am able to plan training programmes for each individual sailor around these which are specific to their role on-board. 

“Their sessions mainly involve a mixture of cardiovascular (CV) exercises, on the Bulldog assault bike, strength and power exercises such asbench press / bench pull and conditioning/mobility to help stimulate recovery and prevent injury. As well as this, we educate the sailors to give them the knowledge and tools to further their physical performance. They are responsible, in part, for their own development during their remote programmed sessions. As part of their development we feel it’s healthy for them to take ownership of their own progression.”

The AC45F, boats to be used in the RBYAC, is the same one-design foiling catamarans that the America’s Cup teams sailed in the America’s Cup World Series regatta and uses a typical top handle winch rather than grinders like on-board the America’s Cup Class race boats. 

“We try to mix up their group training sessions by introducing mental stimulation exercises in the form of decision making and problem solving – putting them in situations which may occur on the water to make them act fast and work as a team. In addition to this, in the lead up to competitions, such as the Extreme Sailing Series, training becomes more specific and we hold week long training camps to ensure the sailors are at their peak when it matters most out on the water.” 

As well as fitness, diet is essential for the Land Rover BAR Academy in preparation to the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and each sailor is focusing on a different target to ensure that they meet the maximum weight limit of 480kg. The four main diet programmes that the sailors are following include weight loss, weight gain, optimal recovery from training to assist muscle growth / repair and optimal nutrition to support race day performance. 

© HARRY KH

“The senior Land Rover BAR squad are supported by Aidan Goggins in partnership with KX. His best practices roll down into the Land Rover BAR Academy. Nutrition is another area we educate the athletes in because hopefully this education will build a foundation for a healthy career in the sporting arena.”

In the final few weeks ahead of the RBYAC, the Land Rover BAR Academy’s training schedule will primarily remain the same with the main focus being ensuring they are race ready and at the peak of physical fitness and mental preparation. Their sessions will see an increased agility and strength focus as these will be the demanding factors on-board the boat during racing.

Example Gym Session for the Land Rover BAR Academy ( 90 minute session):

  • Bench Press – 4 x 6 reps 85% load
  • Bench Pull – 4 x 6 reps at 85% load
  • Weighted Pull Up – 3 x 8 reps
  • Chest to Bar Pull Up – 3 x 3 reps
  • Alternating Dumbbell Chest Press with Dumbbell Shoulder Press superset 3 x 8 reps 
  • Arnold Press and Dumbbell Row superset 3 x 8 reps
  • Trunk: Heavy Woodchop 3 x 6 each side & Wide Grip Pallof Press 3 x 8 each side

90 seconds rest between sets. 

Download the Land Rover BAR team app to follow the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup action on our live blog from the 12-15th June.