When it comes to functional movements which build muscle, strength, endurance, power, and explosiveness; there are few better than the tire flip.
It’s an amazing exercise which you should be doing if you want to be an absolute beast, but it’s not the only effective exercise utilizing a tire as a tool to get in a powerful workout.
There are several other great movements you can implement which will not only provide similar benefits, but they’ll also make you functionally well-rounded.
If you think moving around a large piece of rubber is just for Strongman athletes and/or strength sports in general, then we’re here to tell you otherwise.
So, get yourself a large, tractor-sized workout tire if you don’t already have one; which can often be found in local tire shops, and a sledgehammer too.
Let’s go over some tire exercises and workouts…
1. TIRE FLIP
Ok, so you probably saw this one coming and the explosive benefits of the tire flip is undoubtedly the most obvious reason why this exercise is utilized by team sports athletes and Strongman athletes alike.
But another notable benefit includes a focus on concentric force which can be safer than traditional weight training in a way since you skip out on the eccentric (muscle lengthening) portion of the lift.
However, many still approach this exercise the wrong way which is not only ineffective for efficient performance, but it’s downright dangerous.
Proper lifting requires power from the lower body, core, and finally, the upper body. But you never want your back safety to be compromised; which is a common mistake with these types of lifts.
The tire flip should not be approached similarly to the deadlift since it’s a functional movement which requires a different technique due to both the vertical and horizontal movement of this exercise.
KEY POINTS FOR DOING THE TIRE FLIP:
- Keep your feet slightly back and not too close to the tire. This prevents your back from rounding too much.
- Your back and arms should be straight which will prevent excessive stress on the spine and associated muscles, plus you don’t want to experience a bicep tear.
- Keep your chest against the tire and drive through your legs up and forward.
- Drive your knee forward as you lift and pull the tire up and forward. This is necessary to help to push it forward.
- At the top of the lift, push the tire forward explosively using your arm power as you drive the knee forward.
If you’re doing tire training, then this staple exercise is a must!
2. SLEDGEHAMMER/TIRE SLAMS
Here’s another great exercise that actually doesn’t require you to make contact with the tire at all. Instead, you’re using a sledgehammer to generate plenty of force to slam it into the tire.
You get the explosive force production benefits, along with the muscle-building, strength, and cardiovascular/metabolic conditioning effects as well.
But the rotational movement of sledgehammer training is something to take notice of which can benefit your core muscles in a big way, along with providing performance carry over to other activities.
Here’s an example video of how to perform the tire slam…
KEY POINTS FOR TIRE SLAMS:
- Use a weight that you can handle for multiple reps.
- Have a staggered stance for side slams and a hip-width stance for overhead slams.
- Slam the sledgehammer into the middle part of the tire.
- The lead hand should be right below the head of the sledgehammer.
- When holding the hammer overhead; drop your hips, then slide your top hand down before slamming into the tire with explosive force.
- Maintain a fluid movement as you become better at the exercise.
Read our introduction to sledgehammer training for more information about sledgehammer training and an effective example workout...
3. PARTNER TIRE PRESS W/ FLIPS
This may not sound like much of a challenging exercise, but if you have a large tire, a partner who has a lot of endurance, and the ability to generate some decent force; the tire press with a partner can be an amazing workout.
It’ll work your entire body and test your cardiovascular fitness. Plus, you’re held accountable for pulling (or pushing in this case) your own weight.
This combo is an excellent movement for sports carryover due to the power and stability required to drive the weight forward continually. The tire flip adds another movement component.
But it’s also important to have a decently heavy and large tire because you want to challenge your entire body from the back and forth with your partner.
Check out the video example below… and feel free to do the entire workout too, if your partner is up for it!
- Keep one leg in front for balance and power since your lower body is the base from which you’ll drive the weight forward.
- Keep your elbows tucked to generate maximum pressing force and to catch the tire most efficiently.
- Try to get a good rhythm going so that the workout is as efficient and challenging as possible.
4. FARMER’S WALK
The Farmer’s Walk is a brutal exercise that’ll really test your physical limits and mental fortitude.
Everything from your lower body, to your shoulders and forearms, will burn like heck. But that’s a good thing because that means it’s working. It’s also a great cardio workout and your grip strength will definitely benefit from the Farmer’s Walk.
The key to the farmer’s walk is to maintain thoracic extension (upright spine) throughout the movement to allow for optimal efficiency and to prevent back injury.
You can either grip the tire with your fingers facing away from your body, or you can place two long solid objects (pipes, etc) inside the tire to grip more easily and that way your hands will also be in a much preferred neutral position.
Here’s a video example…
For the movement, you’ll simply deadlift the tire off of the ground and then walk with it taking small, quick steps for a challenging distance while maintaining a neutral posture.
5. TIRE FRONT SQUAT AND PRESS
The front squat is one of the best lower body exercises you can possibly do. It builds your legs, core, and forces you to maintain an upright posture which is beneficial for improving lifting technique and spine health.
One study concluded that the front squat was just as effective as the back squat for overall muscle recruitment. Plus, it was safer in terms of compressive forces on the knees and potentially long-term joint health as well.
So, if you’re looking to get the awesome lower body and core benefits of the squat movement using a tire, then this exercise is a perfect option.
Here’s a video example…
KEY POINTS FOR THE FRONT SQUAT:
- Stand a little farther back for an ideal pressing motion.
- Maintain an upright posture so your back is straight.
- Don’t allow your knees to move too far forward over your feet during the squat.
- As you squat into a standing position, push the tire forward and not necessarily explosively.
- Develop a good rhythm to keep tension on the muscles.
Now, before you attempt any of these workouts, make sure to warm up your joints and get moving a little to increase your heart rate so that you’re not starting from a cold state.
This is always important for preventing injury, increasing muscular performance capabilities during the workout, and also maintaining your cardiovascular endurance.
These are a few basic workouts almost anyone can do...
Determine a distance where you’ll do tire flips back and forth. Set a timer for 1:30 minutes and do as many flips as you possibly can with no more than 2 seconds rest in between each one.
Complete 2 rounds.
Your muscles will be burning and it’ll be tough but hopefully, you’ll feel good for pushing yourself a little.
SLEDGEHAMMER/TIRE SLAMS WORKOUT
Perform this workout by doing one set of each exercise and then repeat until you’ve completed all sets. Rest 30 seconds or a little more if needed only after you’ve done three sets straight.
Left Side Slams
- 3 sets x 12-15
Right Side Slams
- 3 sets x 12-15
Alternating Tire Slams
- 2 sets x 15 reps
PARTNER TIRE FLIPS w/PARTNER
For the tire press, do one set of 12 reps with your partner, then drop the tire down and perform 6-8 flips each. If you’re more advanced, do the workout in the example video above.
Complete 2 rounds.
Determine a distance you’re going to walk beforehand and do 3 rounds for 30-45 seconds each.
TIRE FRONT SQUAT AND PRESS
Perform 5 reps for the first set (rest 20 seconds)
10 reps for the second (rest 30 seconds)
15 reps for the third (rest 45 seconds to a minute)
20 reps for the fourth set.
Tire workouts are no joke… they’ll test your physical and strength like no other while providing many performance benefits in the process.
Now, most people choose to avoid these brutal exercises. But a lot of the time, it’s the ones that we don’t want to do which yields some of the best results.
So, grab a tire and start flipping away. And don’t forget to include the other awesome exercises on the list.