How To: Flipping Tires and Pulling Cars Like a Badass

Flipping Tires&Pulling Cars ...for FunHate cardio? Love working out outside?

What if I told you I had a couple of awesome exercises that will not only get you into shape fast, burn calories like crazy (especially fat), but will make you feel incredibly badass?

How about flipping tires and pulling a car or truck?

With the nice weather, it’s fun to get out of the gym and put your winter muscles to work.

Strongman exercises like flipping tires and pulling cars are growing in popularity, but they’re challenging and it’s really important to get the form down before you go crazy with them.

When you’re trying something new and fun, it’s really easy to get carried away and get injured. I’ve seen a lot of people with jacked-up forearms/elbows and shoulders as well as strained low backs and hips when they did just a few too many reps their first time out.

Also: because of the intensity of these exercises, I recommend doing them 2 times a week, tops, with at least two days in between. Your body needs time to recover (remember: the actual building of fitness and strength happens between workouts, during the recovery phase).

You can do other kinds of workouts in between, though – just back off on the intensity a little.

Now that the warning is over with, here we go.

Flipping Tires

Tire flipping is an explosive, total-body exercise that will work your legs, glutes, hips, back, and upper body.

It’ll also get your heart rate up high, making it an awesome conditioning exercise for high intensity interval training workouts – and, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, it puts your body under a fairly high degree of physiological stress (1).

To do this exercise, you’ll want a large tire. I recommend calling around to tire suppliers to see if any can provide you access to scrap/junk tires. The tires can weigh up to 500 pounds based on their size. The one we’re using in the videos isn’t quite that heavy.

Because of the heft of these tires, you’ll definitely need a truck and at least one friend to help you get it to your tire-flipping location.

You’ll want to be completely warm before doing tire flips: jog/run/do kettlebell swings or other sort of cardio exercise to get your cardiovascular system warmed up, and then perform a complete dynamic warmup first – lunges, squats, arm and leg swing, inchworms, etc.

Now, for the process:

You want to bend down as if you’re doing a deadlift, bending from the knees, butt low, and then grab the bottom of the tire, and lift using your legs. You’ll pull up the tire and then flip your grip to a push, and then shove it forward.

Repeat for reps, making sure you to keep some tension between your shoulder blades (don’t hunch forward).

The first time you do flips, stop at 10, and do only 2 sets. See how you feel the next day, and then progress during your next workout.

Pulling a Car or Truck

This exercise requires some solid equipment: in addition to a vehicle, you need a length of chain and a padded pulling harness.

You’ll want to attach one end of the chain to the vehicle and the other end to the harness – I know some people use heavy-duty rubber bands for this but a harness will likely not cause as much pressure on your body (hello, next-day bruises).

You’ll want to have a friend in the car, which is in neutral, as you pull. You won’t believe the lower body workout you’ll get from this, along with how high your heart rate will get.

Again: This can be an amazing part of a HIIT conditioning workout.

In the video, Logan and Brandon played with the emergency brake to add and reduce resistance. Also, Brandon – who used belt, not a pulling harness – changed his position halfway through his pull to not only change up the muscles being worked, but also the pressure on his hips.

Make Fitness a Fun Lifestyle

Join the FREE 30-day fitness challenge, filled with workout tips and support for your fitness lifestyle. You don’t have flip tires (unless you want to). You do have to commit to working out, though, for the duration of the challenge. Click here to sign up!

Wendy Watkins

About Wendy Watkins

Wendy Watkins is a Bangor-based personal trainer, fitness coach, studio owner, and writer/editor. She is the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Months. Visit her website at