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Why more people are lifting tires over their heads in the name of fitness

(Photo: Amenzone)
You would not believe how many moves you can do with a tire—and just how bad-ass you feel after you do them.   (Photo: Amenzone)


No, this is not a “world’s strongest man” competition.

At Amenzone, everyone lifts tires over their heads, from burly men to teeny women in Spandex—and the workout is seriously catching on.

The fitness franchise phenomenon, founded in Phoenix in 2008, has seven open studios in Arizona and California, with 16 additional licenses sold. It expects to reach 20 open locations by the end of 2014, and to be headed east very soon, too.

So why work out with a tire?

(Photo: Amenzone)
Amen Iseghohi and his fitness prop (Photo: Amenzone)

Founder Amen Iseghohi (who lends his name to the workout) was inspired by his childhood in West Africa, where fancy workout equipment wasn’t available and his grandmother encouraged him to “keep moving” using old tires as strength-building tools. “Amenzone was built on the principles of doing more with less,” he says.

Much, much more. Iseghohi created 500 exercises that make up the Amenzone method, all of which involve the tire. From squatting while holding it over your head to planks and push-ups to stepping in and out of it quickly for cardio, it’s a varied, full-body workout despite the singular focus. (Some studios even offer tire yoga.)

And it doesn’t get boring, especially with Iseghohi, whose passion for the tire’s possibilities is almost unbelievable, except that he’s the most earnest person ever. At a recent demo class, he circled the room with a huge smile and words of encouragement, referring to each participant as a “champ” repeatedly, and gushing about his commitment to fitness as a vehicle for spiritual transformation and empowerment. (He puts the same level of positive energy into Amenzone’s partner charity, the Amenzone Foundation, which works to combat childhood obesity.)

It sounds cheesy, sure, until you actually throw a tire around for an hour and then suddenly feel kind of amazing and bad-ass after.

“Our clients often leave their first Amenzone class posting pictures from class all over social media and sharing how proud they were for having done the Amenzone ‘tire’ workout,” he says. Yeah, guilty as charged. —Lisa Elaine Held

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