Maybe you’ve seen videos of performance athletes flipping a huge tire around the gym. It may look strange, but there’s a reason they’re doing that. The tire flip is a powerhouse functional training exercise that engages just about every muscle in your body, but particularly targets your biceps, back, glutes, and quads. It’s very simple and involves exactly what it sounds like: flipping a tire end over end.
The only hang up is that it takes a lot of effort to get to the level where you can flip the kind of tire that comes off a tractor or truck. Some of them top out at 500 pounds. Plus, what kind of New York City apartment has the space for it? Most gym goers or home exercise enthusiasts need a place to start.
Enter the TireFlip 180®. It’s an innovative machine that’s great for anyone who is new to flipping tires – or even experienced pros who want the benefits of tire flipping in a compact package. The TireFlip 180 is adjustable for weight: it starts at 100 pounds and goes up to 160. You should be able to lift at least 100 pounds to start using this machine, and you need to be flexible enough to bend down to grip the tire. If you’re not there yet, a great way to work up to this exercise is doing deadlifts with lighter weights using the open trap bar.
Another benefit to the TireFlip 180 is that it’s elevated off the floor slightly, so users don’t have to squat down as far to get a grip on the tire. This saves strain on your joints without sacrificing the quality of the exercise. If you can lift 100 pounds and are ready to work this machine into your routine, read on! This guide is meant to help you approach using the TireFlip 180 the right way but, as always, the best way to learn is to work with a personal trainer.
Setting up the Machine
Setting up the TireFlip 180 is easy. It’s basically half a tire on a hinge after all. The only thing you need to consider is how much weight you want to work with. We recommend starting at the base weight. Even though the TireFlip 180 is safer and easier than traditional tire flip exercises, you can still injure yourself if you start with too much weight.
To add weight, just pick up a five- or 10-pound weight plate from the storage post in the center of the machine and secure it to the weight post inside the tire with the pin.
Using the TireFlip 180
Once you’ve decided on the right weight for you, you’re ready to go. The form used for the TireFlip 180 is similar to a regular tire flip. You’ll be getting the same exercise as you would from flipping a regular tire, but you won’t have to chase a huge piece of equipment around the gym. Just remember, it’s always best to focus on correct form to avoid injury.
To perform the tire flip, start by standing on the tire side of the machine. You’ll want to get up close and personal with the tire you’re about to flip. Approach the machine and keep your feet wider than shoulder-width apart so that they’re slightly to either side of the tire – kind of like a sumo wrestler’s stance.
Then lower yourself into a squatting position and grab the tire firmly from the bottom with both hands. Your arms should be extended without locking your elbows, and your head should be above the tire. While you’re squatting down, focus on keeping your back straight and your pecs in line with your knees.
From the starting position, brace your core. You’ll want a solid base to lift from. Stand up by driving your feet into the ground and bringing the tire with you. Once you are at the top, you will complete the flip by pushing the tire to the other side.
Make sure to keep your spine straight. If you bend your spine and use just your lower back muscles to lift the tire, you could seriously hurt yourself. Even though you’re using your whole body to flip the tire, your legs should be the part of your body doing most of the work to propel you and the tire upward.
Towards the end of the movement, pull the tire up with your biceps. Stronger users can flip the tire this way. Some people will find it helpful to reverse their grip and give the tire a push to get it over the edge and to the other side of the machine. If this applies to you, take a step forward to drive the motion home. The extra effort will engage even more muscles, especially your triceps and pecs.
Each flip moves the tire 180 degrees across the machine’s axle. You can then walk (or jog, if you’re trying to get your heartrate up) to the other side of the machine and repeat the exercise for as many reps as you want. Tire flipping is an intense exercise! 5 to 10 reps is usually enough for most people, especially if you’re combining it with other exercises.
What’s a Good Workout?
The TireFlip 180 is a versatile machine that can be used for time as a conditioning exercise or worked for reps as part of a functional strength training workout. If you’re using it for strength training, tire flips make a great addition to any leg day. Here’s one we recommend:
5 sets of 5 reps of deadlifts with the open trap bar
3 sets of 5 tire flips
3 sets of 8 lateral lunges (with or without weights)
5 sets of 5 reps on the leg press machine
Always use an amount of weight you’re comfortable with and remember to warm up and cool down before and after your routine. For pre- and post-workout cardio, we recommend the rower, the SkiErg®, or a mix of both.
Ready to use the TireFlip 180 in your workout? You can find it toward the back of the main fitness center at our Battery Park City campus by the plyometric boxes.
The TireFlip 180 can give you a full body workout—no other equipment needed. Check out the manufacturer’s blog for some great tips on ways to use this machine.] for some great tips on ways to use this machine.