Follow TV Tropes

Following

The Strength of Ten Men

Go To

Prince Ali, mighty is he, Ali Ababwa!
Strong as ten regular men, definitely!
The Genie, singing "Prince Ali" from Disney's Aladdin

When a character exhibits extraordinary (and sometimes superhuman) strength and/or fighting prowess, it is often described in terms of some multiple of the strength of a "normal" man. "Ten Men" is the most common multiplier, but the number of men is sometimes given as a dozen, or a hundred, or even a thousand. Such variables don't really matter, though, because the point isn't the number. Rather, the point is that the character is that much stronger and more powerful than a single ordinary human being.

Advertisement:

A Sub-Trope of Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure. When measuring less easily-quantifiable concepts than raw strength such as "fighting prowess," can easily overlap with Abstract Scale.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • It's stated that the gate to the ironworks in the west requires the strength of ten men to open. Ashitaka of Princess Mononoke can open it by himself using only his cursed arm thanks to it giving him Super Strength. What's more, he did this while heavily injured and on the verge of death.
  • One Piece
    • Fishmen are described as generally being ten times as strong as humans. Unfortunately for them, they tend to come up against humans (e.g Luffy, Zoro and Sanji) who are super strong themselves. Though some of the Fishmen have superior strengh even by Fishman standards, like Jimbei and (in flashbacks) Fisher Tiger.
    • The CP9 measure their members' power in "douriki" points, and estimate that an average Marine has a score of 10 points. Rob Lucci, the strongest member, has a score of "4000", roughly equivalent to 400 marines, while Spandam only has a score of 9, meaning that he's even weaker than a Mook. Rob Lucci also states that Rokushiki in general makes users to be "as strong as a 100 men alone".
    • In Zou Luffy happily claims to Inuarashi that his missing cook Sanji is strong as "1000 men" therefore vital for War Arc, Zoro in response mutters jealously that Luffy's estimate automatically means he's strong as "2000 men". Really is either claim is a poor estimation of Sanji and Zoro's true strengh as they both been shown to be much stronger than 1000 or 2000 men.
  • In Tiger Mask, Mr. X brags that Tiger's Cave wrestler Lionman is stronger than twenty men, and to prove it he pits him in a tug-o-war with a chain against twenty members of the audience. Lionman not only wins, he pulls them on the ring. Then Great Zebra a.k.a. Giant Baba grabs the chain and matches his strength with a single arm, silently bragging he's stronger than forty.
  • Hegemon Claus Ingvalt from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid is said to have possessed the strength of a thousand men. Considering that he has been established as a tremendously powerful Magic Knight and The Rival to Olivie Sägebrecht of Belka, that statement may be understood literally.
  • Kija from Yona of the Dawn has the strength of ten men in his dragon arm! Only that arm, though, although Required Secondary Powers ensues for how he walks around without having his legs buckle under the weight.

    Comic Books 
  • Parodied in The Tick, where a speedster superhero describes himself as being "as fast as ten fast men!"
  • Daredevil accused Death's Head of having the strength of a dozen men.
  • The Avengers' Hyde claims to have the strength of a dozen men. This is a character who, in a cross over with DC, out-muscled Superman. Makes you wonder which dozen men he was talking about.
  • Kid Komics, Professor Jordan plays around with his chemistry sets to develop a liquid that gives him the strength of a dozen men, then he goes off to fight Nazis.
  • Hex of ClanDestine was given the strength of a dozen men through Nazi science.
  • In Empowered, the titular heroine describes one of the powers her super suit grants her as "the strength of ten men. Or fifteen if you're counting with wimpy guys."
  • The Mexican comic book superhero Kalimán has the strength of 50 men.
  • Marvel Comics' superhero the 3-D Man has the strength (and agility, and virtually everything else up to and including "triple hearing") of three men (as does his successor, Triathlon.) Triathlon is quick to note that it's three times the absolute peak of normal human physical ability. In other words, three of Captain America. That is saying something.
  • The Batman villain KGBeast was said to be cybernetically enhanced, to the point that his strength was comparable to four men.
  • In an issue of X-Factor, Jamie Madrox is fighting some villain who boasts of having the strength of ten men. Jamie quips that he doesn't have the strength of ten men, but to just give him a second and he will.
  • The D.C. villain Deathstroke used to be stated as having the strength of ten men; Fridge Logic kicks in somewhat when Badass Normal characters like Batman and Robin/Nightwing are able to fight against him evenly in hand-to-hand without undue handicap. In most recent works his strength is indicated as being "enhanced", without quantifying an amount.
  • DC Comics hero Hourman says he gets the strength of ten men through the use of his Miraclo pills.
  • Spider-Man:
    • A minor enemy of Spider-Man once boasted to have the strength of ten men. The wallcrawler quickly showed him that he is way stronger than that.
      Spider-Man: How strong do you think I am? Twenty men? Thirty?
    • Spider-Man did this again when he entered a warehouse to take down a large group of criminals. Accidentally breaking through the roof, he landed on the floor and was immediately set upon by a literal army of men. One of them yelled "Pile on, guys! I hear Spider-Man's only got the strength of ten men. Too bad for him there's a lot more than ten of us!" In the next panel, Spidey is completely buried under dozens of men, all kicking, punching, and stomping as hard as they can. Then a calm voice is heard from under the pile. "You men really should pay more attention when you peruse those supermarket yellow-sheets. The correct expression is Spider-Man possesses the proportionate strength of a spider." He then jumped to his feet, sending everyone on him flying in all directions. "AND THAT'S A WHOLE HELLUVA LOT STRONGER THAN TEN MEN!" Spidey then proceeded to curb-stomp the entire gang.
  • Silver Banshee is said to have the strength of ten men. While she cannot out-muscle Superman, she can hurt him with her punches and kicks, presumably because her abilities are magic based and Superman is vulnerable to magic.
  • In one of J.B. Handelsman's "Freaky Fables" cartoons from Punch, an evil knight boasts that he has the strength of ten men...then proceeds to start listing the ten men whose strength he has ("Dave, Steve, Clive, Irv, Merv...").
  • Parodied in the Italian comic NORMALMAN (nothing to do with Jim Valentino's normalman). An accident with Imported Alien Phlebotinum makes the protagonist one hundred times stronger, smarter and more agile... But he was one hundred times weaker, dumber and clumsier than the average person to start with, so he becomes merely normal. For some reason, he decides to fight crime as a superhero anyway.

    Comic Strips 
  • "The Phantom has the strength of ten tigers." — Old jungle saying.
    • The Phantom Chronicles show us that this is not just poetic license; one of the Phantoms did in fact defeat ten tigers in gladiatorial combat while undercover to dismantle a slave market.
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin claims that his alter ego, Stupendous Man, has the strength of a million mortal men... of course, this is all in Calvin's mind, so in real life, not so much.
Advertisement:

    Films — Animation 
  • In Brave, the witch tells Merida that she gave a prince a spell to give him the strength of ten men. What it actually did was turn him into the demon bear Mor'du.
  • In Frozen, the opening number "Frozen Heart" describes the power of ice this way:
    Beautiful, powerful, dangerous, cold
    Ice has a magic can't be controlled,
    Stronger than one! Stronger than ten!
    Stronger than a hundred men!
  • From the song "Prince Ali" in Disney's Aladdin:
    "Prince Ali! Mighty is he! Ali Ababwa. Strong as ten regular men, definitely!"

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Sir Galahad in Idylls of the King: "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure."
  • In Cart and Cwidder, the protagonist's Music for Courage has a part that goes something like "our strength is the strength of a hundred men / because each of us marches as ten".
  • Hilda the Hippo from a Richard Scarry book describes herself thusly, "Oh dear, I'm as strong as ten average little girls."
  • This is played with in Leo Frankowski's Adventures of Conrad Stargard novels. When questioned about his fighting prowess, Baron Conrad Stargard explains, jokingly, "I have the strength of ten because my heart is pure." This statement immediately prompts Conrad's wife, Francine, to note that, "This raises the question, his heart is pure what?"
  • Spoofed in Jingo where Carrot gives the Galahad line "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure," and his girlfriend Angua retorts "Really? Well, there's eleven of them."
  • The titular Seven Brothers are made fun of by their neighbours, who sing about each brother's personal quirks and end with a claim they together make "a series of brothers as graceful as rampant bulls, with the strength of seven men".
  • King David in The Books of Rachel
  • Mr. Stuart in The Rover is moved to gain the strength of a dozen men when his daughter is kidnapped
  • The Demon Awakens by R. A. Salvatore, the giants are described as having the strength of a dozen men.
  • The Runelords series takes the trope disturbingly literal. Runelords may have the brawn, wit or sight of two or more, but if someone has the strength of ten that means that somewhere there are nine now extremely weak guys that have given up their own strength.
  • The Thirteenth Century Angel. "madness lent them the strength of a dozen men"
  • Brom in Inheritance Cycle says of the Dragon Riders of eld: "Their prowess in battle was unmatched, for each had the strength of ten men." The series also demonstrates that certain creatures, including elves, Shades, Ra'zac, and Kull urgals are all many times stronger than ordinary humans, and Dragon Riders seem to gradually become stronger with time. In an interview, Christopher Paolini was asked how many men exactly would it take to equal the strength of one of these individuals, and he said that he'd rather not quantify their strength.
  • In On Basilisk Station, a civilian sarcastically notes to a marine he is aware that their battle armor gives them the strength of ten men because their hearts are pure.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, northmen said this about themselves, but it was just a boast.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road, he has the narrator relate the "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure." line sarcastically.
  • In Dracula, the Count himself is said to have the strength of twenty men as one of his many powers. Ironically Dracula was killed by only two dudes, in the finale though to be fair they got him while he was at his weakest.
  • In the Quantum Prophecy/New Heroes series, Titan is supposed to have the strength of one hundred men, despite being strong enough to literally throw someone into the sun.
  • Upon learning of the True Meaning of Christmas, the Grinch gains the strength of ten Grinches - plus two.
  • Nibelungenlied: Siegfried's Invisibility Cloak, Tarnkappe, also gave him the strength of twelve men.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Smallville, the "Naman" is said to have the strength of ten men.
    • Fridge Logic comes in when you realize that comes out to equal about a ton. Clark (who is most likely Naman) ends up being able to move planets!
  • Lost in Space, "The Collision of Planets." Dr. Smith gets Super Strength.
    Never fear, Smith is here! I have the strength of twenty, possibly forty!!
  • The Adventures of Lano and Woodley - Just before a Chase Scene, Col declares to Frank that they must "run with the speed of a thousand gazelles".
  • Doctor Who's Cybermen (at least the Mondas ones) are set to have the strength of ten men in the serial The Tenth Planet.
  • On an episode of Stargate SG-1 several team members get devices that give them super-human physical abilities (and also seems to do away with inhibitions). Their progress is tested by a beautiful alien who at one point tells Colonel O'Neil that he now has the strength of many men. "So," he says, preening for the beautiful alien (and the eye-rolling of their female doctor), "no change then?"
    • Later on, in Stargate Atlantis, a Goa'uld boasts he has the strength of ten men. His opponent, Ronon, is glad that its a fair fight. As with many Goa'uld boasts, this has a grain of truth but is mostly exaggeration and ego. (Goa'uld are quite a bit stronger than regular humans, but not to such an extreme. Ronan hands said Goa'uld his ass quite handily.)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "Space Seed," Khan warns Kirk, "I have five times your strength!"
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard remarks that Data's "daughter", Lal, is a child with the strength of ten men; fans have extrapolated from this that Data's strength is equivalent. He has, however, been shown to be even stronger than that.
  • Wonder Woman: In "The Feminum Mystique", General Blankenship uses this trope word for word to describe Wonder Girl.
    Major Steve Trevor: Say, what happened to Wertz? Did they catch him?
    General Phil Blankenship: Yes. The poor man's lost his mind. He gave himself up babbling something about a fifteen year old girl with the strength of ten men!
  • Game of Thrones: Lyanna Mormont pledges 62 fighters to help Jon Snow retake Winterfell:
    Lyanna: We are not a large house, but we are a proud one. And every man on Bear Island fights with the strength of ten mainlanders.
    Davos: If they are half as ferocious as their lady, the Boltons are doomed.

    Video Games 
  • The Thûl race in Dreamlords Resurrection are described as having the strength of a dozen men.
  • Strength of 10 Men is an achievement in the video game Age of Conan.
  • The human LeChuck exhibits this strength to pull out the Wise Turtle Summoning Artifact in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay. He even lampshades this when he tells Guybrush, "Elaine seems to think I have the strength of ten men!"
  • Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment has Ten Men Gren.
  • Cyan in Final Fantasy VI is described as having the strength of a hundred men.
  • One potion in Kingdom of Loathing grants Strength of Ten Ettins (although it only increases the character's Muscle by 1/4 of its base value, so adventurers apparently start with the strength of eight Ettins in the first place).
  • In Batman: Arkham Origins, some of Firefly's mooks can be overheard in the attempt to liberate the bridge saying that they heard that Batman is this.
  • Danved will fight like ten men! (Actually, he's not the best of his class, let alone in terms of humans.)
  • In King of Dragon Pass, your weaponthanes (professional warriors) have gear and training equivalent to five armed militiamen. A specific divine blessing can double this number up to — you guessed it — ten.
  • The Ring of Ares (Laurin's Ring in the Japanese version) in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is described as conferring the strength of twenty-four men. Unfortunately it takes as much as it gives; while it does grant a massive +24 strength boost, it also lowers defense by -24, turning Alucard into a Glass Cannon.
Advertisement:

    Visual Novels 
  • In Nasuverse works like Fate/stay night, Servant Parameters work like this. A Servant's Strength, Endurance, Agility, Mana, Luck, and Noble Phantasm is given a Rank. Rank E Strength is roughly as strong as ten men, Rank D is twenty men, Rank C is thirty men, Rank B is forty men, Rank A is fifty men, and Rank EX means it is totally beyond measure. A + modifier means the Servant can temporarily multiply their power, so + can double it, ++ can triple it, and +++ can quadruple it. So someone with Rank A+++ Strength could temporarily be as strong as 200 men. A - modifier means the Rank is not stable or slightly lower than usual.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in Red vs. Blue when Grif starts to get carried away while recounting the time his team fought against The Meta. He initially describes The Meta as having the strength of ten men, only to correct himself with "No, ten bears!".

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Neopets subverts it with the Altador Strength Potion item: "Have the strength of nine Lupes with this potion! Well, not exactly... Okay, how about: With this potion you will have strength like King Altador!"
  • In the Hitherby Dragons story "Devadatta and Various Killers" various thieves, ogres and princes describe themselves as "strong as X normal men"; Devedata corrects someone who describes him as "Stronger than eighty-seven normal men", to eighty nine (presumably, he's been in training)

    Western Animation 
  • The Mighty Hercules:
    Fighting for the right
    Fighting with his might,
    With the strength of ten
    Ordinary men.
  • In the Bananaman cartoon, The Narrator would frequently describe Bananaman as having "the muscles of twenty men". Bananaman would quickly reply "Twenty big men."
  • The My Life as a Teenage Robot theme describes Jenny as having "the strength of 1,000,070 men".
  • Appears in the climax of the Animated Adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!:
    "And then, the True Meaning of Christmas shone through,
    and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches — plus two!"
  • Parodied in the DVD extras for The Venture Bros.: Billy and Pete describe the makeup of a robot that loves, which includes super-strong arms for hugs that a hundred mothers could not match.
  • In the first episode of Sealab 2021, the crew gets fixated on the idea of becoming robots; Murphy scoffs at the idea of a robot body with the strength of five mere men, which Marco claims he already has, preferring to imagine one with the strength of five gorillas (which, for the record, comes out to roughly thirty men).
  • Spoofed in the Rugrats episode where the cast imagine themselves as superheroes. Chuckie becomes Stinky—who smells as bad as ''two'' babies.
  • Afro-Man And The Protectors Of The Book Of Knowledge: Afro-Man has the strength of 1,000,000 men.
  • In Defenders of the Earth, the Phantom can harness the "strength of ten tigers" for brief periods.
  • In Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Kraven the Hunter boasts that he has the strength of ten gorillas.
  • Roger Ramjet takes a proton pill that gives him the strength of twenty atom bombs for twenty seconds.
  • From The Tick, episode "The Tick vs. Europe":
    Eclair: The Fortissimo Brothers have the strength of ten men.
    Tick: Is that five men each or twenty all together?
  • From the theme song for The Big Knights:
    Narrator: The height of two men, the weight of four, the strength of sixteen!
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "Heart of Ice", Mr. Freeze overpowers Batman in hand to hand combat and says his suit triples his strength.

    Real Life 
  • A common stunt by strength performers (usually strongmen and strongwomen but occasionally martial artists or health/exercise gurus as well) is to play Tug-of-War against a group of grown men or audience members, the effect sometimes being enhanced by pitting a relatively small and wiry or elderly performer against beefy or visibly muscular opponents. It is an impressive feat if performed genuinely but there are many factors and 'cheats' that may reduce the actual effort needed.
  • Depending on the definition of "a man's strength", many Olympic weightlifters and other strength athletes achieve this. 1950's champion Paul Anderson could squat 900 pounds for multiple reps. Assuming an untrained man can squat about 100 pounds, one could say Anderson had the strength of nine men.
    • Peary Rader, the strength guru who founded "Iron Man" magazine, told of starting out as a young man barely able to squat the 45-pound Olympic-standard barbell with NO plates on it. Years later, he was squatting well over 300, making him seven or eight times stronger than the man he used to be.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report