Build functional power and tactical hypertrophy with free equipment.
By: Josh Bryant
With proper application, the tire flip can build limit strength, explosive power, slabs of muscle, flexibility and endurance to boot.
Contrast that to space-age machines at the local commercial gym purgatory where you sit down or lie down because comfort takes precedence over results.
Tire flipping prepares you for life, whether that life is throwing unruly patrons out of kick n’ stab, after-hours joints in Calcutta or closing million-dollar deals on the fairway.
Unlike buying the latest up-to-the-minute machine that requires cashing out your 401 K—tires are free. Any junk yard or tire yard has to dispose of tires and pay to do so; so, by taking this training asset off their hands you have freed them of a liability.
Fitness celebrities, equipment companies and bougie gyms are silent on tire flips because of the price tag—the tire flips benefit no one but you—the user.
The tire flip is a staple in strongman competitions and has huge carryover to any combative sport or sport that requires explosive power and/or strength. Football players and cage fighters have reaped the benefit of forward-thinking strength coaches for years using tire flips.
Triple extension means extension of the ankles, knees, and hips—think a vertical jump, a big hit in football, a perfectly-executed uppercut on dollar sake night, or even sprinting.
For decades, the go-to triple extension by the establishment is the power clean.
Tire flips force athletes into triple extension and are technically much simpler to learn than an Olympic lifting variation. If old Soviet defects with 100 percent commitment from athletes have trouble teaching this movement, how is the out-of-shape, tobacco-dipping, basket-weaving teacher/assistant 8th grade football coach going to do it?
Even if a power clean is executed perfectly, you will reach triple extension and then catch the bar in a passive position on your heels, after triple extension in the tire flip, you violently push the tire down, as if it were an opponent.
When you have some son of a buck on his heels, be it on the field of play or a violent encounter at Golden Corral—you need to put that son of a biscuit in the ground! The tire flip teaches this.
Technique is not complicated but requires mastery to avoid injury. Follow these guidelines:
- Assume a four-point stance as if playing football, and set up with your chest pushing into the tire. Arms should be outside the legs, butt down and back flat.
- Like any other ground-based lift, foot position varies individual to individual; a good starting point is your most powerful vertical jump stance, for most folks this will be in the hip-width range.
- From this position, lift the tire by using your hips to drive the tire upward, don’t use your arms! Triple extending the ankles, knees and hips, some athletes may literally “jump”.
- As you triple extend, get under the tire to catch, similar to a power clean, and from the position push the tire as fast and hard as possible away from you. (Do not attempt a curl, this where athletes have injured biceps.)
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
There are variations of technique, like the sumo start (hands inside thighs) or using one knee to assist in lifting the tire as it comes up. The described technique is a great start point, master it and then individualize it.
Assuming you have an understanding of technique, a good place to start and master technique is approximately your deadlift max. Remember, half the tire is ground.
Years ago, as a high school strength coach, every girls volleyball player could flip a 220-pound tire with ease. Every single member of the football squad could flip a 430-pound tire; most competitive strongman contest will use a minimum of 650 pounds.
- Do 4-8 singles with 30-second breaks between them with a light to moderate weight for explosive power.
- For strength, do sets of 1-5 reps with heavy weight. Take a full recovery between sets, do 2-4 sets.
- For muscle hypertrophy, do 3-5 sets of 4-8 repetitions with moderately heavy weight and rest 90-150 seconds between sets.
Tire flips can be performed as part of your legs or back workout and if you really want to switch things up, consider an entire strongman events day.
Build a bigger, stronger, more powerful you with tire flips.
Tactical Strongman Training— real training for tactical athletes and staying Gas Station Ready.