I’m a huge Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fan. Those who have spent any extended periods of time with me should know that since it’s what makes up 90% of my dialogue. Oh, we haven’t kicked it? Then listen to the end of Episode 67 of our podcast, it should provide some context. A little known fact, my legal birth name is actually Luke Dwayne The Rock Johnson Summers. That said, it shouldn’t surprise you that I was one of billions if not trillions of people on this earth who saw the blockbuster hit, and Oscar bound feature film Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Without spoiling the movie, I’m going to go into a bro-nalysis of “exactly” how strong The Rock is based off of 3 training methods that I observed in the movie. I’m not going to dogpile on the any of the 12 labours that were so elegantly depicted in the film. There is potential that folk lore played a part in those stories and could affect my bro-nalysis. Instead I’m going to analyze 3 scenes that stood out to me as significant feats of Field Strength. To calculate how powerful Hercules is I’m going to be measuring total kinetic energy in Joules, and then using Power = Work / Time, and then using our Tendo unit to compare movement patterns.
Method 1 – D/SL H WAGON KICK PRESS
In one fight scene, Hercules and his army are engaged in battle from all angles. As their defense begins to fall, Hercules puts his training to the test to clear out a number of enemies with a large wagon to clear way for the cavalry. He strikes the elevated end of wagon with his battle club to teeter it up vertically (an impressive feat in it’s self) and then kicks that sucker across the field at the bad guys!! The wagon was of a two wheel variation that I estimate tipped that scale at roughly 1,300 lbs / 590kg. I got that info from this seemingly reliable internet article about wagons used to travel the Oregon trail, and while wagon technology surely improved since Hercules’ time, I can only estimate that gross wagon weight didn’t improve as they were built from the same materials. In the scene, the wagon travels about 25ft / 7.6m in 3 seconds. So let’s get to work:
KE = .5 x 590kg x (5m/s)2 + 0 = 7,375 Joules
Power = Work / Time = 7,375 Joules / 1.5 s = 4,916 watts of power with a single leg
METHOD 2 – SA V HORSE AND WARRIOR POWER TOSS
In a later fight scene Hercules and his army, having time to improve their skills through intense training, take their enemy by surprise with an impermeable defense against a more skilled and much more able opposing force. The commanding enemy warrior puts a bead on Hercules from across the battle field and charges on horseback for a chance to cut down the legendary warrior. Long story short, the battle field clears and this becomes a mano-a-mano showdown and Hercules topples the warrior and his horse in an AMAZING display of athleticism, power, and Field Strength; a 10ft / 3.3m single arm vertical horse and warrior power toss. This horse was HUGE, so I assume based off of this reliable source it weighed in at 2,000 lbs / 900kg, and the warrior equipped with sword and armor likely weighed in at 240 lbs / 110 kg. Gross warrior-horse weight comes to 2,240 lbs / 1,010 kg. My estimate is that the horse was airborne for about 1 second. MATH!
KE = .5 x 1,010 kg x (2.64 m/s)2 = 3,519 Joules
Power = Work / Time = 3,519 Joules / 1 s = 3,519 Watts of power vertically with a single arm.
METHOD 3 – H GIANT MARBLE STATUE PUSH
Hercules stifles an approaching enemy army by pushing a giant statue over, crushing many of them and blocking their path to he and his commanding officers. While definitely impressive, this grindy feat of strength took much longer than any single horizontal push should take in training. The entire rep took about 12 seconds, 10 of which were strain just to break the statue loose. Once the statue started moving the whole rep took about 2 seconds. The statue was carved of marble, stood approximately 45 ft / 13 m, and averaged a circumference of 7 ft / 2.13 m. That puts the approximate volume of that statue at 1,731 ft3 / 49 m3. Marble weighs about 160lbs per ft3 so the statue weighs approx 276,960 lbs / 125,890 kg. Hercules shifted the statue about 3 ft / 1 m to get it to topple. Let’s calculate!
KE = .5 x 125,890 kg x (.5 m/s)2 = 15,736 Joules
Power = Work / Time = 15,736 Joules / 2 s = 7,868 Watts of power in a horizontal press
SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN
Using the bro science above and some testing at Power Athlete HQ with our Tendo unit, I’m going to extrapolate exactly how strong the Hercules really is in units of Luke. I strapped on the tendo unit and tested my movements UNLOADED and got the following data:
D/SL H WAGON KICK PRESS
I registered 949 Watts through this movement pattern to Hercules’ 4,916 Watts. That means that Hercules is 5.18 times more powerful in the single leg horizontal kick press.
SA V HORSE AND WARRIOR POWER TOSS
I registered 1,214 Watts through this movement pattern, which I must admit is probably one of my more powerful patterns, vs. Hercules’ 3,519 Watts. Hercules, again, out matches my power by a factor of 2.89.
H GIANT MARBLE STATUE PUSH
In the final analysis, I was able to score 989 Watts in the horizontal press to Hercules’ 7,868 Watts. Not my best performance, but, you know, I have this shoulder thing nagging me and I probably could have done better. Either way Hercules smashes me, coming in 7.95 times more powerful.
The Rock is a B.A.M.F. and the movie Hercules is LEGIT. Our buddy Hercules embodied the Field Strength that we covet here at PAHQ, and built it by kicking around some wagons, tossing some horses, and pushing some statues and called it a day. While the numbers and science are completely uncontrolled and observational, they do seem directionally accurate. For example, the mythological Hercules has a single leg kick press that’s about 5 times more powerful than mine, and that seems about right.
John Welbourn is CEO of Power Athlete and Fuse Move. He is also creator of the online training phenomena, Johnnie WOD. He is a 9 year veteran of the NFL. John was drafted with the 97th pick in 1999 NFL Draft and went on to be a starter for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2003, appearing in 3 NFC Championship games, and for starter for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2004-2007. In 2008, he played with the New England Patriots until an injury ended his season early with him retiring in 2009. Over the course of his career, John has started over 100 games and has 10 play-off appearances. He was a four year lettermen while playing football at the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric in 1998. John has worked with the MLB, NFL, NHL, Olympic athletes and Military. He travels the world lecturing on performance and nutrition for Power Athlete. You can catch up with John as his personal blog on training, food and life, Talk To Me Johnnie and at Power Athlete.
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