We all love the heroic antics of Superman, who with his incredible superhuman strength, derived from his Kryptonic Origins, saves the Planet Earth from death and destruction. The latest flick Man of Steel was an absolute delight for the eye.
For the fact, Superman has mighty super strength. He can lift a bus or an oil rig with equal ease. He can stop a flying airplane and land it with ease, while bust villains with equal eloquence. He has the X-ray vision and damn, he can fly. He can virtually do anything and of course, he is fictional.
A nerd might argue that Superman is the most fictional superhero ever created, with the highest fictional powers possible. Ironman and Batman being the first favourites of nerds followed closely by Superman.
Ironman and Batman are superheroes cropped up from monetary and intellectual prowess of the persons involved. But Superman was a Kryptonian. So everyone knows how impossible it is to become one like superman. But the question remains: How far can we reach in achieving superhuman strengths?
Limitations of Human Strength
I hate the fact, but we humans have pretty limited physical strength. It is the very nature of the muscles involved.
The maximum force that humans produce depends on how our muscle fibers work. Over the years, scientists have extracted muscles from different vertebrates and tested their capacities. What emerged was a nifty rule of thumb: A muscle can produce about 30 newtons of force (or 6.75 pounds) for every square centimeter in cross-section.
By virtue of evolution being a conservative process, the components of all these muscles are basically the same
So why not just create more muscle? To a degree, humans have been doing that for ages: We’re more physically developed than we were even 500 years ago. But, we cannot increase the mass of your muscle over a certain limit because your bones will not support its strength. Tendons, while quite sturdy, have limits too—15,000 pounds of pulling per square inch across. It may analysed as such humans may be approaching the upper bounds of athletic performance.
Muscle composition limits human performance as well. Fast-twitch muscle fibers produce more power than their slow-twitch counterparts. With training, athletes may be able to alter their ratio of slow-to-fast, but research suggests it is mostly genetically predetermined.
One way to raise the limit on human strength is to engineer an athlete that is, well, beyond human. A different bone structure could increase the leverage of certain movements. For example, according to Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Steven Churchill, male Neanderthals, when flexing at the elbow, were probably one-third stronger than average men today. So when considering Superman, it’s worth remembering his origin on Krypton. Like a Neanderthal, he is not technically human but humanoid, so different rules apply.
Athletic feats of people like Usain Bolt, Sergei Bubka and one of the most prolific one: Indian Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand, have continuously amazed us. The records seem to be getting rewritten every time, but everyone knows that a upper limit exists, unlike Superman.
So, at the end of Geek talk, thinking of becoming like Superman is insane but becoming Ironman or a Batman shouldn’t be entirely impossible, and maybe we can try for such.