The Strength of Ten Men
Prince Ali, mighty is he, Ali Ababwa!
Strong as ten regular men, definitely!When a character exhibits extraordinary (and sometimes superhuman) strength and/or fighting prowess, it is often described in terms of some multiple of the strength of a "normal" man. "Ten Men" is the most common multiplier, but the number of men is sometimes given as a dozen, or a hundred, or even a thousand. Such variables don't really matter, though, because the point isn't the number. Rather, the point is that the character is that much stronger and more powerful than a single ordinary human being. A Sub-Trope of Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure. When measuring less easily-quantifiable concepts than raw strength such as "fighting prowess," can easily overlap with Abstract Scale.
— The Genie, singing "Prince Ali" from Disney's Aladdin
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Ashitaka of Princess Mononoke has the strength of ten men.
- In One Piece, Fishmen are described as generally being ten times as strong as humans. Unfortunately for them, they tend to come up against humans who are Super Strong. Though some of the Fishmen have Super Strength even by Fishman standards, like Jinbei and (in flashbacks) Fisher Tiger.
- In Tiger Mask, Mr. X brags that Tiger's Cave wrestler Lionman is stronger than twenty men, and to prove it he pits him in a tug-o-war with a chain against twenty members of the audience. Lionman not only wins, he pulls them on the ring. Then Great Zebra AKA Giant Baba grabs the chain and matches his strength with a single arm, silently bragging he's stronger than fourty.
- Parodied in The Tick:
Donner: The Fortissimo Brothers have the strength of ten men.Tick: Is that five men each or twenty all together?
- A speedster superhero describes himself as being "as fast as ten fast men!"
- From the "The Tick vs. Europe" episode of the animated series:
- Daredevil accused Death's Head of having the strength of a dozen men.
- The Avengers' Hyde claims to have the strength of a dozen men. This is a character who, in a cross over with DC, out-muscled Superman. Makes you wonder which dozen men he was talking about.
- Kid Komics, Professor Jordan plays around with his chemistry sets to develop a liquid that gives him the strength of a dozen men, then he goes off to fight Nazis.
- Hex of ClanDestine was given the strength of a dozen men through Nazi science.
- In Empowered, the titular heroine describes one of the powers her super suit grants her as "the strength of ten men. Or fifteen if you're counting with wimpy guys."
- The Mexican comic book superhero Kalimán has the strength of 50 men.
- Marvel Comics's superhero the 3-D Man has the strength (and agility, and virtually everything else up to and including "triple hearing") of three men (as does his successor, Triathlon.) Triathlon is quick to note that it's three times the absolute peak of normal human physical ability.
- In other words, three of Captain America. That is saying something.
- The Batman villain KGBeast was said to be cybernetically enhanced, to the point that his strength was comparable to four men.
- In an issue of X-Factor, Jamie Madrox is fighting some villain who boasts of having the strength of ten men. Jamie quips that he doesn't have the strength of ten men, but to just give him a second and he will.
- "The Phantom has the strength of ten tigers." - Old jungle saying.
- The D.C. villain Deathstroke used to be stated as having the strength of ten men; Fridge Logic kicks in somewhat when Badass Normal characters like Batman and Robin/Nightwing are able to fight against him evenly in hand-to-hand without undue handicap.
- DC Comics hero Hourman says he gets the strength of ten men through the use of his Miraclo pills.
- A minor enemy of Spider-Man once boasted to have the strength of ten men. The wallcrawler quickly showed him that he is way stronger than that.
Spider-Man: How strong do you think I am? Twenty men? Thirty?
- Spider-Man did this again when he entered a warehouse to take down a large group of criminals. Accidentally breaking through the roof, he landed on the floor and was immediately set upon by a literal army of men. One of them yelled "Pile on, guys! I hear Spider-Man's only got the strength of ten men. Too bad for him there's a lot more than ten of us!" In the next panel, Spidey is completely buried under dozens of men, all kicking, punching, and stomping as hard as they can. Then a calm voice is heard from under the pile. "You men really should pay more attention when you peruse those supermarket yellow-sheets. The correct expression is Spider-Man possesses the proportionate strength of a spider. He then jumped to his feet, sending everyone on him flying in all directions. "AND THAT'S A WHOLE HELLUVA LOT STRONGER THAN TEN MEN!" Spidey then proceeded to curb-stomp the entire gang.
Films — Animated
- In Brave, the witch tells Merida that she gave a prince a spell to give him the strength of ten men. What it actually did was turn him into the demon bear Mor'du.
- In Frozen, the opening number "Frozen Heart" describes the power of ice this way:
Ice has a magic can't be controlled,
Stronger than one! Stronger than ten!
Stronger than a hundred men!
- From the song "Prince Ali" in Disney's Aladdin:
"Prince Ali! Mighty is he! Ali Ababwa. Strong as ten regular men, definitely!"
Films — Live-Action
- Sir Galahad in Idylls of the King: "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure."
- In Cart & Cwidder, the first book of The Dalemark Quartet, the protagonist's Music for Courage has a part that goes something like "our strength is the strength of a hundred men / because each of us marches as ten".
- Hilda the Hippo from a Richard Scarry book describes herself thusly, "Oh dear, I'm as strong as ten average little girls."
- This is played with in Leo Frankowski's Adventures of Conrad Stargard novels. When questioned about his fighting prowess, Baron Conrad Stargard explains, jokingly, "I have the strength of ten because my heart is pure." This statement immediately prompts Conrad's wife, Francine, to note that, "This raises the question, his heart is pure what?"
- Spoofed in Jingo where Carrot gives the Galahad line "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure," and his girlfriend Angua retorts "Really? Well, there's eleven of them."
- The titular Seven Brothers are made fun of by their neighbours, who sing about each brother's personal quirks and end with a claim they together make "a series of brothers as graceful as rampant bulls, with the strength of seven men".
- King David in The Books of Rachel
- Mr. Stuart in The Rover is moved to gain the strength of a dozen men when his daughter is kidnapped
- The Demon Awakens by R. A. Salvatore, the giants are described as having the strength of a dozen men.
- The Runelords series takes the trope disturbingly literal. Runelords may have the brawn, wit or sight of two or more, but if someone has the strength of ten that means that somewhere there are nine now extremely weak guys that have given up their own strength.
- The Thirteenth Century Angel. "madness lent them the strength of a dozen men"
- Brom in Inheritance Cycle says of the Dragon Riders of eld: "Their prowess in battle was unmatched, for each had the strength of ten men." The series also demonstrates that certain creatures, including elves, Shades, Ra'zac, and Kull urgals are all many times stronger than ordinary humans, and Dragon Riders seem to gradually become stronger with time. In an interview, Christopher Paolini was asked how many men exactly would it take to equal the strength of one of these individuals, and he said that he'd rather not quantify their strength.
- In On Basilisk Station, a civilian sarcastically notes to a marine he is aware that their battle armor gives them the strength of ten men because their hearts are pure.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, northmen said this about themselves, but it was just a boast.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road, he has the narrator relate the "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure." line sarcastically.
- In Dracula, the Count himself is said to have the strength of twenty men as one of his many powers.
- In the Quantum Prophecy/New Heroes series, Titan is supposed to have the strength of one hundred men, despite being strong enough to literally throw someone into the sun.
- Upon learning of the True Meaning of Christmas, the Grinch gains the strength of ten Grinches - plus two.
Live Action TV
- In Smallville, the "Naman" is said to have the strength of ten men.
- Fridge Logic comes in when you realize that comes out to equal about a ton. Clark (who is most likely Naman) ends up being able to move planets!
- 'Lost in Space'', "The Collision of Planets." Dr. Smith gets Super Strength.
Never fear, Smith is here! I have the strength of twenty, possibly forty!!
- The Adventures of Lano and Woodley - Just before a Chase Scene, Col declares to Frank that they must "run with the speed of a thousand gazelles".
- Doctor Who's Cybermen (at least the Mondas ones) are set to have the strength of ten men in the serial The Tenth Planet.
- On an episode of Stargate SG-1 several team members get devices that give them super-human physical abilities (but seem to make them stupider). Their progress is tested by a beautiful alien who at one point tells Colonel O'Neil that he now has the strength of many men. "So," he says, preening for the beautiful alien (and the eye-rolling of their female doctor), "no change then?"
- Later on, in Stargate Atlantis, a Goa'uld boasts he has the strength of ten men. His opponent, Ronon, is glad that its a fair fight. As with many Goa'uld boasts, this has a grain of truth but is mostly exaggeration and ego (Goa'uld are quite a bit stronger than regular humans, but not to such an extreme. Ronan hands said Goa'uld his ass quite handily.)
- Star Trek: The Original Series: In "Space Seed," Khan warns Kirk, "I have five times your strength!"
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard remarks that Data's "daughter", Lal, is a child with the strength of ten men; fans have extrapolated from this that Data's strength is equivalent. He has, however, been shown to be even stronger than that.
- In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Hercules was said to have the strength of ten men, and he definitely showed it.
- The Thűl race in Dreamlords Resurrection are described as having the strength of a dozen men.
- Strength of 10 Men is an achievement in the video game Age of Conan.
- The human LeChuck exhibits this strength to pull out the Wise Turtle Summoning Artifact in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay. He even lampshades this when he tells Guybrush, "Elaine seems to think I have the strength of ten men!"
- Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment has Ten Men Gren.
- Cyan in Final Fantasy VI is described as having the strength of a hundred men.
- One potion in Kingdom of Loathing grants Strength of Ten Ettins (although it only increases the character's Muscle by 1/4 of its base value, so adventurers apparently start with the strength of eight Ettins in the first place).
- In Batman: Arkham Origins, some of Firefly's mooks can be overheard in the attempt to liberate the bridge saying that they heard that Batman is this.
- Danved will fight like ten men! (Actually, he's not the best of his class, let alone in terms of humans.)
- In King of Dragon Pass, your weaponthanes (professional warriors) have gear and training equivalent to five armed militiamen. A specific divine blessing can double this number up to — you guessed it — ten.
- Neopets subverts it with the Altador Strength Potion item: "Have the strength of nine Lupes with this potion! Well, not exactly... Okay, how about: With this potion you will have strength like King Altador!"
- In the Hitherby Dragons story "Devadatta and Various Killers" various thieves, ogres and princes describe themselves as "strong as X normal men"; Devedata corrects someone who describes him as "Stronger than eighty-seven normal men", to eighty nine (presumably, he's been in training)
- Parodied in Red vs. Blue when Grif starts to get carried away while recounting the time his team fought against The Meta. He initially describes The Meta as having the strength of ten men, only to correct himself with "No, ten bears!".
- The 60s The Mighty Hercules:
Fighting for the right
Fighting with his might,
With the strength of ten
- Hegemon Claus Ingvalt from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is said to have possessed the strength of a thousand men. Considering that he has been established as a tremendously powerful Magic Knight and The Rival to the God Emperor of Belka, that statement may be understood literally.
- In the Bananaman cartoon, The Narrator would frequently describe Bananaman as having "the muscles of twenty men". Bananaman would quickly reply "Twenty big men."
- The My Life as a Teenage Robot theme describes Jenny as having "the strength of 1,000,070 men".
- Appears in the climax of the Animated Adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!:
"And then, the True Meaning of Christmas shone through,
and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches — plus two!"
- Parodied in the DVD extras for The Venture Bros.: Billy and Pete describe the makeup of a robot that loves, which includes super-strong arms for hugs that a hundred mothers could not match.
- In the first episode of Sealab 2021, the crew gets fixated on the idea of becoming robots; Murphy scoffs at the idea of a robot body with the strength of five mere men, which Marco claims he already has, preferring to imagine one with the strength of five gorillas (which, for the record, comes out to roughly thirty men).
- Spoofed in the Rugrats episode where the cast imagine themselves as superheroes. Chuckie becomes Stinky—who smells as bad as two babies.
- Afro-Man And The Protectors Of The Book Of Knowledge: Afro-Man has the strength of 1,000,000 men.
- A common stunt by strength performers (usually strongmen and strongwomen but occasionally martial artists or health/exercise gurus as well) is to play Tug-of-War against a group of grown men or audience members, the effect sometimes being enhanced by pitting a relatively small and wiry or elderly performer against beefy or visibly muscular opponents. It is an impressive feat if performed genuinely but there are many factors and 'cheats' that may reduce the actual effort needed.
- Depending on the definition of "a man's strength", many Olympic weightlifters and other strength athletes achieve this. 1950's champion Paul Anderson could squat 900 pounds for multiple reps. Assuming an untrained man can squat about 100 pounds, one could say Anderson had the strength of nine men.
- Peary Rader, the strength guru who founded "Iron Man" magazine, told of starting out as a young man barely able to squat the 45-pound Olympic-standard barbell with NO plates on it. Years later, he was squatting well over 300, making him seven or eight times stronger than the man he used to be.