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Charles Atlas Superpower

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"Let me tell you something, lady... there's no such thing as 'just human'."
Math, Grrl Power

In the land of fiction, training can literally give you superhuman powers! Intense exercise can let you split boulders, jump three stories straight up, "see" while wearing a blindfold, and make your skin bulletproof... somehow.

A lot of characters have out-and-out superhuman abilities, and the explanation for such powers is just "They trained really hard for several years, or trained under bizarre and unusual circumstances. Train, and you, too, can bash mountains open with your head." Western comic book superheroes, often stated to "lack superpowers", nevertheless are clearly able to hold their own and defeat villains with superhuman strength many times their own simply by knowing how to perform martial arts. "Non-superpowered" characters such as Batman could beat almost anyone in a fight, dodge bullets, and withstand ridiculous amounts of damage because they spent a few years living and training atop a mountain.

Although most of the western versions of this trope don't have explicitly supernatural abilities, they can do things that would be impossible for normal humans. Asian and Asian-based fiction is somewhat different, as such examples are generally grounded in Eastern mysticism, involving the development and focusing of chi (a.k.a. qi or ki). The superpower here is thus of a more traditional sort than in Western examples, though the training is still the significant factor; Average Joe can't harness his chi half as well as Krillin. You might as well go ahead and apply your own mental Justifying Edit to all such examples below, as this "explains" everything from Mortal Kombat to Final Fantasy.

Or, to put it a different way, there are essentially two different variations on this trope. The first, "Don't-Call-Them-Superpowers", is the western version and has the character performing feats that are not strictly realistic, but at least seem plausible enough. Made of Iron, Improbable Aiming Skills, Plot-Powered Stamina, and extreme cases of Le Parkour are some frequent results of this, and many a character manifesting this form of Charles Atlas Superpower will be a Badass Normal (though note not all Badass Normal characters display this trope, the training and dedication is a key component). The second, "Skill-Trumps-Physics", has the character performing feats that are out-and-out impossible in real life, with an explanation not attributed to any Applied Phlebotinum but instead because "they are just that damn good". This system meshes well with the idea of chi, though it doesn't require it, and arguably the full-on magic powers often seen in Ki Manipulation constitute a third form of the trope anyway. The line between the variations can be messy and subjective, but as a brief example: a climber who can consistently scale a rock wall faster than the world-record holders would be the first, a climber who can scale a sandstorm would be the latter, and someone who can climb a slick glass skyscraper would be somewhere in between.

The standard line here is that "the average person only uses ten to fifteen percent of their potential strength". It's possible for the brain to use far more muscle power than the person would normally consider their limit, but usually only by shutting down most other major body processes (digestion, the immune system, etc.) and flooding the body with adrenaline— otherwise known as the "fight or flight" response. In other words, it's a Dangerous Forbidden Technique only ever used for Big Damn Heroes moments. It's common for a Proto-Superhero to derive his or her extraordinary talents this way, as such characters predate most stock Super Hero Origin stories.

As a narrative device, this trope emphasizes that the character is extremely dedicated to their work. For instance, Batman's abilities fit nicely with his obsessive mindset: He couldn't have acquired this much skill if he wasn't truly dedicated. It can also make your character seem a little more realistic since intensive training really can give you cool abilities in Real Life, just not to the extent that you often see in comics.

The Trope Namer is an early 20th-century bodybuilder who advertised a program which swore it could turn any 97-lb. weakling into a hulking, muscular giant who could punch out a bully that kicked sand in his face. This sort of idea was around long before and after Charles Atlas, however, as the ever-brilliant David S. Zondy explains.

See also Made of Iron and Weak, but Skilled. The same idea applied to the mind would be 90% of Your Brain. Contrast Hard Work Hardly Works. God forbid that you give the character actual superpowers and make them an Empowered Badass Normal. May result because they Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training. Use of actual Ki Manipulation (e.g., Pure Energy blasts) blur the line between this and outright magic. May run in families.

The inverse to this trope is Boxing Lessons for Superman, where an already-superpowered character trains in a mundane skill. Compare Artistic License – Biology, Mistaken for Superpowered, The Power of Acting, and Supernatural Martial Arts. Contrast Enlightenment Superpowers. When repetitive training grants a character powerful skills without their knowledge, that's Wax On, Wax Off. If it turns out the "mundane"-level power actually was a gift, that's Real-Life Super Powers. If the character lost their powers but remains a legitimate threat, they are Brought Down to Badass.

Note this doesn't count for characters with strength from supernatural, technological, or alien origin, but for otherwise 'normal' characters who obtain this strength naturally. For example, while Superman's powers are typical to his species, he doesn't count for this trope.


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  • Air Master has several characters capable of this. Tsukio, due to being a construction worker can punch at the speed of a jackhammer, Kinijro killed a bear with a single punch, Julietta could fight with his legs broke and kick people into buildings and through concrete roofs, Sakiyama Kaori is almost as durable as Julitta and always yells herself back to shape, and Yuki's nails are sharp enough that they were almost like blades. Maki, Lucha Master, and Kai however take the cake for being able to jump higher than humanly possible. However, considering it being an Affectionate Parody of fighting genres, this is a must.
  • Attack on Titan has the characters regularly perform impressive feats, but most of them are within the limitations of what we know of the 3D Manoeuvre Gear. All bets are off with Mikasa and Levi however, who move so fast they can barely be seen and are so agile almost nothing has even the slightest chance of touching them, and that's just in their gear. At one point, this is lampshaded by a crook who points out that Mikasa (a girl who's barely twenty and doesn't pack much muscle mass) could single-handedly take down his entire gang of full-grown (and supposedly trained in hand-to-hand combat) men. Later, it's implied that this is rather due to the result of Titan-related genetic experiment done back in the far past that got passed down through generations.
  • Baccano!:
    • Claire Stanfield is inhumanly agile thanks to his experience in the circus, as his constant backflips and Wall Crawls on the top of a moving train demonstrate. He also apparently has the jaw strength to nonchalantly bite people's fingers clean off, but that's neither here nor there. The author has said that the reason Claire doesn't get his own plotline is because he is the strongest character in the series.
    • Chane, who can deflect bullets with knives (including ones fired from a shotgun) or Graham, who can catch bullets with his wrench or disassemble entire cars midair in seconds.
  • Baki the Grappler shows some absurd version of this, up there with Dragon Ball and Fist of the North Star. There are too many to count but suffice to say that if you train hard enough you can punch through the sound barrier, do abdominal workouts with an airlifting helicopter, and stop earthquakes with a single punch.
  • Bakugan: Dan and Shun both display some pretty surprising physical prowess despite only being in their teens.
    • In Shun's case, of particular note, during the final arc of Season 1, he fights against an army of mini-Bakugan clones, armed with only himself and a series of ninja tools, to save Skyress. And survives. For him, it's chalked up to the fact that he was trained as a ninja ever since he was a child.
    • For Dan, on the other hand, while he's shown training at certain points, the furthest that's shown is him exercising on the playground and dragging tires behind himself. Not very impressive...and then, in the final arc of Season 1, during the journey in Vestroia, he manages to run across a canyon, then cross a gorge filled with lava by leaping across giant stalagmites, with the last one collapsing on him and Dan just managing to leap to safety in time. And then he's finally out of breath. Oh, and the kicker? At this point in the series, Dan's only 12 years old.
      • Dan continues to show such abilities at a few points throughout the series. In Season 2, to save Drago from Spectra, he manages to grab onto Drago's massive tail, run along it, and then leap several stories up before throwing Apollonir (in the form of a trident) into the Perfect Core in Drago's chest, hitting it dead-center using only his eyes to aim. After that, he falls several stories and crashes onto a wooden box before hitting the ground. And is relatively fine afterwards. In Season 3, he manages to run across part of a river before leaping into the air to make it the rest of the way.
  • Guts from Berserk is a monster of a man who swings a BFS with frightening speed and has survived more than two years' worth of relentless demon attacks, many of which would have killed a normal man many times over. The justification is that he has spent literally his entire life on battlefields, meaning he's also spent most of it in battle. Wielding a sword most of the day for every day of your life will eventually add up, it seems. His unique capacity to swing around a 400-pound blade started with being made to swing a regular longsword at 6 years old and going from there. The manga states that surviving the Eclipse left Guts on the boundary between the physical world and the Spirit World where belief shapes reality, allowing him to gradually turn himself into a literal superhuman through sheer willpower...but he was tough enough to fight and wipe out a 100-man unit even when he was a perfectly normal soldier.
    • Even Guts's sword, the Dragon Slayer, can be considered a version of this. Guts unknowingly gave it the power to harm Nigh-Invulnerable beings, simply by killing so many supernatural creatures with the weapon that their essence rubbed off on it and anchored it in a higher plane of existence.
      • Plenty of other characters apply to this trope as well such as Griffith when he was human (since he beat Guts twice) Casca, Pippin, Judeau, Azan, and Serpico.
      • Isidro is getting there, though despite being trained by Guts, he is firmly told by his mentor that he won't reach Black Swordsmen's level by copying him as Guts had many brutal years to hone his blade while Isidro is still a child. However, Guts also encourages the boy to develop his own style, which did help Isidro kill a troll, a creature much stronger than a regular human.
  • Black Butler: Normally, characters in this series with superhuman abilities either naturally have them or are granted such traits. Sebastian is a demon, Grell is a Grim Reaper, Agni was blessed with the power of the god Kali, and Finny was subject to genetic experimentation. And then there’s Ran-Mao, Lao’s aide and bodyguard, who can be just as dangerous as the aforementioned characters, despite being for all intents and purposes, completely human. By the same token, there’s also Elizabeth, who, as it turns out, was trained in swordsmanship. In the Luxury Liner arc, she displays her skills by dual-wielding swords, while also moving far more gracefully and fluidly than a normal human would, to slash apart ravenous zombies.
  • Black Cat is rife with this — the setting includes an entire martial art dedicated to punching bullets — but what's notable is that the beneficiaries of this trope are for the most part more powerful than characters with genuine supernatural abilities: when Belze fights Kyoko, he notes that she's using her Taoist abilities to enhance her speed... then promptly declares that, at said speed, it's ridiculous for her to even be trying to hit him. The extreme example, though, is Sephiria's ability to disintegrate people (literally nothing left) with her sword just by hitting them a lot, really hard. Even some of the more normal characters like Saya and Kevin still have some ridiculous skills.
  • Asta from Black Clover. He is exceptionally strong and agile for his age, a trait he received through his own hard work and training. This has gotten to the point that when combined with his grimoire he can cleave through giant constructs made of diamond. It's also a Required Secondary Power, since the Anti-Magic swords his Grimoire summons are very heavy, and thus unwieldy for the average person. In addition, his Dream-Crushing Handicap turns out to be one of these, as he would be drained to the point of immobility if it weren't for his inability to wield mana in the first place.
  • Roberta from Black Lagoon. Most other badasses of the series have to make do with superhuman agility and shooting skills. She can do all that while catching and shattering a thrown sword... with her teeth.
  • Bleach:
    • Chad gains actual powers early in the first arc, but before he does he's shown to be inhumanly strong. A steel beam falls on him from several stories up, and he takes it like it was a weak punch. Also, his first encounter with a hollow was before he was able to see them, so Rukia told him where to swing his bat. Or at least the telephone pole he uprooted and was using as a bat.
    • Go Koga, an anime-only filler character, manages to beat up Ichigo using only his physical strength, which is odd at first because his race was established to rely exclusively on familiars to fight. He then explains that his strength is not the result of his Bount powers, but rather, it's the inherent strength of his human body.
    • While Ichigo is Brought Down to Badass during the Time Skip, his physical body retains the strength and reflexes gained through months of fighting monsters and dragging a giant sword around. He can still wipe the floor with pretty much any normal human even before Can't Stay Normal kicks in.
  • Buso Renkin: Despite the fact that Captain Bravo's Silver Skin buso renkin only boosts his defence, he is still capable of shattering telephone poles, and fighting on a par with superhuman homunculi, simply through hard work and dedication.
  • Case Closed: Ran is well acquainted with this trope. She's been studying karate for years, and over the course of the series, has casually bent and broken the poles of streetlights with her fist, kicked down doors, knocked out men far bigger than her, smashed through a glass window without being winded, jumped from her second-floor apartment's window to the street with no problem, kicked the blade of a knife in half, and dodged a bullet. Oh, and she looks just like any other waif-ish high school girl.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Touma Kamijou is inhumanly resilient to pain and injury, having survived being shot, severe beatings, tanked explosions, has Plot-Powered Stamina, and is strong enough to punch people so hard they are sent flying and make craters on impact. He has once knocked away a gigantic metal cross that looked like it would've weighed several hundred pounds, with his left hand. Quite impressive for a teenaged boy.
      • Touma's Imagine Breaker allows him to negate supernatural powers and magic; however its limited range means that Touma can only negate said powers with his right hand, basically making him fight with one hand tied behind his back. As a result of countless fights against espers and delinquents, Touma possesses great reflexes, able to place his hand at the right moment to negate his enemy's attacks. The narrative (and eventually several characters) have noted that, had someone used the Imagine Breaker other than Touma, they wouldn't be able to utilize it to the same extent he had in the story. As Lessar put it (after witnessing Touma battle Accelerator during World War III):
        "Even if he could use his right hand to ‘hold’ onto the massive power, just that was not enough to handle the problem. Even if Lessar had the same power, it would’ve been impossible for her to get out of that kind of situation no matter what."
      • Then it's eventually revealed that Touma developed a Spider-Sense against magical and psychic attacks, which allowed him to match against superhumans so effectively.
    • Apart from Touma, there is Wataru, a man who can defeat massive groups of armed gangsters with his bare hands and martial arts skills; Komaba Ritoku, who fought against 2 higher ranked espers and nearly won; Amata Kihara, who nearly killed Accelerator with clever applications of martial arts and a deeper understanding of Accelerator's powers; Saflee Opendays, a martial artist who knocked out several armed guards with her bare hands; and so on.
  • Tomoyo Sakagami from CLANNAD is known to be incredibly strong and fast. An example of her abilities is when she takes down some Gang Members riding motorcycles using a spin-kick to take one down, and a Chun-Li style Lightning Kick to take down the others, while the motorcycle is torn to bits. Spectators only see her do these insane attacks within two seconds.
    • Sunohara can withstand unbelievable amounts of punishment while walking away with next to no issues once he wakes up. Examples include being kicked sky-high by Tomoyo, being pushed out of a window, and tanking a kick from Okazaki to the ribs that's strong enough to send him flying back in the direction he he could take another couple hundred kicks.
    • Kyou Fujibayashi can throw a textbook so hard it can crack a wall.
  • Post Time Skip, Raki from Claymore is implied to be the most powerful pure human alive, or at least on their continent.
  • Code Geass:
    • Suzaku Kururugi is stronger and faster than normal humans. This is demonstrated rather memorably when he dodges fire from an automated ceiling-mounted machine gun, runs up a nearby wall, and destroys the turret with a Hurricane Kick (and all of this before he got geassed). The geass placed on Suzaku was the command to live, removing all hesitation during combat and made him use his superhuman reflexes optimally, moving fast enough to beat even someone who could see the future. Apparently, this was going to be explored at some point, but Executive Meddling with the second season forced the writers to focus on other plotlines and leave this unexplained.
    • Kallen performed a couple feats that could be said to be inhuman. In the first episode of the second season, Kallen jumps over a chess table and takes out several guards with a spin-kick. She can also karate chop a bumblebee in half while it's in mid-flight, without even turning to look at it. This isn't nearly as impressive as Suzaku... except that she's never said to be trained in anything. She just has a lot of exercise gear in her room.
    • Sayoko, who jumps her own height in a rather fabulous manner, and displays impressive combat skill. She's a maid. Well, a Ninja Maid. She was also trained as a Japanese SP... or a ninja, but she denies that. Of course, she spent at least the last five years in a very low-impact lifestyle, caring for Nunnally, so any training she may have had should have long deteriorated unless she has a stellar self-exercise routine.
  • Hei of Darker than Black is an extremely agile martial artist with amazing reflexes who can jump from heights unscathed. These qualities are also true of his sort of Evil Counterpart, Wei. And they both have actual superpowers to boot. Notably, in fight between the two, Bullet Time effects are somewhat implausibly used.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the Total Concentration Breathing technique used by the Demon Slayer Corps involves the user deep breathing in a way that increases the circulation of oxygen through their body and their blood, strengthening their physical attributes and heightening their mental concentration to the point that they can match the supernatural speed, reflexes, and power of the titular demons they hunt. Being able to utilize the technique and the Breath Styles of swordsmanship requires intense, painful, and repetitive training, but once mastered, Demon Slayers can leap dozens of feet, slice cleanly through boulders with swords, slow the circulation of poison in their system, immediately clot wounds, and Flash Step, among other things. The series explicitly notes that the superhuman feats of speed, endurance, and power that Demon Slayers who use Total Concentration Breathing and Breath Styles display are non-supernatural in nature, with the elemental special effects that surround the various attacks being non-diegetic, as opposed to the unambiguously supernatural powers of demons and their diverse array of spells, the Blood Demon Arts.
  • In D.Gray-Man most of the superhuman abilities of the characters are granted by a phlebotinum (innocence or dark matter). However several exorcists have shown that they are able to perform superhuman feats like Super Jump or Super-Strength without the use of phlebotinum, namely Allen Walker (capable of holding his own against a level 3 akuma, a monster who would take several dozens of humans at once with his pure physical abilities), Howard Link (capable of smashing a level 3 into a wall with a kick) or Madarao (casually stopping a direct blow of a level 3 with one hand). The latter two are former Crows, a unit of expertly trained enforcers and the former is an exorcist (they are shown to train very hardily).
  • Masaru from Digimon Data Squad, over the course of a single day (the first episode), beat up over a dozen thugs, fought a strong Rookie-level Digimon for a least a few hours, and later punched out a 20-foot chicken while dodging its laser blasts. Just how he does things like this is never explained, but seems to be due in part to the Digisoul/Digimon Natural Ability. Or Lamarck Was Right. At the end of that season he punches the god of the Digital World into submission, and in Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time he created a domino out of Digimons the size of a skyscraper.
  • While most of Dragon Ball's cast are superhuman, this trope is the basis behind how they can increase their battle skills and strength to challenge their latest opponents. A core facet of this is ki, the lifeforce of all living beings that can increase through training, eventually allowing you to pool it and fire it as an attack, move it to fly, and achieve Superman levels of strength. This trope is played more straight with the cast of Earthlings: Earthlings are weak beings, but characters like Krillin are able to keep up somewhat through training alone and remain useful allies for the Saiyans, who have far greater ki "potential". Even Mr. Satan and Yajirobe, who have no knowledge of ki and only do ordinary training, can still pull 4 buses at once and Flash Step.
    • It's best displayed during the Buu Saga during the World Martial Arts Tournament where the Dragon Team use the punching machine but control their ki to hold back their results. Regular old Earthlings can get up to 97 points but Krillin, even with a love tap, gets 192. Goku, with his amazing ki control, couldn't even go lower than 186. Vegeta, not holding back, destroys the machine completely, leading Videl to justly question Gohan whether his friends are human or not.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, after his first attempt at getting revenge on Goku got Frieza sent back to Hell, Frieza spent his time there in meditation, envisioning battle after battle against Goku in which he would beat and then kill Goku in the most savage and tortuous ways possible. As a result of this meditation, Frieza was able to gain perfect control of his ki, fixing the burnout problems that his new Golden form initially had and becoming immensely stronger as a result.
  • Dr. STONE includes examples from both before and after the petrification.
    • Kohaku possesses monster strength in her tiny frame (given her the unwanted nicknames of lioness and gorilla), which she credits to training. And she's just one from her village...
    • Initial Big Bad Tsukasa Shiso was called The Ultimate Primate Student for a reason beyond being an MMA champion. He can kill a lion with his bare hand, cut down a tree with a single swing from his spear, and catch an arrow from midair.
    • Taiju is the equivalent of an endless stamina tank, able to take Tsukasa's punch without going down in one hit
  • Durarara!!:
    • Shizuo's Super-Strength is a result of taking both the "removing unconscious limiters" and "bones rebuild themselves with a higher density" explanations to their logical extremes. By the time he's in high school, he can shrug off getting hit by a truck and still find the energy to try and beat Izaya to death with a door (which he ripped off of its hinges, of course) in the same night.
    • Similarly, Shizuo's archnemesis Izaya is faster and more agile than any supposedly "normal" human has a right to be, and that's before we get into his ability to routinely shrug off physical abuse from Shizuo that should have left him a bloody pulp.
    • Simon is even more inexplicable: he's strong and tough enough to restrain Shizuo, though he avoids combat whenever possible and most still count Shizuo as being the stronger of the two. Still, while there is an explanation for Shizuo, there is none for Simon except perhaps that he and his boss are both Russian paramilitary expatriates.
  • Fairy Tail characters can get impressively strong, even without accounting for the magic anyone can learn in this setting. Chapter 7 treats us to a martial artist strong enough to wreck walls and floors with his giant frying pan. Natsu defeats him easily.
  • Thoma from Fantastic Children, who can knock out even giant robots.
  • FateStayNight: Fake Assassin's Tsubame Gaeshi consists of three slashes so quick that the blade exists in three different points at the same time. This phenomenon, called Multi-Dimensional Refraction Phenomenon, would normally require the Second Magic in order to work, but Assassin manages to recreate it through skill alone. Not "magic" as in Magecraft, which many characters are capable of, but MAGIC, the primal, mysterious force of magic — Assassin's just good enough to pull it off.
  • Fist of the North Star has this trope in spades. The rule of thumb is that everybody without a mohawk is this, while everyone with a mohawk is just cannon fodder. Ken mentions at one point that most humans ever use only a small fraction of what their bodies are capable of, and the Hokuto Shinken school teaches (in addition to the pressure points) how to apply your full potential.
    Kenshiro: Most people only use 30% of their natural strength. That's not much. The secret to Hokuto Shinken is controlling the other 70% as well.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Ling Yao and his bodyguards are shown to be more than a match for the superhuman homunculi. All of them are able to survive jumps and falls that would kill a normal human. Ling himself duels King Bradley while carrying Lanfan.
    • Wrath doesn't have the superhuman abilities of the other homunculi, "only" an Ultimate Eye that acts as Combat Clairvoyance, but that doesn't stop him from being so strong and fast that the Xingese characters can't even touch him and he cuts bullets in half with a sword. He also destroyed a tank with his sword and a single grenade.
    • THIS SUPER STRENGTH HAS BEEN PASSED THROUGH THE ARMSTRONG LINE FOR GENERATIONS!!! Said Armstrong in question could fight hand to hand with a homunculus that was Immune to Bullets, tank fire, and could lift up tanks like they were cardboard, yet Armstrong's fists could hurt him.
  • Get Backers has some characters with actual superpowers, but others are masters of obscure martial arts that allow one to make things such as a whip, strings, needles, etc. utterly rewrite the laws of physics.
  • Ryoma Nagare in Getter Robo. Some examples of his martial arts prowess include: throwing a sword (by the blade) with enough force to sever a man's arm; jumping hundreds of feet from a helicopter onto a car and suffering only minor discomfort; climbing up the face of a rampaging Getter-2 to punch the pilot in the face; resisting an animal tranquilizer strong enough to kill most men even after nearly bleeding to death immediately beforehand; breaking a katana by flexing his chest muscles; and punching dinosaurs to death.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Whenever Hayate does something impossible (like pedaling a bicycle faster than a car or surviving a hit from Humongous Mecha, the only comment he or some other Combat Commentator will make is "It's all right, he trains." It might have something to do with Athena unlocking his innate potential with magic when he was six. Then again, considering the massive spike in Hayate's strength between then and the start of the story, it may have been a Magic Feather and his nightly training had more to do with it.
    • The other butlers get this as well since even Mook Butlers go through some pretty rigorous training and show some level of stronger-than-normal abilities. The named butlers tend to be at or near Hayate's level with the only real justification being "we're butlers, it's our duty to be this awesome". Seen less in the manga which really tapered off the appearance of butlers that aren't Hayate.
    • Hayate's brother is even more ridiculous than him and doesn't even have an excuse. He can guess that he trained a lot as a kid but he's yet to mention it. Same goes for Hinagiku and Yukiji. Yukiji likely trained to beat up Yakuza since she had to pay the debt their parents left them much like Hayate's parents did to him and can do even more insane feats of raw strength than Hayate but with much less skill and finesse. Hinagiku can match Hayate in combat and can slice boulders with wooden swords with her only training being that she's the Kendo Team Captain and that she always tries her best at everything she does...considering the rest of the Kendo Club's members are still average humans this leaves more questions than it answers.
  • Walter C. Dornez, the Battle Butler of Hellsing, even before he gets turned into a vampire. At over seventy years old, he's capable of acrobatics, dodging a veritable storm of bullets, and wielding his weapons — long, floating, razor-sharp, hair-thin garrote wires — with enough strength and precision to cut apart an entire battalion of vampire soldiers. He was even more badass during World War II when he was only fourteen years old. Case in point: he jumped out of an Allied spyplane, hundreds of feet above the ground, carrying a coffin that probably outweighed him, without a parachute, and landed completely unharmed on the enemy leader's dining room table.
  • Sairaorg Bael in High School D×D went through a rigorous Training from Hell to attain this trope because he couldn't obtain the same power of destruction his two cousins have. In fact, he has very little in the way of awesome devil powers like most of his peers, and this caused most of devil society to write him off as worthless. He defied all of them by simply building up his raw strength and endurance to the point that he can No-Sell his opponents' attacks and win fights in a couple of ground-shattering punches.
  • Taken to extremes by just about every single character in History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi. The story's premise is essentially that with enough hard work and effort, even the weakest person can become amazingly strong.
  • Holyland: In Chapter 170, King somehow slices a beer bottle's neck off with his bare hands.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • The protagonists manage to push open doors weighing several tons simply by going through the Training from Hell for a few months. Afterwards, the main character is shown projecting an obese strongman several dozen meters away simply by pushing him with a single hand. And that's before Nen is even involved. Of course, there's no visible muscular increase.
    • Killua (and indeed, his entire family) is not only immune to every single poison in the world because he has ingested them when he was an infant, but he is also immune to electricity because he received electrical shocks along with the poisons. He can still feel pain, though.
    • Middle-aged Netero is shown practicing ten thousand punches every day, doing it faster and faster until he actually punched faster than the speed of sound. Even after turning into a 110-year-old geezer, he still moves so fast that even the supreme specimens of a monstrously strong species of creatures have no idea what's going on.
  • Elizabeth in I Got My Wish and Reincarnated as the Villainess (Last Boss)! is a strange case. She is born with strong magical powers. However, she only has physical capabilities to match because the person who reincarnated into her was a Delicate and Sickly girl in her past life who's too frail to even leave the bed, and as a result post-reincarnation she overcompensates for it by working out in a Plucky Girl fashion.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Parts 1 and 2 feature this prominently with Hamon energy. By undertaking years of grueling physical training to master specialized breathing techniques, humans are capable of harnessing Hamon energy to wield supernatural abilities, including Healing Hands and sending impacts through solid objects. The key ability, however, is using Hamon to mimic sunlight, enabling its users to destroy vampires and Pillar Men. Besides Hamon itself, some Hamon users display other abilities that fit this trope. Dire could walk in a fashion that produces afterimages. Jonathan could force vampire essence out of his veins and survive catching his own hand on fire using friction. Hell, even before Jojo knew anything about Hamon and was just an ordinary human (albeit a star rugby player), he was able to combat Dio, after he’d already become a vampire, while falling through his family mansion as it burned to the ground. note 
  • Jigoku no Gouka de Yakare Tsuzuketa Shounen: Even before absorbing the flames of hell into his body, Flare is strong enough to easily beat up a whole crowd of shamans his age with nothing but his bare hands and with little apparent effort. He mentions doing 20 sets of 5,000 pushups and 7,000 sit-ups to his master and regularly wears magical restraints too heavy for ordinary people to lift.
  • In Jujutsu Kaisen, Yuji is unnaturally strong for an athletic teenager, able to toss cars through the air, punch through brick walls, and run a 50-meter dash in 3 seconds (all without amplifying his power with cursed energy).
  • The top fighters in Kengan Ashura can achieve superhuman feats such as punching through concrete, moving faster than bullets, and withstanding blows that could easily kill a normal person. But aside from a few anomalies such as Wakatsuki (who is born with denser muscles than normal), Julius (who gains his strength and build through steroids), and the Kure Clan (who practice selective breeding to develop superior genes in their offspring), it is basically stated that all of these fighters achieve their abilities through sheer dedication in training their bodies and a strong determination to win fights and prove themselves superior.
  • There are plenty of characters in Lyrical Nanoha who can use Cyborg implants, Magic Enhancement, or Training from Hell to give themselves Super-Strength. Suzuka doesn't have any of those things yet was able to do a Catch and Return on a dodgeball that Fate had thrown from fifty feet in the air. She does this with one hand and throws it so hard that Fate was knocked unconscious.note 
  • Goro Honda/Shigeno, the main character from the baseball anime/manga Major. The guy can throw fastballs over 100 mph and he's not even using his natural dominant hand. Don't even get us started on his tenacity and endurance.
  • Mashle: Magic and Muscles has Mash, an Un-Sorcerer who lives in a world of mages. Despite his lack of magical abilities, he's trained his muscles well enough to defy physics (e.g. he is able to fly by jumping really high and kicking the air to stay afloat) and is strong enough to defeat even the most powerful mages.
  • The Mazinger series:
    • Kouji Kabuto was a physically average teenager in the original Mazinger Z, but in Shin Mazinger Zero he performs physical feats that should not be possible, possibly due to the constant time travel is somehow heightening his capabilities. He does not seem being initially aware of it, though. In the second timeline, we see he destroys one robot with one single punch and he panics wondering if he is some kind of monster. In the third timeline, he easily dodges the attacks of the Gamia sisters and takes down one of them despite they are several times faster and more agile than a human being (like an amazed Minerva notes).
    • Duke Fleed from UFO Robo Grendizer. In the first episode, Kouji suspected he had hidden something. When he saw Duke leaping several meters upwards in one single bound he realized that guy was not human.
    • Baron Ashura in Shin Mazinger. He/she can fight a Humongous Mecha... on foot!
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam gives us the infamous skyscraper-launching episode. While Domon and Master Asia get all the attention, every Gundam Fighter is an example by necessity. Throughout the series, we get several demonstrations that the top-class fighters (including the Shuffle Alliance and the Devil Gundam's Four Kings) are all perfectly capable of performing their Finishing Moves without their Gundams.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing after an initial battle against the Wing Gundam, Zechs orders a military analyst to figure out what kind of pilot is in there. The analyst's computer says that based on the Gundam's top speed, g-forces experienced while turning and reaction speed that the pilot isn't human. Zechs remarks that the pilot must have undergone special training to be able to handle the Gundam.
  • My Hero Academia has many heroes who train their muscles as well as their Quirk, but a few take it to superhuman levels:
    • Eraser Head wields a "capture weapon" — a giant, super-strong scarf used to entangle enemies — and can use it to create Instant Knots and throw people around. He's able to fight a horde of villains with mutation quirks (which he can't erase) using only his martial arts skills.
    • Sir Nighteye is able to punch Rappa's clone so hard he leaves a crater in the wall and is able to throw his five-kilogram seals like bullets.
    • Stain's quirk cannot be activated until after he's ingested someone's blood, yet he is able to go toe-to-toe with heroes who should dramatically outclass him in speed and strength with just his blades and skill. That said, if he does manage to land a hit, he's effectively won.
    • The fact he is six feet of brick shithouse muscle comparable to All Might's musculature makes it easy to forget that Endeavor's Quirk doesn't do anything to his physical abilities. The guy still punches around bulletproof Nomu and fell higher than skyscrapers after a grueling battle already brought him to his limits.
    • Similar to Endeavor and Sir Nighteye, Mirio Togata's Quirk doesn't affect his physical strength, but he trained his body so intensely that he was able to hold himself for a full 5 minutes against Overhaul after Mirio lost his Quirk. In fact, Mirio was so good, All Might even considered him to be a potential next user for One For All.
    • The ultimate example, however, falls on lead protagonist Izuku Midoriya. He is a scrawny kid who trained under All Might for almost a year, gaining enough durability to use One for All and only break bones after repeated use. Keep in mind, if a normal person used it, their arms would be blown clean off from the recoil alone after ONE use.
  • In Naruto, even without the Functional Magic using chakra, ninja can jump dozens of meters, hit targets with inhuman accuracy, punch down stone walls, beat two-story tall bears in sumo wrestling contest, and gain a sense of smell equal to or greater than that of a dog through nothing but physical training.
    • Chakra is a fundamental part of the human anatomy in the series, so it is sort of justified. The entire premise is that everyone is a potential Charles Atlas.
    • Rock Lee practically embodies this trope, even by ninja standards. Not having the ability to control chakra, he constantly trains with insane exercises like always wearing leg weights that appear to have the same mass as a small house. Each.
    • On a similar note, the show, and in particular Rock Lee, seems to reference the unconscious inhibition that the mind places on the body via the Eight Gates. However, opening them to go into Super Mode will quickly lead to exhaustion, and opening all Eight Gates leads to death. The purpose of the Gates is essentially to allow the user to go past the basic human limitations and use 100% of their full physical power.
    • Lee's mentor Might Guy possesses physical power that makes his student look like a pillowcase in comparison. In Six Gates Mode, Guy punches so fast that his fists set on fire simply due to friction, and in Seven Gates Mode, he punches the air so hard that it compresses into a giant exploding tiger head, the size of an island, by physical strength alone. However, this has more to do with the Gates than him specifically. His father, the "Eternal Genin", used all Eight Gates at once, and curbstomped the seven strongest swordsmen in the world. All at once. With what we've seen on screen of it, the Eighth Gate allows the user to bend space with their speed, and break their own legs by kicking someone. Of course, that kick would probably turn a normal person into paste.
    • The Third Raikage has superhuman resilience from training alone. His lightning armor is its own brand of absolute defense, but with wind abilities able to take it out, he has trained himself to be so resilient that even the Rasen-shuriken, the most powerful known wind technique up to that point, does not affect him. He also has the endurance and strength to rival a tailed beast, unarmed and unarmored, and he goes out by managing to take on 10,000 soldiers for 3 days before dying of exhaustion.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Kaede wields shuriken that's taller than she is, and in the epilogue has apparently learned to traverse space without a suit or ship.
    • Ku Fei has taken down demons in fights.
    • Mana is apparently strong enough to flick coins at people with enough force to knock them over. This, at least, could be a faint residual from the earlier time in her life when she received regular physical enhancement from her mage partner. She does have weak unrelated magical powers (as well as the contacts to purchase enchanted ammo). She's also a half-demonfolk.
    • Makie, the only one who's not a trained fighter, did some rather absurd things in an early appearance just with her gymnastics training, including using her ribbon as a whip to snatch a book from a large monster and Indiana Jones over a pitfall. Later on, she uses the ribbon to pick up and throw Negi.
    • Ayaka, despite Not Being Able To Catch Up, is currently the only Ordinary High School Girl to actually land any kind of hit on a member of the Ala Alba. Not even Makie or Yuna could pull that off.
    • Later revelations show that Jack Rakan started out as a slave in a gladiatorial combat arena and became uber-strong through 40 or so years of fighting in tournaments and wars. He is stated to be stronger than Fate, who could almost beat Negi in a stand-up fight at the very end of the series. He breaks out of a dimension imprisoning him through willpower alone. He survives his own unmaking, though only briefly, by focusing hard enough. He is... well, you understand. He also used magic, of course, but in the world he lived in, this was hardly a superpower.
  • One Piece uses both Western and Eastern variantsnote  on absolutely everyone. Every power mentioned in the trope description — most often literally the intentionally hyperbolic description given — is displayed by someone in the series. Luffy punches hard enough to knock a grown man through a wharf and leave a knuckle-shaped impression on his face and later carries a massive stone block when Brought Down to Normal. Zoro slices through rocks and steel like paper and can lift buildings. Sanji's incredible kicks allow him topple giants, have kicks superheated by friction to the point they actually ignite, and even walk on air. By the end of the Dressrosa Arc, the only Straw Hats who hadn't gotten in on the action are Chopper (whose Devil Fruit ability gives him actual Super-Strength) and Nami (who by that point had settled into a sort of Squishy Wizard role). This is without getting into World Government's Rokushiki (six specific Charles Atlas Super Powers used by Cipher Pol agents and certain Marine soldiers: Soru, Tekkai, Geppou, Kami-E, Shigan, and Rankyakunote ) or Jozu's ability to pick up an iceberg. We also see that Garp gained his enormous physical strength by using battleships as punching bags without using Haki or Devil Fruit powersnote , a method he has taught to his proteges (including Koby and Kuzan (the former Admiral Aokiji)), which is how they gained extremely power punches that can shatter landscapes. If you want an exhaustive list of everyone in the series covered by this trope, go check out the series character sheets. All 58 categories of them.
  • One-Punch Man:
  • Oyaji, as muscular as he is, possesses strength beyond human limits, he can easily lift people up with just one arm, punch them meters away, and roll a car over all by himself; all that strength came from just working his entire life in body taxing jobs in civil construction, and the time he spent in juvenile detention when he was young.
  • Ranma ½: 99% of the cast do impossible feats of strength, speed, and durability through training alone. Most bizarrely, Mousse carries around an impossible selection of Hidden Weapons, which he insists does not involve any kind of magic. This is even before Ki Manipulation comes into play.
  • Almost everyone in Reborn! (2004) who isn't a comic relief character (and several who are.) Practice something enough, and you'll gain godlike skill in it, no matter what it is. Are you good at boxing? Keep up the training and soon you'll be able to destroy half a gymnasium with one punch. Adept at ranking people's talents? Eventually you'll get so good at it, you'll develop a superhuman ranking skill so intense that you'll NEGATE GRAVITY AROUND YOURSELF AS A SIDE EFFECT OF THINKING ABOUT IT. Oh, and also, a one-year-old infant can earn a PHD in advanced mathematics without giving up his day job as the world's most feared and respected mafia hitman. Inspiring!
  • Quite a bit of the cast from Rurouni Kenshin, the protagonist being the most obvious. Of course, Kenshin did live through both a Training from Hell and a bloody conflict in which he served as an assassin. (The series itself does somewhat attempt to justify all of the Charles Atlas Superpowers: Soujirou spent his childhood carrying heavy objects and sealed away his emotions due to abuse; Aoshi is a Ninja and thus an expert in stealth techniques; Usui's blindness subsequently enhanced the senses already sharpened by years of training; etcetera.) Of particular note is Sano's Training from Hell which lasted only a week and taught him to punch in a special way that would make things explode.
    • The movie has an unusual example: Kendall-e, the villain, is apparently capable of making people's lungs seize up just by staring at them. He explicitly states that this is not magical in any way. (The manga "explains" this as a form of hypnotism.)
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailor Jupiter is a high school girl who in her debut fight picked a Monster of the Week up over her head and tossed it, without transforming. She pulls off a similar stunt later in the same season when taking lessons from a figure skater. Between her height and muscles, he's unable to lift her properly. Makoto on the other hand can lift him up and hold him over her head for several seconds without any apparent strain.
    • Minako. In the anime we 'only' see her routinely Roof Hopping without transforming (something not even Makoto can) and outrun a car minutes after donating blood and with her Heart Crystal extracted (the latter being something that had instantly knocked out everyone else), but in the manga she once had to fight a Brainwashed and Crazy Makoto and defeated her with one kick. And where Makoto is a natural, Minako is shown having trained hard for it.
  • Every single Saint, Shogun, and Spectre in Saint Seiya, where even the kindest and gentlest Saint had to endure horrific experiences that later endowed him with supernatural fighting skills. In the case of Spectres (and Phoenix Saint Ikki), they endured a very literal Training from Hell. Considering they all started their training as small boys under the age of ten, and their weakest moves were at the speed of sound by his 13th birthday...
  • Sket Dance:
    • Himeko (the "Onihime") is a beautiful bruiser who can take on an army of delinquents with nothing but her natural strength and a WOODEN hockey stick.
    • Played for laughs with Koma-chan who scares away/injures her suitors with her freakish strength. She also breaks her cellphone's keypad because of it.
  • Gourry Gabrieve of Slayers is able to flick acorns with enough power to put serious holes in the bodies of trolls (Lina had cast a spell on them to reverse their usual regenerative skills, but being able to put those holes there was all Gourry).
  • Spy X Family: Most of the government agents are capable of feats that are borderline impossible in reality, but the most extreme example is Yor, who's done things like causing a car accident by kicking the car off the road, or hitting a tennis ball so hard that the racket strings slice the ball into pieces.
  • Symphogear:
    • Genjuro can do absolutely insane things like blocking Magical Girl Warrior attacks (once a BFS) with his fists or stomp the ground so hard it sends parts of the road flying because of his martial arts training. Martial arts training whose sole purpose seems to be copying the movesets of Akuma and Bruce Lee.
    Chris: What happened?
    Genjuro: I neutralized the explosion using a martial arts technique.
    • Shinji Ogawa, Tsubasa's manager, can walk on water, seal people's movement by stitching their shadows, and has Improbable Aiming Skills. Because according to Word of God, he is a ninja.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, this is a necessity for Ghoul Investigators since their opponents are superhuman beings that frequently have Super-Strength, Super-Speed, and Combat Tentacles. Amon in particular is shown to train religiously, with his apartment almost entirely focused around exercise equipment. When a pair of minor coworkers ask him about the training Investigators undergo at the Academy, he states that rules prohibit him from discussing the details with them. During the finale, it is even noted that Investigators are much stronger than normal, which makes them ideal for use in risky experiments to create a Half-Human Hybrid Super-Soldier.
  • Toriko justifies this with Gourmet Cells.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-:
    • In a fight Syaoran Li will kick damn near anything from a giant icicle blade, big muscular guy with superhuman strength granted by magic to a God Bird Thing.
    • Kurogane can, not counting his sword skills, punch down a stone wall barehanded.
  • Parodied in Welcome to the NHK when Satou decides to test if he has gained powers like those characters have from training alone on a mountain from living alone in his apartment. He successfully karate-chops a beer bottle but cuts his hand.
  • Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! is probably the most egregious example. Put down stopping a gun from firing by throwing a playing card in front of the hammer to incredible reflexes, or him judo-throwing a thug to his martial arts training. But throwing his little brother onto a moving blimp several meters away while sprinting at full speed, and then leaping onto the top of the steps himself? And that's not even counting all the twenty-foot drops from helicopters he's performed without shattering his ankles.
  • YuYu Hakusho: It's understandable that Yusuke and Kurama can achieve this due to the fact that they're both human/demon hybrids in some way. But God damn it if Kuwabara isn't this trope, what with his ability to knock down trees with several punches.note 

  • Played with by Bill Cosby in one of his early routines, where he talked about a karate instructor who could break bricks and boards, all the while telling his students that the secret was to think through the brick, i.e. try to hit a point beyond the brick and not just focus on the surface. Being Bill Cosby, this was brought to its logical conclusion by the instructor getting a brick, yelling that he wasn't thinking of the surface of the brick, he was thinking two feet past it, and karate chops the brick. Unfortunately for the instructor, this brick was thinking "oh, no you won't!" The end result being a karate instructor with a broken arm.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Aquaman is a borderline case. Technically, he doesn't have super-strength, but he has an Atlantean physique, built to withstand the ocean currents — which means that he's stronger than an average surface dweller of the same build. In his original Golden Age origin story, this was played straight. He was a normal guy who learned how to breathe underwater and do everything due to Atlantean training techniques.
    • Batman recovered from having his back snapped in half with no ill effects (albeit with the help of a friend with healing powers) and constantly goes toe to toe with superhuman foes and triumphs, just because he's trained that hard. In The Batman Adventures #6, it was a plot point that Bruce Wayne is capable of an unassisted ten-foot vertical jump (the world record is four). He would later move away from this, winning battles less because of training and more because of tactics. One could say that Batsy's power is Awesomeness by Analysis to an amazing degree; he makes sure he can analyze any weakness as quickly as possible. Grant Morrison is largely responsible for switching Batman's primary ability to Crazy-Prepared, but in Batman (Grant Morrison) he still manages to, while having tea with a monk, reflexively swap cups, assuming that his was poisoned (it was), in the time it took the monk to blink.
      • His various pupils, like the Robins, have their own variations on this. Dick Grayson is the child of circus acrobats and is thus incredibly agile. Tim Drake, on the other hand, is more methodical and uses strategy instead of strength most of the time. Jason Todd is powered by RAGE to the point that he uses battle tactics to bring his opponents into a world of pain, even defeating his 'brothers' in combat on several occasions.
      • May be subverted with Robin V/Damian Wayne. It's been implied that, as a descendant of Ra's al Ghul, he was subjected to genetic experimentation by the League of Assassins. He was even more rigorously trained, at a younger age, than any previous Robin in physical combat and martial arts.
      • Cassandra Cain as Batgirl is possibly one of the most over-the-top examples in Western comics. Being raised as an assassin from birth is used to explain how she can dodge bullets being fired directly at her head from less than a foot away, and even ones she can't hear or see being fired from, perhaps, miles away. Even when she is actually hit by a bullet, she can do so without flinching, because she was conditioned from when she was very young to ignore the pain. As a means of explanation that strains credulity, she was not taught to interpret speech or writing but instead taught human movement as a language (e.g., through recognition of tensing in specific arm and hand muscles, avoids gunfire by reacting first away from the direction of a pointed gun). She is shown on multiple occasions as basically having Spider-Sense. It's implied that there might be something more to her abilities, given that her mother (who did not go through that training) has similar abilities (and it's confirmed multiple times that neither of them are metahumans), but it's never really explored, save for a brief mention by some government agents that her hormone levels are incredibly odd.
      • Kate Kane's training to become Batwoman involved a number of superhuman-like feats, such as fighting blindfolded, catching arrows in flight, learning to ignore pain, and building up resistance to drugs and other chemical agents. The results left her with incredibly high pain tolerance and durability (best seen when she was stabbed in the heart and fully recovered) and strength well above that of an average human (such as being able to shatter a stone statue with a single punch).
      • Huntress has dead-eye aim with her crossbow and has unusually high endurance and fighting abilities, with her backstory establishing that she was trained to take vengeance on her family's killers. Also, she can perform acrobatics in high heels.
      • In one story, Robin is amazed by the physical feats of Bane and, logically, assumes he's on Venom. But guess what, he is not! Of course it's the training Bane had in prison, silly.
      • Catwoman also has this, in addition to her thieving skills, such that she can contend with Batman.
      • Batman '66 #61: Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, creates a device that is able to brainwash people with a strobe light-like effect. Once Batman manages to snap Robin out of it, they pretend to be brainwashed to get closer to her, and then explain how they avoided the effect: They were consistently blinking their eyes out of sync with the strobe light, thus preventing it from reaching their eyes. Batman calls it "a simple thing".
        Marsha: This is impossible!
        Batman: Nothing is impossible when you keep to a high standard of self-discipline, Marsha.
    • The Golden Age hero Black Condor had the ability to fly. Nothing too out there for a superhero, right? Oh no, unlike other flying heroes like Hawkman, the Falcon, or the Angel (who all either rely on specialized flight suits or are Winged Humanoids), Black Condor learned to fly from years of studying vultures. Yes, apparently watching birds long enough will allow you to defy gravity and basic laws of physics. When the character was incorporated into The DCU, retroactive continuity was invoked to credit the power to irradiation by Magic Meteor.
    • Unsurprisingly, Grant Morrison drove this trope to the hilt in their run on Doom Patrol with Flex Mentallo, a forgotten hero obviously modeled after old Charles Atlas ads (a bit too obviously, as a trademark lawsuit kept the comics from being reprinted for some years) with the ability to warp reality by flexing his muscles.
    • The Flash villain the Top's lifelong obsession with spinning tops led him to teach himself how to spin really fast — fast enough to deflect bullets. Also, years of spinning increased his intelligence and gave him immense psionic powers because apparently, all the spinning caused dormant brain cells to move to the outer areas of his brain. And, of course, he also has the Required Secondary Power of not getting dizzy. The sheer absurdity of this eventually led to him being explicitly given psionic powers.
    • Green Arrow manages to shoot arrows in a physically impossible manner because he was stranded on an island for several years, where the only food he could find was the island's population of extremely agile animals. Coy hints have been dropped here and there that he might be a metahuman. Red Arrow meanwhile has perfect aim, is faster than Green Arrow, and does not appear to be a metahuman despite being related to Vandal Savage.
    • Karate Kid of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Legion's constitution requires every member to have an intrinsic superpower, and numerous Legionnaire hopefuls were denied membership because their powers were not sufficiently impressive. However, Karate Kid does not have an actual superpower; his abilities are instead the result of intensive training in (fictionalized) martial arts, and the Legion as a whole tends to gloss over the subject of just what Karate Kid's superpower actually is — after he demonstrated that he could put the ridiculously powerful Silver Age Superboy in a headlock, he was in. Somewhere along his history, the ability to inherently determine the weaknesses of opponents became the official justification for why he was more than just a martial artist. Then there's the time when he kicked the Physical God Darkseid in the face.
    • Mr. Miracle is a borderline case. As a New God, he does have innate superhuman abilities... but his ability to escape quite literally anything is explicitly not one of them; he practiced by escaping Granny Goodness's orphanage as a kid. He's able to teach his skills to his protege Shilo Norman, who is an ordinary human and has achieved feats of escape on par with or surpassing his teacher, proving that the escapology is all skill.
    • Richard Dragon and Lady Shiva, who both helped train Batman and The Question, also exhibit this. Lady Shiva has very close to the same abilities as her daughter, Cassandra Cain.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): The Golden Age Wonder Woman got her super-powers from training in "Amazonian concentration" — it was even a skill that Amazons could teach to normal human females. The Silver Age of Comic Books retconned Wonder Woman as a clay statue brought to life with powers straight from the Gods. Etta Candy, Bobby Strong, and Glamora Treat all had Amazonian martial arts training that allowed them to commit superhuman feats despite the Holliday Girls all being completely human.
  • In the world of Global Frequency, biofeedback not only allows you to unlock greater control of pain and strength but accelerated healing, raising the question of why Mother Nature would lock away normal humans' potential in the first place. In GF #10, two biofeedback nuts throw down against each other. They ignore blow after punishing blow, shrug off gunshot- and stab wounds, and continue functioning despite bent-backwards joints and a plucked-out eye. The fight only ends when one rips the other's arm off with his bare hands. It's worth noting what the backup plan if the good biofeedbacker lost was — destroy the entire building complex with an air strike.
  • In Kick-Ass, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl (in particular) are capable of crazy stunts and incredible exploits by virtue of good ol' training and perseverance. Kick-Ass and Red Mist are certainly aware of the trope but don't get anywhere near that.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Avengers: The Initiative:
      • One of Taskmaster's favorite trainees is Melee, whose power is that she knows martial arts. All of them.
      • MVP's incredible physical capabilities mirror those of Captain America, but are due to a severe, revolutionary diet and exercise regimen that he'd been put through since infancy. Contrary to what was assumed when MVP was recruited, his great-grandfather being the inventor of Captain America's Super Serum was more or less a coincidence. Former Nazi scientist Baron von Blitzschlag is stunned to hear this; he'd never have imagined such a perfect specimen would be the sole product of eating right and working out. This is quite possibly a reference to the trope namer, who used to advertise in Marvel comics. Or perhaps Doc Savage, who has a very similar backstory.
    • Daredevil's Super-Senses can explain his increased reactions — he notices tension, hints of movement, and so on before anyone else would — but his endurance and strength are pure training. His Arch-Enemy, Bullseye, has no superpowers, but both his ability to aim and his ability to throw projectiles to lethal effect basically serve the same purpose. The latter includes throwing incredibly un-aerodynamic things, such as playing cards and straightened paperclips; indeed, it's been said that anything is a deadly weapon in his hands, to the point that his prison guards won't even give him a plastic spoon to eat with, and his meals have stool softeners mixed in them for fear that he may use a solid bowel movement as a weapon. It's one thing to be a brilliant marksman with thrown weapons. It's quite another to make the objects you throw defy the laws of physics.
    • Born an ordinary human, Elektra developed her powers through years and years of training — and, as seen in her Dark Reign crossover, is capable of dodging bullets. Mostly. Corrupt government agents were plinking at her. The commanding officer figures out the best BLAM! Don't go on about it too much and she can be hit.
    • While most of The Inhumans get superpowers from ritualistic exposure to the mutagenic Terrigen Mist, Karnak forewent the ritual and instead spent his adolescence in a monastery, training in physical and mental discipline. This left him with super-calloused skin, complete conscious control over his body's autonomic functions, and the extrasensory ability to sense the structural weakness in anything or anyone, allowing him to beat stronger opponents and shatter objects as hard as steel with a single well-aimed blow. That said, it should be noted that a baseline Inhuman is considerably stronger than a baseline human, being naturally somewhere in the Captain America range.
    • The Iron Fist Danny Rand, even when not harnessing magic dragon chi, can do things most normal humans can't, like survive a massive explosion meant to take out an entire city and cutting through the Achilles tendon of a giant with a karate chop. A few of the other Immortal Weapons also qualify, such as Fat Cobra, who is as big as a sumo wrestler and fast as a ninja, and has expressed the belief that with the power of chi, an ant can wrestle an elephant into submission.
      "The bigger they are, the harder they fall when you cut their Achilles tendon."
    • Apparently this is how Ka-Zar acquired his nebulous "connection to the Savage Land" that lets him use the Animalistic Abilities.
    • Iron Man: The Mandarin is known for his ability to beat the tar out of Iron Man with his bare hands. It's explicitly stated at one stage that he has Ki Manipulation, and his ten rings of power are sometimes claimed to reinforce his structural integrity.
    • The Kingpin is very, very strong thanks to all that time in his gym. He can give even Spider-Man (a genuine superhuman with serious Super-Strength, agility, endurance, and of course, Spider-Sense) a hard time with his raw strength, or so it seems — Back in Black has an enraged Spidey demonstrate that all these years, he'd been holding back, and effortlessly beats the Kingpin to a whimpering pulp with his bare hands. Even so, Kingpin's absurdly strong, and often applies it for mundane things like executing incompetents. As seen in Daredevil #171, his vault's door doesn't even have a key or lock; it's just so damned heavy that only he has the muscle to operate it.
    • Moon Knight is also a notable example, being basically an Ax-Crazy Batman in white. After he was forced to register as a superhero and let in with the understanding that while he was borderline on the psych tests, at least he wasn't powerful enough to cause real harm, the Profile suggested that his insanity was his superpower.
    • The Punisher:
      • In The Punisher MAX, the Punisher is hardcore enough to take enough damage to kill a thousand men, but just keeps coming back. Sample Inner Monologue after being blasted at point-blank range with a shotgun: "That's a rib gone. Not broken. Gone." His enemy, Barracuda, is essentially an evil version of the Punisher and just as hardy.
      • In the original War Zone series, Punisher once went up against a mercenary named Roc, who was impervious to harm. The explanation given was that he was incredibly muscular and had no nerve endings. This doesn't explain how he was able to survive being shot at point-blank range with a double-barreled shotgun, or how he shrugged off getting a large knife shoved between his shoulder blades.
      • The first incarnation of the Russian is another good example. He's never stated to have any explicit superpowers, yet exhibits strength far exceeding the limit for a comic book peak human. The guy actually squeezes a mook to death with a one-armed hug. The real kicker is that he does this by accident; he was genuinely trying to be friendly!
    • Shang-Chi, a kung-fu artist with no supernatural powers, can dodge and block bullets, kick down steel doors, survive subzero temperatures half-naked, and hold his own against The Thing!
    • She-Hulk:
      • Jennifer Walters's super strength in her Hulk form is proportional to how strong her base human form is. During an issue where she was preparing to fight The Champion in a boxing match, she spent months training in her regular Jennifer Walters form, and by the end of it was several magnitudes more powerful in her Hulk form than she had been.
      • One of She-Hulk's lesser-known foes is Ultima, a woman who can enhance her physical abilities to superhuman levels for brief periods of time, a technique she unlocked through intense meditation and discipline. This ability is known as "Positive Mental Attitude" and was taught to her by her father, Jack Wordman.
    • Spider-Man:
      • Spider-Man displays this during the countless occasions that he, for one reason or another, temporarily loses his spider-powers. Subverted by a still-powered Spider-Man. In one arc, he underwent some "chi" training so that he wouldn't always act on instinct. Later, when chased by homing bullets, he attempts to catch them out of the air. He does snag one, but the other drills straight through his palm and into his shoulder, at which point Pete passes out. After developing his fighting style, "the Way of the Spider", Spidey equaled Shang-Chi in combat.
      • Black Cat also has this, being able to occasionally keep up with Spider-Man in strength, speed, and agility even when she doesn't have superpowers.
    • The Taskmaster, aside from his "photographic reflexes", has no superpowers at all. Yet he still can stand toe to toe with plenty of heroes or villains by virtue of the fact that he's incredibly fit, and those reflexes. He even can achieve a limited form of superspeed by watching recordings of himself in fast-forward.
    • Wolverine: Ogun is such a great swordsman that it makes him telepathic. As in, he can attack people with a sword and then they turn into martial arts masters.
    • X-Men:
      • When Storm lost her powers, she just relied on her natural abilities. She could have taken on Galactus like that.
      • Most of the X-Men are capable of extraordinary feats unrelated to their powers. Somewhat attributed to the fact that, instead of gym, their students take Danger Room classes.
  • The Multiversity: In ''Conquerors of the Counter-World", the Atom (Al Pratt), explains that his feats of strength are a result of completing "Iron Munro's bodypower course", simultaneously giving a shout-out to the Young All-Stars character and the trope namer.
  • John Doe of Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja is, by all accounts, a non-powered ordinary man. Even so, he can dodge bullets with Super-Reflexes, kill a roomful of men in several seconds, and alter the perceptions of everyone nearby with a chant. Justified in that he has been trained as a Ninja since the age of nine.
  • The Phantom, the guy in the purple suit. Said to have trained by lifting a growing cow every day (no doubt taken from history via a Greek man named Milo, who is held by legend to be the strongest man who ever lived. Milo lifted a growing calf until it matured into a bull, thus giving Milo incredible strength).
  • Johnny Saturn I, aka John Underhall, appears somewhat superhuman, able to defeat whole teams of super-powered foes, or leap from a great distance and catch hold of a careening semi. It is soon found out that Underhall has paid a tremendous price for these 'abilities,' and that his body is worn out, he's broken every bone in his body including his spine, and he's a painkiller addict.
  • In Scott Pilgrim, there's "The Boys And Crash", one of the rival bands to Sex Bob-Omb. In Volume 3, they reveal that they've trained to control sound waves through "hard work and willpower alone", which they put to use against Todd Ingram.
  • Sin City has its fair share. Miho, Kevin, and Wallace all perform feats that should be impossible for normal humans, apparently due to their martial arts abilities. Miho kicked a man's head off his shoulders (granted, she sliced his neck first but that's still damned impressive), Wallace used a meditation technique to remember events after he was drugged and could catch a thrown knife in a dark forest despite not knowing he was being watched, and Kevin can apparently make people go numb with a quick jab. There was also the Elite Mook from Big Fat Kill who could cause intense pain just by touch. Also, characters such as Marv, Dwight, Manute, and even Hartigan display abilities that should be impossible even though they are technically normal people.
  • The Strange Talent of Luther Strode: Pretty much the entire plot. The titular character sends away for the "Hercules Method", a book modelled after the Charles Atlas program. With its help, by the end of the first miniseries is transformed from scrawny weakling into a ripped, unstoppable killing machine, tearing apart his foes with his bare hands.
  • Watchmen: Ozymandias, as for most of the story he just seems very physically fit, but in the final act, he catches a bullet. (It tears up his hand, and he doesn't quite believe it himself.) There's an interview he has at the end of the second-to-last comic where he firmly believes any normal human can be just as built as he is, you just need the will to see it through.
    • In a blatant reference to Charles Atlas himself, Adrian actually sells a mail-order self-improvement course including both mental and physical training advice, written in the "Congratulations on buying this book, friend. Let me guide you to becoming a new you!" style that Atlas himself used. Also, Ozymandias is named after the Greek name of an Egyptian Pharaoh who has become legendary, and Angelo Siciliano changed his name to Charles Atlas to evoke the image of a Greek God.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Spider-Man, Peter goes up against Kingpin only to find himself being fought to a stalemate. Kingpin explains the origin of his newfound super strength - he hired a personal trainer.

    Eastern Animation 
  • Played for Laughs with the Treasure Island (1988) version of Jim Hawkins, who is given the Adaptational Badass treatment by being able to slice through thick trees with one swoop of his hand, dole out Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, and literally beat one pirate to a pulp before putting him back together to give him one final knock-out punch. And how is this nerdy-looking teenager able to accomplish all this? Because he does his exercises every day! Cue a song from the movie's Greek Chorus about the benefits of exercise.

    Fan Works 
  • In Cheshire (Miraculous Ladybug), Marinette, by constantly wearing at last more than one Miraculous, began to increase her magical endurance to the point that she can wear three Miraculouses (so far).
  • In the fanfic Co-op Mode, this is invoked by the Gamer ability, as continued exercise can and would increase the physical stats of a person to inhuman levels. However, considering the difficulty of training a stat gets higher as the value of that stat grows, this can also be considered as a Zig-Zagging Trope.
  • In A Gamer In South Blue, from the earliest days of his new life, Jack invested in his STR stat making him far, far stronger than he appeared. It remains his biggest asset throughout the story.
  • In Doctor Who fanfic Gemini, Villain Protagonist Captain June Harper’s superhuman speed, strength, and hand-eye coordination are described as her simply being from the 51st Century rather than from any kind of technological augmentation
  • In My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic, to compensate for his lack of magical ability, the Grand Ruler trains Lightning Dawn intensively to be physically stronger and faster than the other characters. Somehow, he still finds himself tuckered out by carrying crates and baskets of vegetables.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • In the Dark World timeline, Discord cursed Derpy to walk laps around his castle indefinitely while Rarity carried a huge boulder on her back everywhere. After being freed, they both had super strength.
    • General Hercules, Chrysalis' military leader, is the World's Strongest Man, at least for his race's standards. Most Changelings' specialty is stealth and shapeshifting, being the Master of None in all other areas, meaning that they're no match at all in terms of pure strength in comparison to Earth Ponies. Hercules? He can hold his own in a test of strength with an Earth Pony black belt and is so durable that having a wall collapsed on his head doesn't do more than annoy him. While he's been genetically modified, that was to give him Instant Armor, his strength is all this trope.
  • Subverted in Amazing Fantasy. Izuku has thought about this but doesn't devote himself to the idea because he's a young teenager without a guide to get him to his goal of becoming a Hero. He knows that being a Badass Normal isn't practical in the long-term on his Earth, but he just doesn't want to let his dream of being like All Might go. In the end, it takes a spider bite to give him the powers he needs to achieve his dream.
    It was sad, really. Clinging to his dream despite his condition. One would think he would devote his mind and body to training, like one of those comic characters of old... But that was fiction. This was reality.
  • This trope is deconstructed in one episode of Dragon Ball Z Abridged. In Episode 41, Tien retrieves Chiaotzu so they could train more against the Androids. Chiaotzu brings up that a (now former) doctor had warned Tien that his shoulders were getting too big.
    Tien: That's why we don't see him anymore.
  • Since The Butcher Bird is a One Piece fic, this abounds, but standout examples include Jack, Gin, Dayavin Tenzin, and Ensign Tashigi. Most of the Nightmare Pirates and their rank and file used to qualify, but Vinci and his Augment surgeries blurred the line between this trope and a straight-up Super-Soldier.
  • Izuku in Pro Hero Metal Bat has no quirk, but can hit a ball 2.5 kilometers away with his bat. He can also smash through villain-bots and damage the Zero-pointer.
  • Oni Ga Shiku Series: Just about every Badass Normal - as in, not a Quirk user - in the series develops into this trope over time because they Had to Be Sharp. The various known Yakuza members like Majima, Kiryu or Saeijma, who are constantly getting into fights against people trying to kill them, are known to have strength, speed and durability that's stated to be otherwise impossible without a Quirk. Majima is so fast that he even leaves Speed Echoes. With that in mind, Majima and Kiryu (as well as a few guest trainers) subject Izuku to Training from Hell with this trope in mind. All that said, Izuku acknowledges that without the Heat (which is... some kind of energy that has no real definition), the Charles Atlas Superpower would not be able to reach superpower levels.

    Films — Animation 
  • Gaston from Beauty and the Beast is shown to be able to lift a wooden bench with his three triplet girl admirers on it, coming to somewhere upward of 400 pounds, with one hand and with relative ease. Theoretically, someone might be capable of doing this in Real Life, but they'd basically have to be an Olympic weightlifter. (This is one reason why Gaston doesn't boast so much about his "biceps to spare" in the live-action remake.)
  • Brave: For Merida, drawing a bowstring is no mere effort. Hitting bullseye after bullseye with a bow isn't either. Merida can do this because she practices whenever she can. She can also tear a dress apart simply by flexing while wearing it, bend wrought-iron fireplace implements, and has enough strength to lock blades with her visibly brawny father when he was about to kill her ursified mother. Like Father, Like Daughter, since King Fergus certainly didn't get his immense strength by just languishing either.
  • The titular hero in Disney's Hercules has overt superpowers... but even when he explicitly signs them away to Hades as part of a Deal with the Devil and is said to become an ordinary mortal, he seemingly retains superhuman durability, managing to tank multiple blows from a hundred-foot cyclops that throw him dozens of yards through the air and crack stone on impact.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, it is implied if not outright shown that the Furious Five can handle just about anything thrown at them in a kung fu fight, no matter whether that particular animal is truly that strong or resilient in real life. Mantis, somehow, is able to hold up a broken suspension bridge with five other people on it, including the very heavy Tai Lung and Tigress, while Crane, though spindly as hell, is able to carry Tigress out of the gorge. It is Shifu, Tai Lung, and Po who truly take the cake however, as between the two climactic fights they engage in, these three somehow manage to survive things no one possibly could, emerging only with mussed fur, bent whiskers, and the occasional dazed stagger.
  • Disney's Mulan has most of the Chinese army partake in this trope. The "I'll Make A Man Out of You" montage even shows their training, which involves feats like breaking cement blocks with their faces. Shang is initially the only one able to do all of those things, but everyone, even Mulan, eventually starts managing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, the titular aspiring slasher killer is an ordinary man who rigorously trains himself to pull off the feats that slashers normally do in the course of a night of hacking up teenagers. He has learned how to slow his heartbeat to almost nothing in order to fake his death and come back for another massacre, and Menacing Stroll faster than most people can run. During the third act, he gets to put all of these skills to use. In the film's universe, slasher movie villains like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers were likewise ordinary spree killers whose feats were so badass and horrifying that Urban Legends arose attributing supernatural strength and powers to them.
  • In Cinderella Man, Jim Braddock explains that he developed an unusually strong left arm when he had to use it to haul fish for his day job after injuring his right.
  • Commando introduces Arnold Schwarzenegger's character with him nonchalantly carrying an entire tree with one arm, and throughout the course of the film, he will also rip an occupied phone booth right out of the ground and rip a padlock and chain off a fence, and throw a steam pipe clean through another human being.
  • Downplayed in The Dark Knight Trilogy thanks to this series' more realistic take on the Batman mythos and somehow justified with Bruce Wayne's Training from Hell in Batman Begins, he still shows some nearly superhuman skills like disappearing without others noticing or having enough power to lift a mafia boss out of his car over the course of the movies. In The Dark Knight Rises a several injured Bruce also is able to heal from his back being broken and escape a prison hole thanks to sheer willpower.
  • DSS agent Luke Hobbs from The Fast and the Furious series sometimes demonstrates outright superhuman strength. In The Fate of the Furious, he is able to toss humans around like paper, punch dents into steel walls, rip off metal handcuffs, shrug off rubber bullets and even break through barricades of police officers with riot-control shields without slowing down. Considering who portrays him, this shouldn't come off as a surprise.
  • Sam Sei in Full Contact went from being a clumsy, abject coward to a fully-fledged badass after committing the ultimate act of cowardice by agreeing to betray his best friend and work for his Bad Bad cousin in exchange for his life. In less than a year he is able to wield a gun like nobody's business and no longer fears death.
  • Most of the Joes from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra are pretty impressive, but Snake Eyes takes the cake. He does more during the Paris chase scene than the rest of his team combined (including catching up to Baroness' Humvee on foot... faster than his teammates in Powered Armor and a motorcycle).
  • Deconstructed in Hanna. The titular character is hunted constantly, every person she's close to gets killed, and to top it all off, she's part of a destroyed Super-Soldier project.
  • Kill Bill, where the Bride punches her way out of a coffin and the rest of the cast are no slouches, either.
  • Played for Laughs in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, where thanks to spending his life under constant attack the Chosen One can create wind by spinning a staff really fast, do several dozen somersaults in one jump, and do push-ups without using his hands. Master Pain/Betty is somehow even more ridiculous, given he can take four people whacking on him with sticks without flinching, including repeated blows to the crotch.
  • A necessary part of live-action movies that feature actors who are clearly not trained athletes. In the final scene of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Angelina Jolie, who is athletic but not particularly buff, takes a series of punches and kicks that would break the bones of an offensive tackle, then picks her 110 lb. body up off the ground, beats the bad guy, and sprints away at top speed.
  • In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), CIA agent Napoleon Solo has the standard action-movie hero toughness and James Bond-esque spy skills; for instance, he falls out of a speedboat and crashes an ATV without suffering any significant injuries, while KGB agent Illya Kuryakin is able to chase down a car on foot and rip off the trunk door, dodge bullets while sitting down, throw a motorcycle and knock a man unconscious by slapping him on the side of the head.
  • Cinematic examples of the Masked Luchador such as El Santo often demonstrate this trope. Luchadors are shown performing extraordinary feats of strength and willpower but are not treated as "superhuman" in the ordinary sense of the word.
  • Any ninja in Ninja Assassin can do things like "shadow-blending" (where they can literally disappear in front of you), moving at ridiculous speeds, and self-healing with sufficient training. Halfway through the film, they slice up a well-trained Europol squad but get the tables reversed on them at the end in a Big Damn Heroes moment. Can't really "shadow-blend" with floodlights in your face.
  • Chiun in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins is a master of Sinanju, and by virtue of this ultimate martial art is able to dodge any attack, including bullets at any range, as well as run on water near the end of the film.
  • Rocky tends to portray its boxers as doing things no real man can do; sometimes it's intentional, sometimes it's Fight Scene Failure.
    • Rock himself is the best example. In addition to beating the blatantly superhuman Ivan Drago, he generally is able to take way too many punches to the face from fellow heavyweights without really being debilitated. Rocky Balboa also features Rocky as an arthritic 60+-year-old man with a head full of brain damage that we spent an entire movie looking at and which was supposed to kill him if he took another strong blow to the head, training for about a month before climbing into the ring with unreasonably successful heavyweight champion Mason Dixon (who A. is half his age, and B. had previously smashed dozens of top-tier heavyweight fighters with such ease that his sponsors were seriously considering dropping him because all his fights were too one-sided). Mason proceeds to punch Rocky in the face for for ten rounds until he breaks his hands, then barely remains conscious through the handful of cumbersome blows that the geezer who hadn't boxed in decades lands on him.
    • Mason's hyperbolic level of success (all of his fights ended in the first few rounds, and he had never been so much as knocked down) arguably qualifies on its own, especially since Antonio Tarver is actually a cruiserweight (occasional light heavyweight) in real life and looks it in the film.
    • Ivan Drago, due to Soviet super-steroids enhancing his already muscular 6'5" 240-pound frame, is strong enough to Neck Lift a man with one out-stretched arm. At multiple points in the film he also demonstrates a punch measured at 2,100 pounds of force, which his trainer points out is nearly three times that of the average heavyweight boxer.note  He trains to hit even harder for the climax round.
  • Only a name drop in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when Dr. Frank N. Furter says of his newly-finished creation Rocky that "he carries the Charles Atlas seal of approval". Near the end of the movie, it does take quite a number of shots from Riff Raff's "anti-matter laser" to bring down Rocky. In the original musical, the song "I Can Make You A Man" and its reprise were both originally called "Charles Atlas".
  • Almost any film (well, action films, anyway) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger will have Arnold's character demonstrate this unless the character actually is superpowered. Prominent examples include Commando where Arnold's character is able to rip a phone booth out of the ground and hoist both it (and the man currently using it) over his head, and The Running Man, where he is able to rip an entire weight-machine off the floor and hold both it (and the woman currently sitting in it) up one-handed without visible effort. There's also him punching through a car window in anger in True Lies... except that actually happened, since Arnold missed the prop glass window he was supposed to break and actually punched through a car window.
  • In the Serbian film Underground, Blackie is an electrician by trade, which means he gets shocked all the time and has become completely immune. In the opening scene, he sticks live wires in his mouth without discomfort while fixing a ceiling fan. When Nazis attempt to torture him with a defibrillator, it seems to have no effect on him, even on the highest setting. Confused, a Nazi checks to see if the machine is working and is instantly electrocuted.
  • In Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Raze was remarkably strong for a human. He was able to punch out a Werewolf and fight off the rest. When he is enslaved by the Vampires, he was able to knock one of them away and three were needed to restrain him. He was eventually bitten by a Lycan and turned, which naturally augmented his strength.
  • Pretty much every non-powered hero from Watchmen. The Comedian is able to punch through brick, survive getting his head slammed into a granite countertop, and jump from an aircraft that looks to be almost 3 men off the ground and not give a damn. Ozymandias is not only able to catch a bullet but can jump nearly his entire height (almost six feet) from a sitting position. Rorschach is shown to practically run up a tower in one instance. Note, however, that this is different from the comics the film is based on, where the non-powered heroes are exceptional, but not impossible, humans... except for Ozymandias.
  • In You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Zohan and his Arch-Enemy Phantom have a full range of superpowers through what appears to simply be intense training.

  • Hari/Caine in The Acts of Caine. In Heroes Die he tries to vent his anger against a gel punching bag that hardens against force up to the strength of human bone before resetting. Well before he's gotten the rage out of his system, he's easily, repeatedly working it over.
  • Rook in Astral Cafe is considered the most dangerous bartender in the universe. He spent years training to be the ultimate warrior under the greatest masters alive and then five years honing his abilities in constant battle against alien monsters.
  • Captain Future: After the murder of his parents, Future is raised and trained in isolation by the Futuremen. With sparring partners who are an Artificial Human and a seven-foot-tall Robot Buddy, he's more than a match for any human opponent, and the Brain (a genius scientist who's now a Brain in a Jar) has given Captain Future the education to turn him into an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who is more knowledgeable than the leading scientists in any given field.
  • Deltora Quest:
    • Barda and Lief are Master Swordsmen and Jasmine is extremely skilled thanks to living in the Forest of Silence, and all three of them can hold their own against a Vraal (a creature created for combat) as well as routinely fight and kill even bigger monsters. Normal humans in the Rithmere Games aren't much of a challenge in comparison.
    • Adin, the first King of Deltora (and Lief's ancestor), could hold his own against a Jail Knight in a sword fight and then Adin was taught skilled swordplay by said knight before continuing his journey and with bow he could kill a proto-Vraal with one arrow.
    • Doom/Jarred is probably the best human example, as when captured in the Shadow Lands he fought Vraals in the arena which gave him amnesia and tendency to fight like he has no reason to live. In the Rithmere games, he defeats Barda with only little difficulty and despite losing to Jasmine his daughter he states he let her win.
    • The Jails are outright Blood Knight(s) and were said to be the only race to equal the Vraals in savagely, Glock one of the last members of their race killed a giant tentacle monster with a broken sword though he died in effort.
  • In The Destroyer series of novels, knowing the Supernatural Martial Art of Sinanju allows you to: dodge bullets (and catch them, too), expunge poison from your body, greatly expand one's lifespan (Chiun's master lived to see his 250s before being murdered), Walk on Water, outrun a police car, pick up a police car with one hand, decapitate a grown man with your pinky-nail, count the number of people in a room by measuring the temperature, make a man's intestines fall out with a touch, hack security systems by touching a panel, fall from any height without harm, dry your clothes by raising body temperature, blur your face by vibrating (fools security cameras!), speed-seduce women, ensure that you're the "10th caller" in a radio show, and not sweat.
  • Discworld: A series convention is that survival is a learned skill — the longer you live, the longer you're able to keep living.
    • Cohen the Barbarian is a lifelong adventurer who survived to become a very old man, making him for all intents and purposes unstoppable. Interesting Times mentions his "economy of movement", so that Cohen and the other oldsters of the Silver Horde, are simply always where they want to be, which is never where anyone's sword is. It also helps that Genghiz Cohen and his horde have become smart enough to recognize how Discworld works. Five or so noble men facing an evil army will enjoy some success.
    • His daughter Conina is an even better example due to Discworld genetics. From her mother, she got good looks and a voice that can make a porn star blush. From dear old dad, she got "sinews you could moor a ship with, muscles solid as a plank and reflexes like a snake on a hot tin roof" plus (ahem) heroic instincts and an ability to use anything as a deadly weapon. This doesn't really help in her chosen profession of hairdressing. Being able to disembowel someone with a pair of shears and blind someone with a pair of bobby pins from 20 paces doesn't really look good on her resumé.
    • Captain Carrot also has some degree of this. Raised from birth as an adoptive dwarf and working in the mines from the moment he was able to hold a pickaxe has left him nearly as broad across the shoulders as he is tall, able to knock out Detritus (a huge troll made of stone) with a single punch, run a sword through a stone pillar, and back all that time with incredible stamina and endurance. When the abovementioned Silver Horde was confronted by him, they wisely chose to give up. This is because Genre Savvy works both ways: yes, the small Silver Horde will defeat the big army any time. But guess what happens when a sole hero faces the Horde?
    • The History Monks are able to "slice" time and briefly move outside of it simply as a natural extension of their already astonishing martial arts mastery. Lu-Tze, their greatest agent and sole practitioner of Déjà Fu, can even wipe the floor with the son and, later, Anthropomorphic Personification of Time itself.
  • Doc Savage, from pulp-era novels, is a result of a rigorous Training from Hell routine from birth initiated by his father. "Doc Savage Magazine" discussed the training routine, in 23 articles published from July 1935 to May 1937.
  • The protagonist of Kristin Cashore's novel Graceling Realm has this as a magical talent. In a setting where certain people are "Graced" with a magically-enhanced natural talent that can range from mind control to swimming to cooking, the heroine Katsa is Graced with superhuman survival skills that let her function perfectly without sleep or food for days, withstand blizzards, instinctively know how to live in the wilderness, see in the dark, navigate without a compass, defeat anyone in any kind of combat, and kill anything that she sees as a threat with her bare hands.
  • Raven of the H.I.V.E. Series is this, which she passes on to Wing, who attempts to pass it on to Shelby, although both Alphas are still working at it.
  • Little Eepersip in Barbara Newhall Follett's The House Without Windows ran away from home, "lives wild" in the forest, and spends a lot of time dancing, climbing trees and running around, which is said to make her much stronger and more agile than an average child. Closer to Robin than Batman, doing some pretty unlikely gymnastics when her father and his friends attempt to capture her.
  • Knaves on Waves features several examples. On the physical side, Sheridan and Jacques are well beyond most mortals, while Trigger's aim borders on the supernatural, simply through training and talent.
  • As far as is known, the Seguleh from the Malazan Book of the Fallen don't use magic in their training and just become supreme warriors through discipline and training alone. Mok and his brothers are among the very few non-Ascendants of the series who are able to fight an undead K'ell Hunter and live to tell the tale.
  • One early Nick Carter Dime Novel neatly summarizes Nick's training and abilities: "Giants were like children in his grasp. He could fell an ox with one blow of his small, compact fist. Old Sim Carter had made the physical development of his son one of the studies of his life. Only one of the studies, however. Young Nick's mind was stored with knowledge of a peculiar sort. His gray eyes had, like an Indian's, been trained to take in the minutest details fresh for use. His rich, full voice could run the gamut of sounds, from an old woman's broken, querulous squawk to the deep, hoarse notes of a burly ruffian. And his handsome face could, in an instant, be distorted into any one of a hundred types of unrecognizable ugliness. He was a master of disguise and could so transform himself that even old Sim could not recognize him. And his intellect, naturally keen as a razor blade, had been incredibly sharpened by the judicious cultivation of the old man."
  • Rangers in Ranger's Apprentice gain their Improbable Aiming Skills through a LOT of practice. "An archer practices until he gets it right. A ranger practices until he never gets it wrong."
  • In Poul Anderson's "The Sensitive Man", the main character's abilities, which lead many to speculate that he's an alien, a mutant, or genetically engineered, prove to be this in the end. He explains how many are found in humans — mostly psychotics — and he's learned to draw on them. And since there are good reasons why normal humans can't normally do them, he's about to have a nervous breakdown because of the prolonged usage.
  • A slightly justified example in Super Powereds with Chad. While Chad is a Super, his power is "total mind and body control". When another character hears this, he makes fun of Chad's power as being useless. Chad explains that, by itself, it is, but he has used to it and this trope to turn his body into a killing machine. Using his power, he can ingest massive (sometimes lethal) quantities of minerals and calcium and force his body to accept and process them, making his bones nigh indestructible and his muscles extremely strong. The "mind control" part of his power allows him to rewire his brain to be more efficient, which grants him Super-Reflexes and a No-Sell to Psychic Powers (not only can't psychics affect him, but they also can't sense him). It's little wonder that he's at the top of his class among the boys, easily besting all the other students with the more typical examples of Super-Strength.
  • Tarzan's abilities are mostly this; growing up under very harsh conditions and among apes much stronger than any normal human, he grew to be able to keep up. How strong is Tarzan, you ask? In one story, four burly sailors are struggling with Lord Greystoke's shipping trunk, so he casually picks it up and carries it himself! If the sailors can haul their own weight, a reasonable strength at the time, and weigh about 175 lbs., then he's casually shifting some 700 lbs. or more.
  • In Tolkien's Legendarium, it's implied that a lot of elvish "magic" is simply normal skill and craftsmanship raised to a level beyond human capability, in contrast to the more reality-warping powers of the Valar and Maiar. For example, according to Galadriel the cloaks that she gives to the Fellowship are not "magic", they're just really well-made cloaks. So well made that they can shift colors and hide their wearers in dim light.
  • Burke, by Andrew Vachss:
    • Claw from Terminal trained himself to be able to crush steel, gaining his moniker through his vice-like grip.
    • Ghost from Shella can actually see instant-kill points on the human body and has such tight control over his muscles that he can apply precise pressure to a postal scale to within hundredths of an ounce.
  • Yeoman from the Wild Cards series. His skills at concealment and archery verge on the superhuman, due to his being a highly experienced Vietnam veteran who spent years using bows for silent efficiency on a great many jungle missions.
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar: Henry practices mental exercises from the teachings of an Indian magician that eventually let him see through thin objects like playing cards. He uses it to cheat at casinos... and thus fund orphanages all over the world.
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): While tending to a wounded Dalinar:
    Surgeon: Storms! Highprince, you're all scars under here! How many times have you been wounded in the shoulder?
    Dalinar: Can't remember.
    Surgeon: How can you still use your arm?
    Dalinar: Training and practice.
    Surgeon: That's not how it works!
    • Subverted. Dalinar is a Radiant, so he has a Healing Factor — he just doesn't know about it.
    • The same series also has the Heralds, five men and five women granted immortality and Surgebinding powers in order to lead humanity in the war against the singers. In addition to their actual powers, millennia of constant warfare has granted them a level of combat prowess rivalling people with actual Combat Clairvoyance.
  • Yumi and the Nightmare Painter: One would be forgiven for assuming that Yumi's ability to stack stones in teetering towers thirty high is a result of supernatural aid. In fact, it's the opposite; her incredible stacking abilities summon the spirits. She is just really, really good at stacking stones. In fact, her skill is the only thing that has grown in the almost two thousand years she's been imprisoned in an Amnesia Loop, so when she really lets loose she stacks stones higher than buildings.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24's Jack Bauer has displayed an ability to shrug off injuries that would put an ordinary human being out of commission for weeks, from a broken rib to being rendered clinically dead for seven minutes, due to his sheer badassery. This is not to mention the fact that he never seems to need the toilet. It's enough for him to be used in tedious memes that once focused on Chuck Norris.
  • Arrow takes this to illogical degrees with Oliver Queen. He spent five years on the island of Lian Yu. (not really) When he got home, he's able to do pretty much everything Batman has ever been shown to do. And then some. In the third season, he shrugs off getting stabbed through the chest by Ras Al Gul and then falling off a mountain, without wearing any cold weather gear. He's up and kicking 7 kinds of ass in only a couple weeks.
  • The Buffyverse usually subverted this as many characters have Super-Strength or Magic but other characters fit this trope well.
    • Rupert Giles aka Ripper seems like a pushover bookworm, but when serious he can beat the shit out of a legendary vampire (Angelus) with a burning baseball bat, Neck Lift a man, and is a Master Swordsman. Then he learns magic and gets even stronger and can equal Dark Willow in power.
    • Xander reaches this level eventually as he can stake dozens of Vamps alongside Slayers, like Giles becomes skilled with a sword, kills demons, and most notably uses a wrecking ball to corner-shot a god through a brick wall. By the end of the series, he becomes Nick Fury since he lost his eye.
    • Cordelia got good at the bow at the end of Season 3 of Buffy, but in Season 3 of Angel, she gets trained by the titular protagonist himself and can kill Vamps and demons with the rest of the gang. Then it's subverted as Cordy gets demon powers, which defeats the purpose of this trope.
    • Wesley is a standout example, despite his previous combat encounters with Vampires at the Watchers Council being "under controlled circumstances". During his time in Angel, Wesley becomes ridiculously badass, capable of rendering dozens of Vamps to dust, slicing demons clean in half, and in his coolest moments going Guns Akimbo on The Beast and Skip (both armor-plated Super-Demons).
    • Gunn holds claims to this trope as much as Wesley; he's been fighting Vampires since he was fourteen and later in the series took out six Asian warrior monk-types without getting hit once. Gunn and the street gang members he once led also fought vampires using improvised melee weapons, with more success and fewer casualties than the US government's secret black-ops demon-fighting organization.
    • Last but not least is Holtz, considered the greatest non-supernatural vampire hunter in recorded history, who hunted Angelus and Darla across Europe and North Africa and came exceedingly close to killing them, then when awoken centuries later he butchers an entire military squad with guns off screen. If that wasn't enough Holtz survives Quor'toth, "darkest of the dark dimensions". If that doesn't label him as ultimate hardcore badass, nothing does.
  • To be effective as The Cape Vince Faraday is put through intense training by fairly ruthless circus performers, the physical part described as "to the very limits of the human body". Later, after barely surviving being poisoned by an enemy's blade, he on his own builds up his body's immunity to many toxins and trains himself to catch a thrown knife in a very short amount of time.
  • In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Iolaus was able to stay underwater for a long time. He explains that he picked up meditation techniques that slow down your breathing and heart rate.
  • Subverted in Lost. Locke tries to claim that the reason he survived a gunshot is that it hit meat that used to have an important but expendable organ; it wasn't there anymore. Other characters recognize that for the b.s. it is; a shot in the chest is nasty business no matter what.
  • In The New Avengers, the Big Bad of the episode "The Gladiators" was a martial arts expert who could punch through steel plate and swat aside automatic gunfire. His plan was to train an army of heavyweights to do the same.
  • Terry from Brooklyn Nine-Nine developed the strength necessary to run through a cinderblock wall through intense workouts alone.
  • Power Rangers Jungle Fury: Master Swoop, owner of the Bat Animal Spirit, is capable of levitating. Not because of his Spirit powers, but through his “Bat Technique”, which uses warfans. He trains Theo the technique, allowing him to levitate and fly like he does.
  • Somewhat unclear in Psych: Shawn Spencer's Hyper-Awareness and Photographic Memory is described in a way that makes it seem like this trope — the fact that he was schooled to notice and recall details from a very young age by his father is given as the sole explanation for his abilities (and the source of much tension between him and his father), but his talents seem to be far more advanced than anything that can be simply taught. On the other hand, since some people do naturally possess such abilities due to unusual brain structure, etc., a simple logical explanation is that Shawn possesses a double-whammy of natural abilities and extensive training, but this scenario is never discussed.
  • Star Trek: Picard: After Elnor undergoes the Qowat Milat training, he develops the Super-Reflexes necessary to dodge multiple energy weapons fire. In "Nepenthe", Narissa and her minions are shooting at him with their disruptors, but he's too nimble for them, and he avoids even getting grazed. His super-agility also allows him to be quick enough to perform a Diving Save on Hugh and push the latter out of harm's way after their assailants open fire. Romulans are stronger than humans, but Elnor is super fast compared to the other non-Qowat Milat members of his species.
  • The Vampire Diaries's experienced hunters can resist compulsion, especially if they've had training.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess. Just see the Wikipedia entry. Sometimes she does temporarily develop actual supernatural powers when the plot demands it, but most of her impossible abilities originate from the fact that she's Just That Good. It is strongly hinted, if never explicitly stated, that Ares is Xena's father.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Guinness Book of World Records lists the greatest amount of weight lifted by a woman to be 3000 lbs, which was lifted Josie Wahlford, the first wrestler to ever be called a "world champion", in the form of 18 men on a platform attached to a special harness. But assisted by a harness or not, 3000 lbs is still a lot of weight.
  • Wrestlers such as Willie Williams and Kamala made their names by wrestling bears. According to Kamala, André the Giant, a man who once lifted a tractor, was just as strong as any bear he wrestled.
  • The Iron Sheik was famous for his Persian clubs challenge, which few in the weightlifting business could beat and no one in pro wrestling could, until Mark Henry.
  • Wrestlers do this kind of thing in general. The likes of Bobby Lashley, Big Show, and Bob Sapp have all pulled or flipped automotive vehicles ranging from cars, to SUVs, to buses, respectively. Mark Henry once pulled two semi-trucks to promote a match and has lifted a hummer.
  • An example that has less to do with strength than pain tolerance was Mankind's infamous Spanish Announcers' Table fall from the top of Hell In A Cell at the hands of The Undertaker, who was legitimately scared that he killed his opponent, the match to legitimately being called off only for Mankind to get up and climb back up the Hell In A Cell cage while Jim Ross begged for the match to be stopped, which it wasn't until Mankind was then slammed through the roof of the cage and had a tooth knocked out from a chair falling on his face afterwards. Several things actually went wrong with the match; no one had planned for Mankind to take such a beating, but he showed remarkable pain tolerance and a willingness to continue.
  • Ayako Hamada was once dropped off a balcony by Nanae Takahashi at a Zenjo show but managed to get back up and keep fighting.
  • Sick Nick Mondo had built up a superhero-like reputation in CZW, as where most legendary damage sponges generally get their reputation from one Never Live It Down incident or Moment of Awesome, Mondo had many. He's taken falls off trucks only five feet from the statistically 99% fatal height of 30 and then topped that with falls higher than the mark, one of which he and John Zandig messed up by missing the table meant to break their fall. That by all means should have been fatal, and almost was, yet Mondo continued to wrestle multiple garbage matches with ruptured arteries. He's come back to the ring after car accidents, been hit with legitimately by power tools which tore through his skin and muscle like pocket knives through jello (leading weed whackers to be officially banned from use in USA sporting events) yet still came back for more... though somewhat downplayed as Mondo ended up retiring at a much earlier age than Mankind, Hamada and the like. As much as he loved the fans, he didn't enjoy almost dying.
  • An example displaying neither strength nor fortitude, but endurance, was Chris Hero's "Infinity Gauntlet" at SMASH's 2015 ALS benefit show where Hero vowed to wrestle 30 minutes for every 500 USD donated towards fighting the disease. The result was a three-hour and ten-minute match that saw Hero face a constant string of fresh challengers. He didn't win against them all, ending with a 12-4-1 record, but nonetheless, the match didn't stop and Hero beat most of his fresher opponents.

  • Kalimán, the Mexican superhero who first appeared in a 1960s radio show before going on to appear in comic books and film, is a superb example of the trope. He demonstrates numerous superpowers including levitation, telepathy, remote viewing, telekinesis, astral projection, control of the involuntary functions of the body, hypnosis, and self-healing. Yet Kalimán makes it clear that anyone could learn to do the same things through study and hard work.
  • The Shadow achieved his invisibility and mind-reading powers through intense training in India. (Where he also learned at least one handy wrestling hold.)

  • The Paragon abilities in Embers in the Dusk. A blademaster slicing through Warp effects and cutting down anything smaller than an Emperor Titan on a crit, a commander sending out a force that turns out to be whatever is needed against the foes encountered once they are, a warrior you can never hit with a crit...

    Tabletop Games 
  • Given the speed at which a Dungeons & Dragons character gains experience, one can go from level 1 to level 20 in a bare six months — and that's if you use the optional training rules which make it longer and costlier. Given how Hit Points work in D&D, a normal person would have extreme difficulty killing a high-level character in his sleep by stabbing him in the throat with a two-handed sword.
    • The special abilities many classes gain bear some mention. Rogues can hone their reflexes to the point where they can dodge a fireball—while standing at the epicenter of its explosion (though a more technical read of the rules might indicate that they need at least a little cover or wiggle room to evade an explosion capable of leveling mountains unscathed), and Barbarians become so resistant to damage that an ordinary human with an ordinary knife could never hope to hurt them. Monks take this trope to a whole other level, training so hard that they literally no longer count as mortals and become Outsiders, stop aging, become immune to poisons, have fists that count as harder-than-steel magical weapons, and can heal wounds by meditating on them. And dodge fireballs like a rogue.
    • Epic characters from 3rd and 4th edition break through the 20 Level Cap and here is where things really start to get interesting. Dodging a fireball? Pfft, please. An Epic Rogue could probably be able to deftly balance on a cloud, or go unnoticed while standing in the centre of a room bathed in broad daylight, or use a tumble to survive a fall from orbit. An Epic Monk could behead a man with a single karate chop, and an Epic Barbarian could swim through lava and emerge unscathed. FYI, Epic magic users are even more impressive; Epic Druids are basically earthbound nature deities, and Epic Wizards can blow up planets and duel gods. Oh, and before you get any ideas, the Epic Level Handbook explicitly makes it clear these are not supernatural. They're just that good.
    • Martial adepts are explicitly based on wuxia films and anime, and consequently, they're all over this trope. Crusaders can regenerate anything short of instant death, cut through the armor plating of an iron golem with a normal sword, and issue commands so forceful they break the action economy. Warblades can strike an opponent fourteen times in six seconds, ignore poison and disease by gritting their teeth, and wield a two-handed sword while grappled. Swordsages are the most infamous: they can produce flames with their bare hands, throw basically anything, and bend shadows to turn invisible, teleport, and fly. Unlike the monk, whose more outlandish powers are generally Supernatural and therefore magical to an extent, these abilities are all classified as Extraordinary — they work perfectly even when there's an antimagic field up.
    • 4E averts this trope in regards to hit points, which no longer represent pure vitality and are more like "plot points" instead — minion monsters only have 1hp regardless of level, a character isn't really considered "hurt" until they've lost half their hp, and large quantities can be easily regained by inspiration as easily as by magic. This is actually returning to a concept originally invoked in the first edition's Dungeon Master's Guide, which justifies hit points by saying that they do not represent mere physical toughness, but all the things that can make a character hard to kill (toughness, divine favor, sheer dumb luck, etc). Conversely, this trope is alive and well in regard to character abilities and is the official explanation for the martial power source. How can a rogue turn himself invisible, or a warlord rally an unconscious ally back to fighting form? Training and practice.
    • Given how stats scale, 10 is the human average while 18 is considered to be within the realms of ordinary possibility but extraordinarily rare - a character who starts with 18 strength, for instance, might've grown up as some larger-than-life André the Giant-esque character who even as a child was famed in the village for his ability to single-handedly right an upturned farm cart. Should you use the rolling method for determining stats at character creation, you can possibly get 18 for a stat at the first level, and everything up from there qualifies as this trope.
    • Having 20 in a stat is implicitly suggested to be superhuman. You can easily train to 20 in two stats with ASIs, especially if you min-max.
    • Proving that Tropes Are Not Bad, the thief-acrobat in 1st Edition averted this, with all their acrobatic stunts being well within the range of human achievement — a high-level one would be about on par with a gold-medal Olympic athlete. This is one of the more criticized elements of the class, as being able to do an eighteen-foot pole vault isn't very impressive when other characters in the party can fly.
  • In Exalted you can perform incredible feats with charms, but even without enhancing your performance with them, an elder Exalt (with more than five dots in the attribute) can jump impossible distances and punch holes in steel.
    • Even un-Exalted mortals can learn to wield spiritual power through meditation and training, and learn incredible supernatural martial arts and thaumaturgy.
  • Subverted in Mage: The Ascension, where the monks of the Akashic Brotherhood gain tremendous powers through intense training, meditation, and the practice of martial arts, but even the Brothers admit that they are breaking the laws of physics as the sleepers know them.
  • Palladium Books's Megaversal system allows characters to take physical training skills to increase their physical stats and Structural Damage Capacity (one form of Hit Points) to the point that a first-level character can have immense physical abilities and can shrug off multiple gunshot wounds.
  • This is an option in Mutants & Masterminds, which features the "Innate" power feat which can theoretically be added to any power. It means the power is essentially something the character can innately do, so it can't be nullified via Anti-Magic or the like. This allows for characters capable of doing things like shattering a tank with one blow because they're just that damn good at kung-fu.
  • Discussed in the fluff of Princess: The Hopeful. It's repeatedly stated that Princesses don't so much use magic as be magic, especially when transformed. An observer might see a Princess dodge out of the way of a blow and then throw a fireball back at her attacker, and conclude that the dodge was "mundane" while the fireball was "magical". But in truth, both are equally "mundane" or equally "magical", in that both are equally natural expressions of the Princess's will and nature.
  • Warhammer 40,000 gives us many examples in the Imperial Guard:
    • Ciaphas Cain can hold his own in a sword fight against a genetically engineered super-soldier. Subverted somewhat in that Cain admits he wouldn't have the endurance for a long fight against a traitor marine; his fights are won by cunning and practice rather than an ability to punch through mountains.
    • Cadian Kasrkin have in fluff been comparable to Space Marines.
    • Eisenhorn has dueled and killed everything from a Chaos Space Marine to a Daemonhost. By the final book he's so injured he's practically falling apart, but it only slows him down slightly.
    • The Catachan guardsman Sly Marbo is a version of this and an in-story Memetic Badass; his reputation states that he has, among other things, killed an ork warboss, taken out a Tyranid lictor, destroyed an entire enemy armored column by booby-trapping a ravine, and captured an enemy command post singlehandedly to kill its commander and entire bodyguard. It's gotten to the point that the colonel who debriefs him can recite the commendation for the Star of Terra in a single breath, and has a box full of the awards that Marbo never keeps.
    • A Heavy Bolter is an advanced weapon that fires .75 calibre explosive rockets. Normal humans can't use regular Bolters without breaking their arms, forcing the Imperial Guard to use Heavy Bolters as fixed emplacements, and the superhuman Space Marines may carry it around like a squad support weapon but still struggle to handle the thing with sustained fire. This facet of 40k lore needs to be explained to Gunnery Sergeant Harker of the Catachan Jungle Fighters. He uses this beast of the weapon in the same way a lot of Guardsmen use their Lasguns, and he can move through terrain like a scout with it. It barely encumbers him at all. Not to mention his personal Moment of Awesome; he was on an assignment when a Tyranid Ravener burst out of the ground beneath him and knocked his bolter away out of his hands, only for Harker to catch the thing in a headlock and crush its neck with his biceps. Seriously badass.
    • The Catachans are this in general: their home planet, the original Death World in 40K, is a possibly sentient Hungry Jungle with more horrible lifeforms than Australia. Surviving to be older than 10 is a feat in and of itself, which is why every Catachan soldier is, without exception, seven feet tall with bodybuilder muscles, specializing in fighting inthe jungle (and red headbands are a popular accessory). Their planet's gravity is said to be slightly higher than Terra's as a bit of an explanation.
  • This is explicitly the case in The World Of Aarn. In the setting, magic is a simple fact of life, often taking the role that electricity does in our world, and it's also present in every living thing. As a result, Mundanes, those who don't use straight-out magic, end up having their intrinsic magic express itself physically, so they can hit much harder, take harder blows, jump 12 feet in the air, and resist magical attacks to a greater degree than mages can.
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: most versions of the Prodigy are seemingly human, with a backstory involving seemingly mundane Training from Hell, but are able to do things like run on walls and can power up to punching through walls or even cartoonish nonsense like smacking movie characters out of the movie they're in and through the back wall of the theatre. After her first arc, she can consistently lift cars.

    Video Games 
  • Alex Kidd Sega's former mascot has trained in the "Shellcore" technique enabling him to alter the size and toughness of his fists through sheer willpower and enables him to shatter rocks with his bare fists.
  • Alpha Protocol. Through experience, Michael can learn to do things such as curve shots from behind cover and nail up to six targets at once while using pistols, turn invisible to electronics if such a device is about to almost detect him as well as invisibility from humans either as an active ability or a "panic button" when almost detected, and shrug off an otherwise fatal attack.
  • Dog the Worthless Mutt in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is an ordinary dog (possibly a wolf-dog)... who can gnaw through save door or tear an Ore Golem apart in mere seconds, at the cost of some minor damage to his teeth. Leading to a bit of Fridge Logic when one remembers Dog joins you after scaring off the (probably average) townsman who was nonetheless kicking him to death.
  • In Battlestar Galactica Online, the skills your avatar picks up enable your starships to do longer FTL jumps, fly faster, make your guns more accurate, and a variety of other things.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer allows you to do things like becoming immune to falling damage via the Commando Pro perk by killing enough people with your knife. Or carry extra ammo by Scavenging ammo from corpses enough times. Etc. etc.
  • Carte Blanche's protagonist Edgar Delacroix, through enough practice, can wipe people's memories temporarily by holding their head in a certain way, and become so good at ventriloquy that he managed to convince a (admittedly very goofy) communist that God himself was talking to him.
  • Ayla of Chrono Trigger may not be able to learn magic like most of the other playable characters, but what she can do is beat the shit out of bosses with her bare hands. Her sheer physical damage output outranks Crono's by the endgame, and has been hitting the damage cap with her critical attacks well before that point.
  • Due to the game's mechanics, City of Heroes and the spin-off City of Villains include 'natural' characters who shield themselves with protective balls of fire, regenerate instantly from near-fatal wounds, phase out of normal existence, or fly. Canonically, Malta's paramilitary forces have been quite capable of facing down evil interdimensional invaders assuming even numbers (who seldom took casualties when facing the American military) and can put up a hefty challenge to individual Heroes and Villains. Manticore's archery ability is similar to Green Arrows, in addition to being nearly impossible to kill. Of particular note is the Ninjitsu power set; most of its powers are fairly reasonable (increased agility, better perception, etc.), but the final power in the set (Kuji-In Retsu) allows you to alter the way time and space affect you, turning you into a nigh-untouchable blur of attacks.
  • Pretty much the entire point of Crackdown. The agent you control is already enhanced by surgery and cybernetics, but you can drastically increase his already impressive strength and agility through sheer practice. The agent starts the game able to jog at 20 mph, leap 20 feet into air, and lift roughly 200 pounds. Simply by jumping across rooftops a lot and punching lots of criminals to death, you can increase these abilities to jogging 40mph, leaping 50 feet, and carrying 10 tons. Training with explosives makes the same grenades you pick up off gang corpses explode bigger and harder. Even more ridiculously, you can also make your bullets hit harder and force cars to physically transform into better versions of themselves by training your firearms and driving skills, giving some cars powers like guns and jumping abilities.
  • The Crusader games both use and subvert this trope. In the first game, the opening cinematic shows a single mech killing two Silencers. The third (the eventual player character), not embroiled in their argument, managed to get out of its field of view and toss a grenade. The character then goes on to mow his way through hundreds of enemies in the game, shrugging off grenade blasts, and destroying a few dozen of the mechs that killed his compatriots. Then, in the second game, after sitting in a cramped lifepod for almost two days, he proceeds to kill two guards at range firing a burst from his assault rifle one-handed. Finally, the second game seems to take roughly a week, with no noticeable breaks for rest, or even eating or drinking.
  • At the beginning of Cuphead, the titular character and his brother Mugman are no stronger than average civilians. At the end, after all their trials and tribulations acting as the Devil's hitmen, they become strong enough to beat the crap out of him.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Ultimates whose talents revolve around sports or physical fitness demonstrate superhuman-level abilities gained through intense training.
    • Even Ultimates whose talents don’t revolve around physicality show this.
    • Those who demonstrate abilities like these end up recognized as “Ultimates” themselves because of them.
      • Junko Enoshima, the series’ Big Bad, is the Ultimate Analyst, meaning she can analyze anything to the point where she can basically see the future.
      • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School: Ryota Mitarai, the Ultimate Animator, can make videos so captivating that they brainwash people. Ruruka Ando, the Ultimate Confectioner, can make sweets so delicious that they also brainwash people.
      • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Tsumugi Shirogane, the Ultimate Cosplayer, can instantaneously change her appearance to match any fictional character.
  • Solaire of Astora from Dark Souls is simultaneously one of the tankiest and toughest things you can ever have on your side, and completely powered by hardcore training. He intentionally became Undead just so that he could set out on a quest to find his own inner salvation. Even the lightning spears he throws are a product of his insane willpower and training alone, not any natural gift.
  • Jann Lee from the Dead or Alive games was once just a scrawny orphan in China who watched Bruce Lee movies to escape the bullying and poverty in his life... until one day he decided to train in Jeet Kune Do and become a real Bruce Lee Clone. Not only does he become one of the greatest fighters in the world, but he gains the power to punch out a Tyrannosaurus rex. No, not an Implied Trope, he does it onscreen.
  • Devil May Cry: Lady is quite mortal (albeit descended from an unnamed mortal priestess whose blood was used to seal the Temen-Ni-Gru), yet is capable of incredible feats of agility and hauling around a squad's worth of firearms on her person. She also takes a knife through the thigh and continues to stagger on out of sheer heroic determination. It's remarked upon in-game that she has no real exceptional strength of body — it seems these kind of abilities are standard issue in the Devil May Cry 'verse if you just believe hard enough.
  • Similarly, the Barbarian from Diablo II and III is described this way in a number of places. Most fitting is the natural resistance skill, which helps the barbarian resist several types of magic damage, and is said to come simply from surviving tough environments.
  • In Doom, all that is required to literally fight your way to Hell and back is to have trained at boot camp. The story goes that Doomguy was apparently a very competent trooper, who got reassigned to Mars as a grunt after punching out a superior officer when given a direct order to fire on innocent civilians. Of course, shortly after he arrived, shit hit the fan. In the first novel, he gets the hell beat out of him a lot and has a lot of trouble going on. Thank goodness for the in-canon magical healing balls of creepy. And if you believe the comic, Doomguy was quite unhinged and seemed likely to be the kind of guy who you'd expect to be able to survive a trip to hell and back just because of his sheer lack of a grip on reality. Whether or not this came before or as a result of the Hell invasion is open to interpretation, however.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • This is the case for non-magical classes throughout the series. By using the skills and/or purchasing training for the skills, one can achieve superhuman abilities. These include (but certainly aren't limited to) being able to outrun deer and outswim fish, jump several stories into the air, kill people and creatures with a single punch, turn invisible simply by crouching, and repeatedly jump across the surface of the water.
    • Skyrim
      • This applies to the use of the Thu'um, the draconic Language of Magic. Anyone can learn to use it with enough training, though it often takes years to gain even the simplest understanding of it. The Greybeards are a group of monks who have devoted their entire lives to learning to use the Thu'um, and most can no longer converse with normal people; their Thu'um is so powerful that even a whisper could be lethal. Ulfric Stormcloak trained in this fashion in order to learn to use it. What makes those who are Dragonborn, such as the Player Character, special is that, due to their immortal draconic souls, they possess an innate understanding of the language.
      • Various perks for the thief and warrior tree skills (which are non-magic) come very close to full-blown superpowers. These include being able to slow time by concentrating while aiming a bow, vanishing in plain view, stealing people's clothes while wearing them, and being able to resist magic simply by being good with a shield. All of these can be achieved through training or experience.
      • The Skeleton Key is an artifact of Nocturnal, the Daedric Prince of Darkness and the Night who is also associated with Thieves and Luck. It plays a major role in the Thieves' Guild questline, where it is revealed that it can "unlock" anything. This includes the limits of human potential, essentially allowing the one who possesses it to max out their natural abilities. Mercer Frey uses it precisely for this. In the hands of the player, however, it is merely an unbreakable lockpick.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Hero Zophy's ultimate superpower is his sheer physical strength. A mountain of muscles with legs, he can shatter rocks with his bare hands. And that's all he needs to go up against armed mercenaries or demonic or alien threats.
  • A staple in the later Fallout games as well, where, if trained for it, the playable character can cause raiders, mutants, and soldiers in power armour to explode into a pile of mutilated organs simply by punching them with their bare hands...and it is a viable, if not frustrating, method of going through the game.
  • Final Fantasy has plenty of heroes with explicitly magical nature and cool powers, some nonhumans, a few cyborgs... and then it's got the non-powered heroes who easily keep up with them:
  • In the Fire Emblem series, pretty much everyone has the potential to become this if you're lucky with levels. Depending on their stats, combined with other features like supports, units can do things like mowing down legion after legion single-handedly, have 100% chance to use critical attacks, or take things like artillery and devastating magic to the face and not even flinch. Of special mention is the My Unit/Avatar from New Mystery of the Emblem. He/she was put through rigorous training by their grandfather since they were kids in order to become knights, and it has become but a pastime by the time they're adults. Because of this training, he/she is one of the most strong and broken units in the entire series (the high strength growth can even get in the way if you're playing as a magic unit), and their support conversation with the knight Draug involves lifting three people with a pinky.
    • Dimitri from Fire Emblem: Three Houses is another standout example. Insane strength even by series standards apparently just runs in his family; he says so to Raphael, and his training regimen is so extreme that even Raphael (The Big Guy of the Golden Deer) struggles with it. He can also lift an entire loaded cart with one hand, which is what got Raphael interested in his strength in the first place.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, you can train at the gym to increase your strength and stamina. While there is a limit to the improvement you can make each day, it still only takes a maximum of about a week to go from a complete wimp to being one of the strongest, fittest people ever.
  • Chipp Zanuff from Guilty Gear is an American ki user in a setting where only the Japanese have a natural affinity for channeling ki. Chipp had to learn to use it the hard way: through lots and lots of training.
  • Partly averted in The King of Fighters series, where several of the characters introduced in that series have powers due to "Orochi blood", and the China team's powers come from being psychics (and Athena's partly because she's the reincarnation of a goddess). The rest of them, though, can throw fireballs just because they practiced.
  • King Dedede from Kirby learns how to fly like Kirby after Kirby beats him in their first battle.
  • Like a Dragon: Every fighting character is this to at least some extent, throwing punches and kicks that knock out tigers and launch full-grown men into the air, punching a huge crater into a solid brick wall, grabbing motorcycles and swinging them around like whiffle bats, among other impossible physical feats.
  • In Lost Odyssey, main character Kaim Argonar is shown in the opening scene working as a mercenary for Uhra, in the midst of a heavy battle. While Kaim's allies are getting stomped (roughly 20 of them seem to die for every one enemy soldier they manage to kill), Kaim is busy tearing the enemy to shreds by the dozens, and even killing an enormous war engine equipped with flamethrowers with a single blow. The next CD has an 8-year-old white mage with no combat experience or training who still by the numbers hits harder and can take more damage than Kalm could at the beginning of the game, even ignoring her primary healing magic. The entire Uhra military can be beaten up by a little girl.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Solid Snake is a clone of a legendary soldier and picks up some impressive gear over the course of his adventures, but is otherwise "mostly" normal. That doesn't stop him from killing Mind Screwing floating psychics and giant nuclear-armed walking tanks, and in Metal Gear Solid 4, he cuts through three war zones and two enemy bases while having the body of a seventy-year-old. In Metal Gear Solid, he destroys a tank using only grenades because he didn't have any anti-tank weapons. This is referenced by Otacon in Guns of the Patriots, in which Otacon calls him "the most hardcore badass on the planet" for managing it.
      • It’s clear Snake has some level of Super-Strength since he can wield the Rail Gun without strain.
    • His clone brother Liquid Snake is similarly impressive, shooting down F-16s with a Hind helicopter, which he's able to pilot in the middle of a blizzard. Surviving the crash of said Hind, the destruction of Metal Gear REX with him aboard, falling 3 stores off REX's remains after a fistfight with Solid Snake, and being repeatedly shot with a machine gun. It takes FOXDIE forcing his heart to stop beating to actually kill him.
    • Their clone father Big Boss is no different. Just read his medical history at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
    • There's also Gray Fox who, even before he gained his cyborg exoskeleton, was capable of blocking machinegun fire with his sword. Gene from Portable Ops was also disturbingly fast. To the point of dodging rail gunfire at point-blank range.
    • One of The Reveals in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is that Jetstream Sam's only augmentation is an arm. Apart from an exoskeleton which is inferior to cyborg tech, he's otherwise human. His ability to defeat Raiden the first time and still give him trouble after the Mid-Season Upgrade is otherwise due to pure, inhuman skill. It's even mentioned that feats he manages in the prologue, such as taking on a squad of rifle-armed soldiers with only his sword and killing them all without a scratch, are things he's been pulling off before he got that augmentation.
  • The titular hunters of Monster Hunter, while able to heft weapons nearly twice their size and weight, fall three to ten stories without breaking a bone, receive attacks from ferocious behemoths that would otherwise shred a lesser person to ribbons and subsequently take down said behemoths with enough persistence, are otherwise regular, athletic human beings. Averted according to Word of God — as it turns out, most if not all Monster Hunters are descended from Super Soldiers used by a Precursor society to battle the creators of said monsters. Some hunters are from non-human races (such as Wyverians) and thus still count as this trope.
  • Nasuverse:
    • The Church has human members capable of predicting the intended firing paths of guns by watching muscle movements, crushing internal organs with blows and gripping thin swords between their fingers for effective combat. The manual also says that the only reason most vampires have superhuman abilities is that they've had hundreds of years to train their human abilities to superhuman levels.
    • Fake Assassin in Fate/stay night created a technique that bends time and space to allow his blade to strike from three different directions in a single attack. And it was developed solely through training his swordsmanship: he has no supernatural powers whatsoever. He literally just practiced super-hard at it until the laws of physics gave up. Expanded materials and other works in the Fate universe show that for every Heroic Spirit with a legendary weapon or otherworldly power given to them by birth or their actions in life, there's another one who's just really good at being a sword fighter/gunfighter/spear-wielder/martial artist, etc.
    • Kirei Kotomine from Fate/stay night is a former Church Executioner, and his hand-to-hand combat abilities are terrifyingly good. In addition to standard Church abilities mentioned above, in Fate/Zero, he shows the ability to block bullets from an automatic weapon and matches a guy explicitly using magic to move at twice, and then three times normal speed without apparent effort ("So you're moving twice as fast? Then I just need to adjust my timing."). In the Visual Novel itself, he doesn't get much chance to show off, but when he does... he defeats a Servant. Granted, an Assassin-class Servant, who are among the weakest in combat, but still, he defeated a Servant! He also manages to hold his own against Shirou, who's using Archer's powers and fighting with the skill of a Servant, and is winning before he keels over due to running out on his remaining time before Shirou.
  • Myrmidons and Eternal Soldiers in Nexus Clash have no power source but their own badassery, and still manage to match or beat the competition in a universe otherwise filled with angels, demons, and magic users.
  • Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden proudly states that his "strength comes from training, not from some curse in my blood". It must really have been Training from Hell, as he performs undeniably superhuman feats. In the XBox version, he can launch armoured men with a single slash and keep them airborne while attacking, leap from wall to wall to continue a wallrun, block bullets with a wooden sword, run and leap unhindered by a 100-pound BFS on his back, and zoom with an unaugmented bow. As in, naked eye. That doesn't even cover the full extent of his abilities. Subverted when Doku's ability to awaken the Fiend blood in him suggests that his power comes from Fiend abilities, but then double subverted when this does absolutely nothing to affect Ryu's combat prowess, suggesting otherwise.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous: The "Mythic Tricks" granted by the Trickster Mythic Path allow you to perfect your mundane abilities to the point of giving them Reality Warper properties, such as training your intimidation to a level of Terror Hero where enemies kill themselves upon spotting you, becoming so perceptive that you can "find" powerful magic items where there are none, or being so good at stealth that you literally turn invisible.
  • In Phantasy Star Online 2, Phaleg Ives explicitly does not use aether and says that her inhuman strength and speed, on par with or surpassing ARKS' strongest operatives, comes solely from her training. The other characters speculate that she has reached the absolute apex of human ability. It helps that she's been alive for tens of thousands of years. She's flattered when Huey compliments how hard she must have worked to obtain her abilities, as he's the first one to ever acknowledge this. A surprise Diving Kick from her is even able to push back Shiva, who is as strong as all of ARKS put together.
  • The Fighting type in Pokémon would fit this trope for the most part. Most of them have some absurd combat abilities judging by the Pokédex data, such as Machamp's absurdly fast punches at a rate of 1,000 punches doled out per every two seconds. Fighting-Type moves, usually consisting of punches and kicks, can bring down Rock and Steel Pokemon in a single hit. They're weak to Flying , Psychic and Fairy types though, and Fighting moves deal zero damage to Ghost Types. Bruno, Chuck, Brawly, Maylene, Marshall, and Korrina all specialize in Fighting-type Pokémon. And they themselves tend to be pretty buff too but within human standards.
    • Then there's Unova's Champion Alder, who can stop a rampaging Bouffalant with his bare hands and jump down tall cliffs like they're nothing, and Drayden the Gym Leader, who frequently wrestles with his high-level fully-evolved Dragon Pokémon to toughen them up.
    • Gaeric from Pokémon Legends: Arceus has trained himself to the point that he can walk around Hisui's tundra with no shirt on whatsoever, climb a tower of ice several stories tall and so slick that a Pokémon adapted to sheer cliff faces couldn't, and then jump from the top and land unharmed.
    • Brassius from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet continues the trend of characters making jumps that normal people wouldn't be able to. In his case, he likes to jump from the windmill next to his gym arena, since he thinks a dramatic entrance improves the experience for his challengers. Humorously, he does admit it's hard on his legs in the postgame, but the fact remains that he can still do the landing at all.
  • In the first two (platformer) Prince of Persia games the Prince can climb up an arbitrary number of levels vertically by jumping up, grabbing the ledge above him, then pulling himself up. He can also jump over a large gap, grab a ledge a level down, then pull himself up. The later games are designed with the very same concept. Starting with the Sands of Time series, the Prince's parkour allow him to run almost twenty feet along a wall before falling. The 2008 reboot takes this to an even greater extent, allowing the Prince to jump from one wall to another and keep running. There's even a ceiling run move.
  • Punch-Out!! dives into this in the Wii game. The intro cutscenes show the rival boxers doing superhuman things for training. Don Flamenco punches a bull flying into the air, Piston Hondo races a bullet train, and Mr Sandman just levels a building because it had a photo of Little Mac. And Little Mac can beat all of them, and if he pulls off a tko animation he can knock them around in comically exaggerated ways. Even boxers over twice his weight get Punched Across the Room.
  • The player character in the Record of Lodoss War Dreamcast game learns magic like a child learning algebra, so most of the time you must rely on physical attacks. At level 100 you can punch sandworms and 'lighter' golems to death, despite the fact he's supposedly just an average well-trained knight once you take off his magical armours and weaponry. (And one of those swords, the Hakuring, was the sword of an OGRE. Yes, it is expectedly slow as molasses, but if he were so 'normal' it should be CRUSHING him! Cloud's cricket bat pales in comparison and isn't even double-sided like this is. The hilt alone is the size of your shortswords.)
  • Resident Evil:
    • Chris Redfield in Resident Evil 5 is nothing more than a highly competent (supposedly unpowered) soldier... who can punch a fucking boulder out of his way.
    • Pfft, Chris may have become superhuman by the time of RE5 but Leon S Kennedy upgraded from rookie cop in Resident Evil 2 to absolute Super Agent in Resident Evil 4 very quickly. Leon can suplex monsters, equal Chris in combat, kill multiple Tyrants and keep open the jaws of a mutant shark with his bare hands.
    • Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, and Rebecca Chambers deserve a special mention: Jill for killing the Nemesis which is like a Tyrant x10 all by herself, Claire for avoiding a helicopter’s turret fire at point-blank range and then taking out a swat team with one bullet and a propane tank in Code Veronica (she’s trained by Chris) and lastly Rebecca Chambers despite having only a few months training kills the Proto-Tyrant before Alpha Team even see a zombie in Resident Evil 0.
    • Joe Baker of the End of Zoe DLC in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is capable of literally ripping the Molded apart with his bare hands. Unlike Chris, he's just an aging outdoorsman with a lot of experience hunting gators (though he is implied to be a veteran).
  • Rose & Camellia: Nigoro's official site mentions that it's years of working at spinning mills which gave her the impressive strength to level the Tsubakikoji noblewomen, including an ancient demoness, with some devastating slaps.
  • The Boss in the Saints Row series is supposed to be a normal human, yet s/he is capable of some of the craziest stuff like ripping off a payphone out of the ground with his/her bare hands. Should you upgrade all available perks, they can run forever without running out of stamina, become virtually immune to damage including bullets, explosions, and falling from great heights with only melee damage being the exception, but even then, the Boss can grab and throw people to a long distance just fine.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours. The extreme difficulty of killing Tony is remarked upon in game dialogue. One of your abilities is a Limit Break that grants invincibility, Bottomless Magazines, and Life Drain, apparently through sheer Balls.
  • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves: The final level, taking place in the Cooper Vault, reveals that Sly’s dad learned how to walk on lasers. In order to reach the Inner Sanctum of the Cooper Vault, Sly himself must learn to do the same.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Tails and Amy both fit this. They’re not naturally super-fast, like the Blue Blur they always hang around with, nor are they naturally super-strong like the Guardian of the Master Emerald. Instead, both of them developed their abilities over the tons of adventures they’ve done throughout the series’ games. They’ve both demonstrated abilities nearing that of Sonic and Knuckles, and trashing Eggman’s machinery is as easy as breathing for them. In Amy’s case, in striving to earn Sonic’s respect, she became inspired to undergo Training from Hell, which included boxercising with weighted training gear. In Tails’ case, it’s chalked up to the years he’s spent as Sonic’s Kid Sidekick. In Sonic Rivals 2, Rouge gets surprised by his speed when Tails beats her in a race at the start of his story. Tails outright tells her how he’s been training with Sonic.
    • Speaking of Rouge, she fits this too. She’s not genetically engineered like her longtime partner Shadow, nor is she a walking arsenal like E-123 Omega. Yet she’s able to keep up with Knuckles in combat and destroys tons of robots alongside Shadow and Omega. Her abilities were honed over the years she’s spent globetrotting as a master jewel thief, long before she met any of the series' cast.
    • Cream also counts as this. She's the youngest of the series' heroes, and Sonic Heroes has her, as part of Team Rose, trashing the Doctor's machines and bases right alongside Amy and Big. In terms of physical feats, as her team's "Fly" character, she's shown to be strong enough to carry Amy and Big through the sky all by herself.
  • Rock Adams from the Soul Series. In his ending in III, he returns home to the New World by swimming across the Atlantic.
  • Street Fighter:
    • The series is full of examples on or near the line between this and Ki Manipulation, but one that stands out as the latter is Blanka's power to discharge electricity, which he learned from electric eels.
    • In the Manga backstory, during their final battle, Gouken and Akuma leveled a mountain range with a barrage of aerial Hadoken shots, even though firing a single one is already supposed to be extremely impressive.
    • Parodied with Sakura's backstory. After seeing her erstwhile teacher, Dan, perform a pathetic little Hadoken once, she's able to toss a full-powered Hadoken with very little effort. What makes her scary is that she's a normal schoolgirl who had never trained before in her life, indicating she could potentially become the most powerful warrior in the franchise before her 16th birthday if she had half of Ryu's dedication to training. (And she does.)
    • On the more physical level of this trope is Cody Travers. Born into an impoverished family in the slums of Metro City, Cody trained himself in literal street fighting in order to survive, and he uses that training to be frighteningly effective. How effective? Word of God has him as one of the most powerful characters in the franchise, above Akuma and on par with Gouken, Oro, and even Oni. Bear in mind that Oni could, without exaggeration, be called a minor god. Oh and Cody handicaps himself with the handcuffs he wears, when he took them off in the Udon comics he knocked Ryu out with a single punch.
    • Zangief's muscles are so strong that he's capable of shattering swords just by flexing.
  • Lune Zoldark of Super Robot Wars. This Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter is sent away by daddy dearest to a space colony around Jupiter, where she trains endlessly. In the Super Robot Wars: Original Generation sub-series, Master Rishu Togo states this particular tomboy can dodge bullets...while eating breakfast. All that training around Jupiter's orbit must've really helped, because whenever she pilots her Ridiculously Human Robot Valsione, it can perform the machine skill "bunshin" (Mirror Image), which allows the machine to successfully dodge 50% of all enemy attacks. But here's the real kicker: the technology to perform Mirror Image isn't actually built into the Valsione, because Lune has just got that CRAZY REFLEXES to activate Mirror Image ON HER OWN. Talk about Charles Atlas Superpower...
  • Technique talents in Tales of Maj'Eyal are supposedly powered entirely by the user's body without any of the forms of supernatural power available. This is plausible for some things like an Archer's Trick Arrow and sniping skills, or throwing off physical status effects with the Unflinching Resolve talent, but it also includes Berserker talents that let them shout so hard it inflicts physical damage or shrug off damage that should kill them, or a Brawler's ability to wrestle a dragon to death.
  • Even the weakest people in Team Fortress 2 can survive a direct hit at point-blank range from a rocket, The Heavy hefts a minigun weighing more than some of his coworkers, and The Scout can propel himself through the air and trained himself to be so nimble to literally beat his brothers to the punch during their frequent fights. Charles Atlas has been parodied by the developers with a comic in the same vein as the original. Ironically, Saxton Hale, the one doing the parodying, doesn't quite count, as despite him training like hell and fighting yetis for fun, he also has Australium poisoning, like all Australians. Or so we thought. Once the Australium runs out, leaving all Australians powerless aside from some unusual resilience to Neck Snaps, he continued to be just as ridiculously strong, agile, and generally badass as before, leading one to believe he does apply for the trope.
  • Tekken: The only thing Heihachi Mishima seems incapable of doing is dying. While his father, son, and grandson all cheat death through demonic powerups, he has nothing like that to keep him alive when he's beaten to almost an inch of his life, tossed off a cliff, supernaturally drained by a god of war, slammed through a wall made of three-foot-deep brick, kneed about a foot into the ground, blasted with ethereal energy, beaten down again, then trapped in an explosion that levels the building he's in. Hilariously, everyone just assumed he was dead while he was under all that rubble, but of course he wasn't.
  • Garrett of Thief, thanks to Keeper training, can explicitly hide in plain sight, and effectively become invisible using any shadow.
  • Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider, has the build of a cheerleader but is shown with the abilities of a super-athlete — as well as being near-superhuman in strength and agility, often taking multiple hits from firearms and other weapons which can likewise be cured instantly with a simple first-aid kit; the only thing that can really harm her is fatal falls and death-traps.
  • A strange example is found in Touhou Project. Marisa Kirisame is the series' "ordinary magician" (and damn proud of it), a muggle who gained expressly magical powers through sheer training alone. While her co-main character is a miko who never has to train because her natural magical power is just that good, Marisa spends all her time practicing, copying spells from other characters, and looting spellbooks from the local librarian. Even after all that, she can only use her powers in the first place because she carries around a mini-Hakkero, essentially a magical battery (or before that, magic mushrooms). Despite this, Marisa can hold her own against youkai, demons, even deities, while keeping up with the growth of the few other humans in the series, all of whom have magical powers. Marisa's signature attack even seems to show this sort of clumsy mentality - Master Spark can be described as analogous to taking the magical equivalent of C4, placing it in a metal bowl to make an ad-hoc shaped charge, pointing it at the enemy, and detonating it without the bone-snapping recoil that would entail.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • While most classes have magic, pets, or various tricks, warriors only have up-front melee combat. And they still fight Eldritch Abominations, Physical Gods, The Legions of Hell, and undead armies as easily as anyone else. Not to mention, they're the only class that can dual-wield two-handed weapons.
    • Rogues are similar, having no supernatural abilities. Even their ability to disappear from sight in full view of surrounding enemies is solely due to their training.
    • Monks can do things such as jump their own height to unleash a damaging kick or spin kick, even without weapons. Their magic? Just Chi.
  • Every single crack X-COM trooper/operative ever probably counts. They can go from complete losers who can't hit the side of the barn at point-blank (and these guys are meant to be the cream of the crop from the world's Spec Ops, Military, and Police forces!) to absolutely amazing marksmen who can run for several kilometers in powered armour that doesn't assist them whilst lugging giant guns that are bigger than grenade launchers. Let's not forget the ammunition and other supplies either. They go through Field Training From Hell to get to that stage, though, and the mortality rate can be quite high... even if they get a good suit of armour.
  • Xenogears. Granted, this is a setting where Asian mysticism and chi focus is in full force, but when humans can take Humongous Mecha apart with their bare hands, the game's strongest fighter is a Technical Pacifist Badass Bookworm.
    • Xenosaga does the same thing, if not to the same extent; most of the characters are cyborgs, synthezoid, or some Biblical figure, but Kendall Uzuki slices through a mecha with a katana. He's one of the few non-special-powered people in the game, and while it could be argued that sharing the same mom with Shion might make him special, nothing is said to that end.
  • Ys:
    • Adol Christin usually acquires at least some magical ability in his powers, but on at least one occasion, without any magic, he only failed to single-handedly kill a monster that normally takes an entire hunting party months to track down and kill due to it being physically impossible with the weapon he's wielding at the time, and does manage to fight it to a standstill and weaken it enough that it's easily dispatched by hunters carrying the proper armaments.
    • Adol's friend and traveling companion Dogi has immense, 100% magic-free strength. Trapped in a dungeon cell? Don't worry, Dogi will punch a hole through the wall for you to escape through. Cave-in leave you stranded? Never fear, Dogi will clear the rubble with his fist! A wall of solid bedrock separating you two? Dogi PUUUNCH!!! He doesn't call himself "Dogi the Wall Crusher" for nothing.

  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Fighter has not only survived repeated stabs to the brain with only temporary ill effects (one of them actually made him smarter), but also direct clashes with, among other things, a dark elf prince, a fire demon, and an obscenely powerful Lich, successfully dueling the former two. However, while Fighter is called Vargus' best student, he seemed to have spent most of Fighter Camp '86 watching TV.
    • Whereas Fighter is 'merely' able to wield four swords at once, Thief is able to regularly break enchantments and laws of physics by legal mumbo jumbo and just being that good and, amongst other things, he stole his class change from the future. To quote him, he's "stolen things that weren't even there."
    • According to Thief, his law ninjas are so well trained that they are capable of being deployed and following people even though they are dead.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • Frans Rayner was able to completely change his physiology, moving his pressure points to make himself a better ninja, just by training hard enough. But he couldn't make himself grow a mustache, which was ultimately his downfall.
    • Gordito could grow a mustache by sheer force of will, though. This is made even more fantastic by the fact that he's twelve.
    • According to the comic, the greatest master of this was Bruce Lee, whose final act of body mastery was jumping to the moon. He teaches the titular character how to jump back. (Which is six times easier.)
    • There was an old friend of McNinja who did so much bodybuilding that his back muscles formed a biological jetpack.
      Bandito: Wouldn't he grow wings?
      Doctor McNinja: No. Animals have wings, man has jetpacks.
  • From El Goonish Shive, the "Anime Style school of martial arts" originally seems to be this. It turns out that it's actually a form of magic. More accurately, the martial arts school is using this trope to inadvertently cause their students to unlock their magic potential without a proper Awakening.
  • Darcy from Ennui GO! has no superpowers, but is clearly inhumanly strong, which could be attributed to her constantly working out at the gym. So far, she could break out of boxes, snap apart bondage ropes with ease, and could lift someone by the neck one-handed. Even in her youth, way before she started weightlifting and developing her physique, she once kicked a ball so hard it smashed another kid's face in while both were playing kickball.
  • Maytag and Bernadette of Flipside regularly perform combat feats that are physically impossible outside of Wuxia films.
  • Implied in Furry Fight Chronicles with Combagals. Muko is described as having no training in sports or fighting. Assuming the average Combagal was like Muko before their two years in Combagal school, then those two years gave them Megaton Punch levels of strength and Made of Iron levels of stamina.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Othar Tryggvassen (Gentleman Adventurer!!) really does run on this trope. We're talking about the man who survived being thrown out of an airship multiple times: here, and then shortly afterward here. His adventurers in his Twitter feed are even more ludicrous.
    • The Unstoppable Higgs seems to have this. However, it seems more and more likely that he actually has some superpowers, which is eventually confirmed when he reveals himself to be a Jaegermonster whose fangs never came in.
  • Grrl Power gives us Math, a martial artist so incredible that even the most powerful super in the world notes that distinguishing between his abilities and actual superpowers is a futile exercise. The quote from the top of the page is from just as he is knocking out a super whose body is entirely made out of concrete.
  • Readers of Homestuck would know that Dave's Bro is a strong and versatile fighter, but would be quite surprised when he cleanly splits a giant meteor in half with his katana. Meanwhile, both Mom and Dad are able to defeat giant monsters bare-handed.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • The Supernatural Martial Arts are truly ridiculous, resulting in things like being able to create a crater ten meters wide with your pinkie. Notably, the ridiculously overpowered angels are mostly only powerful for this reason. They use much the same martial arts as humans do but have little in their infinite lives to do other than practice. Humans can quickly surpass them if they have a proper teacher, but learning from an angel is generally a bad idea.
      There's a reason most human martial artists don't train with angels, namely that it's well-known that you will spend every second feeling like a complete buffoon.
    • Not to mention the swordsmen, who are capable of not only Parrying Bullets but can do so without actually drawing their swords.
      Proverb: Beware the swordsman who carries no blade.
  • Hannah Mets from Lightbringer was shown in one of her early appearances to be capable of lifting a table over her head without any sign of strain or effort despite her only mildly muscular frame. Word of God states she has no superpowers.
  • Ken from No Need for Bushido regularly shows superhuman strength that comes from nothing more than training and constant use of his BFS, which is about 5 times his size. Just look at this comic, where Ken uses his sword to cut down a tree with a single swing, then casually kicks the felled tree right at a group of people chasing the main characters.
  • The Order of the Stick's RPG Mechanics 'Verse produces this sometimes:
  • In the furry comic Ray Fox, most "metas" have advanced training or amplified animal abilities like Chameleon Camouflage or nigh-impenetrable hide. Neo-mutants like the pyrokinetic titular character are incredibly rare and their very existence is top secret.
  • Satin Steele has Satin, a professional female bodybuilder who does stuff like climbing up the spine of a giant dinosaur and fending off an alien monster with just her strength, gymnastics training, and karate skills.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Bun-Bun can outrun a car, toss a grown man over his shoulder, claw his way out of an alien's stomach, skin a grizzly bear alive, and survive grenade explosions at point-blank range. Made all the more impressive considering that Bun-Bun is a small bunny. It eventually turns out that he's actually an Amnesiac God of Power and Strength from a proto-Egyptian civilization. Which both makes his accomplishments rather unsurprising and means that he's not actually an example of this.
    • Oasis and Kusari might count as well. It's currently unknown how much of their physical prowess is due to their training and how much is due to being Dr. Steve's lab rats.
    • It's not yet determined how much of Oasis's ability is due to development or origin, but in her last storyline, it was shown that she's at least learning how to become more impossible through training. And old man Feng, for all his history of martial arts training, didn't seem that surprised at what she could do. Maybe he's the Charles Atlas Supercoach?
  • Sebastian from True Villains had to train like mad to keep a necromantic injury from draining his life force and killing him. When that injury was healed, all the extra energy that had been feeding the injury was added to his physical strength.
  • A.P.M. from Wootlabs turned her gaming skills into actual enhanced reflexes and mental multitasking abilities.

    Web Original 
  • The narrator, Gervas Klarenfeld in Dead West is a fine example. He was a boxing champion at his university and trained with guns to impress a countess before the story starts. He manages to defy aristocrats by Diamond, even if he himself is a commoner, and can take on the Porcelain Doctor or the Beast in a fight. When the latter is berserkering, he uses Gervas as a punching bag, and he survives. Having Heroic Build and being a Determinator helps. Just like the exercise regimen of a knight of the MacArkills.
  • Epithet Erased: Howie Honeyglow, the most powerful Mundie in the series. His stats are second only to Zora's, including highest-tier Proficiency and maximum Stamina. Before he's taken out of play by Zora's overpowered Epithet, he takes down three Banzai Blasters at once by bending a metal wrench into a boomerang with his bare hands and throwing it at them.
  • Lampshaded in the blog-novel Flyover City!, when the Hero / Load decides to pursue a career in crimefighting after his beloved 1975 Vespa is stolen.
  • Texts from Superheroes: Lampshaded by Deadpool who thought The Punisher had super-mutant healing powers.
  • Journeyman of the Whateley Universe is a baseline but incredibly well trained in martial arts to the point that he can take on superpowered characters like Bladedancer, ki mistress Chaka, and Person of Mass Destruction Tennyo. He once sparred with all three at the same time. And won.

    Western Animation 
  • Finn the Human from Adventure Time is probably the only human in the show, but he has demonstrated high acrobatic ability, more than enough strength to cut monsters in half, and has taken more damage than most adults could withstand, let alone a not-particularly-athletic 13-year-old.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Suki was a borderline case until "Boiling Rock, Part II" when she ran up a thirty-foot wall.
    • Ty Lee has always fit this trope even more what with all the multi-story leaping.
    • Ty Lee's teammate Mai is a slightly milder case; similar to Marvel Comics villain Bullseye (mentioned above), her skill with throwing blades is basically superhuman.
    • Master Piandao has these in Warrior Poet form, in that he can fight on par with incredibly powerful benders with just a sword and defeat ludicrous numbers of foes and so on, and Training Montages some of 'em into Sokka.
    • Zuko has actual superpowers in the form of martial arts pyrokinesis, and still does impossible feats of strength without them — he's broken shackles with an ax kick, punched a person across a room, and has sufficient strength and stamina to have prolonged martial arts fights while wearing plate armor and even smash rocks out of mid-air.
    • Most of Aang's speed and agility are shown to be from the use of his airbending, but he's also displayed feats of this trope that can't be attributed to it. He has done things like briefly Bridal Carry Katara while jumping down a couple stories, and also once carry Zuko, despite both of them clearly being heavier than him and his thin build wouldn't hint he possessed that sort of strength. But that's nothing compared to supporting an entire boulder on his back when training with Toph. He's also fallen a few stories out of a tree and got back up seconds later with no lasting injuries.
    • Iroh has displayed the strength to toss boulders, while out of shape.
  • There's a scene in The Batman where Batman pulls off a judo throw so powerful that his opponent leaves a dent in an armored truck.
  • In Blue Eye Samurai, Mizu displays a level of physical prowess that legitimately terrifies other characters, to the point where one antagonist says that she "keeps happening" like some kind of natural disaster. Not only does she have pure physical strength beyond what you'd expect from her build, she's also incredibly fast and agile. Most of all, she has a pain tolerance that is through the roof and will continue to fight even when she has a leg pierced through, broken bones, and more.
  • Valerie of Danny Phantom turned from spoiled rich girl into Action Girl. Despite being only fourteen, she is stated to be a ninth-degree martial artist. Her older alternate future self even survived a fall with minor injuries from hundreds of feet high!
  • Harley Quinn (2019): Harley Quinn is not in the same league as the true DC Lightning Bruisers like Superman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman. But by ordinary human standards, Harley is still incredibly fast, strong, and tough. She can dodge gunfire, break bones in a single hit, take an impressive beating, and even fall off the side of a mountain, and walk away with only minor injuries. While she did fall into the same vat of chemicals as the Joker, the show generally treats both their transformations as largely cosmetic and points to her career as a competitive gymnast as the reason for her combat prowess.
  • Hong Kong Phooey subverts this one, with the main character's constant referral to his "Hong Kong Book of Kong Foo", yet he is incompetent at it.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • In one episode, Jade is fighting the clone version of herself and scales a wall nearly 20 feet into the air before dropkicking her clone and effectively knocking her out.
    • In the same episode, Jackie participates in an Iron Fist challenge and slams through seven thick stone slabs with his bare hands. He loses the competition and ends up having his hands bandaged up, but it is still a cool feat.
    • Hak Foo is the only one of the recurring villains who rarely relies on some sort of supernatural gimmick to fight. In fact, when the Dark Hand divvied up Shendu's talismans after the latter's banishment, Hak Foo was the only one who chucked his away noting that he's already far superior to most humans and the powers granted by the talismans were overkill (Finn, the butt monkey of the Dark Hand, promptly "traded" them for the ones he got, which were actually useless).
  • In an episode of Justice League, Wildcat becomes so frustrated with his lack of superpowers that he punches through a brick wall.
  • Kim Possible is the female epitome of the trope. She can go mano-a-mano with superhuman fighters like Shego and Monkey Fist. All that cheerleading and Mantis Kung Fu has made her a seriously tough girl with agility and durability far beyond any natural human. Though even as a kindergartner, she was shown to be able to move and jump higher than any normal human should.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Korra herself, to a degree unusual even within her franchise. In addition to being able to wield the four elements and having a Super Mode that can expertly crack continental plates without mussing anyone's hair, her sheer brute strength allows her to effortlessly pick up and fling around grown men taller than her and lift boulders the size of a car. In the Book Three finale, she becomes so enraged that she breaks apart unbendable platinum chains by nothing but raw strength.
    • Similarly, the athletic-but-not-overly-buff Mako has casually tossed his bulky brother over his shoulder, thrown mooks away with a single hand, and doing neck lifts with no major exertion.
    • Bolin is the only character who's more muscular than Korra and will gleefully show off his might, whether it be swinging Asami around like she weighs nothing or doing wrestling moves in Pro-Bending tournaments to overpower men twice his size. Bolin also has Super Not-Drowning Skills unique for an Earth Bender.
    • Mako's one-time girlfriend Asami Sato, who unlike them officially has no powers at all, similarly displays this, at one time jerking loose a piece of steel railing that is bolted to a wall and using it to pry open an inch-thick floor plate much as though it were a tin can lid.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Although mostly Played for Laughs, Big Macintosh is strong enough to throw an entire dog pile of ponies off of him, smash through walls, and drag an entire house behind him. While hopping like Pepé Le Pew. His sister Applejack is no slouch either; the two of them are strong enough to dislodge apples from trees by kicking them. The IDW comics take it a step further when Big Macintosh matches Princess Celestia, the Long-Lived God Empress of their entire nation with enough power to raise the sun every morning, at hoof-wrestling. The next panel she appears in, she has a bandage on her leg meaning he was strong enough to hurt her.
    • Earth ponies like the Apples are at least naturally stronger and more resilient than other ponies. Rainbow Dash however is the resident Lightning Bruiser despite being a pegasus, flying at speeds that are literally legendary and crashing into buildings and mountains with barely a scratch. When she finally took enough damage to break one of her wings, she was able to fly again (albeit not very well) in two days.
    • Pinkie Pie's sister Maud half-heartedly throws a boulder, sending it over the horizon, creating a massive shockwave in the process. Later, she smashes a giant rock to bits.
  • The Ripping Friends are superhumanly strong and tough. Their leader Crag once dragged the entire landmass of Quebec back to Canada with his bare hands and a rope. They got this way by training their asses off with their brutal mother. To them, having superpowers is cheating.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • In one episode, Jack trains wearing heavy boulders; when they are finally removed, he is able to "jump good." So good, in fact, that it's mistaken for flight. The guy who trained him is essentially a normal human being who after running away to live with primates, has trained long enough to leap to the moon and back.
      • In another episode, "Jack in Space", Jack fights a giant robo-gun in space and reflects their energy blast with his sword, getting a good backwash of electricity himself. The explosion sends Jack plunging through the atmosphere to hit the ground like a meteorite. It takes him about half a second to shrug it off and get back up.
    • A Viking warrior who Aku sealed inside a Crystal Prison which he then sealed inside a mountain was able to acquire the power to manipulate the rock around him with his mind just by spending the majority of his millennia-long imprisonment trying really hard to do it. Hey, it's not like he had anything better to do in there.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • Robin routinely smacked around 20-foot-tall concrete giants with brute strength alone and shrugged off what should be near-fatal injuries. After all, he was trained by Batman.
    • Slade and Red X both also fall into this. While Red X does generally use the environment and his suit's abilities to great effect to take down the Titans, he also essentially shrugs off being slammed into a concrete wall by Starfire's eyebeams and then dropping at least seven feet onto a concrete floor. Red X also seems to not be particularly impaired by no longer having the necessary phlebotinum to power his suit. All three of them are capable of performing jumps that completely defy belief.
  • Parodied in the Teen Titans Go! episode "Mouth Hole", where Robin trains at whistling to the point where he can use it as a Swiss-Army Superpower. Rose Wilson also counts as this, best demonstrated in the episode "Operation Dude Rescue" where she wields a giant sword summoned by Raven and slices a giant mech with maximum effort.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) has a villainous example in Hun of the Purple Dragons. He's not a mutantnote  and the audience isn't expected to think of him as anything other than a really strong Badass Normal villain who can fight on par with the Turtles. But some of his strength, durability, and survival feats will make you think otherwise, given his penchant for bending metal with his bare hands, ripping off a support beam and using it as a weapon, and surviving falls that would seriously kill most ordinary people.
  • Sky from Total Drama: Pahkitew Island is an aspiring Olympic athlete. One unintended (and in her mind, somewhat embarrassing) side effect of all her training is that the increased strength in her abs and diaphragm has given her a near superhuman belching ability.
  • Brock Samson from The Venture Bros. is a prime ultimate example of lampshaded Charles Atlas; through a combination of training and testosterone, he is capable of surviving in a vacuum for some time with no permanent harm, killing armies, mummies, crocodiles, wereodiles, and other foes, surviving hits by bullets, taking multiple hits from tranquilizer-darts with no effect, and otherwise being virtually impervious to pain. He also carries the trademark cartoon characteristics of having an impossibly huge, gorilla-like upper body, but incredibly small and skinny stick-like legs. And can also tell if someone's in his car from an entire continent away.
  • Robin in Young Justice (2010) isn't that far behind either. In "Downtime", while working out at the gym, he punches a crater in a concrete wall.


Video Example(s):


Saitama explains his training

Saitama explains how a seemingly ordinary workout routine made him the strongest being on the planet.

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Main / CharlesAtlasSuperpower

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