Exercises That I Consider To Be A Waste of Time

Exercises that I consider to be a waste of time.

Today it seems that the new trend of training is full body power lifting training. More and more people are leaving the traditional gym setting and heading to a local parking lot where there is an array of what appears to be junk yard parts, big dirty tractor tires, logs, concrete blocks, chains, ropes, and car frames without the motor and interior components, all strewed out every where.

Apparently the new stimulation to boost ones ego is to be able to flip a 400-800 pound tire end over end for a certain distance. This strong man feat is guaranteed to bring great strength, endurance and mental toughness to anyone willing to do it. However, I feel that this particular exercise is a big waste of time for most of the population.

The problem with this particular exercise is that it is a difficult movement to perform. When you lift a heavy tire the weight distribution is not balanced, rather than having the gravitational point directly balanced with your anatomical position of the body, it is set further away from the midline of the body, which causes greater force production about two feet from the center access point. Whenever the force production point is further away from the center access point of the body more torque is created. Often times the torque gets generated in the weaker skeletal musculature, which can ultimately cause injury.

Flipping a tire can lead to injury of the bicep tendons, lower back, and/ or knees.

The initial move of the tire flip requires strong biceps to lift the tire off the ground. The weight of the tire and force production equates to about 400 to 500. If the lifter is not careful of perfect lifting mechanics then they are at risk of overloading the biceps with too much weight which could end up causing a tear.

Another concern of tire flipping is the stress that can be placed on the lower back. The spinal column must be in a strong neutral position whenever lifting an object off the ground. If the neutral position is offset, even just an half and inch, then the whole entire kinetic chain is compromised. The weight and awkwardness of the tire forces the lifter to lean forward to lift, which throws the gravitational point further in front of the center point of the spine. If the lifter doesn’t know how to adjust for this leverage imbalance they are susceptible for putting way too much strain in the lower back region, which could result in severe disc damage.

The last concern I have with the tire flip is that it can cause knee injuries. Much like the back, the knees must have a well established position during a lifting movement to allow for proper alignment of joint tracking. In a normal standard lift when the weight is evenly distributed the feet pressed firmly on the ground. This allows for the ground forces to generate through the correct anatomical positioning of the skeletal system. The joints of the ankle, knee, hip and back shift and lock naturally through the transgression of the energy force. However, if the force factor is outside the realm of equilibrium, like when you lift a tire, then the joints are not able to get into proper alignment and are in at risk of getting damaged, due to the displaced energy force being imposed.

Overall, the tire lift is an exercise that I feel does more harm than good. It should remain as a special event for only the hard core over zealous ego driven warriors. It is not an exercise for the rest of the average population.

Daryl Conant, M.Ed

Exercise Physiologist