What is physical strength?

13 years ago, when I first walked the streets of Shanghai, China, I stopped at a construction site. In fact, the whole city of Shanghai was one giant construction site.

There must have been a good three dozen workers where I stood, building a subway station. Right in front of me three workers worked a manhole in the middle of the street. They lifted rusty, sizeable iron bars, and heavy cables from a large cable roll. Although they didn’t wear shirts they didn’t have big arms. They were not swole. Their bodies didn’t say “gym membership on steroids.” In fact, they didn’t look anything like Influencer strongmen or Olympic-style weightlifters. Their upper arms looked rather small in comparison, and their torsos lean and compact, just like the steel pillars they were driving into the ground everywhere. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t spend an hour every morning grooming themselves in the bathroom.

They looked like how I imagine wild tigers looked like in the jungle. Pure power, strength, agility, flexibility. These are the people who build 5 lane roads complete with bridges, underground tunnels, and all the tech involved; railroads, the canalisation, shopping malls, parks, and skyscrapers. These are the people who build megacities in record time with their bare hands and a few machines. They lift big weight under the most challenging conditions below minimum wages every day from early morning to late night, and also all through the nights, except for a few weeks holidays in early February, with a smile.