Unconventional Fitness Equipment: Tires & Tabatas

Did you know that some of the best workout equipment you can get your hands on is completely FREE?

I’m talking about tires.

Whether you’re doing tire flips, dragging one with a harness, or slamming it with a sledgehammer, you’re guaranteed to feel (and probably look) like a certified master of badassery.  Not only that, but you’re bound to get in a fantastic workout that blends muscular power and endurance along with cardiovascular conditioning.  Most autoshops that get a surplus of tire shops let you take them home for free, so there’s really no reason not to hop on the tire-workout bandwagon tractor.  (Well, unless you don’t have a way to transport them…but that’s why God made pickup trucks.)

What about those folks who don’t have any tractor tire orphanages nearby, or who don’t have the space or means to transport and store a tractor tire?

I’ve got you covered.

Processed with VSCOcam

Head to your nearest yuppie/city-person/non-redneck tire shop and see if they’ve got any old tires they can give you.  The bigger, the better…but you’re the beggar here, so don’t be getting too picky.  I hit up America’s Tire Co. for three tires in the space of a week, and they were happy to help me out and even wrapped the tires to so the trunk of my car wouldn’t get dirty. (I go to them for tire service, too, and they’re consistently great…so local folks, check them out!)

Once I had a new tire all my own, no one had to twist my arm to go out and start playing around.  In between tripping all over myself, I managed to come up with a workout that was a ton of fun and left me dirty, sweaty, and exhilarated.

Dirty hands and my overly-enthusiastic workout buddy.

Dirty hands and my overly-enthusiastic workout buddy.

So once you’ve secured your very own free tire, break that puppy in with these tabatas.

“Tire Yourself Out” Tabata Workout

For each tabata, perform the assigned movements (in order) at a high intensity using an interval scheme of 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest.  Repeat once (4 minutes total).  A free timer like this one will be really helpful for this workout!

Tire Tabata 1

  • traveling toe taps >>> Move around the outside of the tire by hopping from one foot to the other as you tap your free foot to the top of the tire (similar to the kind of drill you’d do at soccer practice as a kid).  Switch direction each interval.
  • crossover burpees >>> Do a burpee with your hands on the tire for the pushup portion; spring up and tuck jump/hop into middle of the tire and out to the opposite side. Turn around, perform burpee, and tuck jump/hop back to starting side.

Tire Tabata 2

  •  triangle “box” jumps >>> Stand outside tire and jump onto it, landing with feet spread on opposite sides of the tire. Hop down into middle of tire, back onto sides, and back to starting position outside tire; repeat.
  • lateral high knees >>> Shuffle back and forth across the tire, bringing knees high to step both feet inside tire, out to the opposite side, and back.

Tire Tabata 3

  • twisting mountain climbers >>> perform mountain climbers with your hands on the edge of the tire and alternating bringing each knee to the opposite elbow.
  • crossover “box” squats >>> Stand outside the tire facing away from it and perform a squat deep enough so that your bum touches the tire. Turn, tuck jump/hop into the middle of the tire and out the opposite side, and repeat.

You can do all three successively (rest couple minutes between each 4-minute tabata series) for a quick conditioning workout, or work one or more into your strength workouts.  This workout doesn’t take much time or space, and as I mentioned before, the equipment is free.  Quick intervals combined with the novelty of new equipment and a splash of fresh air is sure to leave you with a sweet, sweet endorphin high.

Processed with VSCOcamOr, you know, tired and sweaty.  Full disclosure – probably both.

Feel free to mix up these exercises with whatever others you come up with to make as many different tabata combos as you can handle.  As always, if you have any injuries or joint issues, check with your doctor or trainer before giving this a shot.

Let me know how you like it! 


Have you ever worked out with tires before?

What is your favorite piece of unconventional fitness equipment?

What are your go-to exercises for tabatas?

Would you prefer video demos of exercises instead of text explanation, or both?
(I really wanted to film demos of these moves to make things easier for yall, but it devolved into a minor catastrophe each time I attempted it. If anyone has experience filming and can share suggestions, I’m all ears!)


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