Flipping tires is a fun strength and conditioning exercise that is also functional for basketball players to develop explosiveness.
The last thing a coach wants is for players to be disengaged, no matter if it’s a practice, game, film session, weight workout or any other activity. One of our program beliefs is that conditioning should be fun – we will rarely just run to run or “just go lift.” There will always be some sort of game like benefit or competition aspect to whatever we are doing.
With that being said, in our program we have found tremendous value in using tractor tires as a core part of our player development and pre-season workouts. Flipping tires is something unique and different, and our team enjoys getting out of the gym or weight room once in a while to mix things up in our strength and conditioning routine.
Another benefit of training with tires is that it’s quick. The greatest resource on the planet is time, and as basketball coaches we certainly never feel like we have enough. We cannot neglect our team’s strength and conditioning, especially as we try to build a foundation of power combined with functional movement. Athletes can get a full body workout in a short period of time using tires.
Tap into players’ innate competitiveness using the ideas below to take advantage of short time frames, develop teamwork, encourage relationship building, and to create a culture of excitement when it comes to strength and conditioning.
While flipping tractor tires can be fun for players, it certainly is not easy – and if done incorrectly, can result in injury. Please ensure at the outset of each session, you are modeling and correcting proper form.
- Players should be in a full squat (butt below knees) with heels on the ground.
- Sit back into the hips with weight in the heels.
- Feet should be slightly more than shoulder width apart, feet pointed outwards.
- Heels stay on the ground.
- Back is straight – a curve in the back will induce stress on the way up.
- Elbows should be tucked in close to the inner thigh and hands should be under the tire with palms facing up.
- When rising up, drive all the power through the heels and extend the hips and knees upward.
- At the apex, flip the hands quickly and PUSH the tire forward to the ground explosively.
Note: This is not an arm exercise – do not try to bicep curl the tire. Rather, use the legs to drive the body up and with that, the tire will come up also. What’s great about flipping tires is that it works on full body coordination of multiple muscle groups.
Set up a start and finish about 25 yards apart. Two players to a tire, partner flip down and back as fast as possible. First team down and back wins. Each subsequent team has an accountability x 2 x place (i.e. 2nd place has 4 pushups, 8th place has 16, etc.).
Player A is at the start, Player B is at the finish. Player B is in a plank while Player A flips the tire by themselves to the finish. They switch roles and Player B flips it back. First team down wins. Each subsequent team has an accountability x 2 x place (i.e. 2nd place has 4 pushups, 8th place has 16, etc.).
Modifications: As players get better at flipping tires, add movements between flips for an extra challenge. Ideas: incline or decline pushups (feet or hands on tire), single/double leg jumps, alternating toe touches. Opportunity here to be creative!
Pass the Tire
Flip the tire onto its side. Partners should be about 15-17 feet away (hey..spacing?!) from one another. Player A has the tire in front of them. Player A should, with as much force as possible, roll the tire to Player B, who will absorb the weight and momentum of the tire and send it right back. First to 25 or 50 completed passes without the tire falling over wins. This is a great way to win your way to a break.
This is a fantastic finisher to a tire session, especially if training on a grassy surface outside. Players must get the tire, which is laying flat on the ground, from one side to the other and back by pushing it or pulling. They cannot roll it, they cannot flip it – they’ll need to use a little bit of problem solving here. First team down wins. Each subsequent team has an accountability x 2 x place (i.e. 2nd place has 4 pushups, 8th place has 16, etc.).
This exercise can use as few as two people and as many as four. Players will circle around the tire in the pre-flip stance. As they bring the tire up, it will elevate to about their midsection, at which point they’ll need to get under the tire and hoist it up (power clean) to shoulder level – together. At this point, they’ll carry it a prescribed distance together, such as back to the shed the tires are stored in, or down a field and back. Never waste an opportunity to build teamwork and strength at the same time!
Our tire workouts generally last no longer than 45 minutes (preceded by a transition game, warm up, and dynamic stretch). Short bursts for that amount of time are sufficient for an afternoon of strength and conditioning work. Ensure that players’ form is right first, and then add the variability and modifications to whatever game you choose to play. Happy flipping!
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