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A Stock Phrase used by both heroes and villains who exhibit extraordinary (and sometimes superhuman) strength and fighting prowess. "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.
Anime and Manga
- Ashitaka of Princess Mononoke has the strength of ten men.
- In One Piece, Fishmen are described as generally being ten times as strong as humans. Unfortunately for them, they tend to come up against humans who are Super Strong.
- Parodied in The Tick:
- a speedster superhero describes as "fast as ten fast men!"
Donner: The Fortissimo Brothers have the strength of ten men.
Tick: Is that five men each or twenty all together?
- In Spider-Man and probably elsewhere in comics, characters are said to have the strength of x normal people. Spidey is in the 5-10 range and his Evil Counterpart Venom is in the 10-20 range.
- 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.
- 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 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 Kaliman has the strength of 50 men.
- Marvel Comics's superhero the 3-D Man has the strength (and agility, and virtually everything else up to and including "triple hearing") of three men (as does his successor, Triathlon.) Triathlon is quick to note that it's three times the absolute peak of normal human physical ability.
- In other words, three of Captain America. That is saying something.
- Captain America from Marvel Universe has the strength of ten men, to one hundred men.
- In Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster, Mad Scientist Dr. Vornoff dreams of creating a race of "atomic supermen", each one "as big as a giant, with the strength of twenty men".
- "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure." — Sir Galahad
- In Cart & Cwidder, the first book of the Dalemark Quartet, the protagonist's Music for Courage has a part that goes something like "our strength is the strength of a hundred men / because each of us marches as ten".
- Hilda the Hippo from a Richard Scarry book describes herself thusly, "Oh dear, I'm as strong as ten average little girls."
- This is played with in Leo Frankowski's Adventures of Conrad Stargard novels. When questioned about his fighting prowess, Baron Conrad Stargard explains, jokingly, "I have the strength of ten because my heart is pure." This statement immediately prompts Conrad's wife, Francine, to note that, "This raises the question, his heart is pure what?"
- Spoofed in Jingo where Carrot gives the Galahad line "My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure."
Angua:"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 The 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.
Live Action TV
Never fear, Smith is here! I have the strength of twenty, possibly forty!!
- The Adventures of Lano and Woodley - Just before a Chase Scene, Col declares to Frank that they must "run with the speed of a thousand gazelles".
- Doctor Who's Cybermen (at least the Mondas ones) are set to have the strength of ten men in the serial The Tenth Planet.
- On an episode of Stargate SG-1 several team members get devices that give them super-human physical abilities (but seem to make them stupider). Their progress is tested by a beautiful alien who at one point tells Colonel O'Neil that he now has the strength of many men. "So," he says, preening for the beautiful alien (and the eye-rolling of their female doctor), "no change then?"
- 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 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.
- The very first page of Everyday Heroes introduces Mr. Mighty, described as having "the strength of seventy men" (and then goes on to specify further).
- 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)
- The 60s The Mighty Hercules: Fighting for the right,/Fighting with his might,/With the strength of ten ordinary men.
- From the song "Prince Ali" in Disney's Aladdin:
- "Prince Ali! Mighty is he! Ali Ababwa. Strong as ten regular men, definitely!"
- Hegemon Claus Ingvalt from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is said to have possessed the strength of a thousand men. Considering that he has been established as a tremendously powerful Magic Knight and The Rival to the God-Emperor of Belka, that statement may be understood literally.
- In the Banana Man 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 himself with the strength of ten Grinches -- plus two!"
- 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, and this troper remembers squatting 90 pounds as a skinny 20-year-old, meaning Anderson literally had the strength of ten young, untrained nerds.
- 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.