Those motivational speakers are right: You are capable of amazing things. You wouldn't know it, because 99 percent of the time your body or brain hides these superpowers from you.
Sure, they say there's a good reason, but we're not sure we're buying it. Dammit, we want our...
Note: Well, it seems like our obsession with superhero movies has finally started to pay off in the real world: Science has developed a real-life Iron Man suit to make sure our soldiers have everything they need to develop a crippling alcohol addiction and start making really obvious mistakes. Which is funny because, as this Cracked Classic shows, we all have superpowers hidden in our brains. Hey, Science: Unlock these powers too, and we can finally find out, once and for all, whether Captain America would beat Iron Man in a fight in real life. -Cracked
You may have heard urban legends about "the lady who was able to lift a whole car in an emergency" but, believe it or not, it's not just a legend. They're talking about Angela Cavallo, whose son was working on the suspension of a 1964 Impala, when the car slipped off of the jack and trapped him in the wheel well.
Angela ran out to find her unconscious son pinned under the car. Rather than saying something passive agressive about how she "told him to get that thing out of her garage," she yelled for a neighbor to go get help, and when help wasn't coming fast enough for her liking, proceeded to lift the fucking car off her son with her bare fucking hands.
OK, maybe she didn't lift the thing over her head like She-Hulk, just the few inches it took to get it off her son for the several minutes he needed to drag his ass to safety. But that's no small feat considering that the vehicle weighed at least 3,340 pounds. Go out to your driveway and try it (The Cracked Legal Department asks that your recreation leave out the unconscious loved-one trapped in the wheel well).
Then you've got guys like Sinjin Eberle, who was rock climbing in New Mexico when a 600-pound boulder came lose, smashed into him (crushing his hands in the process) and started pushing him, Wile E. Coyote-style, toward a 150-foot drop and a splattery death. Again the "shit hitting fan" adrenaline mode kicked in and the man tossed the boulder aside, crushed hands and all.
"Next time I get panic muscles, I'm tossing boulders with my dick."
Why Can't We Do This All of the Time?
So the evidence suggests that our actual muscle fibers physically have the ability to let us punch through a wall like the Terminator if they really really want to, but our brain arbitrarily limits us. Why? One problem is the tendons and other tissue that hold you together aren't made to take that kind of abuse. It's the same logic that makes steroid users more prone to injuries--the support structures can't keep up with their juiced muscles.
Also, when you're in that "lift the boulder or die" mode, the body gets that strength by stopping other bodily functions like digestion and immune response. It's the sort of thing that is only awesome for a few minutes at a time.
Still, we're kind of pissed that we can't seem to just summon the super strength at will. Wouldn't that mugger have been surprised if you had thrown him across the street into a plate glass window? But we suppose if science found a way, the muggers would know how to do it, too. Man, that would make for some awesome fights though.