T Nation

Tire Flipping and Safety Squat Bar


Hey Jim,

I love your books and have been making great gains on your program. I have two questions if you don't mind answering:

1) I do not have a Prowler currently, one day I will have me one of them, and no hills in my vicinity. But right now I do have a nice sized tractor tire. Can I substitute tire flipping for wherever you have Prowler or Hill Sprints work in your routines until I get a Prowler? I was thinking 10 flips for 5 to 10 sets would be a killer Prowler or Hill Sprint substitute.

2) I am 44 years old, and doing Squats with a barbell and even a Buffalo bar kill my shoulders. Can I substitute Safety Bar Squat bar and/or Dave Drapers Top Squat apparatus for straight bar and Buffalo bar Squats as the main exercise??

Thank you so much Jim


FWIW, I have a dicked up / rebuilt left shoulder. I use a Yoke and Spider bar to squat with and follow 5-3-1 so yeah ' Train what is trainable' right? I also tire flip because I don't have a prowler either.

I think so long as you have a real bust ass interval of around 30 seconds, that's all that really matters. You can also make a dragging sled with an old tire on the cheap, till you get the Prowler. That will open up new things to do. Tires are free generally so all you need to do is attach something to it to drag it around with. I use a tow strap because it has the loops on the ends and they make good handles. You can weight the tire down with a dumbell, have your kid sit on it, whatever.
On a side note, we have a Prowler at work at our 'fitness facility'; it kicks ass.

There really is no substitute for the Prowler so you will not regret buying one other than it humbling you. It's a love / hate relationship kind of thing.


Imo you do what you can bro.. Work around your injury. If you can do bar squats for warm ups or rep, speed work do it while using a similar lift that wont fuck you up for your main lift.

As far as conditioning, your body is smarter than you are. A prowler is good for adding resistance to sprints and having goals but a hill and your feet are just as good.


Speaking from experience the safety bar squat is invaluable if you have bad shoulders.


Safety Squat Bar is fine - that is what I use. Never used the Top Squat so I don't know.

Tire flips are in no way, no form the same thing as the Prowler. In general, stay away from "Strongman" stuff for conditioning. Use those things to get stronger and you just might...just might get a nice conditioning effect. But don't be that guy that flips a wheelbarrow tire for 18 miles - use the right tool for the right job.

So go ahead and do tire work but please....PLEASE for the sake of all that is holy, don't turn it into some aerobic class.


Thank you everyone for the help.

I am saving up my pennies to get a Safety Squat Bar and a Prowler.

Jim, I had to laugh. You made me visualize Richard Simmons screaming while he was flipping a tire to a kids bike.


You are welcome - enjoy!


Hey Jim,

Sorry to bring this topic up again, but I was reading through 5/3/1 For Powerlifting and in there you mentioned in a few places on using Strongman training for conditioning purposes (pages 22, 40 and 84). On page 22 you get more specific and mention tire flipping and farmers walk for conditioning.

You do talk about prowler, hill sprints and weighted vests walks much much more for conditioning in 5/3/1 For Powerlifting and nothing but prowler, hill sprints and weighted vest work in 5/3/1 For Raw Strength and Beyond 5/3/1 so it is obvious that is your prefered method for conditioning.

I dont bring this up as a "got you" nonsense. I only bring it up because maybe you have a specific way to use tire flipping, farmers walk etc to use a conditioning method with 5/3/1.

BTW, you are so right that Prowler work is awesome, I am going to put in some overtime at work to get a prowler for my home gym (I might get the Rogue Dog Sled because it is a smaller footprint to use out in front of my house in the street). But right now all I do have is a 500lb tractor tire and a few pairs of homemade farmers walk bars (1" and 2" grip).

Thank you and sorry to bother you again with the same topic.


I don't usually like gimicks, but I looked into this Top squat, when you mentioned it. I'm going to order one for my comercial gym, some day I'll own a PLing gym, and have room, and need for a saftey squat bar, but in the mean time this looks like somthing to get more people squatting. Thanks


I was going to say have you though about putting a heavy duty eye bolt thru your tractor tire and using it for a sled. But if it really is a 500 lb tire then that is a little out of the question. I just use the big back tire of a garden tractor with an eyebolt and heavy strap as my sled. I modified a safety harness that came with a deer stand to pull it with.


We had to change the parameters because too many people were NOT adding any weight, being "circuit queens" and striving to be shirtless wonders - because the focus went from strength to AWFUL, I had to change my way of thinking and my way of writing.

In other words, go heavy as fuck.


Since you don't have a Prowler how about taking your lifting belt, a tow strap and various size tires and dragging them for sprints?

For my Prowler conditioning on days before I bench or OHP I drag the Prowler instead of pushing it to save some strength in my shoulders and arms