HomeFitnessCar Pushing Workout - Old School HIIT Cardio

Car Pushing Workout – Old School HIIT Cardio

Car Pushing HIIT Workout

Running on the treadmill, doing round after round on the stationary bicycle... cardio can be quite mind numbing.
At the same time these boring, prolonged methods of cardio aren't even particularly efficient assuming burning calories, shredding fat and getting stronger are your goals.

That's where car pushes enter the equation...

Car pushes are an unconventional gruelling form of high intensity interval cardio that'll require every ounce of exertion you have.

2 Big Benefits Of Car Pushes Over Conventional Cardio Methods

Car pushes are easy on the joints

Unlike sprinting up and down stairs, jump rope or box jumps the car push is easy on the joints, while still providing the same or higher level of intensity from other intense, high impact exercises.
Multiple intense sessions of jump rope or stair sprints per week always leave me with sore knee and ankle joints, car pushes leaving me feeling fine.

Car pushes build immense leg strength and drive

Car pushes are harder than you think, they'll test the power and drive you can muscle through your legs instantly.
If you perform these workouts regularly you'll find you build power and strength in your legs too! This power can translate over to the weight you're lifting on your squat and leg press.

See also
4 Back Workout Exercise Mistakes You're Probably Making

Sprints, cycling or jump rope for example are a non-resistance aerobic based cardio exercise, there's no tension on the muscles like there is when you're driving through your legs to get the car to budge.

Car Pushing Workout Form

There's no fancy tips or tricks here, here's the basics of car pushing...

  • Ensure car is in neutral with your training partner ready to steer/brake as necessary
  • Lower your head, extend your arms and place your dominant foot forward
  • Push while driving through your legs
  • Attempt to build up speed as the car begins to move forward
  • Push car for prescribed time or distance (see workout structure ideas below)

The Vehicle

The vehicle you use plays a huge role in how effective or ineffective you find your car pushing workout.
If you're a strong oriented athlete and you're pushing a Mazda Miata you're not going to be challenging yourself in the slightest.

At the same time, if you're a beginner or don't train for strength then you'll find it discouraging (and may even risk injury) trying to haul a Hummer from one side of the parking lot to the other.

I've personally found the Jeep Wrangler to be solid challenge.

If you're limited to a small/light vehicle your training partner can utilize the brakes to increase the resistance to get and maintain the movement of the car.

See also
The Best Rep Range For Mass & Strength Revealed!


Workout Structure

There's no right or wrong way to structure your car pushing workout, however here are a few structures and ideas I've tried that work well...

For time

Use a timer, push and rest for predetermined intervals.

20 seconds on/20 seconds off for 10 rounds

10 seconds on/10 seconds off for 10 rounds

30 seconds on/30 seconds off for 10 rounds

Tabata (8 rounds of 20 seconds on/10 seconds off)

For distance

Set yourself a goal distance and push for that distance for a pre-determined number of rounds (exact measurements are necessary, I generally just specify one length of the car park I use).

Turn based

With your training buddy take it in turns pushing 'till failure. Once you hit failure quickly swap positions, continue for a predetermined number of rounds.

What's your take on car pushing workouts? Let me know in the comments below!


Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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