Did he have to specifically train himself for this?

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    How are you able to judge the fragility of things or the weight of objects? I'm assuming it's a mixture of experience and guesswork.
    – Valorum
    Jun 12, 2020 at 19:57
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    for humans, objects are made of roughly the same stuff as they are. humans feel pain when something is sharp but presumably Superman would not.
    – releseabe
    Jun 12, 2020 at 20:04
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    Training of a sort - but in humans you would just call it experience. Younger children are clumsy, as they get older they learn how much force is needed to do something. If someone trains as a weight lifter, they don't need specific training to learn how to pick up an egg - normal senses and feedback let them manage it correctly.
    – Michael
    Jun 12, 2020 at 20:15
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    There are technically two different questions here. First, there is the question of how he determines fragility/weight (which might be addressed at some point by Superman discussing how his sense of feeling is affected by his physiology) and secondly there is whether he trained it (my understanding is that early Superboy/Superbaby didn't have significant "accidents" by him, but I could see there being a "training montage" somewhere).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 12, 2020 at 21:11
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    I'm not convinced being able to feel pain and having a sense of touch are one and the same. But I'm pretty sure Superman does feel pain, it's just that most things can't hurt him. As for his sense of touch, it doesn't seem fundamentally different from human: there are plenty of things we find really light or fragile, yet we can still differentiate them and normally interact with them.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jun 13, 2020 at 5:48

3 Answers 3


Years of practice. Superman being raised as human, had to learn to control everything he does, including emotional outburst (Adrenaline). Namely he had to "learn" to manage his strength from the time of his boyhood, and apply only the barest fraction of it to function in every day life, by doing that over the years he's managed to gauge "What's durable" what's fragile so he can handle an egg. Thanks to years of practice he's able to discern what's durable and what force to exert. In various instances in the comics, movies and animated depictions, he showcases himself as weak to throw off suspiscion, and has mastered the art of acting to portray himself as less than agile, goofy and even clumsy.

As for his ability to judge physical durability, that's a matter of observation, he knows an egg is fragile vs. a piece of steel.

  • 1
    right. it is simplistic to think it would happen without that. in fact, he would, if not trying to fit in, make mistakes many times per day. very tough for a normal person; good thing he is Superman.
    – releseabe
    Jun 12, 2020 at 23:38

This doesn’t need an explicit in-canon answer. You can still tell the difference between the weight of an empty spoon, a spoonful of sugar, and a spoonful of water, even though you can lift them all effortlessly. Similarly, you can tell the difference in sharpness between a normal stick, a pointed stick, and a smoothed/rounded stick, even though none of them are sharp enough to hurt you. So this is like asking how Superman knows whether it’s raining, or how Batman puts his socks on: Just the same way as the rest of us, presumably, unless canon sources specifically suggest otherwise.

  • i think perhaps this is true about weight but fragility is a separate question and i am pretty sure, especially growing up, he could have inadvertently damaged objects.
    – releseabe
    Jun 13, 2020 at 18:24

He doesn't... Take this speech from "Justice League Unlimited".

That man [Batman] won't quit as long as he can still draw a breath. None of my teammates will. Me? I've got a different problem. I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control even for a moment, or someone could die.

Simply put it, Superman is SUPER.

  • 6
    Surely the quote implies he does have to judge the fragility, if he's taking constant care not to break something?
    – Edlothiad
    Jun 13, 2020 at 4:35
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    The problem with the implication here is that he can't just treat everything as equally fragile or light, otherwise he would constantly break things when he applies the same force he would use to lift an airplane to everyday tasks like pressing a button or holding something. The quote only implies he needs to constantly be careful to not accidentally apply too much force, not that he's unable to purposefully apply the right amount of force, and thus also be able to judge how much force needs to be applied.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jun 13, 2020 at 8:01
  • That's the thing about Superman. Everything on Earth is fragile to him. The quote perfectly shows us what life is like to him. He doesn't need to judge anything, it's all the same to him. A cardboard box.
    – D.A. Bell
    Jun 22, 2020 at 1:33

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