Training for Peak Human: How to Train and Learn Like Batman in Real Life

By on June 22, 2017

What would it really take to become Batman?

batman enter

I’ve talked about training to become Batman in the past but in that post I focussed predominantly on the athletic side of things. Batman is about much more than just physical strength and athletic prowess though: he’s also a genius polymath and the world’s greatest detective. He is what is referred to in the comics as a ‘peak human’. An exceptional individual that has reached the very pinnacle of human capabilities. He is the closest you can come to ‘super’ without being bitten by a radioactive spider.


But is that possible? What would ‘peak human’ mean in our real world? And what kind of training would you have to go through to accomplish something approaching the level of Batman?

And how can you adopt some of these concepts and training methods into your life in a way that won’t leave you crippled?

Batman’s Skills and Abilities

Let’s start by looking at how Batman actually trains and what he’s capable of according to the comics and other media. We know for a fact that Batman engages in a pretty serious whole body, cross-modal training regime. That includes things like bodyweight gymnastic training, Olympic weight lifting, running huge distances, HIIT and traditional weight training. His lifts are either approaching or in excess of the world records in almost all cases.

Batman also trains in martial arts and according to some sources, he knows ‘all forms of martial arts’.

I’d like to take this moment to point out that this is impossible. There are an unknown number of styles of martial arts and new ones are being born all the time. Sure, you have your ‘classics’ like karate, kung fu and ju-jitsu, but within those are countless substyles and schools. Within karate alone you have Shotokan-ryu, shito-ryu, wado-ryu (the style I trained in), goju-rhy, uechi-ryu, shuri-ryu… you get the gist. Some styles are recognized, some are not. Then there are new modern styles like the keysi fighting method, which is incidentally the fighting style that Batman used in the Christopher Nolan films. It’s not even 100% clear how you define a martial art.

Batman developing

So, let’s just say Batman knows a heck of a lot of martial arts and he must train in lots of them regularly in order to stay up-to-scratch.

But that’s only scratching the surface of what bats can do. If you look deeper, you then have the huge list of different skills he has been described as having. This list reportedly comes from Answers.com:

Criminology
Mathematics
History
Mythology
Escapology
Chemistry
Biology
Foreign Languages
Forensic Studies
Driving Skills, Automobile / Motorcycle / Plane / Boat / Hang-Glider / Etc.
Tracking
Espionage
Lock Picking
Computer Hacking
Aerobatics
Rope and Rappel Training
Diving
Medical Training, Medicine and Surgery
Pain Management Training
Robotics
Motor and Engine Knowledge
Throwing Arts
Battle Tactics
Survival Training
Peak Physical Conditioning
Negotiation Skills
Pick Pocketing
Camouflage skills
Acting skills (for undercover work)
Code Breaking skills
Sky Diving
Knowledge of Explosives

There’s a bunch of other skills that could also be added to this list, such as knot tying, rock climbing, parkour, psychology, anatomy, situational awareness and more. And there are instances in the comics where Batman has demonstrated enhanced senses, advanced meditation, extreme control over his own physiology, tying a range of knots, demonstrating geographical knowledge and more. We can also safely assume that he would probably be ambidextrous, that he would train his flexibility, that he would take an interest in philosophy. And he does all this on top of running a business, looking sharp in a suit and womanizing. He’s multilingual. And he probably smells incredible.

Batman Shark Repellent

Batman is also good with animals

Sherlock Holmes was one of the inspirations behind Batman and this shows in his super-human breadth and depth of knowledge, as well as his claim to being the world’s greatest detective.

The point is that Batman is a fictional character that has been written by countless different writers. Like Superman, he isn’t supposed to be a relatable person but rather a symbol or an ideal. In this case, he represents the pinnacle of human accomplishment. The idea that a human who has trained themselves to their physical peak could potentially go toe to toe with gods.

batman vs a god

But is something like this possible? (Well, not that last part about the gods, but the rest…)

What it Would Take to be Batman?

Getting More Time

If someone were to attempt to become this skilled in such a range of different abilities, they would likely need a little help. Imaginary Axis has an excellent video on Batman’s origins where they explain how he would likely have used the uberman sleep schedule in order to give himself more time. This is a type of ‘polyphasic sleep cycle’, meaning that Bruce would eschew the usual 8 hours a night and instead break his sleep down into four 30 minute naps throughout the day. This provides two hours of sleep in total but should encourage the body to more rapidly enter the most crucial sleep stage: REM. In other words, some people believe that this schedule allows you to get the same restoration that you normally would from eight times the amount of sleep.

Batman might also consider using a nootropic or smart drug like Modafinil in order to help lessen his need for sleep. I made a video on that (of course I tried it!) so check it out if you’re interested. Bottom line: I don’t recommend it on the whole, but it will give you a bit of a boost. Likewise, there is no reference to modafinil in the comics but in real life, this might help make Batman’s feats a little more accomplish-able.

Batman Meditation

Batman doesn’t sleep, he waits…

Or perhaps our real-life Batman is born lucky. Perhaps they have a mutation on the gene DEC2 (reference), which has recently been shown to drastically reduce our need for sleep. In general, Batman would likely have to be ‘genetically gifted’ in order to accomplish all of this.

Of course, Bruce Wayne also has the luxury of inheriting a hugely successful business and the riches that come from that. Likewise, our real life Batman would need some way of earning a living that wouldn’t take eight hours out of their day. Perhaps they would earn passive income from online endeavours then?

Maintaining a relationship is also pretty much off the cards, as is having friends, drinking alcohol or even engaging in hobbies outside of the whole ‘become a living weapon’ malarkey.

Accelerated Learning

Okay, so now Batman has gained himself a little extra time to learn all these subjects and to develop the skills and martial arts prowess he needs. But that is still an awful lot to learn in a relatively short amount of time; especially if you subscribe to the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a subject in any given subject (as was suggested in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell).

But there are those that suggest that there are ways to negotiate around that number. Accelerated learning strategies exist that claim to be able to shorten the amount of time required to reach mastery. For example, ‘The Feynman Technique’ involves learning a subject at least well enough that you are able to teach it to others, using a series of steps. Likewise, Tim Ferriss has suggested a process for learning subjects more quickly that he refers to as DiSSS and he once used this strategy in order to learn a language in just a few days well enough that he could be interviewed in that language.

Batcomputer

It has also been suggested that Batman learned speed reading (actually relatively simple to pick up – stay tuned for an article on the subject) and memory techniques in order to help himself learn and retain information much more quickly.

In some versions of Batman’s origins, Batman starts by attending top colleges (or Universities as we call them here) all around Europe in order to sit in on all the topics relevant to his research. These days, that process would be a lot easier (though less dramatic perhaps) as we could simply use online learning resources…

Batman Learning

To further help with rapid learning, someone trying to become Batman might also be interested in brain plasticity. I’ve discussed this concept plenty on this website, but essentially this describes the ability of the brain to grow and change shape in response to training and stimulus. We can increase our plasticity by consistently learning new topics (which has been shown to increase brain derived neurotrophic factor and other neurotransmitters related to plasticity) and also by using a range of supplements and nootropics. Tumeric for instance appears to help increase plasticity (reference), as does magnesium threonate (study), lion’s mane (study) and a host of others. The most profound effects seen come from valproate, which was used in one study (study) to teach perfect peach to adults over the course of just 15 days of training. Unfortunately, valproate is known to cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, rashes and more.

But then again, the real Batman has been known to go to extremes…

Then there is the option of transcranial direct current stimulation, which involves the use of mild currents in order to excite the neurons.

So, at this point, to become Batman you are sleeping just a few hours a night and using every other hour to complete online courses in select topics and modules, while cramming in plenty of martial arts and skills training. You’d need to pretty much give up on any chance of a relationship or career, and you’d likely rely on a cocktail of supplements and drugs to push your brain to its limits.

Then maybe you could learn something close to what Batman is supposed to know…

Physical Training

A big part of Batman of course is his physical prowess. His strength, speed and endurance. He has the technique necessary to throw a brutal punch but also the sheer muscle to put behind it.

In the book The Batman Files, an imaginary training routine for Batman is shared. This involves things like Olympic lifts followed by sparring, followed by calisthenics, followed by half hour jogs – all in a single day.

-BATMAN BOOK-PT.1 FINAL.indd

And remember, Batman is supposed to do all this in between fighting crime and doing all the aforementioned advanced learning and martial arts training…

Suffice to say that any normal human would be completely over trained within days of this kind of training, not to mention riddled with injury.

So, is there any way you could keep up a training program like this? The obvious answer is that steroids could certainly be very helpful at improving your recovery and helping you to accomplish the insane lifts that Batman is said to be capable of (3×8 262lb clean and jerks anyone as a warm up anyone?)

batman weights

In the comics Batman does not use steroids of course, as that wouldn’t gel well with his superhero persona (except in one storyline where he tries a drug called ‘venom’). Likewise, I don’t recommend that you do it – the side effects aren’t worth it for most people. But if we were looking at a way to really become Batman at any expense, they would certainly help a lot. Of course there are many other performance enhancing drugs that one could use to more quickly obtain some of Batman’s strength, stamina and recovery too.

In the book Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, author E. Paul Zehr suggests that Batman would likely also have to consume in excess of 4,000 calories a day in order to sustain his activities and recovery. A lot of this would need to be protein and he’d also need a huge dose of vitamins and antioxidants to fortify his immune system to prevent illness. Batman simply can’t afford to get ill!

To further aid his recovery, Batman would likely spend a lot of time taking ice baths or using contrast therapy (alternating between cold and warm water) in order to accelerate healing and he would likewise use a ton of supplements to enhance his energy levels and further improve recovery.

Batman also used meditation techniques in order to further aid his recovery and to instill more mental discipline. In fact, in the comics he is shown learning ‘tummo meditation’ which is a form of meditation that allows him to control his body temperature and slow his heartrate. He’s not one to do things by halves…

Batman Tummo Batman Tummo 2

Believe it or not though, this part at least is doable. A guy called Wim Hoff has actually used the strategy in order to withstand extreme cold and hold his breath for long periods. He has broken 26 world records which include completing marathons around the arctic circle in his shorts.

wim hoff

So, if you were to follow this kind of protocol, there’s a chance that you really could become Batman without killing yourself. I can’t speak for your mental health, or your lifespan though…

How to Train Like Batman Without Killing Yourself

Hypothetically then, it might be possible to train in a way that at least approaches what Batman accomplishes in the comics – but it would pretty much involve sacrificing your entire life to that singular goal.

But what if you wanted to train like Batman but to a less insane degree? Well in that case, you would still need to dedicate a lot of your time to training and to learning but you could fit it around your daily routine. Look for a career that gives you lots of free time to pursue your interests and training (this is one reason I work online) and then spend your evenings doing courses, or self-directed learning. There are plenty of examples of ‘real world’ polymaths (Leonardo Da Vinci being one of the most famous) and the internet theoretically makes it easier than ever to become highly adept in multiple subjects. Imagine if you spent all the time you spend watching TV, learning new subjects instead! Write a program for this and of course be sure to schedule yourself in some time off, or you’ll end up giving up.

batman vs superman workout

Constantly learning like this will keep your brain plastic, making it even easier for you to learn yet more new subjects. Combine this with regular meditation practice in order to further enhance plasticity and discipline and to give yourself a boost in energy – important if you hope to get home from work and still have energy to pursue other things. I’ve been attempting to start meditation for years and I finally managed by starting with short 7 minute sessions at the start of the day and building up from there.

For a little more energy, you’re also going to need some supplements. The one I recommend most highly is cordyceps mushroom, which is a fungus that is useful for preventing adrenal fatigue, boosting energy and raising testosterone. Cordyceps works by increasing ATP and so this would stack especially well with creatine, which recycles and reuses ATP. Another good one is lutein, which I’ve spoken about on this blog before as an energy booster and which has more recently been shown to boost brain function as well (study). Alongside this, I take a vitamin supplement that has a huge dose of vitamin C and D in it and I use turmeric, omega 3 and magnesium threonate to support brain plasticity and general mental prowess.

Next up is the physical training. Start at least one martial art and if you have the time and energy, two. Learn a softer style such as wing chun kung fu and a harder style like karate and this will give you fairly good breadth of knowledge. Later on, you can add grappling and weapons.

bruce wayne in training

As for your workouts, try to train for cross modality. That means you’re aiming to become stronger, faster and more flexible. I recommend mixing weights, steady state cardio (Bruce Lee – perhaps the closest physical match for Batman – highly recommended long distance running for the endurance necessary to win a fight) and some HIIT. Use a combination of functional movements for the weights training (compound lifts and calisthenics) and overcoming isometrics to build speed, power and agility.

Skills Training

The biggest change I recommend though is something I just started doing lately: skills training. My regular workouts take up four days a week and on the fifth day, I train for ‘Batman like skills’. These include things like ambidexterity training, rock climbing, grip strength, jump height and flexibility. This is all the stuff I write about on here but usually don’t have time to train. It doesn’t cause much metabolic stress or many microtears, but it’s a ton of fun training this way and it means that hopefully, I’ll be developing some awesome skills that other people just don’t have. I highly recommend fitting a ‘skills training’ day into your regime.

Screenshot_20170313-082342

Closing Thoughts

I do all this when I can because I enjoy it and it’s what I’m interested in. I love seeing how far you can push your body and mind and topics like transhumanism and martial arts fascinate me. Training for skills rather than just size is much more interesting to me and it is yielding some interesting results and essentially meaning I get to play superhero for an hour a week.

But in order to really be Batman, what you’d really need is that drive and determination. Batman’s single mindedness is what enables him to push himself way past normal limits and really this is his superpower. This is what helps him to train to such an insane degree, to give up his relationships and personal life and to spend his fortune on gadgets and weapons.

Screenshot_20170330-082714

I’m not suggesting you do the same but if you want to be equally as effective in your own life, then you need to discover a similar drive. Find the passion that motivates you and you can accomplish almost anything. Just like Batman…

Subscribe Below to Stay Up to Date!

Mailing List

About Adam Sinicki

Hi there! My name is Adam Sinicki, I'm an entrepreneur, psychology graduate and amateur bodybuilder interested in fitness, self improvement, technology and transhumanism. I run an online business (NQR Productions) which allows me to live the lifestyle I want: getting time to hit the gym and to work on my projects and apps. Stick around and I'll be sharing my experiments and adventures in brain training, bodybuilding, productivity, business and technology.