Episode 113: End with a Bang

Air Date: November 12, 2008

It’s better to hit the ground running.


The MythBusters tested this idiom in a literal sense by applying it to running, bicycling, and driving. They wanted to see if you can be faster when your legs or wheels are already moving at the start of a time trial. For running, Kari, Tory, and Grant each ran 30 feet from a standstill, then after dropping from a trapeze bar while running in the air, and finally after riding a zipline to the starting line. All of them were faster when running from a standstill. For the bicycle, Tory made a rig that allowed him to elevate the rear wheel and drop it, spinning, onto the ground. This made the bike unstable and was slower than a dead start. Finally, the team raised the front wheels of a car off the ground while Kari revved the engine. The front end was then dropped, but once again, a dead start proved to be faster.

You can’t polish poop.


Adam and Jamie visited a zoo to obtain a variety of feces to try to polish. They tried to pick the most polishable candidates and baked them to remove the moisture. Adam tried to shine his poop with a buffing wheel, while Jamie reasoned that using a wax polish would result in a shine. Adam eventually sought the advice of an outside expert, who showed him that it was possible to apply a shine to dirt with a tedious technique. Applying this technique, Adam and Jamie were able to obtain very polished poop without using any foreign materials like polish.

It’s better to end with a bang.

up to the fans

To test this myth, Adam and Jamie tried different ways of ending the episode: first with a bang, then with a slow burn. For the bang, detonating cord was wrapped around Jamie’s moped, and Adam added bottles of gasoline. The explosion utterly destroyed the moped. For a burn, Jamie mixed over 1000 lbs of thermite, intending to use it to cut an SUV in half. While the SUV was not completely severed, the thermite burned through most of the vehicle, and both Adam and Jamie enjoyed the destruction. Adam preferred the bang, but Jamie liked the burn more. They decided to leave the verdict of the myth/idiom to the fans.


  1. Phil Soucy says:

    What’s up internet?

    So, my question is:
    How the heck did that guy manage to shine dirt like that? I’ve been looking online for a little bit now, and so far I’ve had no luck.

    If someone could find a way to shine dirt similar to the way shown on this episode, please post it.


    • MSpears says:

      The process is called “hikaru dorodango”. It’s rather simple, but very time consuming. Go to http://www.dorodango.com for details.

  2. Richard Landgraff says:

    Hitting the Ground Running. What if you are already running, say on a quay wall or pier-like structure and have to run off the end onto the ground. Your timing will be much more precise than being randomly dropped from a trapeze.

  3. Bruce Gailey says:

    I can see why California has a air pollution problem – Mythbusters – with their passion for blowing/burning things up – are an ecological disaster!

  4. David Derington says:

    Slow burn and Big Bang were both cool. Too cool to have to pick just one!!

  5. Travis says:

    The dirt-polishing technique is called Dorodango. Information is at: http://www.dorodango.com
    It looks pretty neat!

  6. Tom says:

    At work, we used to have a train stop that let you off right on the plant grounds.

    We had a guy who they used to say “Hit the Ground Running”. He just actually pushed off the stationary train and started running using that momentum.

    Would that qualify as one of the tests for a follow-up of “Hit the Ground Running”?

  7. Ben Woolgar says:

    Ending with a bang was cool. I thought it was a good way to end an episode. Good Job Adam and Jamie.

  8. Austin R. says:

    I like what Adam and Jamie did on the helium blimp but can you go get a rc blimp and fill it with helium and build a tower and crash in to it and cech it on fire.

  9. Scarlet says:

    The dorodango thing looks so cool! I’m going to try that. Does anyone know how long it would take?

    And I like the ending with a bang much better than just those massive fires.

    I <3 Explosions~

    • Dean says:

      Aerate powdered milk and set it on fire.
      There’s your “boom”.
      Kari almost burned her face off, testing that stuff in the episode where they made the air cannon that shot sawdust into the air, then lit it on fire (viral video).
      Best visual explosion they’ve ever done on that show.

    • MSpears says:

      I don’t have an exact figure. The dorodango site doesn’t specify. However, I would guess many hours, or even days.

  10. James says:

    Is it actualea posable to shine dirt like that guy did on the episode.

  11. Ebony says:

    adam and jamie do you guys check this site and read the comments? if so, id like to ask: will you do an episode only testing myths with explosions? please? i, like scarlet (whom i know) <3 explosions, and i think that many people would like more EXPLOSIONS in your shows!!:) i <3 mythbusters!

  12. Joel says:

    I believe hitting the ground running has more to do with not falling rather than going faster. An example in the episode would be when riding the bike there was in an accident. When the rider hit the ground he literally hit the ground running and was able to avoid falling on his face.

  13. Richard Jacks says:

    I have a different slant on “Hit the ground running”. I beleave the term is ment to mean that a program or what ever is already in motion, is in it’s normal flow and you are running to it. It would be like an escalator, if you put a spot at point A, it will move along, but if you are running and hit that spot you will be furture along then if you just stepped on the escalator.
    Does that make sence?

  14. Mark Lustig says:

    Putting a car in reverce. If you find a 1965 or 67 dodge or a 62 chev with a power glide and go highway speed and then put the car in reverce the fun begins. The car will slow down until about 20 mph and then will lock the rear end so it hops and then hits reverse.
    Take care

  15. edd says:

    you guys should do the old myth “its so hot outside that you can fry an egg on the side walk” !!!!!!

  16. Hasty Miller says:

    When I was in high school (ca 1956) I heard of a supposed “Science Fair Project” that still sounds plausible today. The theory was that you could remove the speaker from a radio (remember that they had tubes back then) and connect electrodes to the wires that originally drove the speakers. The subject would then hold the electrodes, (one in each hand? both taped to one arm?) and after a period of time on the order of 20 minutes, that a significant percentage of the subjects would start to hear music (or whatever was playing on the radio).

    The theory is this: The human nervous system works on voltage, albeit digitally. The brain is famous for rewiring itself. At some point, the nerves from the sensing cilia in the ears to the brain are transmitting analog signals at acoustic frequencies. After a while, the brain recognizes the acoustic signals that are appearing on the nerves of the arm as music, and routes the signals to the part of the brain that hears sound.

    If it really worked, it would be the obvious way to interface computer chips with the brain, rather than implanted connectors, etc. So it probably doesn’t work. But it would be cool if it did.

  17. Casey Yeager says:

    Hey there,
    I really enjoy your show and I always end up in the same way (picking my jaw up off the floor)the results trip me out but love when Im right.Well anyway while I was watching yall blow up stuff it hit me,A whole series could come from this.
    A Mcgiver episode this would be every little thing he did to pull his Yahoo out of a bind.

  18. Dave Cake says:

    Please do a viral show including the one where they supposedly pop corn kernels with 4 cellphones arranged around them. The videos look authentic but with CGI anything’s possible. I suspect they do it with a hotplate of some sort. Ought to be a fun segment. Merry Chrishannukwanzza.

  19. Hello says:

    You guys should test some things from “The Dark Knight”. Like the cellphone sonar thing and the Joker’s pencil trick :)

  20. Danny Kohler says:

    Hey when you did the eposode hit the ground running I thought you should try to hit the ground running in a nova super sport.(sweat burn out) right guys.

  21. damoomin says:

    Couldn’t find the right myth…
    You tested the theory about driving a car behind a plane to see if the car can be blown away…you said it was impossible. BUT…here in england, a TV show did it with a Boeging 747, not just a mounted engine, but behind the real plane. They drove a ford mondeo and a citroen 2cv and blew them both at least 20 yards, you put the car just parked behind the plane, the show over here actually drove each car (unmanned) behind the 747’s tail. You should revisit this myth, as you were wrong about it being busted!


    • MSpears says:

      Actually, they DID revisit it. The first time they tried it, they weren’t allowed to use a real jet airliner. When they did it again (I think it was a 737 or 747, not sure), it did in fact flip the taxi.

  22. bob 9y says:

    better with bang

    when in doubt use C-4.

  23. Jorge Cruz says:

    I like the bang better. and was wondering if you could test a myth that exploding high explosives can put out a large fire. thank you!

    • MSpears says:

      Not a myth. They use it to put out oil well fires.

  24. Gerry Hope says:

    Hit the ground running, If a person were on a moving sidewalk and started running, when the came off the end the transition would be smooth, in that way they definitely would cover the distance faster than from a standing start

  25. sean says:

    dog myth: sorry i didn’t get to see the whole episode. I was wondering if adam tryed changing into someone elses clothes, cleaning himself after getting a good distance away, then gather really dirty, smelly clothes from someone else then running away? if not i think out of all of them that has best chance …
    try hanging the dirty clothes in a bag from a tree and cleaning with a unsented alcoholic based cleaner then fully changing into the new clothes then running away… best of luck on it if you revisit that myth….btw hit the ground running with the car … in drag racing when u burn out your wasting power and not allowing the power to be placed on the ground causing you to lose time. Furthermore, with rear wheel drive when you lift the front end of the car your wasting power in upward motion instead of forward motion same princapals should apply to all forms of racing even boats…. if that helps to explain to your viewers why it didn’t work. I look forward to hearing from you
    oh since you have a woman on your team… the myth of chocolates and orgasims seems unprovable have you guys ever thought of trying that one?

  26. Zach Schreck says:

    The myth is if your driving down the road in a bug and open the doors at the same time the bug will flip over

  27. Anthony says:

    Better to end with a bang!
    I much like watching the vech to burn in half.

  28. bustman says:

    The “hit the ground running” bit is about the WEAKEST bust ever. A, it’s obviously just TRUE; if you could actually “start” at top speed, you’re gonna beat someone starting from zero with the same top speed every time, this is basic math and physics. B, those tests didn’t even attempt to test the idea; what they tested was whether an awkward impact at “start” will improve your time, which it just as obviously WON’T. And even in this they were bizarrely flawed–what part of “hit the ground running” intuitively suggests one wheel spinning, the other stationary?! If you actually tried to minimize impact and maximize momentum preserved, you could probably disprove this bust in about 5 seconds. Bust: BUSTED!

  29. Brownie & Jay says:

    to make a 4 barrell shot gun from scratch with scope and single trigger and try to hit a rat from 25 meters!! really hard!! from jay and Brownie

  30. alan says:

    is it possible to blow up a bottle with dry ice and water????

  31. Khan says:

    Will a pressure cooker which is blocked blow like a bomb? would love to see it ;)

  32. ace says:

    I got a myth for u ok “a guy has a gun and he wos drunk and he shot the gun up on the ceiling like a circle and the ceiling fell down on top of him and killed him” try this myth guys

  33. Ollie says:

    A quite attempt but missed the prime intention of the actual meaning…. It means one has already overcome the time additions caused by a standing start on anything by having a similar velocity already in play to the final velocity required by continuing the forward momentum in a forward state from a previous state

  34. Andy says:

    My vote … BANG BABY! BANG!

    Suggested Myths to bust/prove:
    1. If a man says something in a forest and there’s no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?
    2. In any family photo of at least 6 people, there’s always SOMEBODY pulling a stupid face!
    3. Any given blog will attract 8/10 stupid comments!

  35. Mr. Pling says:

    I have a myth that you can try to prove.

    We’ve all seen the exploding diet pepsi and mentos bomb, but will it actually penetrate a 1 to about 5 inch thick window? The force of the bomb can also take someones head off, litterly, if flown at their heads with alot of speed created.

    Come on, Jamie, try and prove me wrong!!

  36. Doug Chenay says:

    1st of all I think the saying “hit the ground running” applies best to situations where one is already in motion like landing from a parachute drop where you are moving laterally say 5 to 10mph, wouldnt you want to try to hit the gound with legs already running in the same direction? If legs are stationary the feet will grab traction and you will fall and be dragged along abit as opposed to if you timed it well running in the air as you hit the ground, it rather seems that might help?! why not retry the myth with situations like THAT on a future episode?

  37. chris wilson says:

    when testing that CAMRY, when its dropped , its in 3rd gear or overdrive…..when its dropped, it goes back to 1rst gear, causing a delay ….if the test was in 1rst gear only….there would be better results…..or test with a muscle car , something that has power to keep the wheels spinning without slowing down…..


    Chris from Vancouver Canada.

  38. joe says:

    you should test superheros that get thier powers from radiation and see if it’s possible

  39. Eric says:

    This is to the car drop..

    I thought that with a front end drive would not have worked out to the results you got because of all the weight in the front end.. The other item i was pondering that why didn’t you try dropping the car when in put in reverse to see if there would be a total different reaction from going forward…

    If you used a car with rear wheel drive do you think the result of the outcome would have been better..? Due to the fact that the car would be lowered at a faster speed of rate which in turn would lift the front end up…
    as it would as you step on the gas if you were driving normally, or racing……..

  40. richard taney says:

    The test of “Hit the ground running” completely misunderstands the intent of the expression.
    The reason for hitting the ground running when landing on a parachute, is to keep from being dragged by the still open chute.

    You should try it again.
    This time you should test what was intended.

  41. Mary says:

    Just watched a rerun of this episode, and while I will agree that you guys polished poop, in my mind, these results were inconclusive.

    The expression “you can’t polish a turd” bears the implication that you can’t take a singular piece of excrement and give it a high gloss. Since you had to “prepare” the poop for polishing, I feel that this doesn’t quite fit the spirit of the idiom.

    Mind you, I was quite impressed with the technique used and the finished results, but you haven’t quite convinced me that a singular turd can be polished. I’d love to see you do it – the lion poop looked promising. ;)

  42. Lisa Merchant says:

    I watched the re-run of this episode the other night and I had the same thought as richard taney. That the advice is not about increasing speed, but about retaining control and safety when using a parachute. Also, I don’t think it’s about flailing your feet in the air, rather it is about touching the ground with one foot so you are ready to run (like a hurdler).

  43. Dan Lincoln says:

    I liked the BANG! Hit the ground running means that you’re already up to speed and need no training or time to learn or adjust to the task at hand.

  44. Schwern says:

    Watching “hit the ground running” and I think they missed the point. Its not about going faster, its about not breaking your leg when you’re jumping from a moving object like a car or a train. Think like a hobo jumping off a moving freight train. You’ve got all this forward momentum and you want to spread out the shock of stopping by running with it instead of just planting your feet on the ground. Since this is tricky, its smarter to deliberately tumble (rather than the inevitable tumble).

    Even the test for which is faster wasn’t very good. What they were really testing was how hard it is to run off a swinging zip-line. A valid control would have shown this. Compare running off a swinging zip-line with dropping off a swinging zip line and then running.

    I was kind of hoping for some sort of clever running robot with impact sensors.

    • Michael says:

      I agree… my grandfather and his brother use to hop trains in the depression and they had to exit before it stopped in town. Yes you had to hit the ground running to keep from having a nasty tumble.

  45. jeremy felix says:

    movie myth: lets say that a nuke explosion happens and your only safe haven was a lead lined refriguater. would the person A, survive the blast and B, survive the massive launch into the air and hit the ground.

    • MSpears says:

      In real life? It would depend on his distance from Ground Zero.

  46. tooey says:

    with polishing poo say a cow would you still be able to do it

    • MSpears says:

      Probably, but I think Jamie was on to something when he theorized that it needed to have a certain consistency. He deliberately chose the lion poop because it had the most dirt-like consistency, and domodango (the Japanese technique that they ended up using) was designed to make shiny balls from ordinary dirt.

      Favorite line from this episode: “Waiter, there’s a hair in my poop!”

  47. Metylda says:

    My favorite bang was the Piano Concerto in C4. However, for a non-bang I would choose the coffee creamer cannon. But better to end with a bang than not. The noise definitely attracts your attention.

  48. Gavin Jones says:

    when they tested the hit the ground running myth they missed out a better solution for the car test, they used a front wheel drive, with all the engingin as hadded wheght,. why didnt they try a rear wheel drive with less wheght surly it would seam better

  49. Madelyn says:

    I’m surprised you got this wrong and busted the idiom “hit the ground running”.

    I believe that you did not test this idiom properly. Each one of the tests conducted had downward inertia with a horizontal forward movement desired. Therefore gravity kept the bike from moving forward as well as Grant from moving forward as the inertia was downward and forward movement was impeded by gravity. (I’m no physicist, but would not the downward movement actually amplify the affects of gravity?)

    The myth should be tested with horizontal inertia, not vertical. This would negate the impact of gravity on when the object/person hits the ground. If I am skateboarding and hit a stone my momentum is forward and my inertia continues in the same direction and I literally hit the ground running (if I’m lucky and don’t do a face plant!). The trick is that the inertia needs to be in the same direction as the desired movement when the person hits the ground.

    • Dean says:

      But the saying relates to going from a vertical drop into forward movement, however, instead of landing, then moving forward, you’re already in the ACT of moving forward as you land.
      Thus, they were correct in trying to move forward from a vertical drop, as it holds true(r) to the saying.
      What I would’ve liked to see as a test, was having each of the build team start off by laying flat on their backs, on a bed, then roll off of it, starting their run the second their feet touched the ground (thus, “hitting the ground running”), and compare that to a run with a standing start.
      That too would’ve been true to the saying, as it often relates to starting your day already performing your occupation.

      • cone says:

        not sure it has to do with how the drop is, rather being prepared when you do it. Basically, you aren’t doing it before you hit, then start immediately when you hit. I agree with Madelyn on this. The saying seems like it suggests that you are not doing the action, but immediately start when you hit. They were running in the air which seems silly in the first place, as the saying doesn’t even suggest that.

  50. Dean says:

    Re: Hit the ground running.

    That episode made me wonder if Kari ever ran track in high school.
    Did you see her scoot?
    That lady can motor!

  51. cone says:

    I think they are taking the saying “hit the ground running” a little off. The saying is about being prepared to immediately work after impact, not start ahead of time running. Basically if you jump out of a truck (please don’t do this) that is going slow enough speed and want to continue forward momentum, you don’t start to run until you hit the ground, but you do hit the ground running if you don’t want to tumble and stop the momentum. So it’s about being prepared, not running while in the air. That’s my take on it.

  52. John Jackson says:

    Deffo better to end with a bang!!

  53. Uck says:

    Better to end with a bang.

    Cutting the truck in half would’ve been cool if it’d actually cut the truck in half. And the time lapse started to look pretty cool, but then it just petered out and died a quiet death.

    The bang, on the other hand, was a spectacular surge of adrenaline. Seeing the dust pop out of the ground all around the moped was really cool, even if it was just a moped.

    When are you going to publish the results?

  54. Matthew Hartman says:

    Ending with a bang was cool, but that’s just because of the inner part of me that wants the entire world to be filled with flames and explosions. I think that the thermite was better, just because of the heat, and the speed that the thermite burned through the car. Really amazing. I was a little scared when you lit the fuse though… I thought it was going to start buring right there!

  55. Momo wasson says:

    Hey Adam And Jamie I got a myth you should drive a car into tnt and see if the car will land and be able to still drive it

Leave a Reply