"Superhuman strength" in times of crisis

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    "Superhuman strength" in times of crisis


    We've all heard the myth of people being able to call on superhuman strength in times of extreme stress or crisis, but is there any truth to this? If so, how does the body accomplish this, and do it without injury?

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    That is a good question. I can't verify the how of it, but I know it happens. When I was 16y/o I was drunk to the point of alcohol poisoning. Everyone thought it was funny and put me to bed, but my sister was worried so she stayed there and slept next to me.

    She woke up in the middle of the night and I was choking on vomit. She picked me up by my ankles and shook me upside down. I weighed 140-150, and she probably weighed about 120. This is a girl who could never do a single pullup and here she is doing front delt raises with my bodyweight.

    She saved my life. As many of you probably know, many people have died by choking on their own vomit, including Led Zeppelin's drummer. I'll have to say thanks to my sister again next time I see her.
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    I think the "without injury" part might be questionable. As for the how of it, who knows. The human body is capable of some very serious things. How to tap that ability on demand rather than just in times of crisis is something I just don't think is known.
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    Adrenaline boys.. the famous 'Adrenaline Rush'

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract

    : J Sports Med. 1975 May-Jun;3(3):117-21.Related Articles, Links

    Adrenaline, arousal and sport.

    Krahenbuhl GS.

    In general, the literautre review provides theoretical explanations for the popular, common-sense belief that a little stress improves performance, whereas when stress becomes severe, performance declines and ultimately breaks down. In terms of psychological stress (as opposed to physiological) the single most important variable appears to be the subject's interpretation of the stress-producing stimuli. Increases in adrenaline and noradrenaline accompany a variety of emotional responses, but differential proportions are not seen as characterizing the various emotions. Noradrenaline secretion appears to be related to physiological stress, or the amount of work attempted by the organism. Adrenaline secretion seems to be more-directly related to mental stress and emotional response. As emotional involvement increases, adrenal medullary secretion of adrenaline increases. The accompanying physiological and metabolic responses faciltate performance to a point; however, extremely high levels of arousal may adversely affect the athlete's proficiency. This is expecially true of sport skills requiring steadiness, precision, and concentration. Finally, for the sake of perspective, it should be stated that any contribution or complication created by the catecholamines is minimal when the entire ability range of competitors is considered. Whereas near superhuman feats by ordinary individuals caught in life-threatening situations have been reported, variations of great magnitude are unlikely in sport. The average individual is not transformed into a world class athlete merely by "getting the adrenaline flowing." Among athletes of similar physical stature and physiological function, however, adrenaline and arousal may certainly tip the scale of performance in sport.

    PMID: 1195705 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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    I also don't know the how, but I believe the idea is that our strength is naturally limited by our subconscious, so that we don't tear muscles and ligaments or otherwise hurt ourselves because of performing strenuous activity our bodies aren't used to; however, an influx of adrenaline lets us temporarily override that block. Or something like that.
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    I guess enough adrenaline acts as a painkiller. Similar phenomenon is observed by PCP users... have seen skinny kids take on a handful of police officers while on the stuff because it again acts as a pain killer.

    Problem is when the effects wear off you can have significant muscle tissue breakdown and possibly other more serious injuries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJRK1XX4 View Post
    I guess enough adrenaline acts as a painkiller. Similar phenomenon is observed by PCP users... have seen skinny kids take on a handful of police officers while on the stuff because it again acts as a pain killer.

    Problem is when the effects wear off you can have significant muscle tissue breakdown and possibly other more serious injuries.
    A mate of mine is a doctor and has seen his fair share of the after-math of adrenaline rushes in the emergency room. The one case I remember well was a 5'1 95lbs mother pull her unconscious 5'8 170lbs son from a car that went into a lake. Apparently she tore tendons, ligaments and muscles in both her arms while pulling him out of the window and dragging him to shore and didn't even realise it till after the paramedics arrived and treated her son almost 20 mins later...
  

  
 

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