10931395_1561131524130556_7292630030493541264_nOkay, if you want to find a great way to have fun and let your head explode, try flipping a tractor tire.

Gyms all around the world are just recently finding out what power lifters, strong men, and many garage fitness aficionados have known for decades; flipping heavy tires is one of the best exercises for exerting force on an object or a heavy opponent quickly.  This is one of the reasons wrestlers and MMA fighters incorporate it into their fitness routines.

Social media, Crossfit, and YouTube videos have opened the doors for a lot of people who were once unaware of this form of training and many gyms are now using tires as part of their fitness programming. If you belong to a gym that has tires, try working out with one, you’ll feel challenged.

Working out with tires over a period of time can help you develop your raw power, increase your muscle size and strength, increase your athleticism, aerobic fitness and build up your confidence.  There is a certain mental payoff you obtain after lifting a 300-600 lb tire that feels different than when lifting the same amount in weight plates and a barbell bar.

Here’s a tough question. What weighs more? A 100 pounds of feathers or a pounds of gold? They weigh the same, but getting your hands wrapped around one is different from lifting the other. Each has its own inherent payoff.

One fitness blog writer wrote,” flipping tires is over-rated, you can do other exercises to get the same benefit.”  Flipping tires has a lot of mental and physical pay-offs for those who work it into their fitness program.  You might not want to lift weights all the time so doing tire flips is another avenue for obtaining optimum fitness. Your flexibility, endurance and explosive power will be tested.

I think I had an aneurysm and died here.
I think I had an aneurysm and died here.

You might even be able to train with one outdoors and grab some good air and sunshine. Something to keep in mind; tackling a nice-sized tire that has a good deal of weight to it can be a challenge if you’ve never done it before. Start off with a light tire before tackling something heavier.
In this picture, I am already gassed-out and barely able to finish multiple reps of flipping this heavy tire. The weight was coming down on me rather than going up! Talk about exhausting!  You can train two different ways; train with a heavy tire and work your muscles for strength or try flipping a lighter tire and do multiple flips and try for speed.

There are lots of great videos and blogs out there to learn from the best.

It isn’t solely about strength, it’s also about technique; if you don’t select the proper sized/weight tire you could end up with a potential injury. I’m going to list the steps for you on how to flip a tire, but I also recommend watching some online videos performed by established Strongmen to get a sense of it all. It needs to be done a certain way.
Also, if you have the space at home to train, I recommend calling a tire shop or tractor shop. It costs money to recycle them, and some places may part with them cheaply. My neighbor uses his to do Crossfit sledgehammer workouts and clients are always coming out to give it a whack. (That’s another good exercise).

  1. Approach your tire and bend down in a crouching position.
  2. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
  3. Place your grip wider than your stance.
  4. Place your chest against the tire.
  5. Keep your butt down and arc your back.
  6. Begin to lift by using your hips to drive and simultaneously push your chest into the tire. You need good contact with your chest and shoulders. Do not solely use your biceps to lift or you can get injured. You are not performing a curl.
  7. Drive with the hips and legs while keeping both feet on the floor to deliver that force. You are not lifting the tire upwards, rather you are pushing it simultaneously up and forward. Momentum is everything here.
  8. Once you get the tire to your waist, lift a knee to blast it up, begin to switch hand position to the top of the tire and give a push. The tire should go over.
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By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

3 thoughts on “Survival Fitness: Tractor Tire Flips”
  1. I have a 250lb tire that is getting too light so I going to try to get a heavier one in the near future. Also I’m 6′ tall and my tire is 4′ in diameter so a taller tire would be good for the push at the top of the flip. All if that said, I have been flipping for about 2 months and in that time I’ve added almost 20lbs to my deadlift! I’m excited to see the benefits of a heavier taller tire.

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