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Tire Flip: Muscles Worked, Benefits & No-Tire Alternatives

7 min read
a man is flipping a tire, tire flip
Natasha Caleel post Reviewer Natasha Caleel post Reviewer
The article is verified by Natasha Caleel
MS in Occupational Therapy, BS in Kinesiology, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Coach

Tire flip is a powerful exercise that can strengthen your whole body. Explore the technique, muscles worked & beginner no-tire alternatives in this blog post.

Table of Contents

Tire flips can improve your overall fitness level and strengthen your entire body. However, it is not a very popular exercise among gymgoers despite targeting all main muscle groups.

In this article, we will take you through the general benefits of tire flipping, how to execute it correctly, and some alternative exercises that target the same muscles. 

Tire Flip in Fitness: Is It For Everyone?

Flipping a tire requires a lot of strength and power, and for this reason, it is often featured in CrossFit workouts. Although some gyms offer this unusual piece of equipment, it’s not common in many commercial gyms.

Tire flipping is better suited for more experienced lifters due to the high weight of the tires and the complex technique required to lift them correctly to avoid injuries.

Still, lighter tires can be used to introduce beginners to this exercise. 

Tire flip workouts can be more or less difficult depending on the weight and size of the tire used. It is also important to note that not all types of tires are ideal for this exercise, as the rubber needs to be robust and not bend when lifted. 

For all these reasons, tractor tires are optimal for flipping, as they are fairly sturdy and they come in a variety of sizes and weights. 

How to Flip a Tire

an instruction on how to flip a tire in four positions, a man is flipping a tire, tire flip

Tire flips are a very technical move that can potentially lead to injuries if not done properly. Below is a step-by-step guide for flipping tires correctly:

  • To start with, the tire must be positioned flat on the ground.
  • Stand upright, facing the tire, with your feet at a hip-width distance.
  • Hinge back at the hips and bend your knees to squat down.
  • Holding a squat position, grab the tire from underneath with a firm grip and lean towards it.
  • Pushing through your legs, while keeping your core tight, start lifting the tire from the floor.
  • Once the tire is lifted off the floor, lunge forward with one leg and use that knee to support the tire weight.
  • Switch your grip by placing your palms underneath the lower edge of the tire and your fingers wrapped around it.
  • Push the tire with your arms to flip it while driving up the legs and keeping your core engaged.

Once mastered, tire flipping should be performed with momentum, with each flip following the next one smoothly and with no long breaks in between. 

What Muscles Do Tire Flips Work?

Tire flips enable the activation of most major muscles, and due to this, both the lower and upper body are worked to some level when performing this exercise. [1] 

a male model with muscles highlighted, muscles worked while flipping tire, tire flip

Primary Muscles

These are the muscles that are mainly engaged during the first phase of the exercises, which are the squat and the tire lift, and include:

  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes 
  • Quadriceps
  • Back muscles (trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and spinal erectors)
  • Core muscles

Secondary Muscles

These are the muscles that work on the second phase of the exercise, which is the flip of the tire once it has been lifted off the floor. These include: 

  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Shoulders
  • Pectorals

Despite working on the whole body, adding other exercises to your training routine is still important to ensure all muscles are strengthened equally. Specifically, include exercises that work your shoulders, chest, and arms, which are the secondary muscles used in tire flips. 

4 Benefits of Tire Flipping

Tire flipping is a great compound movement that offers plenty of benefits. Below you can find the main benefits so that you can understand how this exercise can assist your fitness performance. 

Develops Strength And Power

The high weight of the tires, along with the momentum required throughout the execution of the exercise, enable you to develop strength and power simultaneously. [2] 

Body Conditioning

Tire flipping requires you to endure powerful motions for a sustained period, which is ideal for conditioning the body to withstand repetitive bouts of power, speed, and endurance efforts. [2] 

Works Both Lower And Upper Body

As broadly mentioned in this article, one of the main benefits of tire flipping is the fact that it allows you to concurrently work on most muscles in both your upper and lower body, making it ideal for those people who don’t have plenty of time to train. [2]

Wide Range Of Biomechanics

Tire flipping is an exercise that requires you to perform multiple functional movements. This makes it great for improving body biomechanics while also making it an ideal conditioning exercise for other sports and disciplines. [3] 

Tire Flipping in a Workout

Tire flipping can be combined with other exercises to create a highly efficient full-body training session. Below is an example of how you can implement the tire flip in a circuit-style full-body conditioning workout.

Rounds: 6

Instructions: perform each exercise one after another, then rest for 60 seconds after the last one before starting the next round.

ExerciseReps
Tire flip8
Kettlebell swings10
Burpees (chest to floor)15
Walking lunges8
Push press8
Sit-ups12

5 Beginner Tire Flipping Alternatives

If you don’t feel ready to give tire flipping a go, then you can try one of the following alternatives. These exercises have been specifically chosen as they work the same muscles and require similar biomechanics as tire flips. 

Landmine Back Lunge and Press

a women is performing landmine back lunge and press_tire flip

This exercise helps you develop your shoulder and glute strength whilst also improving balance by targeting the core. 

Squat Throw With a Medicine Ball

a woman is performing squat throw with medicine ball_tire flip

The squat and throw exercise mimics the motions of tire flipping and targets the glutes, the core, and the shoulders, all muscles that are highly engaged during a tire flip. Furthermore, the throw makes it a dynamic movement that can help improve power along with endurance. 

Trap Bar Deadlifts

a man is performing trap bar deadlift_tire flip

Working on your deadlifts engages the primary muscles targeted by tire flipping, such as the hamstrings, back, and glutes, making it one of the best alternatives for this exercise. Using a trap bar instead of a regular barbell helps to maintain an upright posture throughout the execution of the exercise, even for those with less lifting experience. 

Kettlebell Swings

a man is performing kettlebell swing_tire flip

Kettlebell swings are a dynamic exercise that targets the hamstrings, glutes, core and back, making it a fantastic substitute for tire flipping if you want to develop both strength and power. Its fast-paced movements also allow you to work on your endurance. 

Single-arm Dumbbell Snatch

a man is performing single arm dumbbell snatch_tire flip

Snatches are a powerful movement that involves the hamstrings, back, and shoulders. Being a dynamic move, it can also be used as a conditioning exercise to improve endurance and power. 

You can start with the alternative exercises and then move on to the tire flip once you have developed enough strength. A workout app would help you achieve this goal by allowing you to keep an eye on your progress and design more intense workouts as you get stronger.

Wrapping Up

Tire flipping is not a commonly performed exercise outside of the CrossFit community, despite being a very valuable addition to a full-body workout program. Below you can find the main key points about tire flipping:

  • Tire flipping is best performed by experienced lifters due to its technicality 
  • Tires come in different sizes and weights, which can affect the exercise intensity
  • Tire flipping works the whole body, although the main targeted muscles are the ones of the lower body, such as the hamstrings, quads and glutes, and the back
  • Despite working the whole body, it is still important to pair tire flipping with other exercises so to prevent muscular and strength imbalances
  • Tire flip allows you to work on power, endurance, and strength at the same time
  • Thanks to its technicality and different range of body mechanics involved, tire flipping can be used as a conditioning exercise for different sports and disciplines
  • If you are a beginner or don’t feel ready to add tire flips to your workouts, you can perform alternative exercises that work on the same muscles and condition the body similarly
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!



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