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Pounds of Force inherent in human (or superhuman) Feats of Strength

  1. Sep 14, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone!

    This is my first post in these forums, so I apologize if this topic is a little off course from the general discussion, but considering my current situation I figured what better place to inquire about this problem than a forum on physics, populated by, one would hope, intellectuals and professionals who handle these issues as a matter of course on a daily basis. Hopefully this isn't too "speculative" of a post, considering the fictitious content, and thus a violation of one of the prime forum rules. To keep things grounded in pseudo-reality, I'll post the scale of "real world" weights and feats we've cobbled up.

    I'm currently collaborating with a number of individuals to design a game. Within the model of this game world, there are innumerable applications for a player to affect the world around them. A player's overall ability to do so is measured by a flat number (for those of you familiar with video games and such, a sum of a few personal 'Stats'), and combined with several other situational factors, creates a range of exploits possible for the player to perform from knocking down a door to flipping over a car.

    Now, the writers I'm working with have done some homework and come up with a pretty good idea of what a human being at varying levels of physical fitness can perform, in terms of Olympic events and world records, and applied it to our working system of Stats to come up with a gradient based on Bench Press and "Lift" (Lift being an abstract somewhere between simply picking something up and holding it, to the traditional "Clean and Jerk" which actually puts the poundage over the person's head). However, as part of our research, we've found a decidedly lacking documentation of "Feats of Strength," or rather, we've failed to find a comprehensive set of examples of what can and can't be done with the ability to invoke varying degrees of pound pressure on the objects around us.

    What I'm looking for, if not from these forums directly (which would be awesome) but most likely through redirection to some other source, a cursory study on the matter of what can and can't be done given varying levels of pound force.

    To put it another way, I'm looking for a solid list of how much force it takes to "do stuff." For example, X pounds of pressure to snap a 1" steel bar, Y pounds of pressure to punch through cinder block wall, Z pounds of pressure to smash a beer can with your forehead, etc. Given, there are many variables in completing these feats of strength, and it's not something that can be precisely put to pad and paper without knowing various factors (such as the type of collision, friction, leverage, point of impact, etc.), but still, there should be, somewhere, a pretty solid idea of what one man can do (given his average physical ability) to act on the world around him.

    Even more distilled, the problem is this: I have a big table of numbers, mostly a "rank" and what that rank can Bench and Lift, and am charged with finding what said rank can accomplish (by example) through a moderate amount of effort.

    Here's the scale I'm working with:

    Result Feat Example Bench Lift
    7 Lousy Crit Fail 1 30 40
    8 Lousy Crit Fail 2 40 50
    9 Lousy Crit Fail 3 45 55
    10 Lousy Crit Fail 4 50 60
    11 ... 55 70
    12 ... 60 75
    13 ... 65 100
    14 ... 70 110
    15 ... 75 120
    16 ... 80 130
    17 ... 85 140
    18 ... 90 150
    19 ... 95 160
    20 Low Ave. 100 175
    21 Mid Ave. 130 200
    22 Mid Ave. 150 225
    23 High Ave. 180 250
    24 ... 200 275
    25 ... 215 290
    26 ... 225 315
    27 ... 245 335
    28 ... 275 355
    29 ... 300 385
    30 ... 320 405
    31 ... 350 430
    32 ... 380 450
    33 ... 420 480
    34 ... 450 500
    35 ... 480 525
    36 ... 500 550
    37 Upper End Light 530 575
    38 Upper Mid 560 600
    39 Upper Heavy 590 650
    40 ... 615 700
    41 ... 640 750
    42 ... 660 800
    43 ... 685 900
    44 Human Max! 715 1,000
    45 ... 725 1,250
    46 ... 750 1,500
    47 ... 775 1,800
    48 ... 800 2,000
    49 ... 825 2,300
    50 ... 850 2,400
    51 ... 900 2,500
    52 ... 1,000 2,600
    53 ... 1,250 2,700
    54 ... 1,500 2,800
    55 Flip a car 1,750 3,000
    56 ... 2,000 3,200
    57 ... 2,250 3,500
    58 ... 2,500 3,700
    59 Bench a car 2,800 3,900
    60 Titanic Power 3,000 4,000

    Again, I apologize for the abstractedness of the problem, but hopefully some of you out there get the gist of what I'm looking for. We need to fill in the blanks.

    For example, the average Feat of Strength, according to our research, would have an adult male able to bench 130-150 lbs with some effort, and able to lift a 225-250 lb object (probably not over their head, but pick it up and maybe shuffle around with it). Note that if that average is rated by our ranking scale as a "21-22", and looking onward a bit to "44" being the latest documented human max, while further still (should there exist in this fictitious game world a human that strong) a rank of 55 is able to flip over an average sized car, what is the sort of things someone can do based on their level in our ranking system?

    A rank of 14 can bench 70 lbs and lift 110 lbs; what would be a Feat of Strength that exemplifies this level of ability (putting it notably above a rank 13, which can bench 5 lbs less and lift 10 lbs less).

    I suppose it would help to more clearly define this strange ranking system and its use of Bench and Lift. The Bench rating is basically what someone can do with a controlled push from their arms, while a Lift is something that uses the whole body to bring an object off the floor. A forceful punch may increase the pounds of force involved in an act, as would technique in bring something from chest position over one's head, but overall, there is a symmetry to what we're trying to grasp here that pervades the problem.

    So, without asking for a flat list of how many pounds of force it takes to break or throw the various object around us, I'll simply ask, "Is there a good resource where I should be looking that has already thought this problem out?" Has anyone ever put together a comprehensive study on how hard you need to push something to move it or hit something in order to break it?

    A final time, I'll apologize for the ephemeral nature of this inquiry. I know you can't just give someone a number and pull out a list of what they can and can't do. Still, for the sake of this project we're all working on, I'm hoping someone out there in internet-land has some guiding answers for us and can help us better define our game-world.

    Any insights into this conundrum would be immensely appreciated.
  2. jcsd
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