Mark Philippi is an America's Strongest Man Winner.
How does a 300-pound man move an object nearly eighty five times his weight?
Behind me is a twenty six thousand pound truck that we're going to hook Mark up to and see how far he can walk with that.
David Sandler is a sports physiologist and president of Strength Pro a consulting firm for athletes to determine how Mark pulls the truck. Sandler fits him with a battery of biomedical sensors.
We're going to measure his muscle activity, we're going to measure his breath by breath ventilation rate, and we're gonna measure his heart rate. The data will reveal how demanding the truck pull is on Marks body. Assisting David is Alan Macey an engineer with Bio Pak a company that specializes in medical data acquisition.
To determine how much pulling force Mark generates to move the truck the team also brings in Tom Koziel. Tom works with Transducer Techniques, specialists in the design of industrial load cells. We have a 20,000 pound load cell we have hooked up to the front of the truck that the strongman's going to pull. The load cell will measure Marks pulling power in pounds of force. The biomedical data is synchronized to the load cell. The team can compare each of Marks muscle movements to the load cell data revealing not just how hard he pulls but when and with which muscles. We've never analyzed anything like this before.
I expect heavy breathing and a very high heart, rate minute by minute, this is probably the most demanding activity in all of sports.
Pull, pull, pull, pull.
There it is.
Pull pull pull.
Mark pulled the truck 120 feet, and he did it in just 28 seconds. The key to this superhuman feat lies at the intersection of geometry and physics. A technology called motion capture reveals how like a sprinter in the blocks, Mark leans forwarded, an angle of approximately 45 degrees to drive the greatest force down the leg and into the ground, a higher angle, any would generate less force on the line a lower angle and his feet couldn't maintain enough traction.
Here's the surprise: Mark doesn't perform one sustained pull, he pulls the truck in repetitions despite the trucks 13 ton weight. It takes only 500 pounds of force to get it rolling after each pull the line slackens and the force drops close to 100 pounds. Because the truck is so heavy friction slows it almost immediately as the force drops. Mark must then pull again to keep it rolling, driving the force back up nearly 500 pounds. This on of cycle continues during the entire pull up to 500 pounds and back down again and again. it's like doing a quarter ton squat not once but 48 times in less than 30 seconds. Pull, but that's not all. The biomedical data reveals its own surprise despite the enormous muscular strain.
Marks breathing remained steady similar to a marathon runner. Marks breathing about once every second but breathing pretty shallow like a liter each time and so something that's very regular during the course of the entire pull. Mark paced himself through the pull his breathing and heart rate all remain paced and regular. Pulling a truck may seem like feat of strength but it's really feat of strength endurance.