He doesn’t need a measure of power– he is Batman! That should be enough as a reason as to why he’s walking among his godly peers in the Justice League and figuratively trading blows with Superman as DC’s poster boy. But let’s toss admiration and fanboyism aside for a bit and face objectivity, how strong is Batman, really?
It’s a question that keeps needing to be asked again and again, especially with how different writers and artists keep changing Batman into their own version as the plot demands.
You could argue that Batman can be as strong as his writers want him to be with enough preparation (there’s that Batman buzzword again). This could make comparisons to other superheroes moot as theoretically and hypothetically, Batman could just create some kind of super-armor that amplifies his strength to Kryptonian levels or whatever– given enough time and preparation *rolls eyes*.
So for the sake of a fairer comparison that actually gets us somewhere, our comparative metric for Batman’s strength would be the regular human being. Because supposedly, Prime Earth Batman is the peak of what humanity can achieve in any physical and mental discipline.
Batman’s Raw, Unassisted Strength
Do expect some comic book juju or pseudo-science. Comic books are the best examples here since they tend to be more detailed.
Batman or Bruce Wayne in Batman #655 can bench press 1,000 pounds (lbs) of weight. That’s around 455 kilograms for those who don’t like freedom units. The bench press is a compound weight exercise where a person lies on top of a gym bench and lifts up a barbell from their chest area. It’s a common measure of the upper body’s pushing capability.
Apart from that, there are other measures of strength, such as the overhead press where a person stands up and lifts a barbell above his head starting from the shoulders. It’s a good measure yet again of upper body and core strength. Batman can lift 690 lbs of weight (around 313 kg) for the overhead press.
In practical combat application, Batman once lifted a 500-lbs Solomon Grundy in an overhead press using only one arm and threw the musclehead zombie to the ground.
As for lower body strength, it’s even more impressive. Leg presses are an easier alternative to barbell squats and are a good measure of lower body strength. You perform this by pushing away weight from your legs or if you’re performing squats, shouldering the weight and pushing it up with your legs.
Batman can leg press 2,500 lbs or 1,134 kg. That’s 1.25 tons of weight as was shown in Batman Odyssey #2.
Sadly, there’s no deadlift number for Batman, meaning determining his pulling strength (not just pushing strength) is difficult.
People who don’t lift weights or perform heavy physical activities might find those numbers arbitrary or inconsequential. So for reference, here’s a comparison with our peak athletes.
Batman Compared to Real Athletes
Turns out Batman might not be a ‘peak’ human anymore as we currently have some monstrous weightlifters and athletes that have surpassed him.
Again, these are Batman’s numbers:
- Bench press – 1,000 lbs / 455 kg
- Overhead press – 690 lbs / 313 kg
- Leg press – 2,500 lbs / 1,134 kg
Each compound lift category has a record holder in our current times and history.
For the bench press, the most recent record breaker was Jimmy Kolb and he shattered his own previous record just this July 2023 when he lifted 1,400 lbs (636 kg).
That set a new world record to beat and as you can see, it far exceeded what Batman was canonically capable of lifting. That might be proof that we’re living in a simulation since there’s now a real person that has surpassed Batman.
For overhead press, several strongmen hold the current world record at 542 lbs (246 kg).
Not quite Batman levels and that’s where the comic book pseudo-science enters the fray. Because based on his fight against Solomon Grundy, Batman could lift what our current strongmen can with just one arm.
For the leg press, it’s a bit trickier, but Batman’s 2,500 record isn’t far-fetched. Popular bodybuilder and weightlifter Ronnie Coleman has a video of his 2,300 lbs leg press which he performed for several reps or repetitions so it’s safe to assume that a 2,500 lbs single leg press for Ronnie Coleman is just a cakewalk.
Also here’s another absolute unit who pushed 2,500 lbs for his leg press.
So based on those real-life world records, Batman is a peak human in terms of physicality, though his shoulders are cheating quite a lot; his overhead press record isn’t physically possible yet for any human being. Genetics and nutritional upbringing do play a huge role for these aforementioned athletes and it’s important to note that not just anyone can reach their level of strength. In fact, most people can’t, not without injuring themselves.
It’s also worth mentioning that Batman was only 210 lbs or 95 kg while the real-world athletes we highlighted were all pushing or well above 300 lbs. It’s well-known in the fitness community that in order to lift heavy, you also have to be heavy. Hence, pound-for-pound, Batman is stronger than our peak athletes, but a sub-100 kg human lifting that much is highly implausible.
In any case, this strength helps Batman in overpowering just about any human enemy, often knocking them out in one attack and taking on several thugs who are nowhere near as strong (or as fortunate with their genes). Coupled with his mastery of several fighting styles, most humans in the DC universe with no superpowers are no match for Batman.
Movie Batman Mostly Follows the Rules
The writers could take a lot of liberty with Batman in the comic books since they don’t have to animate anything or there’s no suspension-of-disbelief burden for the actors or the filmmakers.
The closest and most notable display of Strength for a Batman was Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice who had to bulk up and prepare for his fight with Superman.
In this movie, Affleck’s Batman can be seen in his most imposing live-action form, where he was seen performing weighted pull-ups with four 45-pound plates chained to his core.
The maximum weight for those four barbell plates would be around 200 lbs if you count the chain. Meanwhile, Affleck’s Batman bulked up to around 228 lbs or 103 kg (this is heavier and considerably stronger than Christian Bale’s Batman who was 200 lbs or 90 kg at most).
That means Affleck’s Batman was pulling at least 400 lbs of weight, which isn’t far-fetched as someone has already done it. It’s yet again another impressive display of peak human strength and keeps this Batman in check with reality.
To sum it up, Batman’s writers are, for the most part, respectful of the peak human physicality and are only slightly bending the rules when it comes to Batman’s strength. Batman in comic books, movies, and presumably the DC shows (though they don’t give Batman many opportunities to measure his strength) is about as human as he can get.