This Tyre Workout Does It All

Often, when training, you have to make a decision between doing something that makes you look good, such as dumbbell biceps curls, or something that makes you move well, such as single-leg kettlebell Romanian deadlifts. And when you’re faced with that choice, it’s all too tempting to go for the former. After all, it’s fair to say that T-shirt-filling arms are more of a confidence boost than impressive thoracic mobility.

There are, however, some things you can do that will give you the benefits of both. Flipping tyres, for example, will develop athletic prowess. “It’s a full-body stimulator,” says top strength coach Jack Lovett from Spartan Performance gym. “There isn’t a single muscle this exercise won’t recruit and strengthen – including your stabilising muscles – in a way that traditional barbell and dumbbell movements can’t.

“I personally find it particularly beneficial for contact sport athletes as a bridge between the weights room and the playing field. It helps develop force from the ground up – all flips require an explosive lower body drive which extends up into triple extension and through the hands.”

And it’s that uninhibited triple extension, where you simultaneously extend at the ankles, knees and hips, that makes flips so effective. It’s a movement that every athlete does but one you rarely see in high street gyms. The glory comes once the initial momentum has been created by the powerful triple extension drive. You initiate the movement with straight arms but once the tyre reaches a certain height, you contract your biceps to continue the flip. That’s where the gun gains come in.

Of course, it’s not just flips that tyres are good for. Try this whole-body circuit to freshen up your gym programme and torch fat fast. Do the exercises in order, following the work and rest periods indicated, then rest for two minutes between rounds. Complete four rounds in total.

1 Tyre flip

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Perfect form The classic. Protect your back by taking a wide stance and getting low, digging your fingers under the tyre and driving up with your glutes. Drive forward to finish the rep, or lower the tyre if you’re short of space. If you want to avoid lower back injury, aim to keep your chest upright throughout the tyre flip.

You’ve nailed it when… You’re moving powerfully into triple extension, where you simultaneously extend at the ankle, knee and hip joints. Focus on thrusting your hips through powerfully and explosively. This move is all about intensity so put 100% effort into each flip.

2 Lateral hop

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Perfect form A precision/explosiveness double whammy. Stand side-on to the tyre and leap into the centre, then back out. Haven’t got quite enough spring? Aim for the rim instead.

You’ve nailed it when… You control the deceleration. Because this is a jumping exercise, you may think that you’re supposed to put all your effort and concentration into how you take off. In reality, that’s the easy bit. The more demanding part of the move is controlling the landing phase and ensuring that you absorb the impact, rather than jarring your joints.

3 Decline press-up

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Perfect form Get into a press-up position with your feet on the tyre and hands on the floor, and do a standard press-up – chest to the floor. The extra range of motion will work wonders. When you get tired, your hips will start to sag, so try to be aware of the shape of your body and consciously avoid letting your hips sag. Squeezing your glutes and core will help you do this effectively.

You’ve nailed it when… You’re controlling the downward phase of the exercise and keeping your elbows close to the sides of your body throughout the move. If they flare out, it’ll put strain on your elbow joints.

4 Low push

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Perfect form Get low – it’s the only way to travel. Keep your arms straight and drive with your legs as you push the tyre across the floor, as fast as possible. If you’re on a surface that makes pushing virtually impossible, you can try pulling the tyre. Attach a suspension training device such as a TRX to one of the straps and walk backwards, dragging it.

You’ve nailed it when… You’re going as fast as you can. The actual speed is largely irrelevant – what matters is that you’re trying to go as quickly as you can. You’ll have to experiment with stride length to find out what’s optimal, but generally avoid either overstriding or using tiny steps.

5 Squat to jump

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Perfect form Stand inside the tyre and squat until your glutes touch it, then explode up and land on the rim. Pro tip: the longer you hold the squat, the less you’ll rely on your muscles’ stretch reflex, so you’ll switch on more fast-twitch fibres.

You’ve nailed it when… You’re jumping explosively. That means no half-hearted jumps. You should aim to jump as high as possible in each rep to activate as many muscle fibres as you can.

6 Burpee jump

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Perfect form Start with your hands on the tyre rim and do a press-up, then use the rebound to leap straight into a jump onto the rim. Hop back down and repeat.

You’ve nailed it when… You’re staying in the game. This is a really physically demanding exercise because it involves such a big movement, so it’s as much a test of your mental strength as it is of your physical prowess. Grit your teeth, get moving and know that you can rest for a couple of minutes when you’re done.

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