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Tire Pulling: My Trail Running Secret Weapon!
Today I want to review my secret weapon, “Tire Pulling,” which I believe is the key to us older athletes being able to do longer endurance events without damaging our joints.
Tire and Sled Pulling
I began pulling a 30 pound tire at the advice of my Coach, John Kanter. He had me pull it for 20x120 yards to start. I slowly progressed to 5 miles with a 30 pound tire over my first 4 months. This helped provide not only the necessary strength and endurance but a lot of confidence. I also started to work with different ways to pull the tire and a weighted sled. I discovered ways that affected different muscle groups, which I felt were important after evaluating each race. Here is a description of the various tire Pulling and Sled movements.
This movement has been the staple movement of my program. The main reason is that they work my quads, without causing any knee pain. This became very important to me after a 50k race last spring in which I encountered lots of big down hills followed by steep climbs which caused me to cramp in my quads. I learned that tired, fatigued quads lead to big problems on a hilly course! Well it wasn’t too hard to figure out what I would encounter in the Grand Canyon. I must be ready!
We use to call this “Karaoke” in my football playing days. I began doing this movement with a sled using ankle straps. The goal was to work my Glute Medius muscle, which is a small important muscle in my hip that can cause IT band problems and eventually debilitating knee pain. I do these 3 times per week with either a weighted sled using ankle straps or with a tire, using a belt around my waist. Either way it gives me a great workout and the benefits have been amazing!
These are your main power and endurance movements with the tire or sled. I either pull for short distances using very heavy weights. Sometimes using over 200 pounds or for distances up to 5 miles with a 25-30 pound tire. This movement will really work your hips and push your conditioning to a new level.
These are base movements with the tire or sled. I do other miscellaneous movements, but always make sure to do the basics
Next I will cover some special exercises that I do that have worked to keep me going and have helped me overcome some minor injuries along the way.