Pete McCall by Pete McCall

Lifting heavy tires has long been a staple of Strongman training and competitions, and it’s recently made its way to a number of fitness facilities and backyards. Around the world, fitness facilities as diverse as the YMCA and professional sports teams use training with tires as a means for improving overall strength. And for good reason—it’s really effective. Lifting a tire focuses on the concentric force producing action of muscles. Leg and hip muscles are used to lift the weight of the tire, the deep core muscles stabilize the spine improving core strength and the upper body muscles help push past the balance point. While it seems as if training with a heavy tire might be dangerous, it could actually be less risky than strength training with a heavy barbell. Strength training with heavy tires places the emphasis on the concentric action of muscle shortening, which can lower the risk of injury by reducing the eccentric forces caused when muscles are lengthened under resistance (as is experienced when returning a barbell toward the ground). (Keogh et al., 2010).

If you are looking to add some variety to your workout programs, consider adding a couple of heavy tire exercises to your routine or use the program below to create your own outdoor workout challenge. (Pro tip: Make sure you have permission to use the tire in a public setting before you take the time to transport and set it up.)