Superhuman strength is an ability commonly invoked in fiction and other literary works such as mythology. It is the power to exert force and lift weights beyond what is physically possible for an ordinary human being. It is a fictionalized representation of the phenomenon of hysterical strength. Alternate terms of superhuman strength have included enhanced strength, super-strength and increased strength. Superhuman strength is an amorphous ability, varying in potency depending on the writer or the context of the story in which it is depicted.
Characters and deities with superhuman strength have been found in multiple ancient mythological accounts and religions.
Superhuman strength is a common trope in fantasy and science fiction. This is generally by means of mechanisms such as cybernetic body parts, genetic modification, telekinetic fields in science fiction, or magical/supernatural sources within fantasy. A plethora of comic book superheroes and super-villains display some degree of super strength. Some films invoke a fictional substance or drug that gives the superpower. The level of strength portrayed can vary greatly, from just outside the "normal" human range of the strongest weightlifters (e.g. unarmored Master Chief or Captain America), to nearly unlimited strength (e.g. Hulk, Superman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Thor, Hercules or Goku).
Humans are actively trying to achieve superhuman strength via technology and scientific experimentation. Athletes have turned to various methods to improve performance, such as blood doping or taking anabolic steroids. Other technologies being researched are robotic exoskeletons to be worn by humans to enhance movement and strength.
Superhuman strength is a common ability of many gods and demigods in ancient mythology, such as Hercules/Heracles (Roman/Greek), Beowulf (Norse), Samson (the Bible), Bhima (Hindu) and Achilles (Greek). Attempts to modify the human body in order to gain extraordinary strength is common throughout history, as seen in fiction through characters such as Terminator, Robocop, Iron Man and Cyborg.
Humans have tried to enhance their strength through the use of substances. Accordingly, “In Ancient Rome, gladiators would drink herbal infusions to strengthen them before chariot races.” Currently, drugs including stimulants, anabolic steroids, diuretics and β-blockers are ingested to enhance strength and other attributes.
Humans have tried to use external devices to enhance their strength. The earliest device that was patented for this specific purpose can be credited to Nicholas Yagn, who filed the patent in 1890. The device was described to be an “apparatus for facilitating walking, running, and jumping” through the use of bags of compressed air.The United States Department of Defense is considering a variety of technologies to create an exoskeleton intended for military use to enhance soldier performance.
In the real world, extraordinary strength can occur via science. A person can become stronger, tougher, and more physically powerful than would seem humanly possible when using enhancements such as doping, substances and training.
Records describe instances of people going beyond "normal" strength in specific circumstances without taking any specific measures, as in the case of Tom Boyle, who was able to lift the front of a car in order to rescue a person trapped beneath it.Penn State professor of kinesiology Vladimir Zatsiorsky stated that extraordinary strength can occur when a person engages their muscles through the conscious “exertion of will”. Zatsiorsky claims that trained athletes can improve their strength under specific conditions of competition. Fear can also cause a person to exhibit enhanced human strength. (see hysterical strength)
The term appears in weight-liftingand 'protein formula' commercials without proof of their efficacy.
Weight lifters and other athletes routinely perform feats that appear to be superhuman to others. For examples, in 2016 Blaine Sumner achieved the heaviest single bench press of 401.5 kg (885 lbs 2 oz). At the same competition he squat-lifted 500 kg. In 2016, Eddie Hall of the United Kingdom won the world record for heaviest deadlift at 500 kilograms (1,102 lbs 5 oz).
Many fictional works involve superhuman strength, rooted in religious texts or in scientific form.The depiction of superhuman strength dates as far back as 900 BC to Greek mythology legends such as Hercules. Early legends portray characters gaining their superhuman strength from the gods and exhibiting characteristics of both heroic humans and gods.
More recently superhuman strength is employed by characters called superheroes in comic books, which dates back to the 1930s. Characters such as Mr. Incredible, The Incredible Hulk, Superman, and Wonder Woman possess the strength to perform physical feats impossible for the human body.These characters and their powers draw from earlier myths. Wonder Woman ostensibly descended from the Amazons, a group of women possessing superhuman strength. In many of these fictional works, the dilemma and solution lies in the character's superhuman abilities. Having these powers alienates them from society but also aids them in their quest. Recurring adaptations of well-known characters are often employed, which continue to perpetuate the use of superhuman strength in fiction.
The Marvel Universe is a fictional universe where the stories in most American comic book titles and other media published by Marvel Comics take place. Super-teams such as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Defenders, the Midnight Sons, and many Marvel superheroes live in this universe, including characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Captain America, Wolverine, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Widow, Ghost Rider, Blade, the Silver Surfer, Nova, Daredevil, Iron Fist, the Moon Knight, the Punisher and Deadpool, among numerous others. It also contains well-known supervillains such as Doctor Doom, Magneto, Thanos, Loki, Green Goblin, Kingpin, Red Skull, Ultron, Doctor Octopus, the Mandarin, MODOK, Carnage, Apocalypse, Hela, Ronan the Accuser, Kang, Mephisto, Dormammu, Annihilus and Galactus.
A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to protecting the public, and fighting crime. Superhero fiction is the genre of fiction that is centered on such characters, especially in American comic books since the 1930s, as well as in Japanese media since the 1930s.
The term superhuman refers to humans or human-like lifeforms with enhanced qualities and abilities that exceed those naturally found in humans. These qualities may be acquired through natural ability, self-actualization or technological aids. The related concept of a super race refers to an entire category of beings with the same or varying superhuman characteristics, created from present-day human beings by deploying various means such as eugenics, euthenics, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and/or brain-computer interfacing to accelerate the process of human evolution.
In competitive sports, doping is the use of banned athletic performance-enhancing drugs by athletic competitors. The term doping is widely used by organizations that regulate sporting competitions. The use of drugs to enhance performance is considered unethical, and therefore prohibited, by most international sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee. Furthermore, athletes taking explicit measures to evade detection exacerbate the ethical violation with overt deception and cheating.
Zeus is a fictional character, a god appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is based on the god Zeus in Greek mythology.
The Olympians are a fictional species appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. These characters are based loosely on the Twelve Olympians/Dii Consentes and other deities of Greek and Roman mythology. During the beginning of the 1960s, the exploits of the Asgardians Thor and his evil brother Loki demonstrated that an updating of ancient myths could again win readers. In 1965, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Olympians in Journey into Mystery Annual #1.
Metandienone, also known as methandienone or methandrostenolone and sold under the brand name Dianabol among others, is an androgen and anabolic steroid (AAS) medication which is mostly no longer used. It is also used non-medically for physique- and performance-enhancing purposes. It is often taken by mouth.
Venus is the name of two fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first, originally based on the goddess Venus (Aphrodite) from Roman and Greek mythology, was retconned to actually be a siren that only resembles the goddess. The second is stated to be the true goddess, who now wishes only to be referred to by her Greek name, Aphrodite. The similarities between the two characters are a point of conflict in the comics.
Doping in baseball has been an ongoing issue for Major League Baseball. Several players have suggested that drug use is rampant in baseball. David Wells stated that "25 to 40 percent of all Major Leaguers are juiced". Jose Canseco stated on 60 Minutes and in his tell-all book Juiced that as many as 80% of players used steroids, and that he credited steroid use for his entire career. Ken Caminiti revealed that he won the 1996 National League MVP award while on steroids. In February 2009, after reports emerged alleging that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003, a year in which he was American League MVP, he admitted to having used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) between 2001 and 2003. Mark McGwire, dogged by allegations of PED use for years, admitted in January 2010 that he had used steroids and human growth hormone off and on for over a decade, including in 1998 when he set the single-season home run record. After repeated use by some of the most successful professional baseball players in MLB history, these banned substances found their way to the collegiate level. At the junior college level, due to lack of funding and NCAA drug testing, the abuse of PEDs are most common but they are also an issue in Division I, II and III.
Bloodpool is a fictional group of superheroes and a comic book series created by Rob Liefeld. The series was published by Image Comics in 1996 under Liefeld's Extreme Studios. The team's roster includes Rubble, Task, Seoul, Psilence, Wylder, and Fusion. The underage superheroes were recruited by the government for the eventual inclusion in the prestigious Youngblood team.
Hercules is a fictional Olympian god in the DC Universe based on the Greek demigod and hero of the same name.
Hermes is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Hermes is the Olympian God of transitions and boundaries in Greek religion and mythology. Hermes first appeared in Thor #129 and was adapted by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Superpower is a popular culture term for an imaginary superhuman ability. They are most frequently used in pulp magazines, comic books, science fiction, television programs, video games, and films as the key attribute of a superhero. The concept originated in American comic books and pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, and has gradually worked its way into other genres and media.
Superhero fiction is a genre of speculative fiction examining the adventures, personalities and ethics of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who often possess superhuman powers and battle similarly powered criminals known as supervillains. The genre primarily falls between hard fantasy and soft science fiction spectrum of scientific realism. It is most commonly associated with American comic books, though it has expanded into other media through adaptations and original works.
The use of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in American football is officially prohibited by virtually every sanctioning body.
Anabolic steroids, also known more properly as anabolic–androgenic steroids (AAS), are steroidal androgens that include natural androgens like testosterone as well as synthetic androgens that are structurally related and have similar effects to testosterone. They increase protein within cells, especially in skeletal muscles, and also have varying degrees virilizing effects, including induction of the development and maintenance of masculine secondary sexual characteristics such as the growth of facial and body hair. The word anabolic, referring to anabolism, comes from the Greek ἀναβολή anabole, "that which is thrown up, mound". Androgens or AAS are one of three types of sex hormone agonists, the others being estrogens like estradiol and progestogens like progesterone.
Since their discovery, anabolic steroids (AAS) have been widely used as performance-enhancing drugs to improve performance in sports, to improve one's physical appearance, as self-medication to recover from injury, and as an anti-aging aid. Use of anabolic steroids for purposes other than treating medical conditions is controversial and, in some cases, illegal. Major sports organizations have moved to ban the use of anabolic steroids. There is a wide range of health concerns for users. Legislation in many countries restricts and criminalizes AAS possession and trade.
Growth hormones in sports refers to the use of growth hormones for athletic enhancement, as opposed to growth hormone treatment for medical therapy. Human Growth Hormone is a prescription medication in the US, meaning that its distribution and use without a prescription is illegal. There is limited evidence that GH doping improves athletic performance, although the perception that it does is common in the sporting community. Potential side effects of long term GH doping could mirror the symptoms found in sufferers of acromegaly, a disease in which the anterior pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone. These symptoms include swelling of the hands and feet, joint pain, fluid retention, and excessive sweating.
Research data indicates that steroids affect the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems of the brain. In an animal study, male rats developed a conditioned place preference to testosterone injections into the nucleus accumbens, an effect blocked by dopamine antagonists, which suggests that androgen reinforcement is mediated by the brain. Moreover, testosterone appears to act through the mesolimbic dopamine system, a common substrate for addictive substances. Nonetheless, androgen reinforcement is not comparable to that of cocaine, nicotine, or heroin. Instead, testosterone resembles other mild reinforcers, such as caffeine, or benzodiazepines. The potential for androgen addiction remains to be determined.