Given that safe and reliable genetic modification are relatively common and accessible in my setting, I got interested in all the possibilities and implications that would occur by this, one of these is sports, I mean, it's not like it was ever fair as all people playing are different genetically, but in my setting every athlete has a team of genetic engineers behind, just like the engineers in F1 racing, and they are always trying to push the boundaries of human physical capability.

I got inspiration from real cases of people with "superpowers" due to mutations and also from nature, like the Mantis Shrimp that can charge their punches with the help of latches on their exoskeleton and release it with the acceleration of a .22 bullet, and I wonder if it could be possible to implement something like this in humans so they can charge their punches, kicks and other linear movements and release them at full power, but internally without requiring an exoskeleton with physical latches.

Any biological solution for this problem that you can think of?

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    $\begingroup$ I think one main issue (assuming you could make the mechanism work) would be bone material. Wrist and hand bones are already the first to break in normal human fistfights. Being able to withstand much more force (as well as the massive impulse in the elbow’s “snapping” mechanism) would take significant rethinking of bone structure. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Price
    Dec 17, 2022 at 6:22
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    $\begingroup$ VTC: This is not a worldbuilding question. At best, it's an invitation to a discussion. Can we do it? No. Could we do it? With enough Clarkean Magic, yes. But with enough Clarkean Magic any question about what we can do in the future is always answered yes. Stack Exchange questions are obligated to present a problem to solve, not a dream to discuss. If you want help rationalizing superior sport mutations in your world, please explain what's stopping you from rationalizing them. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 17, 2022 at 6:59
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I'm asking for a solution based on what we currently know about real world biology, not how or if we could really make it. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2022 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ You are answering yourself your question : "Given that safe and reliable genetic modification are relatively common and accessible in my setting". Then, your biological solution is to waive it away like you stated! That's a good part of why it looks like you are not solving an issue, it's already been solved :). $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2022 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ Also, it should be more focused and more explanatory : What sports are you thinking about? Martial arts? Races? Handball...? What kind of "genetic modification" are we talking about? One only available at birth, or is it changing genes like you change the wheels of your car? And so on and so on. This, of course, is only useful if you have something you need solved ^^. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2022 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


Crossbow Arms

enter image description here

A mechanical device that stores energy and releases it all of a sudden? That is just a crossbow. But instead of an arrow you have a fist on a stick. The fist stays in the bow and between punches can be cranked against the ground like an Ancient Greek Gastraphates.

enter image description here

Can we genetically engineer a crossbow into the body of famous Olympian Micky Mich-Mick Phelps? We can if you say we can.


It is more believable to build the crossbows externally from genetically compatible materials. The crossbows do not grow out of Mick's arms. The pit crew guys attach them just before the fight. The body is genetically modified so parts can be switched out like this. Plus the pit crew can swap out the bow between rounds when it breaks, or when Mick wants the EarthShaker Fist or Vacuum Cannon or Wet Willy or something like that.


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