T Nation

I Need to Know How to Push a Car


Alright, so the title was mostly an attention grab - but it's true. I passed my police entrance exam yesterday (!!!!) and I'm going back for my agility test next week. I am 100% confident in every single aspect of the test, except one, strictly because I've never tried it. The very first part of the test (timed) is to push an occupied police cruiser 15 feet. Obviously, the car is in neutral.

Now, I understand that training for something like this takes longer than the week that I have. So, I'm looking for some exercises that will help with form. I figured runners or endurance guys would have a suggestion or two. Or hell, even a cop that's lurking around here?


A great tips I can give you to push a car is to stay low and drive hard with your legs. You probably have a car at home so ask a friend to get in and try to push the car ,if you try it before it will give you confidence for your test.


oh yea I forgot , keep your upper body and your core tight


I have plenty of practice pushing cars.

Don't use your arms so much. Lean into the car with your leading shoulder with your leading shoulder's hand on the car right next to your shoulder the other hand won't be too close to your shoulder but have it on the car anyway.

Like Gtt says, stay low (which is kind of a given on a police cruiser unless you're a midget). Find a solid surface that won't dent. Corners and edges have the least "give" and would be the best point to push on. I'm guessing the rear edge of the trunk lid would probably be your best bet on a cruiser.

Last tip: Make sure your shoes are tight. Loose shoes with polyester socks could cause your foot to slip out of the shoe mid-push. Save yourself the embarrassment. Learn from my mistake. I once had to help push a stalled bus out of an intersection. All traffic was stopped and watching the two of us push. I'm sure everyone had a good laugh.

dig dig


If you're in ANY bit of decent shape, pushing a car 15 feet will be a piece of cake.

If you're really interested in training like a cop you could check out the "Cop- How do you train" thread in the BB forum :slightly_smiling:

EDIT: You are a grown man and weigh 149lbs?!?


Hey, I'm a grown man and weigh 155. I am 5'4.

You know how hard it has been to keep from posting a Rodney King beating/conditioning joke in that "Cop - How do you train" thread?

dig dig


I helped my dad push our car a few times when I was a scrawny teen and it's just hard to get it started, then it goes quite easily.

Maybe do some calf raises and be sure they're stretched properly beforehand.


Appreciate all the tips, guys.

PHD - I suspected that getting the car rolling would be the "hard" part. And yea, I'm in decent shape. I just don't want to lose my time on the one thing that may be difficult on the agility test.

Greg - unfortunately, no. I'm not 149. I'm 142 (as of this morning) at 5'9". And, though it may surprise, I'm aware that I'm ridiculously skinny. Hence, my time at T-Nation. Working on putting on some weight without straying into the realm of skinny-fat, but for now, I just need to get through this test.


I have pushed stuff and this is what worked for me:

As stated above stay low and tight with your hands, arms and elbows tucked in close to your body (not locked out in front), shoulders retracted. The hands/arms should be similar to the bottom position in a bench press. Maintain a rigid, pressurized core and stationary arms and upper body throughout. Keep a tall, extended spine and a natural (not exaggerated, not rounded) lumbar curve with shoulders down and back. The only other thing I'd add is that once you break the car's inertia and get it rolling drive hard with your knees/legs taking really short, quick high cadence steps which you can begin to lengthen as you build speed. Overall body position is similar to a sprinter starting from blocks with the car supporting your forward lean. It's somewhat like pushing a blocking sled in football, if you've ever done that. Also make sure your shoes have a decent tread/grip for the surface. This really should be fairly easy once you get it moving. Good luck.


Do you have a car? Can you get a buddy out with you and practice pushing your own car just to get some experience? Whens your test?


OP is trolling, there is no way this is a real question.


Has to be. What man has never pushed a car a few in there life? If it's not up a hill, why the hell do you need some type of technique? Just push the damn thing. I was 150 lbs when I got my license. I've pushed my car plenty of times and never needed any technique.

I pushed my car out of the garage last week to fix the radiator. No big deal.


Appreciate your contribution, homie. But, unfortunately I wasn't trolling.

Pushing a car, as stated, was part of the "physical agility test" that I had to take as my second step in becoming a police officer. I wanted some technique tips because the car push was part of an obstacle course that was done for time. I have never pushed a car by myself is, I guess, how I should have put the original statement.

Ninja edit: I guess technique was important, because 3 people in the test actually failed to push the car. One poor guy actually had the car rolling backwards, somehow.

As an update to this - using some of the tips - keeping the hands close and tightening up the glutes/core before I started digging in helped. I passed, and actually ran the fastest course time of the day. This was not because I was billy badass on the car push. It was because I was so hyped up and ready to go. The advice was appreciated.


I was going to say, it's not entirely unthinkable that one had never pushed a car before. We live in the pussy age where when your car battery dies or your tire goes flat, you call AAA. Back in the day, men used to push start cars and change their own flats. I can count on my hands the number of male friends I have who have ever push started a car or changed a flat.


This blows my mind. We're about the same age. Not only have I pushed my cars when they broke down or when I was working on them like last weekend, but I can't even remember how many times I've pushed a strangers car when they've been broken down in the middle of the road. Am I the only one who pulls over and helps someone when they're broken down and stuck in the middle of the road? (not directed at you postholedigger)


dig dig?


Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of experience pushing cars whether it's out a driveway or to push start it or to assist a stranger in getting a stalled car off the road. Also changing flats. I chalk it up to not being able to afford decent cars or AAA till recently. The wife with a young child is the only reason I have AAA now (for her, not me). I'll also help jump start someone's car if I hear them cranking it unsuccessfully in a parking lot. I guess the point I was trying to make was that due to the pussification of today's generation, there are people out there who have never pushed a car.


Without getting offended (because I don't THINK anyone just insulted me), I have changed flats on my truck, my old bronco, and a few other cars I've had. I've pulled people out of holes, jump started cars, and assisted my sister(s) with any number of other roadside inconveniences. I have just been fortunate enough to never have broken down in an intersection or in a place where my car couldn't coast to relative safety. I didn't know this was so rare. I guess I just try to take more care of my car ahead of time, rather than on the fly.

Maybe I should break down in traffic or something more often. Pushing a car seems to be a good conditioning workout.


you should. When I was in the military they made us break into teams of 5 and push these trucks for a 3 mile race. It was so hard (not the exact one in the picture but the same thing without the ISU 90 on top)


Sorry if it came across as insulting. It was not my intent. The post wasn't aimed at anyone in particular. I was just trying to convey the fact that some people haven't ever been in the position where they feel like they would need to push a car or get their hands dirty in a world where road-side assistance is just a phone call away.

Example: Last month I bought a car off of a recently-graduated law student. Random guy I found on Craigslist. I went to test drive it and check it out before making the purchase. After agreeing on a price, I went to the bank to withdraw the money. He was sitting in the car's passenger seat when I got back. We made the exchange and as he gets out of the car, he dropped the key AND the spare into a storm drain (both keys have a chip in them). He looked like a deer caught in the headlights. I swear, his lawyer brain was probably going a million miles an hour and what he comes up with is, "I can call AAA or a locksmith". I simply pulled the manhole cover off and climbed down into the storm drain using my cell phone as a flashlight and saw the keys sitting about 6 ft down from the mouth of the storm drain. What could have been a couple hour ordeal at best with AAA or a lock smith wound up easily resolved in seconds by getting my hands dirty which, trust me, this guy had no intention of doing. It probably would never have crossed his mind to go in after something dropped into a storm drain.