Eli5: If the human brain has limiters to the body’s strength to prevent it from tearing itself apart, why can’t we just make an external thing which takes reference from the body to create said strength? Couldn’t we just change it a bit so it doesn’t, y’know, tear apart?

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Eli5: If the human brain has limiters to the body’s strength to prevent it from tearing itself apart, why can’t we just make an external thing which takes reference from the body to create said strength? Couldn’t we just change it a bit so it doesn’t, y’know, tear apart?

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Because if we’re using tools to increase strength, we already have tools that are stronger than us. It’s an unnecessary use case, where you are willing to body augment yourself to strengthen your bones, but only willing to use the natural muscle fibers.

Are you talking about something like an exo-suit? Because if so, then they already exist in real life not just scifi movies.

The make these, they are called [exoskeletons](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powered_exoskeleton ). There is one called XO that makes the user 20 times stronger.

It doesn’t, not in the way that you’re likely thinking.

You’re probably thinking of “hysterical strength”, this idea that the brain intentionally limits your force production by some significant amount to limit injuries in day-to-day activities, but can be overridden in dire circumstances (like your child trapped under a car).

Hysterical strength doesn’t actually exist. There are no actual documented instances (meaning video or other definitive proof) of people performing feats well beyond their typical abilities. Hysterical strength is a myth based on imprecise reporting. Things like “exerting 300-400 lbs of force to lift a car 2-3 inches on its suspension” will get turned into “mother lifts car to save trapped child.” Or rolling a heavy boulder to one side turns into “man lifts 800 lb boulder”.

When you actually dig into the specifics of the ones that have been recorded or better documented, there’s always something like that. Lifting something across a pivot point creating a lever. Lifting something that is partially underwater and getting significant lift from buoyancy, etc.

There’s also no feasible mechanism for it to even work. Even untrained individuals can fire 85-95% of their motor units in a given movement pattern on command.

If a fight or flight response could shut off some brain limiter that unlocks hysterical strength, we would have videos of people using Epipens to perform world record lifts.

The external device you’re talking about to remove stress from human bodies and improve our own force output is an exoskeleton. They’re being produced right now. I’m not sure of many industries that have adopted them in day-to-day work though.