Thursday, March 12, 2020

What's Wrong With Flipping Truck Tires? - By Jim Duggan

There is a popular chain gym, which prides itself as not being a gym. It is a place where you will not be judged. In an effort to attract members, they go to great lengths to explain that no matter what you do at the "gym," you're OK, and everything will be right with the world. To make sure that they get their point across, they actually discourage people who might lift heavy weights from joining. The term "lunk" was introduced and there was an old commercial where a "lunk alarm" would go off as a way to deter serious lifting. The outside world may judge you based on your achievements, appearance, or success, but inside the walls of the gym which isn't a gym, you will not be judged. Everybody is special. Everybody gets a trophy.

Thankfully, most sensible people realize the foolishness of such thinking. I remember reading a biography of a famous bodybuilder, and there are are a couple sentences which, when I read them, hit the nail on the head. The author, Laurence Leamer, wrote the following: "The gym is not a place to sing hymns to the glorious equality of human beings. In the weight room, the stark inequalities of men are on view." Anyone who remembers their first visit to a serious gym can attest to the accuracy of these words.

Now, I am certainly not saying that a person should be judged by their degree of muscle mass, or how much weight they can lift. But what is wrong with a person trying to improve themself? Is it a crime to challenge yourself with heavy weights in an effort to get stronger? Afterall, isn't that why people begin to lift weights in the first place? Poundage progression means adding weight to the bar. As the weight adds up, you will get stronger. This means that you will be at a greater level of achievement than you were before. It also means that you will be ahead of someone who is just starting out. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, provided, of course, that you go about things in the right way. Practice proper gym etiquette, and never forget where you came from. Never lose sight of the fact that no matter how strong or well-developed you are now, you were a beginner once. In the past I've shared a gym with people who were world-class lifters, who were some of the most humble, down-to-earth individuals I have ever known. I've also had the misfortune of witnessing juvenile behavior from pumper/ toner /wannabes with elevated opinions of themselves.

Poor behavior in the gym notwithstanding, there is absolutely no reason to condemn serious Lifters. Please note that I said "serious," rather than "hard-core." The phrase "hard-core" can have a negative connotation, and is often associated with steroid use. "Serious" lifters has a more positive meaning when it comes to Lifters, and lifting. If a man or woman comes to the gym, trains hard, is respectful of other members and respects the equipment, then nobody should have reason to take issue. Or be outraged. Or sound the "lunk alarm." I realize that in today's climate, everything is offensive, and everybody's a victim. And seeing someone train hard and heavy will certainly cause indignation and outrage among certain people. Call it the victim/snowflake/crybaby mentality. But let's be brutally honest. The weights don't owe anybody anything.

One of the more popular recent commercials consisted of a couple walking into a gym, and the owner/manager proudly states the he "flips truck tires." An obvious reference to a popular event in Strongman contests. The "Tire Flip" has been a mainstay in Strongman contests for years, popular among competitors and fans alike. Competitors love it because it is an event that involves the muscles of the lower back, legs, and hips. The areas of the body from where true power originates. Fans of Strongman- and there are many- enjoy the Tire Flip for the same reason. It takes a strong man or woman to flip heavy tires. And, let's face it, seeing large, heavy tires get flipped around looks impressive. And as the tires get larger, the visual impact becomes even greater.

Aside from being an event in Strongman contests, flipping tires is an excellent exercise. It can be easily incorporated into the routine of any serious lifter, or strength athlete. Obviously, if you are training for a strongman contest which has a tire-flip event, then you must "event train," with equipment that resembles the actual event. However, if you're not a competitive strongman ( or strongwoman), you can utilize a heavy tire and make tremendous gains in strength.

When I trained at Iron Island Gym, there were several large tires in a lot behind the gym. The two larger tires were 530 Lbs., and 710 Lbs, respectively. Many times after a workout, I would go outside, and flip the 530 Lb. tire back and forth. It was a great "finisher." Ten or twelve flips after a heavy Squat and Deadlift workout was an excellent way to fry your back and legs. Usually, ten reps was enough, but there was one day when I set out to do a lot more. On July 20, 2007, my 43rd birthday, I did 50 reps with the 530 Lb tire, as part of my birthday challenge workout. It was an exhausting endeavor, but I felt a real sense of accomplishment after fighting for fifty reps. The 710 Lb. tire was another matter altogether. The most I was ever able to do with that monster was a couple of singles. The 530 pounder was the perfect size, and I've often lamented the fact that I have no access to large tires since Iron Island closed. I'd love to have one in the backyard. The fact that the "judgement-free" people don't approve of flipping truck tires only reinforces my belief in the many benefits of using such an effective training modality.
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