Total Body Fitness

“One hundred years ago we had to do everything with our bodies,” declares a certain former California governor. “We worked to get lumber and stones for building a house. We had to work with our hands, we had to run, we had to crawl under things, we had to swim. The efforts of everyday living kept the body in shape. But now, because almost everything is done with machines, people have become lazy.”

Not all people. Something tells me even Ah-nuld could get behind the idea of using a truck tire to simulate the old school training vibe.

Tires? While the earliest version were bands of iron or steel, today’s rubber tires can present a bit of a problem for the planet—especially once they are scrapped. With millions of discarded tires littering our increasingly paved landscape, here’s one tiny step that not only helps the environment but also makes for an intense and dynamic workout.

“We typically use a 200-pound truck tire, the kind available at most scrap yards” explains Navin Nandalall, a fitness services manager for New York Sports Club (NYSC). “Just about anyone can handle that weight for tire flips, it’s the right height for jumps, and when you toss in an eight-pound sledgehammer, the whole package is ideal for most gym members.”

Nandalall has touched on three diverse options for tire-related training: hammer strikes, tire flips, and tire jumps—three vigorous movements that will add fun and big time full-body results to anyone’s training regimen.

Hammer Strike
“Here’s a great way to warm up and moving into the routine,” says Nandalall, and it involves swinging the aforementioned eight-pound sledgehammer in a windmill motion onto the prone tire. “The rebound effect off the tire will allow for an almost circular motion,” he explains, “using your hips, obliques, lats, and upper back muscles.” Go for 10-15 reps either one side at a time or alternating arms (which increases arm-leg coordination).

Tire Flip
“Now, here’s where we put the full weight of the tire to use,” Navin says. Start by squatting close to the prone tire, hands between your thighs as you firmly grip under the tire. Pressing your heels into the floor, you lift the tire by driving your hips, shoulders, and head upward. Lift the tire up and flip it over until it is again lying prone, but on its other side. Repeat for 5-10 reps. “You will only be lifting half the weight of the tire,” Nandalall clarifies. “This is a great overall body movement that gets every muscle working—aerobically and anaerobically—allowing for great calorie burn-off.”

Tire Jump
“Here’s how we finish off this mini-circuit,” says Nandalall. “Tire jumps will add explosiveness to your quads and hips while testing your endurance.” Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, initiate a squatting motion and jump onto the prone tire—landing with both feet fully on the tire. Once you’ve achieved balance, step back down and return to the start position. (Avoid jumping off the tire.) Repeat for 5-10 jumps. “I’d suggest doing three consecutive rounds of all three exercises, one after the other,” Nandalall concludes.

Final note
The exercise advice presented above is not meant for anyone with contraindicated health problems. Please consult a medical or fitness professional.