Brian Shaw Breaks Down How to Do the Car Deadlift

The strongman legend shows how to train for this classic strongman event.

One of the appealing aspects of strongman is the unique ways in which the athletes display their power. Lifts like the car deadlift are simply more interesting than a barbell version. While the visual is captivating, former World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw gave fans a different perspective on this longtime favorite in his latest YouTube video.

The video opens with a little comedy segment showing the 6’8” 415 pound Shaw entering the car to drive it home. After that, he positions the vehicle onto his deadlift equipment and prepares to weigh it at the point of the handle where he would be lifting it. The vehicle, a Nissan Versa, weighs an estimated 2,599 pounds according to Nissan USA. While doing so, he discusses the actual weight he would be lifting compared to the weight of the vehicle itself.

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“For whatever reason, a lot of contest promoters and athletes actually do not weigh the car that they’re lifting so they kind of assume it’s a certain weight and that’s a big mistake.”

Shaw then shows he has a larger scale with a block on top of it for him to place the handle on top of so he can record the weight. Once the frame handle is placed on the block and scale, Shaw announced that the weight he would be lifting is 680 pounds.

Training for the Lift

Next, Shaw goes inside his new gym and warms up for the main lift of this training session. He starts with deadlifts off of blocks. He has the bar positioned on the blocks so his starting point is the same as it would be if he were to be lifting the car. He does offer an extra tip here for anyone preparing for the car deadlift.

“What I’ll do through my training cycle, when I’m training car deadlift, is actually stand on some mats sometimes to make the bar a little bit lower because each car deadlift setup tends to be a little bit different from the starting bar height. And then the other thing you’ll find with the car deadlift is the frame on certain setups will flex a little bit more. So even though they may start a little bit lower, you may not feel the weight until a little bit higher height.”

After his warm-ups, he performs multiple sets with the car and eventually adds a 100 pound plate to the trunk which Shaw says translates into 50 extra pounds at the bar of the frame.

After he finishes, Shaw goes on to discuss how this was an event as last year’s World’s Strongest Man but doesn’t know if it will be this year.

“I just know that we had the car deadlift for reps at qualifiers last year so that’s kind of why I’m throwing this in, you know, based on the fact that they might bring it back.”

He finishes the session with accessory movements including the lat pulldown, suitcase shrugs, and seated rows. There was no sets or reps given for those movements.

Shaw is currently training for the 2020 World’s Strongest Man which takes place in Bradenton, Florida from May 20-24. The Colorado native will be pursuing his 5th career title.

Featured Image: Instagram/shawstrength

Roger Lockridge

Roger Lockridge

Roger "Rock" Lockridge has been writing professionally for 10 years and has been training for 20. His work in the fitness industry has been seen in numerous outlets and has been a part of coverage for several events including the Mr. Olympia, Arnold Classic, the CrossFit Games, and the Olympics. He's also shared his own personal success story in several interviews and articles. Lockridge lives in West Virginia with his wife and son.

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