It’s a (secular) new year. Why not try some new physical activities? There is safety in sameness, but doing the same exercises at each workout puts you at risk of physically plateauing and psychologically burning out. If you’re not seeing realistic results or you’re just not feeling motivated, it may be time to shake things up. There’s no better way to combat boredom than to try something you’ve never experienced before, something that challenges your mind and body. I decided to test my mettle with tire-pulling.
Pushing and pulling movements are excellent ways to improve strength. Football players sometimes challenge their muscles with an expensive exercise sled with weight plates on it. They push it or pull it while running or walking.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on such a sled. I created a homemade version for $6. I went to a local garage and asked the owner if I could have one of the many old tires he was going to dispose of. I selected one that was from a standard-size vehicle. If you’re very strong, you can choose a larger, heavier tire, such as one from a truck. Of course, you have to be strong enough to lift it into the trunk of your car for the ride home. Next, I purchased a skein of thin rope at a hardware store. I was delighted to find rope in hot pink. Although traditionally some of the exercises I enjoy, such as boxing, might be considered masculine, I do like to add a feminine touch.
When I got home, I put the tire in my backyard and cut a 10-foot length of rope. I tied one end of the rope securely around the tire and the other end to my water-carrying vest designed for running. Alternatively, you can tie the rope to a thick belt such as a weightlifting belt.
I put on the vest and went for a test run around my backyard, dragging the tire behind me. It was not easy! The type of surface affects the friction. Grass is easier than pavement or gravel. You can even do it on packed snow. As you pull, snow may accumulate in the tire, adding weight. The heavier the load, the more you’ll work your muscles. The length of the rope also affects the difficulty level. The longer the rope, the more difficult the drag will feel. I learned from experience that rope frays and tears as you drag it. I’ve since added a length of chain to attach the tire to the rope.
Tire-pulling works your glutes and leg muscles. You’ll also get a really good aerobic workout. After a couple of minutes, my heart was pounding. After a 20-minute tire-pull, I felt as though I’d had the best lower body workout ever.
You can perform a reverse tire-drag by pulling the tire while walking backwards. This exercise will really work your quads. Wear the vest or belt backwards and hold the rope, pulling it as you step backwards. A crossover reverse drag works the lateral muscles in the legs. Hold the rope and drag the tire while walking sideways. After several pulls, switch direction. You can perform the exercises as a series of short sprints or long and slow walks or jogs. Tire-pulling will complement your traditional lower body workout, and you’ll stimulate new muscle growth.
Tire-pulling is suitable for people who can’t squat or deadlift because of knee pain. Always warm up before you begin exercising, and make sure you’re fit enough to engage in strenuous exercise.
Whether you choose to try tire-pulling or something else, don’t be afraid to go where you’ve never gone before. Don’t surrender to sameness; explore and live life to the fullest. True transformation comes when you have the courage to push past your self-imposed limits.
If you decide to try tire-pulling, be prepared to get some stares as you run across a field or down a street dragging a tire – especially if you’re a middle-aged woman like me! When I drag my tire around my neighbourhood on chilly winter days, I get double-takes and cheers from curious onlookers and sometimes get asked what I’m training for. My response is, “I’m training for life!”