Superman not holding back
Is he always holding back? I don't think so. What would his reason be to hold back against Doomsday? To hold back is to assure his own defeat. Certainly against normal humans he has to be delicate, because he could easily kill them.
The real issue is that Superman has always been plagued by the inconsistencies of his powers. Sometimes he struggles to lift a large car or bus, other times he is able to move an entire planet.
As originally conceived and presented in his early stories, Superman's powers were relatively limited, consisting of superhuman strength that allowed him to lift a car over his head, run at amazing speeds and leap one-eighth of a mile, as well as an incredibly dense body structure that could be pierced by nothing less than an exploding artillery shell. Siegel and Shuster compared his strength and leaping abilities to an ant and a grasshopper. When making the cartoons, the Fleischer Brothers found it difficult to keep animating him leaping and requested to DC to change his ability to flying; this was an especially convenient concept for short films, which would have otherwise had to waste precious running time moving earthbound Clark Kent from place to place.
As the super villians became more clever and more powerful Superman had to be changed in order to always win. And thus the great powers race was started:
Writers gradually increased his powers to larger extents during the Silver Age, in which Superman could fly to other worlds and galaxies and even across universes with relative ease. He would often fly across the solar system to stop meteors from hitting the Earth, or sometimes just to clear his head.
This created a problem of course. Eventually Superman is so powerful there isn't really compelling story to be told:
Writers found it increasingly difficult to write Superman stories in which the character was believably challenged, so DC made a series of attempts to rein the character in. The most significant attempt, John Byrne's 1986 rewrite, established several hard limits on his abilities: he barely survives a nuclear blast, and his space flights are limited by how long he can hold his breath.
And yet the great powers race continues...
Superman's power levels have again increased since then, with Superman currently possessing enough strength to hurl mountains, withstand nuclear blasts with ease, fly into the sun unharmed, and survive in the vacuum of outer space without oxygen.
In the animated Superman series he starts off relatively unpowerful, and seems to be come more powerful over time. It is possible that like a muscle, as Superman uses his powers and stretches himself to his limits, his powers grow to accomidate these experiences.
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