WOW: Automobility

2 cycles of:

100 Foot Car Push
100 Foot Car Pull


Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat.

Equipment: Automobile, driver/navigator

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.

About the Author

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.

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29 thoughts on “WOW: Automobility”

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      1. what’s there not to be sure of? Who wants to stear the semi for me while I push/pull?? 😀

      2. Mark, I’d just recommend placing more emphasis on the “co-pilot” being in the driver’s seat.

        It’s a great workout and if all you have is the Civic/Corolla/Smart Car but need more difficulty, the person in the driver’s seat can ride the brakes slightly. Also, similar to a mud pull, the driver can progressively ride the brakes to add progressive difficulty through the push/pull.

      3. Probably should use a buddy here. The car could roll to the wrong spot which would be bad. Also when you build momentum the driver could tap the brakes to increase the difficulty of the workout.

  1. Haha!

    Perhaps the only good part about the times when you *have* to push a car is that feeling of power you get moving a half-ton hunk of metal on your own. Cool idea to do it when you’re not angry over mechanical failure.

    And primal types are generally smart enough not to do this up or downhill without a partner in the car… right?

    1. Hmmmm…maybe dragging a big back of weights around would be a safer alternative.

        1. If you have an old wheelbarrow, removing the wheel/handles and attaching rope or a homemade yoke makes for a good sled. Add anything that’ll fit for weight as desired.

          Kids work well.

  2. Hmmmm… my little beastie is a Corolla, and it’s all flat around here. I’m just afraid of finding a 0.5% (probably the highest grade we get around here) slope I didn’t know was there.

  3. “Push the car uphill” in Neutral..??
    I think this needs extra extra caution
    Not sure this should be advised – Mark

  4. You’ve been reading my blog again! It wasn’t an intentional WOW but when the car I was supposed to be driving a week ago didn’t start I had to push it out of the way to use another!

    I was pushing it on a gravel drive which makes things way more difficult and manoueuvre it around a corner … in fact I’ve just rounded up my training for that period and forgot to mention my Grok AutoPush!

    Seriously though I do hope all Groks apply Primal Laws 9 and 10 on this one!

  5. Outstanding workout idea. School parking lots after hours or weekends (if it isn’t locked up) are great locations for this. Or, just a quiet neighborhood street. If you can push fast enough for this to be “dangerous”, use the ideas listed to make it tougher, I think.

    All-pro left tackle in the NFL Walter Jones cited this as the bulk of his training. Truly one of the most powerful and amazing athletes I’ve witnessed.

  6. One of my favorite memories from high school is seeing the wrestling team pushing coach’s old 70s beast of a vehicle around the parking lot. I guess he had the right idea!

  7. Our LaCrosse team pulled a 35,000 pound semi through the middle of campus or a fundraiser.

  8. I may give this a whirl. Seems like a brilliant mix of play and exercise. I have to borrow a vehicle (I’m guessing) as we have a Suburban and an Avalanche.

  9. You lost me at “run to the front of the car, lean your back against the bumper, stop it from rolling.”

  10. This goes straight back to my old Rugby practices, in the heat of KS summer, blacktop and a pickup truck. Awesome stuff. One of the many things we did was a transition from blacktop to grass, so like a 50ft on and 50ft off. Another was attaching our ropes to the brush guard of a truck and undulating workouts straight into pulling the car. Wicked stuff.

  11. looks like fun the land rover died on Friday and to push a 2.8 metric tonne 4*4 work vehicle to start on grass was an awesome workout

  12. Mark, I’m an avid reader of this blog, got your book, and thankful for all of the useful information you’re giving us, but this is plain silly. It’s even sillier than the “stalk people in the park” workout.

    We workout to get stronger, physically and mentally, and be healthier. This kind of workout is just asking for an injury, especially with the less-conditioned, not-that-strong crowd.

    It seems as if the Paleo community adopted the Crossfit tendency to overly “mix it up” so that they would not run the risk of appearing “mainstream” or “neolithic”. While getting your local rugby team to pull or stop a truck is entertaining and even beneficial, getting people without a proper strength basis to do the same is unnecessarily dangerous.

    Come on! just get them to squat, press, and run around. No need to re-invent the wheel every week.

    1. I completely agree with Jonathan, as much as i find this site helpful, there is a limit to everything expecially if the risk largely outweighs the reward…come on Mark even Grok would use a grain of salt and not push a 1 ton animal and then stand in front of it trying to stop it.

  13. I just did this in a parking lot that has a slight incline to it. I just pushed my focus but it was quite a work-out. My quads are burning from pushing it backwards! I am not sure which WOW I like better, the Stalking one or this one!

    Thanks for the ideas Mark!

  14. I love this workout because simply it’s not a workout. I know there are a lot of people saying this sounds dangerous but I actually don’t see it as dangerous, if you have wide open spaces it’s great. We have a farm and I grew up on a farm and if we didn’t have to push or drag some sort of breaking down machinery or vehicle once a month it was a good month. Only a month ago I had to push my 25 year old vehicle up our 1.3 km driveway with two kids and a husband with a sprained strapped ankle, to get it going due to a dead battery. If you live in town with no open spaces, yeah it might be dangerous but otherwise get an open space and go for it. And on the hill note, well I had to push my vehicle over the slight incline we have in our driveway to get the vehicle out, me vs a Toyota surf full of humans meant my calves had the best workout they have ever had in their life????????????????