Thanos, aka The Mad Titan, is one of the most insanely strong characters in Marvel Comics. Through research, study, sorcery, bionic enhancements, and a deal with Death herself, he became one of the most powerful humanoid beings ever to exist – both physically and mentally. So, how much exactly can Thanos lift, and how does that compare to real-life human records?
Both in the comics and the MCU, Thanos’ strength limits haven’t been reached. However, some calculations suggest he can lift well over 100 tons in the comics and over a staggering 60 thousand tons in the MCU. In comparison, the world deadlift record is 501 kg (1104 lbs).
Now, the calculations may be a bit far-fetched, but the truth is, there was never a limit put on Thanos’ physical strength, neither in the comics nor in the MCU. What we can do is take some of his major strength feats, compare them to the feats of other Marvel characters, and real-life humans to determine just how insanely powerful The Mad Titan actually is.
How Much Can Thanos Lift In The Comics?
Before we dive into The Mad Titan’s lifting prowess, I just want to point out that we’re talking about his strength without the Infinity Gauntlet. With all six Infinity Stones (Gems, in the comics), he could lift essentially as much as he wanted to.
Now, without it, things get interesting. Thanos is an Eternal from Titan. However, he was born with the Deviant Syndrome, which made his skin purple, and his physique stumpy but already made Thanos stronger than the average Eternal.
He spent his entire life seeking more power. His supergenius-level intellect allowed Thanos to explore both science and mysticism. Through bionic enhancements, scientific experimenting, and dark arts (including the use of mystic artifacts), Thanos became incalculably strong and durable, both physically and mentally. But that wasn’t the end of it.
Thanos developed somewhat of a relationship with Death herself that, long-story-short, didn’t end quite well. However, his strength was even more enhanced, and The Mad Titan became nigh-immortal – he could die, but Death banished him from her realm forever, so he’d always return to life.
All that led to Thanos being probably the strongest humanoid being in the history of the Marvel universe. He fought and beat Thor, who had the Power Gem in his possession in Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #88. In Infinity #6, an enraged Hulk attacked him, and Thanos just one-punched him away.
He could also lift the Galactus Engine by himself, but most impressively, he punched a Phoenix Force Thane through a planet in Thanos Vol. 2 #11, obliterating it in the process. We have all these feats, but still, it doesn’t answer our question – how much can Thanos lift?
Considering that he punched away the Hulk, who can easily lift over 100 tons, and fought Thor, who had the Power Gem (and he can lift well over 100 tons without it, according to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Avengers 2004 Vol. 1 1), it’s safe to say Thanos can lift much, much more than that.
If Thor can lift over 100 tons, and the Power Gem at least doubles one’s strength, it means Thanos is easily in the 200-tons range and more.
How Much Can Thanos Lift In The MCU?
The Mad Titan is absolutely impressive in the comics when it comes to strength – but what about the MCU? We haven’t seen such outstanding feats of strength from the cinematic version of The Mad Titan as we did from the comics version – or did we?
One might think that his most impressive feat was beating the Hulk and Thor, but according to a calculation done by Northeastern University professor Steven Cranford, the most impressive feat done by Thanos – was crushing the Tesseracts to dust like it was nothing. He backed it up with real calculations and science.
First, he assumed that the producers didn’t use the Tesseract as only the name for the object, but rather that the Tesseract in the MCU was, indeed, a tesseract. So, what is a tesseract in science?
Well, to simplify – if you add a third dimension to a two-dimensional square, it becomes a cube. If you add a fourth dimension to a cube, it becomes a hypercube, also known as a tesseract. A model of a tesseract would be a smaller cube suspended perfectly in the center of a larger cube. A very simplified version would look like this:
The skeleton of a hypercube is, on a molecular level, incredibly strong and durable. According to Cranford’s before-mentioned calculations, the hypercube in the film had approximately 6-inch sides, and it would require an astonishing 42000 tons of grip force to crush the Tesseract to dust. That equals to approximately 750000 average US men’s grip strength combined!
To take it a step further, if you assume a proportional relationship between how much an average man can lift and how strong his grip is, it would mean that Thanos could lift over 120 million pounds, or 60 000 tons, or, as Cranford put it, 10 million pounds (5000 tons) more than the weight of the entire Titanic!
Now, the calculations might be debatable since they are based on real-life molecule models of a hypercube, but still, it proves that Thanos’ strength is simply off the charts.
How Strong Is Thanos Compared To Real Life Record Holders?
Thanos isn’t human but is a humanoid being. So, how does he fare against some of the top human athletes in history? How much more can Thanos lift than lifting world record holders? I’ll divide it into several categories, as not every lift is the same.
A deadlift is, simply put, picking up weight off the ground with your hands straight down, and lifting it up to the point where the legs and back are in a straight standing position.
Currently, the world record deadlift was broken in May 2020 by none other than Hafthor Bjornsson, the Icelandic strongman who portrayed the Mountain in Game of Thrones. Hafthor lifted precisely 501 kg or 1104 lbs. He broke the record set by Eddie Hall four years earlier, who was the first person ever to deadlift 500 kg or 1102 lbs.
For now, let’s disregard the calculations from professor Cranford and take a conservative approach, where Thanos can lift approximately 200 tons. That means he can lift 400 times more than the human world record of all time.
Snatch/Clean And Jerk
These two categories are what you usually see in the Olympics when it comes to weightlifting. They are two separate techniques of lifting weights overhead with a straight-up posture and holding it there for a second or two.
The record for both categories was set by the same person. In the 2019 IWF Weightlifting World Championship, a Georgian athlete, Lasha Talakhadze, set the records in both the snatch lift with 220 kg (485 lbs) and the clean-and-jerk lift with 264 kg (582 lbs).
The closest thing to those techniques we’ve seen from Thanos is lifting the Hulk overhead in Avengers: Infinity War and smashing him into the floor. Although he could certainly lift a lot more, let’s take that instance as a reference point.
The Hulk weights anywhere between 1000-1400 lbs, so we’ll take an average of 1200 lbs (544 kg). That would mean Thanos could snatch/clean and jerk more than double the weight of a real-life human record holder – and that’s being as conservative as one can be.
Finally, the bench press is often taken as the purest strength measurement, although that’s debatable. Anyway, the record was set by Julius Maddox in 2020, lifting 770 lbs (349.3 kg), breaking his own record from 2019, when he bench-pressed 744.1 lbs (337.5 kg) in a raw bench press. According to Wikipedia, a bench press shirt record (extra shoulder support) record stands at 1102 lbs (500 kg), set by Tiny Meeker.
It’s still not even close to what Thanos could do, though. Seeing that he took the Hulk by the hands and moved them away like he was a child – and the Hulk lifts well over 100 tons – it means Thanos could easily bench press 200 times more than the world record holder – and more.