Leicester Racecourse Opens Groundbreaking Jockeys’ ‘Warm-Up’ Facility by Great British Racing|05.31.2022|11:26am “Jockeys are a key part of our sport and as elite athletes it is a top priority that we provide them with the tools they need to excel and perform at their best, whilst also considering their well-being. We worked with our participants when planning the changes, and these weighing room updates are part of a larger project to bring all aspects of jockey facilities in line with their needs and the standards of other elite sports.” Leicester Racecourse in the U.K. has become one of the first courses to open brand-new warm-up and performance facilities designed to support jockeys as elite athletes. Jockey and PJA board member Page Fuller officially opened the facility as she, alongside fellow jockey Andrew Mullen, has been integral in working towards weighing room improvements, in conjunction with the full support of the PJA. After a significant £650,000 (about US$820,000) investment, the area includes a range of gym equipment which will see a huge improvement to the preparations jockeys can undertake for racing and are aimed at ensuring that they are physically ready to compete from the first race and to act as an injury prevention tool. The redevelopment is part of a wider initiative by racing bodies to update and modernize the weighing room across all racecourses, bringing it in line with jockeys' needs as elite athletes. The organizations involved are the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) and the Racecourse Association (RCA). With the new gym equipment at Leicester provided by Perform Better, the jockeys now have access to a new warm-up area that includes fitness bikes, a TRX suspension trainer, resistance bands, kettle bells and skipping ropes. Danny Hague, Strength and Conditioning coach at the IJF's Jack Berry House, has been working with those involved to develop the warm-up areas and create warm-up and performance exercises for the jockeys to use ahead of racing, that are available on the IJF Youtube channel and can be played on smart TVs inside the facilities. Clerk of the Course Jimmy Stevenson said of the new facilities: “It's fantastic to be a part of this initiative and be one of the first racecourses to show off our new warm-up facilities. We are very grateful to the RCA, BHA and PJA for their help in making this a success. We look forward to getting the jockeys' thoughts and continuing to work with them closely to make our participant facilities the best they can be.” Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Adviser at the BHA said of the initiative: “It has been great to see Leicester really champion the scheme to improve the jockeys' facilities, they have been immensely positive, and I look forward to seeing other racecourses do the same as part of this ongoing project. It is a huge testament to all involved and their hard work that the facilities have opened today and a tribute to Leicester's care and enthusiasm for the participants of the sport. “Jockeys are a key part of our sport and as elite athletes it is a top priority that we provide them with the tools they need to excel and perform at their best, whilst also considering their well-being. We worked with our participants when planning the changes, and these weighing room updates are part of a larger project to bring all aspects of jockey facilities in line with their needs and the standards of other elite sports.” Jockeys are top athletes who have to be incredibly fit to perform at the highest level day in day out. To become a licensed jockey, participants must undergo a grueling fitness test including holding a plank for up to four minutes and riding a WattBike with all-out effort for three minutes. During racing, a jockey's body is working close to its limits, with a typical energy expenditure of 80%-90%, which is increased to over 90% in the last 30 seconds of a race. Their heart rate will often go above 180 beats per minute, and they will experience a force of two times their bodyweight going through their legs. Therefore, to make sure jockeys can perform at their best, warm up areas in the weighing room are critical. As similar facilities are rolled-out at other courses, the organizations involved will be able to monitor and measure the warm-up effects on jockey performance and use this to make further improvements in facilities and performance coaching and advice.