Sledgehammer tire swings are a unique exercise that offers positive effects. Find out what alternatives offer similar benefits.
As its name implies, the exercise is basically swinging a sledgehammer down onto a tire.
Some people underestimate sledgehammer swings but they work your latissimus dorsi, core, and tricep muscles a nice amount.
Additionally, your cardiovascular system will be challenged by the continuous heavy movements.
Whether you don’t enjoy sledgehammer tire swings, you don’t have a good tire available at home, or you want an alternative for any other reason, these sledgehammer tire swing substitutes can offer you similar benefits.
1. Sledgehammer swings on other surfaces
Many people want to do this exercise and have a sledgehammer available but they don’t have the big tire or place to store it.
Before giving up and turning to other exercises you can also consider doing the same exercise but with a different surface. Some examples include:
- Rolled-up (old) rug
- Folded rubber mat
- Gym floor mats stacked on top of each other
- Rubber mats (folded if needed)
- A lot of cardboard
Before using any of these examples make sure you can do so in a safe way both for you and any objects you don’t want to damage.
Some of these won’t have the same movement as sledgehammer tire swings due to the objects being less bouncy.
However, in the end, all of these do help you work your latissimus dorsi, core, and tricep muscles and your cardiovascular system a nice amount.
2. Medicine ball slams
This next sledgehammer tire swing alternative is called a medicine ball slam to avoid confusion but in reality you want to use a specific type of medicine ball.
There are these weighted balls called slam balls. As you can conclude from the name these are one of the best options for doing the ground slam exercise.
You could also use regular medicine balls but these can break when you use them for this exercise.
Similar to sledgehammer tire swings this involves raising up the ball above your head and slamming it down as hard as you can. Instead of needing a big tire you just need a sturdy floor.
This makes slam ball/medicine ball slams a great sledgehammer swing alternative for individuals who live in a small apartment but still have something like a car parking downstairs.
At the same time, you work all of the same muscles. Even in a more symmetric way which can help you avoid muscle imbalances.
3. Battle rope slams
Battle ropes are long heavy ropes that you can swing in a variety of ways to engage different muscles. Slams are an exercise that resembles the sledgehammer tire swing exercise.
You simply hold one rope in each hand, bring them up, and slam them down with the help of your core and back muscles.
This alternative will likely focus slightly more on your shoulder muscles compared to sledgehammer tire swings due to the way you raise the battle ropes.
One potential downside of battle ropes is that they still require a decent amount of room to use and store. Additionally, you need a good object to anchor to.
An advantage is that battle ropes are more versatile than sledgehammer swings. You can do a variety of exercises for different muscles and adjust the resistance by moving closer to or farther from the anchor.
While they are not the perfect substitute, all in all, battle rope slams are still a great exercise to simulate the movement you would get from swinging a sledgehammer onto a tire.
4. Straight-arm pulldowns
For the straight-arm pulldown, you will need either a cable machine or resistance bands anchored somewhere high. Once you have one of these, take the following steps to do a straight-arm pulldown:
- Set the cable machine pull as high as possible and preferably use a straight bar handle. You can also use a variety of other handles.
- Grab the handle, take a step or two away from the cable machine, and stand up straight with your feet at more or less shoulder width and your face towards the machine.
- Slightly fold your knees and tilt your upper body forward until it is at about a 45-degree angle with the ground while keeping your back straight. Let your slightly less-than-stretched arms point upward toward the cable pulley.
- Lower your arms until they reach your waist. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched throughout the movement.
- Move your arms back up into the position in step 3 in a controlled motion.
If you want straight arm pulldowns to resemble sledgehammer tire swings even more, you can do this alternative in a more explosive way.
Especially with quality resistance bands this faster variation can be a good option.
Straight arm pulldowns will again not feel as smooth as doing sledgehammer tire swings.
That being said, due to the symmetric muscle engagement and adjustable resistance, straight-arm pulldowns can still be a great exercise choice.
5. Double crunches
Not everyone is aware of it but sledgehammer tire swings work core muscles like your abs and obliques a nice amount. This next exercise helps you strengthen these core muscles without any bulky equipment.
Take the following steps to do a double crunch:
- Lie down on your back with your legs stretched and right next to each other on the ground. Hold your arms against your chest if you are a core training beginner, next to you for balance, or stretched above your head if you are more advanced.
- Slowly move your hips towards your chest as far as comfortable while folding your knees and moving them towards your chest in a controlled motion. At the same crunch up your upper body starting with your shoulders as far as comfortable.
- Return to starting position in a controlled motion.
To make the core workout more similar to sledgehammer tire swings you can do double crunches in an explosive way.
Individuals more experienced with core training may need to make this alternative more challenging to keep seeing muscle growth and strength progress.
To do this you can hold some form of compact weight against your chest and/or clamp some type of weight between your legs.
6. Medicine ball sit-up
As the name implies, this next alternative is another exercise that makes use of a medicine ball.
Additionally, you will need room to throw the medicine ball, a sturdy wall to throw it against, or a partner to throw the medicine ball to.
Once you have these requirements, take the following steps to do a medicine ball sit-up:
- Lie down on your back with your legs folded and feet on the ground. Hold the medicine ball behind/above your head with slightly less than stretched arms.
- Curl up your body until your chest is close to your knees. Start with your shoulders and as you get closer to your knees more and more of your upper body gets off the ground. Make sure your abs and not the momentum of your arms power the movement.
- Throw the medicine ball forward at the top of the movement.
- If you have a partner, he or she can throw the medicine ball back and you can slowly curl down your body again. If not, you have to go get the medicine ball to be able to do the next repetition.
If you look closely you can see that medicine ball sit-ups are basically medicine ball slams/sledgehammer tire swings at a different angle.
Because of this different angle, the focus of the exercise will be more on core muscles like your abs and obliques.
That being said, to throw the medicine ball you will still need to use your latissimus dorsi and triceps in an explosive way.
How explosive you want to do this sledgehammer tire swing alternative depends on your training goals and personal situation.
One downside of medicine ball sit-ups is that some people find it uncomfortable on their lower backs.