Tire Flips vs Power Clean

Tire Flips vs Power Clean (Better For Developing Power?)

When it comes to strength and conditioning training, there are countless exercises to choose from. Two popular exercises that are excellent for developing athletes are Tire Flips and Power Cleans.

Both exercises require explosiveness and a strong lower body, but which one is better for overall strength and power development?

In this article, I’ll compare Tire Flips and Power Cleans and discuss the benefits of each exercise. I’ll also explain how to do each movement properly with some coaching tips. Hopefully, I can provide you with the details you need to help you determine which one is the right fit for your training goals.

Tire Flips

Tire Flips

Equipment Needed

  • Tire

Muscles Worked

  • Tire Flips are a true total body movement. Almost every major muscle group is at work at some point during Tire Flips.

How To

  • Make sure you have plenty of space to be able to safely flip the tire.
  • Start with the tire laying on the ground on its side.
  • Stand with toes almost against the tire, feet roughly shoulder-width apart.
  • Drop the hips and reach under the tire.
  • Once you have a good grip under the tire flatten your back and brace your core.
  • Drive the feet through the ground and aggressively begin to extend the hips.
  • If the tire is heavy, you can slide one knee under the tire to help with leverage once the tire is high enough.
  • When the tire gets above stomach height, flip your hands around so you can begin to push the tire.
  • Push the tire forcefully forward – extending with both your arms and legs.
  • The tire should land on its side. Repeat for the designated amount of distance or reps.

Coaching Points

The biggest key to Tire Flips is perhaps in finding the right tire.

Every school I’ve ever worked at had big tires that were used for Tire Flips. However, the size and weight of these tires have all been drastically different. They’ve ranged from tires that were barely heavy enough to be worth using to tires that took two and sometimes even three football players to flip.

Just like with Deadlifts and Power Clean, it’s extremely important to drop the hips, use the legs and keep the back flat. Once fatigue starts to set in I generally see athletes resort to using more back than legs. If form reaches this point then it’s time to stop flipping the tire.

Don’t have a giant tire and need a substitution? Here are my favorite Tire Flip alternatives. (spoiler alert: Power Clean is one of them)

Benefits of Tire Flips

Tire Flips can provide a ton of benefits including:

  • Tire flipping is a total body movement, including the legs, back, arms, and core, providing a full-body workout in a single exercise.
  • The intense nature of tire flipping can provide an excellent cardiovascular workout, which can help improve overall endurance and cardiovascular health.
  • Tire flipping requires a significant amount of upper and lower body strength and explosiveness, making it an excellent exercise for developing overall strength and power.
  • Tire Flips require a strong core to maintain proper form and stability throughout the movement, making it an effective exercise for improving core stability.
  • Beyond the physical benefits, Tire Flips can be extremely mentally challenging as well, which can help improve mental toughness and resilience.
  • Tire Flips can be a fun and different way to add variety to your workout routine, keeping it fresh and interesting.

Power Clean

Power Clean First Pull
Arms straight, feet flat, knees out, chest out, eyes straight ahead… great first pull.

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Bumper Plates

How To

  • Start with feet hip width apart with toes straight ahead (or ever so slightly pointed out).
  • The bar should be over the middle of the feet.
  • Grip should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • The grip is a pronated grip (both palms facing down) and the lifter can choose, although highly recommended, to use a hook grip.
  • The wrists should be slightly curled so that the knuckles are pointed straight down to the ground.
  • Shoulders slightly over the bar, arms straight, hips slightly higher than the knees.
  • Back should be flat or have a slight arch. Shoulder blades should be pulled back and the upper back including the lats should be engaged.
  • The last thing that should happen as the lifter is setting up in their starting stance is to take a deep breath in and engage, or brace, their core.
  • Raise the bar off the floor at a constant speed using the legs by driving the feet through the ground.
  • As the bar comes up, keep the bar close to the shins and the feet should remain flat, driving the feet hard into the floor.
  • Once the bar crosses the knees, the bar is then pulled explosively, bringing the shoulders back and up.
  • The triple extension of the hip, knees and ankles is followed instantaneously by a quick, aggressive shrug.
  • Bar is pulled vertically close to the body as the traps shrug to elevate the bar.
  • Elbows should break out to the side as the bar continues to rise.
  • As bar elevates from the shrug, the feet shift from hip width to shoulder width to prepare for the catch.
  • Elbows rotate around the bar and ‘shoot through’ to help receive the bar in front of the shoulders. Triceps should be parallel to the floor in the finished catch position with the elbows forward.

Coaching Points

Power Cleans are a technical lift that requires proper coaching. While they are an amazing lift for developing power, they can lead to injury if done incorrectly.

If you do not feel comfortable with the proficiency of your power clean technique then you should avoid doing them. If that is the case, consider one of the following alternatives.


Power cleans are one of the best movements for anyone, whether athlete or weekend warrior, to build explosive power and improve athletic performance.

The movement pattern of a power clean is the same explosive triple extension as someone jumping, exploding out of the blocks on a 100m sprint or making a tackle on the football field.

It’s one of the best tools we have available to us in the weight room to develop full body power.

Because with Olympic movements like power cleans, it’s not just about upper body strength or lower body strength, it’s about being able to use your entire body to coordinate power and explosiveness in an athletic movement.

Power cleans demand maximal effort on every rep. They also demand focus and they demand attention to detail, even on lighter work sets.

Tire Flips vs Power Clean: Which is Better?

Now, let’s take a look at the two movements side-to-side and discuss whether one is better than the other for some specific training goals.

Better For Strength and Power Development: Power Clean

Let me start by saying both Tire Flips and Power Clean are extremely effective for improving strength and power. I give the edge to Power Clean though because of the versatility of being able to manipulate the volumes and intensities used.

For example, with Power Cleans, we can work one day at a moderate intensity, let’s say, 5 sets of 4 at 75% of our max. The following week we could work at a higher intensity (and lower volume) like 5 sets of 2 at 85%.

This manipulation of volume and intensity over the course of a strength program is known as periodization and, long term is going to lead to better overall gains in both strength and hypertrophy.

On the other hand, most of us are pretty likely to have access to one giant tire that we can use for Tire Flips, let alone an entire collection of different sizes and weights. In that regard, Tire Flips is a bit of a one-trick pony. It’s an amazing trick and I love it, but it’s not something you can really build a sustainable long-term program around.

Better For Beginners: Neither

For someone that is a true novice in the weight room, I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting them off with either Tire Flips or Power Clean. Both are technical exercises that require a certain level of skill and experience.

Instead, I would start a beginner off with Deadlifts. Deadlifts are a less complex exercise that will teach the basic fundamentals of more complex exercises like Tire Flips and Power Cleans.

Once a beginner is proficient in the Deadlift and can get into a proper starting position, drive with the hips (and not the back) and maintain a braced core – then we can progress to more technical lifts.

Don’t feel comfortable with your Power Clean technique? Here are 9 Power Clean alternatives that also develop explosive power.

Final Thoughts

I’ve just spent the last section of this article comparing which is better, Tire Flips or Power Clean. The truth is, assuming you have the necessary equipment and technical ability, there is no reason you shouldn’t have both within your strength program.

Both exercises are excellent at developing explosive hips. While I believe Power Cleans should be more prominently featured in your training, Tire Flips can add some much-needed variety and keep your workouts from getting stale.

So, instead of trying to decide between Tire flips and Power Cleans, I suggest figuring out how to incorporate both movements into your strength program.

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