Long femurs are just as lousy for tire flipping as they are for back squatting.
Are your femurs longer than your torso? It doesn’t matter what your overall height is; this is about relative proportions.
So if you’re “long femured,” this means your upper legs are longer than your torso, and/or, your shin bones are disproportionately short for the length of your thigh bones—which may create the illusion of abnormally long femurs when in fact, the problem is relatively short shins!
That all said, these anthropometrics are as much a disadvantage with flipping tires are they are with the back squat.
Now if you don’t believe this, picture someone with femurs three times the length of their torso.
Yes, we need to really exaggerate this so that it’s easy to understand.
Now picture a profile of this person in the start position of flipping a tire. Doggone, those long femurs are totally in the way!
Now imagine someone with short “stubby” femurs and a super long torso—I mean like three times as long as their thigh bones.
Imagine this person in the start position of a tire flip. Their short femurs are nowhere near in the way.
This person can sink into a parallel squat with a very upright back, reach under the tire and lift it without transmitting forces to their lower back!
Whereas the athlete with the never-ending femurs has to fold in half to get his hands under the tire!
And when I say fold, I’m talking back parallel to the ground…or even past parallel (hips higher than shoulders).
This is a very bad biomechanical position which will make flipping the tire much more difficult than it is for the second athlete, all other things (like overall body height) being equal.
And with each flip of the tire, that long femur person will have to bend way over, overloading his lower back with forces from the lift.
His buddy, meanwhile, just sinks into that parallel or even slightly above parallel squat, and with ease, flips the tire up:
• The relatively short femurs mean a much smaller range of motion through which to rise up to a standing position.
• The very upright torso means relieving the lower back from a lot of strain, making the tire flipping a lot easier, more comfortable, more ergonomic in feel.
So how does a long femured fitness enthusiast get around this problem if they want to do some tire flipping?
Well, there’s not a whole lot they can do to truly get around these cursed anthropometrics other than the following:
• Start the exercise in a wide stance or even a sumo stance.
• Point the feet out, but don’t overdo this.
• Concentrate on maintaining an arch in the lower back, though this will probably be impossible unless your arm span considerably exceeds your overall height.
• Just try not to let your back get rounded.
• Hip mobility and flexibility exercises will help, so that sinking down into that wide stance is more comfortable.
• Wearing a one-inch lift inside your shoes will help quite a bit. These are sold online for giving people invisible added height.
In addition, the long femur athlete who wants to flip tires should make sure that their ankles have decent flexibility, though you don’t want your knees to shift too far forward over your feet.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.