Tires: They Do a Body Good

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When Amen Iseghohi was growing up in West Africa, his grandmother told him and the other boys of the house to keep moving and play outside. So the boys went out into the farmland surrounding their house and played with whatever they could find – and what they found was old car tires.

Iseghohi is now the driving force behind Amenzone Fitness, a tire-focused training facility with more than 15 locations (and growing) in Arizona and Southern California. At an Amenzone studio, you won’t find weights, machinery, or mirrors. Instead, the high-energy, full-body “primal” workouts use clean, used car tires and your own body weight to perform functional movements. Some of the studios are even branching out into “tire yoga.” According to Iseghohi, the tire is a prop that represents moving forward in life – and it can get you pretty ripped, too. But Iseghohi certainly isn’t the first to embrace the idea of doing more with less and using tires to get fit.

The CrossFit movement has used large tractor tires for years, most impressively for the “tire flip,” where the athlete squats and reaches under the tire, lifts it, and flips it up and over in an explosive movement. Tires are also used in some CrossFit gyms for jumping, sledgehammering, lifting, and more. These giant tires can weigh 600 pounds or even much more, so it’s easy to see that this is a pretty serious workout. Sometimes, as in the tire flipping video above, the large tractor tire is filled with several smaller tires!

Tires are also common in martial arts training. Once again, necessity is the mother of invention. If you don’t have equipment and can’t afford to buy any, you make do with what you have. In Thailand, punching/kicking bags made from tires are a common fixture in training facilities. Here’s Muay Thai kickboxer Buakaw Banchamek showing us how Thai fighters train by beating the … rubber out of a tire punching bag (warning: make sure your volume isn’t turned up too high before you watch this video).  While it seems like punching and kicking tires could be hard on your joints, the rubber actually absorbs much of the force of the blow.

Tires are also used for MMA footwork drills – the fighter stands on the tire while shadowboxing, improving balance and strength, and developing the feeling of “springiness” in the legs. Stick fighters use tires as training aids as well. Benjamin “Lonely Dog” Rittiner, a martial arts trainer in Switzerland, employs both a hanging tire and a fixed tire in his striking and footwork drills.

So there you have it: There’s a reason that the Internet is full of tire workout videos. Tires may be an unexpected training tool, but they’re also an economical, effective, and even fun way to get some exercise when you can’t make it to a gym. Interested in working tires into your workout? Here are a few links to check out.

Photo Credits: US Army, ggvic

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