Pushing and/or dragging heavy things along the ground are favorite Homo sapien pastimes. Carcasses that were too cumbersome to carry had to be dragged, to camp or to a more favorable butchering spot. The ancients may not have had the wheel until the late Neolithic, but they still had to move ridiculously large stones from time to time; the careful placement of wooden planks and the pushing/pulling efforts of multiple strong men accomplished this task. Tug of war has well-defined Indian roots in the 12 century AD, but strong man competitions pitting one man’s push/pull strength against another’s have likely been occurring for tens of thousands of years. Think sumo. Think football. We simply love testing our strength against another person’s, and seeing if you can push or pull the other out of position is maybe the purest method of testing it.
This week, I’m asking you to throw your weight against a worthy opponent: the automobile.
Get a hold of a car. Beginners can stick with the smaller ones, like a Corolla or a Civic, which tend to run just below 3,000 pounds. If you feel up to it, you can use larger cars, trucks, or even SUVs. Just get a car.
Pick an open stretch of asphalt: parking lot, deserted road, cul de sac. Mark a spot 100 feet in the distance, put your car in neutral, point it toward the marker (and away from any ravines, gulches, chasms, or ditches; here’s where a driver or navigator comes in handy), and place your hands on the trunk.
Keep your arms straight and drive the car forward with your legs. Keep a tight torso and form roughly a 45 degree angle with the ground. Start out slow and deliberate for the first quarter, then feel free to push it hard and attempt to run. Your choice.
Once you reach your destination, run to the front of the car, lean your back against the bumper, stop it from rolling, and start pushing it back the other way (or have the driver turn the car around if the front of the car is too sloped to rest your back on). With your back against the car, your quads will really get blasted, while pushing the car while facing it hits the posterior chain harder. All in all, it’s a fantastic way to get strong and improve your conditioning.
Try different makes and models. Attach ropes, straps, or chains to a secure mounting point on the car and pull/push the car that way. Try walking really slowly to really feel the resistance. Try sprinting with all you’ve got. Mix the pushing/pulling within each rep; push for the first 50 feet and pull for the last 50.
To increase the difficulty:
Use a bigger, heavier car.
Load the car up with stuff.
Push the car on grass.
Push the car uphill.
To decrease the difficulty:
Choose a lighter car.
Have a partner help you.
What are WOWs?
Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWsreplace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.