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The Best Full-Body Workout

by Emily Gindle » on Dec 27, 2010 3

There’s a new shoe out there that tones your butt and legs by creating “micro instability” with a bouncy raised heel. I won’t go into the issue of this Reebok shoe being made and marketed only for women. Nor will I comment on its first commercial, featuring close-ups of a woman’s breasts and buttocks having a conversation where the former is jealous of how much attention the latter gets after wearing said shoes (a commercial which made my boyfriend turn to me first and ask, “isn’t that…wrong?”). And I won’t critique the shoes, because I haven’t tried them. All I’m going to say is there’s a much more effective (and less offensive) way for men and women to tone their butts and legs:

Tire flips.

Go find a semi tire in a junk yard and try to move that thing. I guarantee you won’t want a shoe with any “micro instability” when you’re trying to pull that much weight off the ground. Which is why over half the folks in my CrossFit class were wearing Fivefingers as we flipped tires down the alley behind the gym. This may be one of my favorite workouts ever. Tire flipping is fun because the tires are huge, and when you get them tipped over they hit the pavement with a loud smack that resonates around the business complex.

Having never done this before, I had a partner to help me. Cassie and I are of a similar height and build. We are also both shorter than the tire we were flipping 35 meters down the alley. And after about the third round of moving the gigantic tire and then running 200 meters around the adjacent building, we both began yelling like banshees. Yelling makes you stronger, I swear.

You know it’s a tough workout when the sprint is the time you use to try to get the air back in your lungs. I have a hard time controlling the greedy gasping in, but I can at least lengthen the breathing out, and I found myself in a rhythm of breathing in in one or two strides and releasing the breath in a long stream through pursed lips over about three strides. Once calmed down, it was much easier to concentrate all the power in my legs pushing back behind me. It wasn’t fast, but it was as fast as I could go, and at least it felt easy. Sometimes when the running feels awful I like to scan through my legs and make sure everything is working at its best: are my hips opening up as my leg reaches back? Are my quadriceps pushing back as long as they can? Are my calves engaged and keeping my feet centered? Am I using my whole foot to roll myself forward? Sometimes when I take the time to deconstruct it, I suddenly figure out what’s holding me back. I relax. And running as hard as possible suddenly feels like a sweet release that I enjoy until it’s time to go back to the dreaded tire.

Our Fivefingers were perfectly suited for the running, but they were also a great choice for flipping the tire. You don’t lose any of your upward lift into the cushion of the shoe; your feet press fully on the ground. There are no edges to catch on the pavement as you adjust your position under the massive tire. And I never did drop the thing on my toes.


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  2. Jamie

    June 18th, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    “when the sprint is the time you use to try to get the air back in your lungs.” Haha that describes me this morning! We flipped tires and did sprints and everything… it was so much fun and a nice workout too! (and I was wearing VFFs) :)


  3. joe

    February 21st, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Did you know that the company making those shoes with “micro instability” apparently got sued for false advertising by the FTC? Not saying names. Just saying.


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