Human physical and cognitive capacity can be expanded surprisingly far with practice

Our muscles and nervous system are surprisingly plastic in the face of focused practice (e.g. Purposeful practice, after Ericsson and Pool).

  • (Ericsson and Pool, 2016, p. 29, 34, 42).
    • The world record for non-stop pushups is {10,507}.
    • The world record for pull-ups is {4,654} in a period of {12 hours}.
    • London cabbies learn {25k} streets.
    • Professional violinists can move their hands with sub-millimeter precision at incredible speed.

Related: The bar for virtuosity has risen precipitously in many fields.


Ericsson, A., & Pool, R. (2016). Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (1 edition). Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Peak - Ericsson and Pool

Last updated 2023-07-13.