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View Full Version : Sledgehammers and Tires for conditioning


Allen Yeh
07-21-2008, 12:48 PM
I had never entertained the whole sledgehammer to tire thing until recently because we just moved into a place that has a little backyard.

Where can I get old tires at? I've read that sometimes people find tires on the side of the road or go to a junkyard. The only other idea I had was to wait until I had to get my tires changed on one of the cars and just grab that one?

Also what sledgehammers do people use for this? In Mike Mahlers article on T-nation today he said to start with an 8 pounder and work up to the 16 lb'er.

Thanks.

Patrick Donnelly
07-21-2008, 01:15 PM
You could probably just go to a tire shop and ask for any old tire of theirs. It saves them from the expense of recycling one.

My mom recently got her tires changed, so I asked her to bring me home one of them. The guy working there was actually nice enough to give me a different used tire that was in much better condition than any of the ones we were getting replaced.

Garrett Smith
07-21-2008, 02:20 PM
I've found auto/truck tires to be a bit too squirrely for me with sledge work. I like semi tires, they stay pretty well.

Go to a tire place and ask them if they have any undesirables, like Patrick said. I got two nice semi tires that way.

Make sure to drill holes on all "three" sides of the tire, so that water can escape--unless you like creating mosquito havens.

Gant Grimes
07-21-2008, 03:08 PM
Get a big one so you can flip it.

Jay Cohen
07-21-2008, 04:05 PM
Semi tires are ok for dragging and hitting, but too light for flipping. You want a tire off a Front Loader or some big friggin earth moving machine. My tire stands about 5", weighs maybe 200-225 and I'm ready for a bigger one.

Find a large tire shop that works on big stuff, they'll give you one or charge just a few bucks for the casing.

Say you're doing it for a Youth Fitness program or Strong Man comp, and they'll bend over to help ya.

I have an 8lb sledge, works good, guess you could start with a 10 as your such a beast.

Just don't let the damn thing bounce back off the tire and whack ya. You'll be in some serious hurt. Try not to smash any other body parts as you are now moving into some funky stuff. While you're out trolling for tires, stop into a beer distributor, buy an old dented up keg. Add water-more fun then reading the "Starting" thread on the CF boards.

Garrett Smith
07-21-2008, 04:30 PM
I've got both types of tires myself.

I like the semi ones for sledge work, they allow for a longer swing. They're also good for folks who need lighter tires for flipping.

I believe my big tire is around 300-350#. It's fun too.

Ken Urakawa
07-22-2008, 05:51 AM
You can get hammers at your local Lowes or Home Depot, but I think the cheapest place (and biggest variety) I've found is Harbor Freight Tools. Last time I stopped in, they had 2# increments from 8 - 16#, all for around $20 or$24.

The tire place we go to is great. We offered the guy $20 for his trouble, but he wouldn't even take it. Apparently it's pretty spendy to pay someone to come out and haul them away for recycling, so they're glad when someone takes a few off their hands.

Allen Yeh
07-22-2008, 06:45 AM
Get a big one so you can flip it.

I have a "yard" now because I used to have nothing but I think I could flip it once and then have to flip it back the other way, plus my wife would kill me if I brought some huge tire home that took up 1/4 of my "yard." I look forward to the day when we actually buy our own place where I can have a backyard.

Allen Yeh
07-22-2008, 06:46 AM
Semi tires are ok for dragging and hitting, but too light for flipping. You want a tire off a Front Loader or some big friggin earth moving machine. My tire stands about 5", weighs maybe 200-225 and I'm ready for a bigger one.

Find a large tire shop that works on big stuff, they'll give you one or charge just a few bucks for the casing.

Say you're doing it for a Youth Fitness program or Strong Man comp, and they'll bend over to help ya.

I have an 8lb sledge, works good, guess you could start with a 10 as your such a beast.

Just don't let the damn thing bounce back off the tire and whack ya. You'll be in some serious hurt. Try not to smash any other body parts as you are now moving into some funky stuff. While you're out trolling for tires, stop into a beer distributor, buy an old dented up keg. Add water-more fun then reading the "Starting" thread on the CF boards.

Good call on the keg, how much does that run around?

Allen Yeh
07-22-2008, 06:48 AM
You can get hammers at your local Lowes or Home Depot, but I think the cheapest place (and biggest variety) I've found is Harbor Freight Tools. Last time I stopped in, they had 2# increments from 8 - 16#, all for around $20 or$24.

The tire place we go to is great. We offered the guy $20 for his trouble, but he wouldn't even take it. Apparently it's pretty spendy to pay someone to come out and haul them away for recycling, so they're glad when someone takes a few off their hands.

So what would you say is a good weight to start off with? 10 or 12#? I'm thinking 8 seems light but then again I've never done anything with a sledgehammer other than actual work.

Allen Yeh
07-22-2008, 06:50 AM
I've found auto/truck tires to be a bit too squirrely for me with sledge work. I like semi tires, they stay pretty well.

Go to a tire place and ask them if they have any undesirables, like Patrick said. I got two nice semi tires that way.

Make sure to drill holes on all "three" sides of the tire, so that water can escape--unless you like creating mosquito havens.

Good call on the holes thing, that just saved me a whole bunch of bug repellant!

I know you said that semi tires allow for a longer swing? Is that because they don't move around as much? Sorry for the newbish question but in the past whenever I saw stuff about sledgehammer stuff I'd skim it but not really read it as I knew I wouldn't be able to implement any of it back in my old place.

Garrett Smith
07-22-2008, 07:58 AM
Semi tires are taller and not so wide. When they are laid on their side, they're lower, which means a longer high-to-low swing. This is as opposed to the really big/wide (wide means tall when laid on its side, hence the shorter swing) tires that most people use for flipping.

For your backyard situation, it sounds like a semi tire would be best (if you won't be flipping it).

Joel Barnett
07-22-2008, 08:28 AM
Instead of buying multiple sledge hammers, I have been using my 10#'er and slipping plates over the handle. They fit nicely and the rubber sleeve on the handle where the handle meets the metal keeps the plate in place during swinging (along with the centrifical force). You can have one 10# sledge and do 12.5, 15, 17.5# etc...options.

I agree...semi-tire is great for strikes and dragging. Les Schwab was pleased as punch to let me take one away. Now I just need a big one for flipping.

Jay Cohen
07-22-2008, 09:10 AM
Good call on the keg, how much does that run around?


With the price of metal going up, not sure. I think I paid about 10 bucks apiece, 1/4 and 1/2 keg.

Eva Claire Synkowski
07-22-2008, 10:20 AM
So what would you say is a good weight to start off with? 10 or 12#? I'm thinking 8 seems light but then again I've never done anything with a sledgehammer other than actual work.

because of the long lever arm - even lighter sledges seem "heavy". we've got an 8, 10 and just in, a 16# sledge. ive used the 16# in wods with 50 reps plus.... its heavy, but still able to crank through sets unbroken. youd be fine with it.

Dave Van Skike
07-22-2008, 01:52 PM
Good call on the keg, how much does that run around?


I got an old one for 20 bucks, keep in mind a 15 gallon keg is only #160 with water in it, you'll need to add sand or gravel to get it over #200.

The cheaper alternative is a HUGE sandbag, kegs are hard when they're heavy,over 150 pounds, sandbags seem hard all the time.

I've been having a bear of a tme finding a good tire, there are lots of little ones in the 400 pound range but not much over 500, which woudl probably be a good one for you to start with.

Jay Cohen
07-22-2008, 03:15 PM
The point on lifting Kegs is the instability of the water sloshing, not just dead weight.

Fill a keg with 5 gallons water(8.3lb per gallon), + weight of keg(?), lift over head and go for a walk, go up/down some grades, report back.

Partial filled keg is whole other animal from sandbag work

Dave Van Skike
07-22-2008, 03:40 PM
The point on lifting Kegs is the instability of the water sloshing, not just dead weight.

Fill a keg with 5 gallons water(8.3lb per gallon), + weight of keg(?), lift over head and go for a walk, go up/down some grades, report back.

Partial filled keg is whole other animal from sandbag work


walking about with a sloshing five gallons overhead is interesting but I can't think of a legit reason why I would do that unless it was part of some other drunken weirdness...which I try to avoid...

WRT to keg training, I enjoy keg work as a replacemenbt for/adjunct to heavy pulls sort of like a stone load or weight over the bar style (I started at hip height adn worked upwards to shoulder height). It's fabulous intro to round back lifting. I enjoy using the keg in lieu of a stone load or lighter as an overhead push press. Started doing it in prep for a strongman event and have to say it's really good conditioning/strength game in a density format....

Bryce Lane is a good resource for this stuff. There's also chap over at P and B, Strongmac that does a good bit of max clean and press keg and sandbag...swears by it and has pressed some goodly numbers overhead with both.

Jay Cohen
07-22-2008, 05:52 PM
Same reason people build a slosh pipe.
Works the whole body, but if it doesn't click for you, well, best not try it then.

I have two kegs and a slosh pipe, ever in the neighbor, stop in.

Dave Van Skike
07-22-2008, 06:36 PM
Will do. I admit, I worship at the alter of load, rarely try the other stuff....

Allen Yeh
07-23-2008, 04:20 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

Leo Soubbotine
07-23-2008, 05:44 AM
I want a 700-800 lbs tire. We got a 550 and it's good for sets of 5-10.
But I don't have room.

And I need a 300-350 lbs one but have been a bit busy to get one.

Dave Van Skike
07-23-2008, 07:38 AM
I want a 700-800 lbs tire. We got a 550 and it's good for sets of 5-10.
But I don't have room.

And I need a 300-350 lbs one but have been a bit busy to get one.


I'm betting it's possible to add weight to a tire, need to look at mine.

The transition from 650-750 is HUGE, the difference between a 750 and 800 is...deeply unpleasant. at those weights and hence diameters, slight changes in tread depth or width of the tire make big big differences in how they flip, with narrower ones seeming much harder.

R. Alan Hester
07-23-2008, 11:34 AM
I'm betting it's possible to add weight to a tire, need to look at mine.



http://theironworks.yuku.com/topic/1070/t/Adding-tire-weight.html

here is thread on that.

Leo Soubbotine
07-24-2008, 02:56 PM
Dave - humongous.

I flipped 720 for about 6 reps in a row before and that whooped my ass.
800 for a double. It's fun to do once in a while.

Thanks for the link on adding weight.

Dave Van Skike
07-25-2008, 10:04 AM
Dave - humongous.

I flipped 720 for about 6 reps in a row before and that whooped my ass.
800 for a double. It's fun to do once in a while.

Thanks for the link on adding weight.


nice. we've got a 1000+ that I still haven't gotten yet...would be nice to have something about 850-900 to bridge the gap. i'll have to scheme on a better way to add weight.

Jeff Yan
07-27-2008, 08:59 PM
I just got a hammer and I'm completely new to hammer/tire exercise.

I have a regular car tire, sitting on end atop a cinder block and anchored by bungee to the block and a metal banister. The fact that the tire is vertical and on a cinder block adds extra height makes the bounce-back a little scary to someone new to this. Anyway, I'm hoping to eventually get a second block and wedge the tire between them rather than placing the tire on top of the one.

Any suggestions on how I might improve this set up?

Conversely, I have another, unbouncy tire that looks like a formula one tire (fat). It's really floppy and doesn't regain form upon impact. That means I can't use it for plyo jumps otherwise it'll collapse and I'd fall off. When I hit it with a hammer it will collapse halfway and continue to absorb impact upon repeated strikes, but it still won't regain form or offer any rebound.

Is the tire's bounciness at all vital to this exercise?