How and Why Tire Flipping Exists
If you ask me what is the one exercise you could do to feel like you could sucker punch a Norse god or shoulder tackle a tank, I would respond without hesitation: heavy tire flips.
Tire flipping is great for building strength in the legs, posterior chain, shoulders, chest, forearms, and grip. It is also an excellent way to work on explosive power and force production.
It can even be used as a conditioning exercise.
If we look at movement patterns, the tire flip incorporates squatting, hinging, pressing, and pushing, and you could even make the argument for the lunge pattern hiding in there as well.
The bottom line is that there isn’t much tire flipping ISN’T good for.
Due to the size and nature of the tire, it is impossible to get a good grip or consistent hand position. Unlike with a barbell or kettlebell, you’re dealing with something that was not designed to be lifted and doesn’t come with a handle.
You could call tire flipping “tire wrestling,” and you would not be wrong.
The grip will most likely be the first place you feel the tire. You’re also going to have to constantly brace yourself throughout the lift in order to keep the tire from taking you out, so your stabi-lizers are going to get fried as well.
How to Flip a Tire
To begin the tire flip, you’re going to have to dig your hands under using a reverse grip and squat down low; think sumo deadlift/goblet squat. Like the goblet squat, I like to keep my elbows driven into my knees for the set up. If you have a really big tire, you might actually end up in a crawling position.
Unlike with the deadlift, which only requires you to move the weight up, with the tire flip, you have to move the weight up and forward. All the while the tire, or more to the point, gravity, is trying to pull you back down.
Once you have your grip, inhale, get tight, lean into the tire, drive up, and push forward with the legs and hips.
If you got the tire to chest level, all you have to do now is rotate the hands and push up and over, still bracing with the abs and using the legs to help drive the tire forward.
If your hands didn’t make it to chest level but fell somewhere between the chest and hips, then you’re going to have to figure out how to get under the tire and press/push the tire over. This is where the real learning happens and the value of the tire shows up.
What I mean by “under” is that you have to get your hips and hands under the tire and wedge it up high enough so that you can get your hands to a strong pressing position. From there, push/press it over.
4 TIRE FLIPPING WORKOUT CONSIDERATIONS
Now before you go rip the wheels off your Prius, there are a few things to consider.
To get the real benefits out of this odd object lift, you need a heavy tire. By “heavy” I mean it should weigh considerably more than your deadlift max.
Tires Can Go Anywhere!
Tire flipping can easily be added to just about any program. Adding it at the beginning or end usually works best logistically. If you’re training in a standard gym, put it at the end, especially on rainy days.
It might feel bad ass to walk in covered in mud, blood, and sweat, but no one else is going to appreciate it, and you’re going to be “that guy” in your gym.
Keep your reps low. This goes back to the first point, if your tire is heavy enough, it shouldn’t take too many reps to get the job done…10, maybe 12 at the most. This should be pretty exhausting.
Tires Don’t Need to Be Everything
While this could be the only exercise in your training for a while, and it is a great total body power move, it isn’t the “be all end all” in unconventional training.
It is great for when all you have is a big tire or to add in here and there, but you’re not likely to find an “all tire all the time” gym anytime soon.
On the other hand, if you have a big tire and only twenty minutes, it’s a great way to get in your training. Tire flipping, along with Sour Patch Kids, is one of those things I can always count on for a mood booster.