Terry Crews is an impressive physical specimen. The Brooklyn 99 star has maintained his powerful physique for all of his 51 years of age. His biceps bulge against the sleeves and his traps defy gravity, lurching high from his shoulders like two mountain peaks.
Perhaps the only thing stronger than Terry Crews are the buttons of his shirt, which only just manage to hold under the strain of his enormous torso. It’s natural to wonder how strong such a man is, and thankfully, we have the perfect barometer to gauge Terry’s strength.
In Brooklyn 99, Terry’s character — imaginatively named Terry — lifts the back end of a car clear off the ground. It’s obvious that Crews is packing some serious strength, but could he lift a car for real?
Brooklyn 99 Car Scene
The incident occurs in episode 20 of series 1. Save for a comic moment where Terry breaks wind, the car is hoisted without any real effort. If it needed any confirmation — and in today’s world of camera tricks and special effects, it shouldn’t — Terry did not actually take the weight of a car and lift it in Brooklyn 99.
As confirmed in a 2014 interview:
I lifted a car. We had a nice little gurney and a little contraption.
The fart was real. The car lifting?
We can assume this ‘contraption’ safely lifts the car with little effort on Terry’s part. Only the back end of the car is on camera during the lift, with the contraption off-screen. With that admission, it’s down to the math to investigate further.
Terry Crews’ Strength
Looks aside, what do we know about Terry Crews in the gym? In reality, not much.
As a former NFL player, with stints with the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins, Terry Crews is more than familiar with the gym. According to jackedgorilla.com, Terry lifts weights four times per week with a bodybuilding centric focus. This allocates certain days to train specific muscles and uses a 10 – 12 rep range to stimulate size over strength.
From this, we can deduce that — while there is a degree of crossover — strength itself is not Terry’s primary goal. As an actor, his physical looks are the focus of his training. We can take this further with some concrete numbers.
In 2015, Terry uploaded a video to his YouTube channel that shows him deadlifting 500 lbs (226 kg) for two reps. With an online one rep max calculator we can estimate his maximum strength in the deadlift to be 511 lbs (232 kg). An impressive feat of strength for most people — but is it enough to lift a car?
Lifting a Car
According to creditdonkey.com, the average car weighs 2,871 lbs (1,302 kg). This is over two thousand pounds more than Terry Crews can deadlift. Even the world’s lightest car, the 2020 Caterham seven, has a curb weight of around 1,100 lbs (500kgs). There are only two men in recorded history that have deadlifted close to this weight, and neither of them are Terry Crews.
However, as the lift comes from the back of the car, Terry would only be lifting a fraction of the cars weight. According to the research over at Starting strongman, Terry has the force to deadlift a sedan with 50 lbs to spare. However, the calculations specifically refer to the strongman event of car deadlifting.
In this event, competitors take hold of handles on the end of huge levers which jut out several feet from the car. This leverage reduces the difficulty of the challenge and is a different kind of lift that Terry performed in the show. With current calculations, while he could perform a car deadlift as seen in strongman events, he could not lift a car as seen on Brooklyn 99.
Terry Crews is first and foremost an actor. His looks are his calling card, and his body is a large part of his performance. The way that he trains acknowledges this.
With a preference for size over strength, Terry is able to maintain his tremendous muscle mass and resemble a cartoon superhero all year round. However, as with all bodybuilding, the mantra is to look strong, rather than be strong.
Terry Crews could not lift a car, but then again, neither could anyone else.
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