The History of The Tyre Flip
Strongman events date back to the early 1900s when circus performers would demonstrate various feats of strength such as; steel bending, horse pulling and chain breaking. Today strongman events have evolved into an extraordinary competition, in which competitors display their raw power by lifting rocks, refrigerators, and pulling trucks and even trains. The most famous competitions are the ‘World’s Strongest Man,’ the ‘Arnold Strongman Classic’ and the ‘Strongman Champions League.’ One event in these competitions is known as the ‘tyre flip’ where contestants are required to flip a large tractor tyre (sometimes weighing up to 1,000 lbs.) several hundred feet to a finish line in a short period of time.
Although the Tyre Flip is fairly new considering that back in the early 1900s strongmen were getting their glory from bending steal rather than flipping tyres within the circus. In today’s world this has become very popular within the strong man sport. There are many different Tyre Flip events that take place, including; the heaviest tyre that is flipped, the longest distance a tyre is flipped for, the most flips of a tyre within a limited time set and even a duel person team effort for flipping a tyre. As you can see this is used within many different variations and is so simple in the fact that, all you need is a tyre!
About The Tyre Flip
The Tyre Flip (or Tire Flip, as the American’s would spell it) does exactly what is says on the tin. It requires the strongman to flip a heavy tyre. The event is usually for maximum repetitions or for the quickest time to cover a specified distance. With some tyre weights coming in at over 500kg, it doesn’t bear to think of the type of vehicle that these tyres must have come from.
Although the Tyre flip may look easy and simple enough. The muscle, strength and determination needed for this event is huge. The way in which the strongmen must position themselves while keeping the tyre close to their body throughout this exercise, means that not just pure muscle is required. There is so much technique and form needed from the strongmen to be able to progress well within this event.
Training for The Type Flip: Training for the Tyre Flip sounds simple, first find a tyre and then flip it over. But, there is more to this than meets the eye. According to exercise principles, an exercise should not surpass the risk associated in context to the rewards it offers. That means, if the risk factor associated with a particular exercise is very high as compared to the benefits it offers, it should not be made a staple exercise. When flipping a car tyre you can bend down and flip it over with ease, but when you start talking about a tractor or a dump truck tyre, this is not so easy. It is not the weight most strongmen struggle with, it’s the size of the tyre making it awkward to grab while trying to flip it over.
Similar to that of the Atlas stones, when you bend down and pick up the tyre, because you have to have such a wide grip, this can mean that you cannot keep your back straight like you would with a simple deadlift. This rounded back pick up technique that you often see strongmen using is not for the faint hearted. This puts immense strain on your Lumber (lower back) and can cause spinal injuries such as herniated discs as well as more. This one of many reasons it is not advised for beginners to this sport to get a big heavy tyre and start flipping it straight away.
To prepare, develop and strengthen the muscles needed for the Tyre Flip, compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats and bench press are recommended first, so that your body can build and develop the muscles needed to be able to support your stance while performing these heavy flips. Once you have developed these muscles, you can start off with normal lorry tyres and work on the technique and form needed to continuously flip these tyres. As your technique grows and you are comfortable with these movements, only then should you move on to the heavy tractor tyres and continue to keep that good form!
A French Canadian Strongman named Jean Francois Caron successfully flipped a 1350 lbs tyre 4 times to set a new world record in the Tyre Flip. No one has ever officially overturned a tyre this heavy or heavier, and Caron did it for four reps during the Rogue Record Breakers event at the Arnold Strongman Classic.
Here is the amazing footage of Jean setting his world record:
Here is a video of the 2017 WSM Tyre Flip event, showing how this incredible technique is performed. Within this video it was Brain Shaw from the USA who dominated within this event:
Although the Tyre Flip is an event that is used within the strongman sport, there are no other documented world records at current. However, there were two guys from New Zealand called Gareth Edwards and Tom Moore, that set a world record together of non-stop tyre flipping. This new world record includes clocking up over 24km’s of Tyre Flipping within the process. These Aucklanders took 10-minute turns to flip a 93kg tyre for 24.7 km and raised over $10,000 for charity in the process.
If you know of a record and have proof then get in touch!