# How strong is a centaur's upper half?

I know I won't be able to get a solid answer and I could always just change this detail depending on the setting etc., but in a realistic scenario, I have no idea if they'd be significantly stronger than typical humans.

For a normal human, I could do a lot of guesswork since someone's legs are supposed to be 2-3 times stronger than their arms so you could get an estimate of a bench press from how much someone can squat. Problem is that we can't put a barbell on a horse and make it squat. Not to mention the rear legs are supposed to be much stronger than the front.

So I think the next logical step is to consider proportional strength but I don't even know how I'd be able to do that.

So is there some way to get a good idea based on a horse's power?

• Are we assuming centaur torso is same size as human torso? Then @Itmauve is right. I do suspect that a gossip can support a heavier torso though Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 6:06
• Assuming that the centaur's human spine and horse spine are one structure (which is reasonable), then the human half would actually be weaker because of the strange shape of the abdominal and back muscles, which would be the neck muscles in a horse. OTOH, there is the advantage of height. Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 6:37
• Just be careful not to put Arnie's torso on a Shetland, a build like that only goes on a Shire. Balance your upper and lower bodies. Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 9:26

If your centaurs are made of the same physics-obeying stuff as us humans and us horses, then they should be the same strength as us humans and us horses.

More specifically, the strength of a limb is dependent on the cross-sectional area of the muscles and the location of the tendons that attach the muscles to the bones (The why for this basically comes down to "levers")

So a centaur's arm isn't going to be any stronger than an identical-looking human arm. A centaur's leg isn't going to have any more kick force than a horse's leg.

There is also the matter of muscles being optimized for burst strength or endurance, but both humans and horses are pretty high in endurance so it's unlikely that a centaur would have higher burst strength, especially because it's likely to be in a niche that requires endurance.

The baseline would be the same as a human torso, since the muscles would stay basically the same, as pointed out in Itmauve's answer.

However, there is a slight difference to take into account: the "basement".

If a normal human has to throw a punch, he will move the arm and rotate the torso to give strength to the blow. The firmness of the contact with the ground has an influence on this, too, as any boxer can tell you.

You can have a dramatic example of this concept if you look at the notorious Bruce Lee's 1 inch punch.

Therefore I assume that, having the base of a horse gives a better hold on the ground with respect to the one available to a two legged being, for some kind of acts involving "explosive" action the centaur can be stronger.

• Actually, no. The force of a punch involves how much of the body is being put into it. You push back against the ground with your feet and transmit this force through rotating your body into the punch. It works because our CoG is directly above our legs. In horses (and centaurs) it would be between the fore and hind legs, since the horse part by far outmasses the human torso. Rearing and kicking with the forelegs would be outstanding, far better than a horse, but not punching, which would be worse than baseline human, except for the height advantage Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 8:24
• To be fair, a centaur could step into a punch the way actual boxers do to put their body weight into the swing. There has to be a lot of momentum behind that swing or grapple or tackle. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 2:21