We, humans, are, quite simply, stronger than we realize, and that makes lifting parts of cars possible.
What is adrenaline?
Scientifically, here’s what they found is actually happening in the moment of an adrenaline rush, a.k.a. hysterical strength. Under immense stress, your body assembles for robust activity. The adrenal gland pumps adrenaline into the blood, and your muscles surge with oxygen, igniting your system with energy.
The brain’s fight-or-flight reaction detonates and rushes the body with proteins and enzymes to fuel endurance. We preserve this strength for a reason. Though scientific understanding is still limited, many researchers believe we keep such a reserve of unharnessed strength predominantly for safety reasons. When pushing our bodies to the limit, we create the potential risk for tears in muscle tissue, ligaments, tendons, et cetera. Creating such a risk in times other than life or death is evolutionarily unwise.
The body pulls out all the stops and lets you turn up the dial to 11. You don’t feel the ache of your muscles. You don’t feel the pain. You just do what needs to be done.
What happens to the body during the adrenaline rush?
During an adrenaline rush, the release of endorphins lessens the body’s receptors to pain. There are also intrinsic genetic factors that may also play a role in one’s stamina against pain. And further, the extent of training one’s had in strength utilization also plays a key factor in an individual’s potential for hysterical strength.
The power of adrenaline
In a moment of intense panic or pressure, a person’s body can rush with adrenaline, possibly leading to what is called hysterical strength. No, it won’t make you the Hulk. When thinking of the term ‘adrenaline rush’, many are perhaps familiar with such tales as a mother lifting a 3,000-pound car off her trapped child in a moment of heroic panic. Yet such claims are not entirely accurate.
Let’s bring the adrenaline rush down to reality. The current world record for deadlifting stands at 1,155 pounds, or 524 kilograms.
In regards to tales of people deadlifting automobiles-
- In generally not the entire car, rather just a portion of the car that is lifted. It is actually lifting a few hundred pounds rather than a few thousand pounds. This is still impressive. It’s likely in many cases the weight lifted still weights beyond what the subject believed they were capable of. Thus, though a surge of adrenaline will cease to release your inner Superman, the capabilities of an adrenaline rush are still pretty awe-rendering.
- A car’s weight is not distributed evenly. Hence, it’s presumed that, in such accounts.
How intensely can our strength increase with an adrenaline rush?
Michio Ikai of the University of Tokyo studied how the maximum grip strength of research participants changed in conjunction with prodding and aggravation. While the subjects’ grip power was being tested, Ikai fired a starting pistol into the air. After the sound, the subjects’ strength went up dramatically, an estimated and surprising 10%.
These gripping stories continue to surface – A man named Tom Boyle in Arizona elevated a Chevy Camaro off of a pinned biker. A young, 22-year-old woman named Lauren from Virginia lifted a BMW off of her dad after the vehicle had fallen from the car jack. A Quebec mother by the name of Lydia, who wrestled a polar bear that was threatening her child.