Flipping an old tractor tire leads to a popular workout
In an exercise world focused on complex gym equipment, heart-rate monitors and trendy new gadgets, the He-Man Tire Flipping Club’s workout is incredibly old school.
Their weekly routine requires only a rope hung from a tree, grass for push-ups and, of course, a huge truck tire.
“It’s more than just flipping a tire,” says Ed Melancon, a 42-year-old ultra marathon runner who leads the group’s Thursday evening runs. “That’s the crux of it, though.”
The throwback workouts began three years ago when a couple of buddies founded the club. They were running through Highland Road Park’s hilly cross-country trails to train for an adventure race.
Then they found the big truck tire at the park’s far corner and started flipping it over. They decided it made for a pretty good workout.
“We just kept adding stuff on,” says Ben Kora, 32, a business analyst. “We went out to (recruit other runners). We couldn’t get anybody to come out the first year.”
Now they number around two dozen or more men and women. While it’s called the He-Man club, plenty of women participate.
Every Thursday the tire flippers meet for a one-hour cross-training workout at the Highland park.
They take two laps around the park, running 5 kilometers, and stopping every quarter-mile or so for group workout stations. They climb a rope suspended from an oak tree at one stop, do pull-ups and more calisthenics, and flip the tire at the beginning and end of the course.
“This is my favorite workout of the week,” says Terra Patterson, a 27-year-old LSU student who joined the club two years ago. “You can make it as easy or hard as you want. It doesn’t matter if you just got off the couch today or if you can run 50 miles in a day.”
Starting from the 4-foot diameter truck tire at the north side of the park, the group runs about a quarter-mile to a spot beneath an oak tree. There the group chooses an activity, often 20 push-ups. Then they hustle across the park and regroup for more.
“It works out good because the faster people haul butt there, and the slower people slinky up,” says Melancon. “It’s actually harder on the ones who slinky up.”
With just a few moments of rest, their heart rates remain heightened, and they spike up to 120 to 160 beats per minute during the stations.
Throughout the hourlong workout, the group works together. Some of the women must pair up to push the large tire over. They shout tips when newcomers climb the rope — “Use your legs!”
“I think the appeal is everybody is egging each other on,” Kora said.
“We just all like each other and motivate and help each other out.”