Gorillas are incredibly strong animals, so it’s understandable that people wonder just how strong they are. Can these massive primates lift something as heavy as a car? Let’s take an in-depth look at gorilla strength and capabilities to find out.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While gorillas have the raw strength to deadlift more than 1,000 pounds, they do not have the right physique or posture to properly lift most cars.

How Strong Are Gorillas?

Raw strength and bite force

Gorillas are incredibly strong animals. Their raw strength is estimated to be about 10 times greater than that of an average human. An adult male gorilla can lift over 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) on a bench press, which is more than 30 adult humans!

Their bite force is also impressive, measuring over 1,300 pounds per square inch, allowing them to bite through thick vegetation like branches and bamboo stalks.

One amazing display of gorilla strength was documented by wildlife researcher Damian Aspinall. He observed an adult gorilla lift up a large poacher’s steel snare trap that was attached to a log weighing over 400 kg (900 lb).

The gorilla picked up the log with one arm and threw it over 10 feet away like it weighed nothing!

Muscle and bone structure

Gorillas have a very robust muscular and skeletal structure that contributes to their immense strength. Their arm muscles are significantly larger and stronger relative to their body size compared to humans.

Gorillas also have broader shoulders and shorter hind limbs which provide greater leverage for lifting and throwing heavy objects.

In addition, gorilla bones are much thicker and denser than human bones. Their upper body has large anchor points for strong muscle attachment. For example, the crest on top of their skull where chewing muscles attach is very pronounced. The thick neck is a stable platform to hold up their big head.

All these features enable gorillas to generate tremendous biting and lifting forces.

Comparison to human strength

When compared to an average human, gorillas are far superior in strength capabilities:

Measurement Gorilla strength Average human strength
Pull strength ~1,800 kg ~136 kg
Overhead press ~1,800 kg ~100 kg
Grip strength Over 600 kg 60-100 kg
Bite force Over 1,300 psi 120-140 psi

The elite human weightlifters and strongmen may reach 600-1000 kg in certain lifts. But even the strongest humans pale in comparison to a large male gorilla who can lift over 30 times more weight!

Factors That Determine Lifting Capacity

Proper lifting posture and form

Proper lifting form is crucial for gorillas to lift heavy objects without injuring themselves. When lifting, gorillas should keep their backs straight, bend their knees, tighten their core, and avoid twisting.

Improper form like arching the back or lifting with legs straight can strain muscles and cause harm. Gorillas should also get close to the object, grasp it firmly with both hands, and drive through their legs when lifting. Being mindful of posture protects the back from undue strain.

Grip and hand size

A gorilla’s grip strength and hand size greatly impact how much weight it can lift. Adult male gorillas have enormous hands and powerful grips, enabling them to lift and hold items weighing hundreds of pounds. Their thumbs are highly mobile, allowing for dexterous grasping.

In contrast, smaller primates with smaller hands will struggle lifting the same objects as their grip is not as secure. Developing hand and finger strength through daily activities like climbing helps gorillas improve their lifting capacity over time.

Leg and back strength

Powerful leg and back muscles give gorillas their incredible lifting strength. Their muscular legs allow them to squat down and use their powerful thighs to drive upwards when lifting heavy things. Strong lower backs stabilize their torsos when lifting heavy loads in their arms.

Regular activities like walking on knuckles, climbing, and foraging help build exceptional leg and back strength. Weight training exercises like squats could hypothetically build even greater strength. Proper nutrition provides the protein necessary to build and maintain muscular bulk.

Could a Gorilla Lift a Small Car?

When it comes to raw strength, gorillas are truly in a league of their own. Their enormous muscles and incredible power seem perfectly suited for feats like lifting vehicles. But could even these mighty primates hoist a small car?

Weight and Size of a Small Car

To determine if a gorilla could lift a small car, we first need to define exactly what that entails. A small car like a Mini Cooper can weigh between 2,500 and 3,100 lbs. That’s obviously extremely heavy for any animal!

In terms of size, a small car is about 12 feet long, 5 feet wide, and around 5 feet tall. That’s quite large and awkward for a gorilla to get leverage on and lift.

How Gorillas Lift Heavy Objects

According to zoologists, a full-grown male gorilla can lift a weight of up to 1,800 lbs, over 4 times their body weight! They achieve such incredible feats through pure upper body strength.

When gorillas need to lift something heavy, they use their long arms and large hands to grip the object underneath. Bracing themselves on all fours, they engage their powerful back, chest, and arm muscles all at once to hoist upwards.

Challenges for Lifting a Small Car

Based on the average small car’s weight, it seems within the realm of possibility that a very strong gorilla could potentially lift one. However, there are some major challenges to pulling off such a stunt:

  • The awkward size and shape make getting a grip difficult
  • Cars don’t have good handholds for gripping underneath
  • The smooth metal and tires reduce friction when trying to lift
  • Lifting from a squatting posture reduces leverage
  • Risk of injury if the heavy load shifts unexpectedly
  • While we’ll likely never know if a gorilla could lift a small car, their capabilities continue to amaze us. Just don’t try this experiment with your household pet primate!

    Could a Gorilla Lift a Full-Size Sedan?

    This is an interesting question that many people may wonder about when considering the immense strength of gorillas. Let’s take a detailed look at whether these powerful primates could potentially lift an entire car.

    Average weight of a sedan

    The average mid-size sedan weighs around 3,500 lbs (1,600 kg). Some examples are the Honda Accord at 3,192 lbs (1,450 kg), Toyota Camry at 3,572 lbs (1,620 kg), and Nissan Altima at 3,212 lbs (1,457 kg). Full-size sedans are even heavier, typically ranging from 4,000 to 5,000 lbs (1,800 to 2,300 kg).

    For example, the Chevrolet Impala weighs around 3,836 lbs (1,740 kg).

    Lack of proper grip and stance

    One of the biggest challenges for a gorilla lifting a car is getting a proper grip and stance. Gorillas have opposable thumbs on their hands, but their finger bones are much shorter relative to humans. Their palms are also flatter and broader.

    This makes gripping and lifting objects like car doors and bumpers difficult.

    Additionally, their stance when standing is optimized for quadrupedal knuckle-walking, not bipedal lifting. Without being able to grip the car securely and stand in a powerful squat position, it would be nearly impossible for a gorilla to get enough leverage and lift a full sedan off the ground.

    Risk of serious injury

    Attempting to lift something extremely heavy like a car could cause serious injuries for gorillas. Wild gorillas generally do not take high risks that may result in debilitating injuries. Even if a gorilla could get a partial grip and stance, the awkward angles and immense weight could easily tear tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

    Gorillas are estimated to be approximately 4-9 times stronger than the average human. Scientists have recorded them lifting items over 1,800 lbs (800 kg) in zoos. However, a full sedan is at the upper limits of what their strength and physiology will safely allow.

    While gorillas are incredibly strong primates, lifting an entire sedan would pose substantial difficulties. Their hands lack dexterity, grip, and opposable thumbs needed to grasp car doors and bumpers.

    Without a proper lifting stance, the uneven weight distribution and leverage factors would make it impossible for even the strongest silverback to lift a mid-size or full-size sedan off the ground. Attempting such a feat could also cause severe injuries.


    While gorillas have incredible strength that far surpasses humans, they do not have the right anatomy or posture to properly and safely lift something as heavy and awkward as a car. Their impressive power enables them to lift over 1,000 pounds but the size, shape, and weight distribution of a vehicle presents major challenges.

    Though they could potentially deadlift a very small car under ideal conditions, it’s clear that gorillas cannot lift most vehicles due to the constraints of their physique.

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