Biomechanics of Crossfit tire flipping

Flipping a tire doesn’t seem like it would be all that fun, let alone do it as a work out, but it is one of the most beneficial workouts you will ever perform. For those of you who have never heard of this work out, it’s pretty simple, take a tire 3 times your weight or heavier and while keeping proper body form flip it over onto the other side, as demonstrated in the pic below! Then you simply repeat this exercise until you fatigue or your complete the given exercise.


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Some Studies show that crossfit workouts are the best workout to burn calories and gain muscle. Conducted in 2010, a tire flipping study suggested that this work out provides a high level of metabolic output as well as physical and mental stressors. All of which are good for the body. Other similar studies shared common theories about the bodies physical output while performing tire flipping. But how does it really work? What makes it so much better than workout?

The National body building association gave some insight as to why this workout is so great. You simply work more muscles at the same time, all while using cardiovascular output.


chart of main muscles used

Studies show the science behind how the workout affects the caloric output. The mathematics behind the flip can be somewhat complicated, but the math has also proven that the body uses more energy flipping than several other workouts. The math takes into account several factors like angles, weights and energy but the results are clear, tire flipping uses more energy in a shorter amount of time. According to Harvard medical school, the average person only burns about 90 calories an hour. The graph below, you can see there are drastic differences between regular strength training and Crossfit workouts.



crossfit image

Another research study found that though crossfit is beneficial, there are dangers associated with the new fitness craze. If not properly done, you could suffer from pulled or sprained joints and ligaments, you could also have cardiovascular related issues if you are not properly trained or overwork your heart. This study focused on people who had already been working out with crossfit so the results only pertain to a fitter population. The hypothesis provided solid evidence to suggest that this crossfit workout burns more calories, but the samples were smaller and not representative of the over population. The study did not mention any confounding variables like level of fitness of the participant, but it did note that it wouldn’t be ideal for a 45 year old attempting it without proper help from a trained fitness coach or trainer. The study may also suffer from the Texas sharp shooter problem since the participants were already prone to be in better shape, there for able to perform the exercise better than someone who had never done crossfit. So more research needs to be done as well as prior research being duplicated.


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The take home message, tire flipping and other crossfit workouts simply give you the best bang for your buck when it comes to getting into shape, though the science gives you multiple examples how it works in your favor, there is a chance that these workouts might not be the right one for you. More research on how crossfit effects the body needs to be done since there aren’t that many studies on this new workout. Though the correlations and hypothesis seem to be correct, more research couldn’t hurt. In the mean time, why not change up your regular gym routine and give it a shot!

2 thoughts on “Biomechanics of Crossfit tire flipping

  1. Jordan Crawford

    I love this blog post. I’m a big fan of fitness, and I respect all tpyes of fitness. I used to do Crossfit all the time years ago. I still throw Crossfit workouts in a few times a month. The tire fip is one of the best full body exercises you can do. William Joseph Robbins-Cole is right though, there is a risk to this movement, along with every exercise you do in any aspect of fitness. Have good form and lift with your muscles and not your ego and you should be good.

  2. William Joseph Robbins-cole

    As someone who did crossfit I can attest that the result are unbelievable, but crossfit faces a large issue when it comes to the safety of their exercises. While tire flipping can be a great exercise, like most crossfit workouts there is a great deal of risk involved in the sport. I think an important question to ask before you go out a flip a tire is whether or not the results are worth the risk. Here is a link to an article on the safety of such exercises.

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