Stout Strength

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"Careful Fry, he's bulging with what could be muscle!"
Leela, Futurama

A character is stout, or overweight, or even obese, but quite strong.

The fatter the character is, the more likely this is to be treated as something comic. In more realistic portrayals, the strength will be clear even before the character has to deploy it—he moves differently than a character who is all fat, doesn't get out of breath so easily, etc. You do, however, have to look with care to see it, and the Naive Newcomer may be surprised when he actually uses it. In comic ones, the strength will appear as a total surprise.

Older characters that show this may be described as "going to seed." They probably looked like bodybuilders in their youth, but age, slowing metabolism and the increased levels of body fat that come with it have left them with a thicker layer of insulation over their still-considerable muscle.

Pretty standard for dwarves in fantasy (also, many of the orcs pre-Warcraft, made to differentiate from similar ugly creatures like goblins). Also a fairly common attribute of the Boisterous Bruiser and The Blacksmith.

This is, in fact, Truth in Television. See the Analysis subpage for details.

The trope might also apply to physically strong characters who are merely short, since such people often look fat compared to the very tall (and because, technically speaking, the shorter you are in stature, the less weight you really should carry, making those who break this rule either overweight or freakishly muscular).

Contrast Muscles Are Meaningless, where the muscles aren't merely hidden, but really not there. Often overlaps with Mighty Glacier. The most likely explanation for the Acrofatic.

(Trivia: The "strong" meaning of "Stout" was the original—a "stout warrior", a "stout defence". The "plump" meaning came from the fact that many stout warriors are also stout men.)

Examples of Stout Strength include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Ryoukan Kurita in Eyeshield 21, who is explicitly the strongest lineman in the country. There's also Niinobu Kasamatsu of the Taiyou Sphinx, who is incredibly squat and wide, but as a member of the Sphinx' powerful offensive line, is tremendously strong.
    • This is, however, inverted by Kengo Mizumachi, one of the more formidable linemen in the series, who is extremely tall and lanky. Then again, it's explicitly stated that he has a completely different kind of strength; His height and long limbs give him a lot of leverage against shorter opponents.
    • Daikichi Komusubi also has roughly the shape and consistency of a four-foot tall concrete pillar.
  • Mr. Heart from Fist of the North Star.
  • Ryu Nakanishi of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Whenever he's shown fighting, there's always at least one moment when he punches or pushes a line of Galactor minions into a pile or off a high place.
  • Most incarnations of Musashi from Getter Robo.
    • Pretty much all who fill the coveted "fat guy" position, number 3, are of this trope. Benkei's a gentle beast, and Gai's pretty touch from what we can get. The Musashi/Benkei amalgamation in New Getter Robo is very powerful. Only exception may be Professor Saotome, if you're going from the earliest manga.
  • Mao from Princess Nine, judo champ, the only female catcher capable of taking one of Ryo's dynamite pitches without being floored & beloved by chubbychasers everywhere.
  • Azan from Berserk.
  • Buccha from Air Gear.
  • Ranma ½: Genma Saotome looks like a fat bald lazy old guy, but he is really a master level martial artist, who also happens to be fat, old, bald and lazy.
    • Though his heavy build, laziness, and gluttony might make you think otherwise, Genma is actually quite muscular.
  • Chouji Akimichi from Naruto. His clan's jutsu revolve around their weight and converting calories into chakra.
    • This is pretty much the reason for being of the Akimichi clan. The entry-level technique makes them into an actual literal ball of fat, which you just can't kill.
  • Jinbei from One Piece, an interesting looking fish-man (whale/shark type) reminiscent of the Oni in Japanese mythology. A tough guy of large girth, he's a master of the distinct Karate of his people along with a variety of other martial arts. There's so much power behind his strikes that even their force can knock an opponent down without physical contact. He's got a good-heart and is very honor bound; he's also got a stylin' outfit.
    • Blackbeard also qualifies. A massive gut, but hits (and takes them) like a damn Tank.
    • Tom. He's fat, but he can lift an entire ship with one hand!
    • Mr 4. He looks like this and swings a 4-ton baseball bat.
  • Shu/Kento from Ronin Warriors. Chunky, cheerful, cute as a button (as far as the show's art style goes, anyway)... and capable of astounding feats of strength and endurance. (How did you think they were going to open the giant gate of doom, a polite knock?)
  • Sig Curtis (Izumi's husband) in Fullmetal Alchemist is quite portly in compared to the body builder-esque major Armstrong, but is probably his equal in physical strength.
  • Banba in Bio-Meat: Nectar is chubby as part of his role as the Gonk, but we quickly learn he has impressive physical strength as well.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, one of Sternbild's greatest superheroes, Mr. Legend, was a heavyset man with a large gut, but was also powerfully built. However, based on Wild Tiger's flashback to meeting Mr. Legend when he was a child, his superpowers were more telekinesis-based than physical.
  • Juzo Megure from Detective Conan, a policeman in his 40's who has a huge belly but is so Made of Iron that he can take a knife to the gut and survive, or get hit to the head with a metal pipe to save a teenage girl... and be conscious enough to deal a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the culprit.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Little Lotta is the epitome of this trope.
  • Fat Cobra from the recent Immortal Iron Fist comic series (Bring me my wenches of victory!)
    • Fat Cobra is also a Lightning Bruiser, given that he has a speed technique that actually let him speed-blitz the Iron Fist.
  • Volstagg of the Warriors Three from Asgard in the Marvel Universe.
  • Obelix
  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire: See that fat? It's actually muscle. People from his high-gravity planet are so tough courtship involves high explosives.
  • Horrorshow of the Oktober Guard in G.I. Joe comics. No, he isn't named for his intimidating girth, but for his astounding strength ("khorosho" means "good" in Russian)
  • While the Kingpin is said to be almost completely muscle (2% fat...even if this is Artistic License: Biology), he LOOKS like an obese man. And while he doesn't have any superpowers, he's physically strong enough to beat Daredevil and even Spider-Man.
    • In the Ultimate Marvel comics, the Kingpin actually is massively obese, as seen when he's in casual attire or stripped down to an undershirt. However, while there is a great deal of fat around his midsection, his arms are bulging with muscle.
    • And in fact, Kingpin was only physically dangerous to Spider-Man when the latter was young and inexperienced in using his powers. 60s Spidey, only a teenager was afraid of accidentally killing Kingpin when they fought and thus held back. Any contemporary battle between the two is a Curb Stomp Battle—and it's Kingpin who's biting the curb.
  • Sergeant Crumb in Adventures in the Rifle Brigade is the largest man to serve in the British armed forces, and his strength is practically supernatural. Indeed, it's not uncommon for Captain Darcy to commend him with "Stout fellow!" as he punches an enemy soldier's head clean off.
  • The Red Tornado from the Justice Society of America was a portly middle-aged housewife who dressed up like a (male) superhero and beat up crooks in her neighborhood. She was very much a Boisterous Bruiser, verging on Dumb Muscle. Nowadays she's pushing 90, and she can still beat the livin' daylights outta any palooka what looks at her funny.
  • X-Men villain the Blob, who had superhuman strength in addition to his girth and gravity power.
    • In addition to this, Blob has the speed and agility you would expect of a fit man, rather than a man his size. It's come as a shock to many opponents to see him move.
  • Great Lakes Avengers member Big Bertha fits this exactly in her superform. As Ashley Crawford, her looks can stop traffic. As Big Bertha, her body can stop a runaway semi and leave a nice dent in its front.
  • Beast from the X-Men series, depending on the version. The Ultimate X-Men graphic novel that has him as one of the first students of Charles Xavier shows him as basically looking like the human equivalent of a gorilla, and as agile as a spider monkey. Which is part of the reason that his hair turns blue. Just read the comic...
  • Subverted in Avengers: The Initiative, where to all initial appearances the rotund Butterball seems like a wall-busting powerhouse. In reality, he's invulnerable to harm... and that's it. He can't lose weight or build muscle, meaning he'll never develop any useful offensive capabilities. Due to the fact that, accordingly, the Initiative can't use him as he is and he doesn't respond to training, they're forced to let him go.
  • Believe it or not, The Incredible Hulk used to be this. Never fat, but early on he was lacking in definition, which has become almost a trademark of the character. This may be the result of time marching on; when the Hulk was first made the popular idea of strong men still had a bit of fat on them and didn't care about being as cut.
    • While the Hulk may be extremely ripped hes still occasionally drawn to fit the trope. Dale Keown is a good example of an artist who draws a Hulk with lots of definition and a thick rectangular mid-section.
    • He's also like this in The Avengers.
  • Big Guy from X-Factor.
  • Ted Leeman, the hippo detective in the fourth Blacksad album, as well as the gorilla character from the first album.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The Road to El Dorado: Chief Tarabuk is very fat and kind, but incredibly strong, although we don't see it until the climax.
  • Italian actor Bud Spencer (real name Carlo Pedersoli) was an Olympic-level swimmer in the early 60s. As with many sportsmen he gained considerable weight when he retired from competition and then had a long acting career in spaghetti westerns, police moves and exotic/period comedies where fisticuffs and colorful brawling scenes featured heavily, he was often paired with blonde/blue eyed Mario Girotti (who adopted the alias Terence Hill).
  • Mr. Incredible
    • Originally, he had a Heroic Build. During his forced retirement, he let himself go. He then works some of it off midway through the movie, but some still sticks with him.
  • Chien-Po, the Gentle Giant monk-turned-soldier in Mulan, is a very quiet man who is probably bigger than the rest of the squad together. He also proves to be stronger than the rest of the squad together, being able to lift all of their weight plus pull a mounted horse up a cliff at the same time.
  • Miss Blubberidge in Muppet Treasure Island. The pirates never had a chance.
  • Fezzik in The Princess Bride, played by real life example Andre the Giant. Fezzik mentions that he doesn't bother exercising. Andre himself did not go out of his way to exercise, feeling no need to be stronger than he already was.
  • Pops in Speed Racer. An ex-wrestler who is able to hold his own in a fight while protecting his son.
  • Po in Kung Fu Panda. This is actually a major advantage, since his fat protects him from nerve strikes.


Folklore[edit | hide]

  • Friar Tuck from the Robin Hood legends is usually portrayed as very fat. The most common version of how he joined the band involves him fighting Robin to a stand-still.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Monk in the Doc Savage series pretty much exemplifies this trope. Next to Doc himself, he's generally treated as the physically-strongest of the Fabulous Five, no mean feat when one of the "weaker" member's common habits include punching his way through locked doors.
  • Haegr in William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade. Massively fat and continuously eating. Torin warns Ragnar that a lot of that bulk is muscle, and he fights well.
    • At one point he uses a Thunder Hammer, a weapon most marines can only use at all while wearing full Terminator armor, as a thrown weapon with deadly accuracy.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunts Ghosts novels, Soric is described as both overweight and strong.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Fool Moon, Dresden watches a young man he's found himself allied to, and is pleased because by the way he moved, most of his (considerable) weight is muscle, not fat.
  • In Poul Anderson's Technic History, space merchant tycoon Nicholas Van Rijn looks like a tub of lard, but most of that is muscle earned in a lifetime of hard work and brawling. One fellow bruised his knuckles punching van Rijn in the gut. And then van Rijn hit him ... just once ... and the lights went out. It's also been shown that he's fast enough to safely catch a tomahawk thrown at his face.
  • Discworld series:
    • Sergeant Jackrum from Monstrous Regiment. To call Jackrum fat would be to miss out on an opportunity to use the word "gross". To call Jackrum dangerous would be to miss out on an opportunity to use the word "badass".
    • To a lesser extent, Agnes Nitt in the Lancre Witches subseries. It takes her split personality to notice that she's much stronger than she believes herself to be, because the fat hides a lot of functional muscle mass.
      • Also notable is that her heavy build is considered desirable in Lancre, where a woman is expected to be able to carry a pig under each arm and a young man is given to consider the evidence of how well a family enjoys it's food. It is her emotional isolation and personality that keeps her single, not her looks.
    • Mustrum Ridcully is a pretty large individual, tall and carrying the sort of weight large University dinners produce as a matter of course (if nowhere near the size of the Dean), but is actually a vocal advocate of fresh exercise and is in pretty terrific shape all told, being physically powerful enough not to even need to resort to magic a lot of the time.
      • To explain, within a few days of his arrival at the University, Ridcully had gone three rounds of boxing with Detritus, a Discworld Troll (they're made out of rock, and Detritus is exceptionally strong even for a troll), and arm-wrestled the Librarian (who's an orangutan and therefore much stronger than the human norm). He lost, but he still had his arm in place.
        • Made even more badass by him being in his 70s. Witches and Wizards live longer than the human norm (generally capping out around 130), but age at the same rate other people do.
    • The Upwright brothers, Harry and Jim, who run the Ankh-Morpork's mail carriages are this, with their apparent obesity looking even more so due to their heavy clothing.
      • There's also Willie Hobson, the owner of a large stable complex, described in Going Postal as "what you would probably get if you shaved a bear".
      • Going Postal is rife with these characters, in fact. Though it serves no real purpose other than to highlight his threat and contrast him with Moist, Reacher Gilt is described as wearing clothes fit for two men and being capable (though he deliberately refrains from it) of a bonecrushing handshake.
    • Lady Sybil as well, capable of whacking a werewolf with an iron bar so hard that she bends the bar.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe notes that Jabba and the various other Hutts, while certainly fat, are also quite strong, at least to a certain point. Jabba's grossness, in canon terms, is because he adopted a sedentary lifestyle as he got older; in his youth he was described as being quite powerful.
    • There was actually a Hutt Jedi named Baldorian, who, due to his Jedi training and, later on, the influence of the Force after he fell to the Dark Side, remained physically fit and able to easily participate in lightsaber duels as acrobatically as anyone from the prequel movies. Of course, Leia killed him anyway.
    • While Hutts do have a habit of getting fat with age, younger Hutts are more reminiscent of giant cobras than anything else.
      • A few sources say that girth is a sign of power and success to them. The novel Darksaber featured a Hutt whose natural skinniness made him a second class citizen despite being a fairly powerful and well-connected individual.
    • The X Wing Series bonus comic featured Jek Porkins, the first pilot to die fighting the Death Star. He was somewhat overweight and claimed to be from a high-gravity planet, and he accounted for himself pretty well in a ground fight.
    • Meanwhile, the Wraith Squadron novels had Voort saBinring, a Gammorean with altered brain chemistry that let him be a Genius Bruiser. He had somewhat less fat than most Gammoreans, but he still had a thick layer of it and was very strong.
      • As in, after using a desk to flatten an assassin against a wall, the impact dented the wall and knocked a person laying in the bunk on the other side of the wall onto the floor. The wall was evidently thick enough to hide all sounds of the fight, including a blaster shot, from the people in the bunk room.
  • Caramon from the Dragonlance series. Practically a paint by numbers The Big Guy in the original trilogy, he had to battle obesity (with varying levels of success) his entire life, yet for the most part remained quite powerful.
  • Captain Jack Aubrey from the Aubrey-Maturin novels. He is depicted in the books as a very large, heavy man, weighing something like 18 stone (252 pounds). He is also a skilled and fearless fighter and, of course, being The Captain, he leads his crew into close combat rather than hanging back and giving orders.
  • Being Aubrey's Expy In Space, Daniel Leary of the RCN Series series. He tries to keep his weight down, but he's been noted as sitting down with particular care on occasion because he fears bursting the seams of his uniform.
  • Ben from Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords series. Ben's a tall guy, but he's also very broad—big shoulders, big hips. He's not attractive—in fact, people assume he's stupid (he's not, by any means)--and he's so packed with muscle that if he's wearing a robe or something which just shows his general outline, it's easy to think he's fat. His arms and legs are described as looking stubby, they're so thick in proportion to their length. But, when Ben arm-wrestles a carnival strongman—one who's strong and looks it, with thick knots of muscle clearly defined against each other—the man is absolutely no challenge for Ben. In fact, the arm-wrestling involved two lit candles—whoever cried out first from their hand being against the flame would also lose. Ben used the back of the guy's hand to crush the candle so quickly the man wasn't burned.
  • Jean Tannen from the Gentleman Bastard Sequence Sequence was fat as a child and is still pretty chunky in his twenties, but is very strong, very fast, and very smart.
  • Rubeus Hagrid from the Harry Potter series is described in his introduction as being "twice as tall as a normal man, and five times as wide". His enormous size is attributed to his being half-giant. His displays of strength are few and far between in the series, but he is seen alternately knocking a door completely off the hinges by simply knocking, picking up a grown man with one hand and pinning him to a tree, single-handedly hauling 50-foot Christmas trees across the grounds every year, and knocking pursuers unconscious with a single blow (it is of note that this final act was done while said pursuers were attacking him with powerful Stunning Spells that simply rebounded off his skin, due again to his half-giant lineage). He even offhandedly (and quite dismissively) mentions altercations with "Mad trolls on the Polish border" and "a vampire in a pub in Minsk" that are never described in detail but are nonetheless... intriguing...
    • Also, he didn't just knock the guy out, he sent him flying. Harry was able to see the guy soar from across the grounds and up the Astronomy Tower.
    • Let's not forget that in the same first appearance where he broke down the door, he bent a freaking rifle barrel into a knot without visible effort.
      • Often, his great strength is played for laughs, such as when he pats Harry on the shoulder, causing Harry to sink several inches into the ground.
  • Cord MaKiy in The ColSec Trilogy plays with the trope. He's baby-faced and built like a fireplug, well ahead of the rest of the cast in terms of raw strength, and is stated to look chubby in baggy clothing. However, when he gets his shirt torn off during a fight in the first book, he's revealed to be quite toned.
  • Mary Gentle's recurring character Baltazar Casaubon.
  • Hern Heslin is yet another little fireplug of a guy, and actually is somewhat pudgy. However, he's both strong and nimble enough to untie himself.
  • Reality Check by Charlie Brooks features Mick Mannus, a man whose weight is estimated at around 300 pounds. Due to cybernetic enhancements, though, he's immensely strong. Unlike many other characters in this trope, he's not too likely to be taken lightly, what with having half his face made of metal and all.
  • Strong Belwas from A Song of Ice and Fire has a fat belly covered in scars—because he lets each opponent cut him exactly once before he kicks their asses.
  • Marco from the Animorphs is emphatically not this trope—until he assumes his preferred combat morph, a 400-pound silverback gorilla.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • George Costanza from Seinfeld is short, stout, and balding, but he can lift one hundred pounds right over his head.
  • Lampshaded in an extra scene from Survivor Pearl Islands; where the chubby old hippie Rupert pointed out that he was much more adapt at surviving than the buff-looking Osten, because of the effects of having "working muscles" and fat to burn, instead of "gym muscles" and no endurance for camp jobs and challenges.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Sergeant Snorkel from Beetle Bailey is a pretty extreme humorous example. His exaggerated bulk and strength together mean that, for example, while can't actually lift himself from the ground, he can do chin-ups one-handed by pulling the bar down to his chin, bending the supports.
    • Subverted Trope in one longer story where Sarge actually became skinny via hypnosis that made him a compulsive jogger and to detest food. Everyone saw him as puny and unimpressive, but he still literally killed a bull with a single blow of his bare fist. In the same story, Lt. Sonny Fuzz effectively tried to take his place by first being stout and then becoming strong. That came to an end when he punched the re-obesified Sarge (he ate the bull) on the chin, and broke his newly acquired bicep.
    • A more recent one spelled it out. He does a massive amount of working out and strength training in his morning routine, and then has even more massive meals.
  • Bluto from Popeye is a massive individual, and when he was first introduced in the comics, was one of Popeye's few matches in physical strength.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Ogres of Warhammer Fantasy Battle epitomize this trope. They regard a massive gut as the primary sign of strength, and the strongest Ogre characters is the Tyrant Greasus Goldtooth the Shockingly Obese. This is actually a good indicator given their biology, since the gut is actually a mass of muscle so strong they can devour pretty much everything.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • E.Honda and Rufus from the Street Fighter games. They're also Lightning Bruisers. Honda has moves which grant him great mobility, and Rufus is a bit more of a traditional Lightning Bruiser.
  • Bloodline Champions has the Vanguard and Glutton bloodlines, both being in the toughest archetype 'Tank' in the game.
  • Takuma Sakazaki's KOFXIII sprite puts him squarely in this category, although it's unclear exactly how much is his body and how much is just loose fabric.
  • Earthquake is a McNinja who mixes this with Acrofatic.
  • Gan Isurugi from the Rival Schools games. His fighting style is even rooted in sumo wrestling.
  • Bob from Tekken is this, but he's entirely played for comedy in this respect. Ganryu, as well, by virtue of being a sumo wrestler.
    • Worth noting that when it's said that Bob's power is "played for comedy", this has no bearing on his gameplay; considering he nearly broke the first version of Tekken 6 by being too good.
  • The Pokémon Makuhita and Hariyama might count as this, given that they are strong Fighting types but they also look like they're fat (as opposed to the Machop line, which has obvious muscles). This is mainly due to the fact that they're designed to resemble sumo wrestlers.
  • The appropriately named Heavy in Team Fortress 2 in the image above.
    • If the Meet the Team videos are to be considered canon, the Heavy's Minigun weighs 150 kg, or 330 lbs (Ammo possibly not included)
    • In From Russia with Love, OCTOPUS also employs similar types to carry their heavy artillery. And it takes quite a lot to put these guys down.
  • The Black Whirlwind from Jade Empire.
  • Xu Zhu from Dynasty Warriors
    • Meng Huo and Dong Zhuo as well, being extremely large men who nonetheless can cause earthquakes with punches in the case of the former, or pick up and toss the likes of Lu Bu in the case of the latter.
    • Samurai Warriors gives us Goemon Ishikawa, who despite his extremely fat appearance is second only to Keiji Maeda in strength. Not only does he wield an Epic Flail, he's also got a cannon strapped to his back!
  • Pontius, the playable knight from Trine.
  • Similarly, Olaf from The Lost Vikings. Somehow he's still able to use his shield as a Parasol Parachute.
  • Wario from the Super Mario Bros universe is the strongest of all the mustachioed humans. He is also the fattest.
    • Bowser, 'Nuff said.
    • Tubba Blubba is another example.
    • Mario himself, for that matter. He breaks bricks jumping from underneath.
  • Likewise, King K. Rool, the immensely fat Kremling king from the Donkey Kong Country series. When you're one of the strongest beings in a land where Donkey Kong is considered average, that's saying something.
  • King Hippo, Bear Hugger, and Mad Clown from Punch-Out!! Are all fat, but strong.
  • Sammo from Live a Live
    • Pogo may be a more mild example, it's difficult to tell with the chapter's artstyle.
  • Kiesha Phillips and Dmitri Petrovich of Backyard Sports. Both are fat, but strong in every game.
  • Seeq, from the Final Fantasy games revolving around Ivalice Alliance. You can tell right off that the intelligent and wiry Bangaa are physical powerhouses. The Seeq who coexist with them, on the other hand, are played more comically with their dim wit, jiggling bellies and snorting, but they are just as powerful as Bangaa—and surprisingly fast to boot.
  • In The Darkness, Butcher Joyce is a clearly obese "Cleaner"... and strong enough to lift two dead bodies under either arm. Made particularly clear by the fact that the protagonist can only manage one in both hands.
  • Grunts. They may not look like it, but those who've read First Strike remember how Cpl. Locklear, an ODST, struggled to lift a Fuel Rod Cannon before the Spartans decided it was too heavy for him and took it from him. Now notice that Grunts heft these things around no problem.
  • In Shenmue II, Lan Di's Dragon is Dou Niu, a very tall, fat man who is so physically powerful he's a Hopeless Boss Fight until the very end of the game.
  • Grimm from Advance Wars DS is a fairly heavy-set guy whose gimmick as a CO is that his units hit harder than the average (but have lower defence as compensation).
  • Gilgamesh appears this way in Dissidia 012: Duodecim, in that he's similar in size to some of the Tin Tyrants (like Garland and Golbez), but he doesn't share their comparatively narrow waistlines.
  • Dr. Eggman, in some versions. In Sonic Riders, for example, his alignment is "Power," which means that he can bash through obstacles and successfully backhand a truck at one point.
  • In Dead Rising 2, Frank West's weight went a little north as his life and career went south, but he's still very muscular too.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In General Protection Fault, the badly-overweight programmer Dexter demonstrates superhuman strength on a couple of occasions - most notably during the Battle of Liberty, when he took on C.R.U.D.E's Giant Mook, Mr. Inertia, singlehandedly. Despite Inertia being a literal giant, at least 12 feet tall and nearly as wide across the shoulders, Dex somehow managed to knock him out. In a more recent arc, while trying to loose some of his mass to avoid health-complications, he's seen knocking punching-bags straight off their ropes, and into the wall hard enough to leave cracks.
    • Mr. Inertia himself also qualified as a particularly extreme example - he's not just tall, he's MASSIVE. Later hints, however, seems to point to there being more to him than meets the eye...
  • Sydney Burns of Mob Ties, big, fat, loud mouthed and pretty much unstoppable.
  • Kevin Dewclaw of Kevin and Kell isn't exactly that small. 6'0, 250 or so pounds, and former professional wrestler. His physique is showing his age, but he's not exactly the weakest in his family.
  • Schlock from Schlock Mercenary looks like he's made out of mush, but is pretty fast ("you're faster than you look" is almost a tagline) and incredibly strong (that shield looks to be at least 6' * 3' and at least 4" thick, and it's solid hull-plate).
  • The titular character from Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire is a Heavyworlder, and while he looks like a walking blob, he grew up in 3G, and what looks like fat is actually pretty much solid muscle.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Survival of the Fittest version one had Ian Hargrave, the baseball team's obese catcher. His profile explicitly stated that he was rarely bullied once other kids found out about his strength, and considering the Training from Hell the baseball team went through, it's likely that he had quite a bit of muscle under the blubber. Unfortunately, he was gunned down in his first appearance without getting a chance to use this strength. V4 also has Simon Grey, though he's merely pudgy rather than obese.
  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Bouncer is a Kid Villain whose incredible strength is matched by his incredible bulk. His "super-fat" makes him almost impossible to physically hurt.
    • Bouncer has no idea that his father is the second-string villain known as The Walrus, who had the same powers.
    • The Fat Man absorbs kinetic energy, which manifests as fat after absorption. He's nearly eight feet tall and weighs close to a thousand pounds, and can lift small buildings over his head.
  • Darwins Soldiers features Gustave, a Funny Animal Nile crocodile. He is described as being kind of overweight with a pot belly. He is also extremely strong, capable of decapitating people by punching them, bending one-inch thick rebar like paper clips and other feats of Super Strength.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: It is very easy to see General Iroh as a largely harmless old butterball (especially in the first two seasons). When it suits him it is also very painful.
  • The title character in Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is absolutely huge, but no less athletic than the other characters. In one episode, he lifts the back end of a car off the ground.
  • Mikey from Recess. People are generally aware of his strength, but overlook it because of his Gentle Giant personality, mixed with a bit of Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Broadway from Gargoyles.
  • Homer Simpson from The Simpsons may be a little fat but he's got the muscle to pick up a BOULDER with his bare hands (Helter Shelter) AND knock out guys with only one punch. In fact, he's the strongest character on the show!
    • It's rarely shown, but it's notable that in video game adaptations, he almost always is a bare-fisted fighter. Also, in one episode it turns out he's incredibly hard to injure thanks to a unique brain condition. (considering everything else he suffers, it's hardly surprising) He still has very little stamina though.
  • In Justice League Unlimited, Steven Mandragora, one Villain of the Week, was effectively a Kingpin Expy and then some: Black Canary's Canary Cry—which could kill someone if she uses it too close to them, even at a distance can flip a truck end over end, and once destroyed an entire arena—does no damage besides ripping off his shirt. (Thanks for that.) Then again, his son eventually became a high-powered psychic, so.
    • Foreshadowed in the beginning when Canary slaps him for a crass remark involving oysters. She winces in pain afterwards since slapping him was like hitting a brick wall and she doubts there is even an ounce of fat on him.
  • Tohru from Jackie Chan Adventures also fits this trope. He's huge and heavily built, like a sumo wrestler, but he has strength like....well, a sumo wrestler. He's been seen taking on demons, ninjas and all manner of monsters, both when serving the Big Bad of the series, the dragon-demon Shendu and being Uncle's apprentice after seeing the error of his ways. He is also more intelligent than one would think based on his size and strength.
  • Pam Poovey from Archer was mostly portrayed as a just a big eater woman. However in season two we learn that not only is she quite strong but also that she got her college money via illegal bareknuckle boxing matches, by participating in them and fighting against guys.
  • Shrek may be a fat green ogre, but boy is he strong.
  • Gunther from Kick Buttowski looks like a regular fat kid, but as it turns out, a lot of that bulk is apparently muscle. He's been shown to perform some impressive physical feats, like wrestling a bull to the ground.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Take a gander at most older Olympic weightlifters (especially from Russia). Even those that aren't pumped up on steroids tend to look like piles of marshmallows rather than young Arnie. Also, the people who are most capable of lifting sumos are... other sumos.
    • 1976 gold medalist Vasily Alexeev, in particular, had an awesome paunch, as The Other Wiki shows.
    • Hossein Rezazadeh, aka "the strongest man in the world", world record holder for the snatch and clean & jerk.
  • One look at any American football team's offensive linemen: They're all pushing or over 300 pounds, and the bulk of that ain't exactly muscle. Because of the short distance between the lines, the added mass makes them hit harder than a smaller man of the same strength.
  • There's also a fair amount of professional wrestlers who are noticeably rotund while still being quite athletic and powerful, particularly Vader. A more modern example is Big Daddy V, who looks positively grotesque in his massiveness, and the Awesome Kong, a rare female version.
    • There's also Mark Henry, whose "World's Strongest Man" gimmick comes from having legitimately won a World's Strongest Man competition before entering pro wrestling. Of course, the competition happens every year, so he no longer actually holds the title, but he's still a very strong guy, probably the strongest in terms of weightlifting ability in the WWE. And he's definitely got some flab to go with the muscles.
      • Even outside the man-mountains, it used to be far more common to see a slight pudge on a wrestler, than it is to see six-pack abs. WWE and TNA now, with a few exceptions, expect their wrestlers to have ripped physiques.
  • Sumo wrestlers. There is a lot of fat there, but it has a purpose; it lowers the sumo's center of gravity. There is also an immense amount of muscle there, as a sumo is expected to be able to slap around a four-hundred-pound man and shove him out of a ring.
  • Masutatsu Oyama killed bulls by punching them, beat a hundred men in a row on multiple occasions, routinely got arrested for beating up GI's during the American occupation of Japan and founded a Karate school that experts of this day and age still consider to rival the likes of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, all through hard work and a very personal brand of Training from Hell. He looked like this.
  • There's some belief now that Roman gladiators ate a high-carb (grains and legumes) diet that caused them to have quite a lot of padding over the muscles. See this archaeology.org article where it talks about padding against blunt impacts and how they could inflict shallow cuts into the layer of fat that looked nice and bloody but were not life threatening, while a lean Gladiator would have had no padding and any cut would be into something serious.
  • It is not uncommon to see powerlifters in the heavier weight classes carrying extra pounds, yet they are among the strongest athletes in the world. An example is Andy Bolton, the first man to deadlift over one thousand pounds: Andy Bolton's Thousand Pound Deadlift
  • At any strongman competition, you'll see at least half of the competitors are nearly round - and that they are every bit as strong as those with more defined physiques (if not more so).
  • Quite a few military recruits hit the gym long before shipping out for basic training and end up quite surprised when it turns out that lifting weights and the physical demands of basic don't overlap all that well. Better preparation would be to simply strap on a rock-filled backpack and go running walking regularly, with some wall-climbing added in every now and then.
    • For clarification; consider the US military's standard test for upper body strength, timed push-ups. Men with a huge, body-builder-like physique or the physique of this trope are generally at a disadvantage. The kind of training which leads to muscle hypertrophy (read: big muscles) and great strength doesn't lead to great muscle strength-endurance. Such individuals are therefore at a disadvantage when they need to lift a relatively light weight with good form about 45 times in two minutes (US Army). That is bare-minimum, You Suck passing. Maximizing the test requires about eighty repetitions in two minutes. The same logic applies when the other factors, such as maximizing timed sit-ups and long-distance run times are also factored in. Many military activities require hours of exertion, such as long marches carrying fifty pounds, which is an entirely different demand on the body than lifting five hundred pounds once. The military generally wants 'wiry.'
    • Note: before anyone starts copying the advice above, the first thing many instructors will tell you is don't run with weights. You'll only destroy your knees and ankles. Walking with heavy packs is another matter, as obviously is running without weights. Basically, military-style training is best undertaken with proper instruction.
  • Louis Cyr, the late 19th century-early 20th century Canadian strongman, looked like the Michelin Man with a moustache.
  • Boxers in Ancient Greece had figures closer to sumo wrestlers than to modern boxers, with big bellies offering much better protection for organs it makes a lot of sense. Especially since the boxing glove hadn't been invented yet.
    • To amplify that...in the days of bareknuckle boxing you did not punch to the face as you would break your fingers on jawbones. You punched to the body so the chest and belly is where the padding was needed.
    • Boxer George Foreman became a prime example of this during his comeback; opponent Evander Holyfield wore himself out throwing body blows, while Foreman (to quote Holyfield) "just sorta wobbled a bit".
  • Some Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight fighters are famous for being rather rotund, most notably Roy "Big Country" Nelson, who rubs his enormous belly after every win. It's been noted that, paradoxically, fatter fighters can have a cardio advantage over more muscular fighters because muscle requires much more blood to be pumped through it, draining the fighter's energy more quickly. Fat provides mass without the energy tax.
    • While that is a good point about fat, muscle, and the demands of each on the circulatory system, Roy Nelson isn't the best fighter to use to make that point. His cardio is terrible; he's always exhausted by the end of the first round. The fighters who have the best stamina in MMA still do tend to be not just the lean ones, but the lean ones in the lighter weight classes- not necessarily muscular, but almost always lean. Fedor Emelianenko is a good example of a guy who isn't lean but is a great fighter nonetheless.
  • Due to the fact that muscle weighs considerably more than fat, it's entirely possible to be "obese" without being pudgy. This is also one of the biggest reasons why body mass index is considered less and less reliable. A Stout Strength type may well be fat, but they're also much heavier than you'd think just due to the muscle. Of course the more you weigh the stronger you have to be to keep moving around, thus increasing muscle mass and increasing weight. Someone needs to make up a simple rule explaining that.
  • Steven Seagal, martial artist and film star, has infamously gained weight from his early days but is still able to kick the crap out of people.
    • Um, have you seem him run in his later movies? Wonder why his career has fizzled?
    • Craig Ferguson once joked that he went up against an all-you-can-eat buffet and won.
  • The USMC has two fitness standards, because the old PFT favors small, wiry cross country runners. The new CFT (Combat Fitness Test) consists of a 800 meter sprint, followed by lifting a light but awkward weight and overhead press it, then an obstacle course like event where you have to fireman carry and drag someone your size through parts of it. The big guys do a hell of a lot better, because power and speed is more important than endurance.
  • Sammo Hung, again. Sammo has the build of a teddy bear, but is more than capable of holding his own against guys half his weight and age on and off screen.
  • Go to any gym and you can probably find a very heavyset, out of shape looking man who's more than capable of benchpressing his own weight.