Training the Tire Flip Without a Tire

Updated June 11, 2020

This article by BruteForce from the MAB forum.

Tire flips. You see them everywhere these days, at the World’s Strongest Man, in crossfit videos, even at high school football training sessions. With the popularity of tire flips in strength sports, you would think that most gyms would have at least one decent sized tire available for practicing. Sadly, this is not the case. While some people may have the option of getting a tire, for others, acquiring and even just storing the tire when not in use is a major difficulty.

This is particularly problematic for those wanting to begin competing in strongman. While nothing can completely replace hands on experience with a competition sized tire, there are a few things you can do to be as prepared as possible. And even if you already have a tire, these lifts will help you blow past sticking points and remain injury free.

Flipping tires calls heavily on the muscles in the legs, back, and arms. This program is going to focus on strengthening those areas and making you as explosive as possible. These next four lifts are going to help with that and can be integrated into your current training routine if you aren’t already performing them.

Front squats for leg power

Few things can develop powerful legs and overall strength like the squat. I’m assuming you’re already squatting at least once a week, but now it’s time to add in front squats. These will get you deep and upright, giving you strong quads and a stable back.

For the front squats you will want to take a clean grip in the rack position. Having the hands crossed over your chest will give you too much leeway to lean forward, and the purpose of this lift is going to be to become used to driving hard with your legs while keeping a straight back.

Deadlifts for back and posterior chain strength

If you aren’t already doing deadlifts, you need to incorporate them now. The deadlift is the most primal of the barbell lifts, and builds unparalleled physical and mental strength. A strong deadlift is essential for flipping tires, giving you the necessary strength in the upper, mid, and lower back as well as power in the posterior chain.

Focus on making your deadlift as strong as possible. A 405 pound deadlift will give you enuogh strength to flip a 700 pound tire once you have the technique right. A 600 pound deadlift will give you enough strength that the tire will flip even if you don’t have flawless technique.

Power Cleans for explosiveness

Start these from the ground and get strong with them. Learning to be explosive with heavy weight is only going to help in the tire flip. While you can get away with a more deadlift like motion on them, it isn’t optimal and will slow you down significantly.

On power cleans, really focus on hip drive and shrugging the bar up. The triple extension, once learned, can greatly improve your time on lighter tires. Power cleans will also transfer to many other events nicely, as will all of the lifts described here.

Biceps Curls. Wait, what?

Yes, I want you to do some work for those guns! Flipping tires, and strongman in general, is rough on the biceps and strains and tears are fairly common in this sport. While you want to avoid any sort of curling motion when flipping the tire, it can be an automatic thing. Strengthening your biceps will help prevent injury during this event.

Remember that the arms get a lot of work from just about every compound movement. There’s no need to go crazy with volume here, but hitting hammer curls 2-3 times a week with a weight you can perform 10-12 reps with is going to not only increase your arm size but go a long way to keeping you healthy.


The author

Steve Shaw
Steve Shaw is the original founder of Muscle and Brawn, an experienced powerlifter with over 31 years experience pumping iron. During competition he’s recorded a 602.5lb squat, 672.5lb deadlift and a 382.5lb bench press.

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