I want to get one of those enormous tractor tires to work out with, but I hear they're bad for your back. What's the deal?
-Eric S., Philadelphia, PA
Patrick Dale, a personal trainer and author of No Gym? No Problem! The DIY Fitness Bible, is a big proponent of the tractor-tire workout. “You can use it for strength and power training, intense calorie burning, or developing a high level of fitness,” he says. “You can jump on it, jump over it, drag it, deadlift it, hit it with a sledgehammer, do pushups and stepups on it, and, of course, flip it.”
As for back injuries, they can happen, Dale says, but they’re pretty easy to prevent if you know what you’re doing. When flipping your tire, “make sure you stand with your toes close to it, bend your knees, and hinge from your hips so your lower back stays tightly arched.” Brace your abs as if you’re preparing for the impact of a punch to the belly, then “drive forward and upward with your legs to get the tire moving, using your arms to finish the flip.”