Monday, November 05, 2012

Matt Mingay: “My forearms are nearly as big as my biceps!”

Matt Mingay
Matt Mingay Matt Mingay Matt Mingay
What do you need to be a good stunt rider? Flexibility and er... big forearms!

Gold Coast resident, 33-year-old Australian Matt Mingay is one of the top motorcycle stunt riders in the world. He’s worked as a stunt double for Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 2 and used to have some pretty impressive world records to his name – fastest wheelie (at 225km/h, for 1km), fastest stoppie (at 212km/h, for 75 metres) and longest, fastest burnout (1.65km in 1 minute and 50 seconds). Matt’s fastest wheelie and fastest stoppie records have now been broken but he’s still pretty amazing on his Harley-Davidson Nightster 1200 stunt bike, which weighs no less than 240 kilos!

Why a Harley 1200 instead of, say, a CBR600 or other lightweight Japanese bike? “I got bored riding them and needed a challenge, so I teamed up with Harley,” says Matt. When he’s not stunt riding his Harley, he drives a supercharged Chevy Silverado 454 so he’s obviously a fan of heavy metal. Matt once did 320km/h on a turbocharged GSX-R1000 and during the course of his career, which started more than 10 years ago, he’s broken 34 bones and once highsided off his bike at 160km/h, because of which he now carries various pins and screws (titanium, naturally…) in his body.

Matt was featured in a recent issue of the Australian edition of Men’s Fitness, where he talks about his very demanding physical fitness routine. Stunt riders have to wrestle with heavy, powerful machinery on a daily basis and are probably some of the fittest athletes on the planet. Here are some excerpts from Matt’s routine, some of which you might want to use for your own fitness plan:

On how he trains

I work out five times a week, doing CrossFit three times. That makes a massive difference to my stamina. Shows can be 20-30 minutes long and throwing around 240 kilos for that long is hard work. I do weights for my upper half and boxing to push my heart rate up.

On a typical training session

I warm up on a rower, then do a three-set weight at maximum rep, followed by a CrossFit competition [between Matt and other athletes in the gym]. That might include a timed session of 30 burpees, 30 chin-ups, 30 push-ups, 30 wood chops, 30 dumbbell raises and 30 stair runs. By the end, you’re either spewing your guts up or you’re dead.

On the most important physical attribute for stunt riding

Flexibility. It’s important for jumping over the bike in weird positions, whether it’s standing on the handlebars or jumping from one side to the other. The last thing I want to be is bulky. Plyometrics, such as box jumps, play a big part. And burpees. You hate them, but they’re one of the most beneficial exercises out there.

On the need to have big forearms

Circle wheelies and jumping over the bike while doing them – that gives me forearm pump. My forearms are nearly as big as my biceps. I train them on the bench with barbell curls, plus chin-ups or stair walks with 20kg dumbbells.

Source: Men’s Fitness

An interview with Matt Mingay...

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