After our recent Lift STRONG fundraiser, benefiting Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation, I saw how countless athletes had NO clue how to properly flip the tire, especially the heavier, 600 lb tire.
Even the guys who were built like brick shit houses were often found wrestling and failing to flip the 600 lb tire. Learning HOW to use your strength is critical if you want to be successful as an athlete. This is what we call "functional strength" - can your gym strength be used to apply OUTSIDE the gym.
When I say "properly", I am addressing technique, efficiency AND safety in the tire flip. Put all 3 of these together and the tire flip movement is a GREAT addition to your training program. Throw just one of these out the window and we now have a very dangerous movement with high risk of injury.
This is why I always say, you can copy things you see from You Tube or the magazines, but every exercise and workout has many details that MUST be paid attention to in order to ensure maximum results. This is where expert coaching comes into play and you can't fake being a knowledgeable Strength Coach. Plain and simple, that's the truth when it comes to being a Strength Coach.
I've seen some SERIOUS injuries come from flipping a tire the wrong way, and, because this is an exercise that is part of The BEAST Course, I want you to understand exactly HOW to properly perform this strongman movement safely and effectively.
Check out this video....
As you can see, The tire flip is a GREAT movement when performed properly.
But, Strongman training, odd objects, etc have become a FAD. With more and more Coaches thinking that training is all about the tools they use rather than the actual coaching and program design, we've got 200 + lb Football players, D1 athletes and even freshman athletes flipping things like a 250 lb tire.
We now see strongman training on TV with senior citizens on shows like The Biggest Loser.
A 250 lb tire won't do JACK SHIT for a Monster 250 lb Football Player, a D1 athlete, etc. So why are Coaches doing this when it will NOT help their athletes?
A freshman in high school is more than 99% likely to NOT have the foundation in technique or strength to be ready for a tire flip.
When they say "fake it till you make it", that does NOT apply in the gym / training. A crappy program is a crappy program is a crappy program. It MIGHT look cool, but RESULTS are what count, NOT how cool a workout looks.
Note the next video. Watch the first guy gets too close to the 450 lb tire so he struggles a bit during the transition. He is too close to the tire so the speed ends after the movement looks vertical, like a deadlift. The second guy, on the 600 lb tire, gets the proper angle and can "power clean" the tire from start to end with speed. The angle is crucial for safety and efficiency.
The bottom line with strongman training and the tire flip: These movements are GREAT for developing brute strength, grit, speed, power, athleticism and more..... ONLY when done properly.
Do NOT rush inexperienced athletes into the tire flip.
When performed incorrectly, the injury / risk factor increase 10 fold and we now have an exercise that is NOT worth it's weight in gold.
Follow our Bodyweight Bodybuilding course FIRST to develop strength, power and athleticism. Then, progress to the BEAST Course.
Blindly following a random workout from a magazine or copying exercises from you tube or strange books out of the book store is gonna lead to injury on yourself, or, if you're a Coach, even worst, you'll end up injuring others.
Build UP to the tire flip and other odd object lifts properly and safely:
- Start with Bodyweight Training + Sleds.
- Add Kettlebells & Dumbbells to your training.
- Add the Trap Bar Deadlift and light sandbags to your training.
- Add straight bar deadlift, both sumo and conventional positions.
Till the next time.....
Keep Living for The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence.... LIVE The Code 365.
Great post Zach, glad to see someone clearing up the technique issues of tire flipping. It gets ragged on a lot because of the back rounding you see with people doing it, without people realising that that’s generally down to poor technique.
one of the greatest inventions ever, the wheel (tire), on it’s side being flipped! now we have to think of something to do with fire! ha ha! thanks for keeping this lifestyle real!
Dustin W. says
I like the video. Two years ago I struggled with my 600# tire, but with practice it is now too light. The 800# is just right, and when I feel squirrely I pull out the 1000# tire.
My advice is front squat and snatch variations. Front squat gives you that comfort for infront lifts. The snatch programs the mind to function in one explosive movement. Vise to the clean and jerk which is phases.
Deadlift is a must! Speed with control. Engage with load/strain, accelerate through the lift to lock out.
In the end it takes time and work! Grip it and rip it!
Dustin M. says
you talking to this farmboy?? I love flipping tires. The combination of brute power, explosive strength and murdering conditioning can be obtained just from flipping a tractor tire. I was able to obtain a tractor tire about 3 years ago, when i lived in the country. My grandparents were kind enough to let me keep my “toy” there behind their barn. I believe it was 350-400lbs, but i am not sure. It was pretty big, but definitely not a 600lber. I remember the first time I flipped the tire for “a workout”, it felt great. Almost toooo simple. The next morning, I woke up and my forearms were the sorest they ever been. I felt like a rock that day.
In several months, I was able to flip that tire for 50 reps in just shy of 10 minutes. I am not sure how good that is compared to others.
But thanks for the blast from the past—when I get my own home, I know i will be getting my “toy” back. 🙂
Good post, Z.
Kevin Salisbury says
Great blog Zach. @Dustin, 1000lb tire? That is impressive, keep up the good work. I hat e when I am in the gym using some of your techniques and a trainer comments that I am doing crossfit. Ugh, Why label everything, I tell them to look you up. Now as in many other people I have been aware of the tire flip for years and have always wanted to incorporate it into my home gym. Last year I found a half burried tire by the creek and rolled it up to my house, unfortunately it was a mere 120lbs(I weigh 215), I used it to learn and stack it with other tires to drag it. One day I found 3 larger tires and they all weigh in around 220lbs. I found these easy to flip so I tended to use them in between sets as almost a cardio strenght workout. I recently decided to just flip them with one hand, I am sure this is not the equivilant of flipping a 400lb tire but am I totaly missing out on the benefits of flipping because of the weight of my tire? I am 39 and my fitness goals are to drop belly fat, develop real strenght and be fit enough for any challenge that comes my way. Thanks to any replies and keep on making this “fad” legit..