As you have probably realised by now, our take on 'functional training' is a bit different to what you will see on a lot of fitness blogs and websites. Functional training seems to have become a euphemism for training with all manner of toys along with 'training the transversus' and other kinds of stuff that from what we can tell doesn't seem to do an awful lot for changing the physiques of most the population. Not only that but last time we checked, life in the real world doesn't really involve anything remotely like all these daft exercises that many insist on promoting.
In fact, the biggest attractions we see of a lot of these methods is a low requirement for intensity, a lot of time spent laying on the floor or rolling around on a ball, and minimal caloric expenditure. Our idea of training functional strength and fitness is a bit different. In truth we think the whole thing is being grossly over complicated in an attempt to 'science up' things that we have been doing intuitively for centuries, if not longer! Too many modern workouts simply aren't tough enough to provide sufficient overload needed to make real changes in fitness and strength.
Part of this may be the fact that life itself rarely seems to demand much in the way of real strength or fitness either, which is probably why as a population we are expanding and diseases of the 21st century, like type 2 diabetes threaten to reach epidemic levels in the western world. However, we are digressing. Now, this weeks strength training article is all about training with the tyre, one of our favourite tools for developing strength and power. There is nothing like lifting awkward objects to challenge the whole body to stabilise during movement. The shape and weight distribution also ensures a solid forearm workout and a true cardiovascular challenge as well.
As with before, decide on what you want to get from the exercise before you stick it into a programme. You can train power endurance with it, use it as part of a metabolic circuit, or as an explosive strength movement at the start of a strength workout. Below we have shown two simple exercises to do with a tyre, plus a small metabolic/power endurance circuit which can be great for limited time workouts or as finishers for a strength workout. The tyre featured in the accompanying videos weighs in the region of 130kgs.
The Flip -
This isn't a move based on finesse. As often used to be said to me about lifting coal 'there is a knack to it - its all about technique' - well guess what, the stronger you are the better your technique! However, there is an easy way and a hard way to do this. Optimal technique is to get the grip under the tyre inside the feet. Keep the feet a good distance apart, this will make it easier to get low enough to get the hips into the lift. Drive forwards and upwards getting the tyre lifted and as soon as possible get the knee underneath the tyre. Drive with the arms and the knee to move the tyre to vertical and complete the flip by pressing with the arms.
Team Pushes -
All this takes is two people for a pressing power/endurance workout. Simply get the tyre to a vertical position and each stand on opposite sides of the tyre. One person begins by pressing the tyre away from them towards their partner. Their partner then catches the tyre, absorbing the force with the legs and hips, before pressing it back. So, it goes for the desired number of reps.
Tyre circuit -
If you have 15 minutes to kill at the end of a workout, and by some strange coincidence you only have a tyre with which to train, try this little circuit and repeat as many times as possible in the time alloted. We call it the Plus 2 workout.
A1 Tyre Flips x 4
A2 In and Out Jumps x 6
A3 Tyre Burpees x 8
A4 Press Ups with Feet on Tyre x 10
A5 Toe Taps x 12 each side
A6 Walk Ups x 14
You can view the three videos on You Tube here:
1. Tyre Flip
2. Tyre Pushes
3. The Tyre Circuit