Is lifting a car a good exercise?


Hello, dancers. It’s Luke the Ballet Physio here. Today I have a question for you. Is lifting a car a good exercise to get stronger? Well, the answer is it depends! If you are strong enough to lift a car already, then lifting a car is a good strengthening exercise because it’s going to challenge your body over many repetitions to get even stronger. If you are not strong enough to lift a car, it’s probably quite dangerous to try lifting a car or moving a car until you’ve built the level of strength. 


Here is the thing with exercises – there are no good exercises and bad exercises, there are exercises that are good for you right now and there are exercises that aren’t that helpful for you right now, and sometimes dangerous for you right now. 


The point of exercise is that it changes your body. So the exercise changes you. Once you’ve changed, you are then going to need a different exercise to change you further. This is why I have a problem with what you sometimes you see on Instagram – you see top level dancers showing top levels exercises almost with the idea that if you do this top level exercise, then you are going to reach the top level. And actually you have to be almost at the top level to make those exercises work. It’s like lifting the car – if you are not strong enough to start lifting the car, then that’s not where you should start – you should start lifting lighter things first. Similarly in exercises, if you are not at the top level yet, but you want to be, you have to do this level exercises to build your way up. 


This is the reason I don’t post exercises, because in fact all that I do all day every day working with dancers is finding how to make exercises either harder to challenge them more or easier, to let them achieve the exercise in a better way or with a better pattern of movement or in a more structured or a more accurate way so that they could then progress to the next step. This is what I do all day every day. I would hate to put an exercise up that someone gets wrong and it’s dangerous for them or that someone doesn’t need because it’s too easy for them and therefore they waste their time. 


So it’s all about the right exercise for the right person at the right time – very much “Goldilocks principle” – not too easy, not too hard, but just right. 

Learn more about Luke

Luke developed his passion for helping ballet dancers achieve their greatest physical potential during his six years at the Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden, London. Learn more about his extensive experience in the ballet field.