[[quoteright:300:[[Film/TheDangerousLivesOfAltarBoys http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/altarboysmuscle_8817.png]]]]

A sub-trope of TransformationSequence where an increase of muscle mass and definition is prominent. It can be used by a character transforming to his superpowered form, as well as a visual indicator of a SuperMode activating. In either case, those subjected to it are generally expected to possess SuperStrength.

The sequence usually consists of close-up shots of various muscle groups, most commonly the biceps, chest, and back, growing and becoming more defined. As a result, expect ClothingDamage (with the exception of MagicPants). The transformation doesn't have to be limited to changes in musculature; for example, a villain can have SpikesOfVillainy popping up along the spine of his expanding back. Bulking up is also unexpectedly common in modern [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf transformations]], despite the wolf being an animal generally regarded as lean rather than massive.

Depending on the character and the setting, a Growing Muscles Sequence can be {{voluntary| transformation}} or {{involuntary| transformation}}, range from painless to {{painful| transformation}} to a BodyHorror and its end result can run the gamut from having a HeroicBuild to being TheGrotesque.

Compare {{Shapeshifting}}, OneWingedAngel, and HulkingOut. See also ShapeshifterBaggage, TemporaryBulkChange. Commonly fetish fuel material.


* A Geico ad has two skinny bros talking about insurance while doing curls. With every cut, one of them starts becoming more and more buff till he's just bulging.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Used all the time with various kinds of {{Super Mode}}s in ''Anime/DragonBallZ''.
** A rare female example comes from ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' with Kale, a ShrinkingViolet Universe 6 Saiyan who goes from a normal-looking slim young girl to [[spoiler: the female version of Broly.]]
** Played with with the False Super Saiyan 2 transformation. It increases the user's power by an incredible amount, but as Future Trunks learns when fighting second-stage Imperfect Cell, all the extra muscle mass that the form comes with cripples the user's speed, making it completely useless; all the strength in the world doesn't mean squat if you can't ''hit'' your opponent.
* Kenshiro from ''[[Manga/FistoftheNorthStar Fist of the North Star]]''. Whenever he's about to use [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ebC8EVe1JQ Hokuto Shinken]], he [[WalkingShirtlessScene rips up his shirt]] and makes his jacket slide off his shoulders by sheer muscle expansion while his pants remain unharmed, which essentially makes him the Japanese [[ComicBook/TheIncredibleHulk Hulk]].
* Done in ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' when [[OlderThanTheyLook apparently]] [[CuteBruiser 12-year old]] Biscuit Krueger goes from looking a cute schoolgirl to being 10' tall and incredibly ripped.
* Kid Muscle from ''Anime/UltimateMuscle''.
* In ''{{Anime/Pokemon}}'', Sawk goes through this when he uses Bulk Up, a move that increases his attack and defense.
* Kotetsu from ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'', though it turns out it's a cosmetic feature of his original super suit.
* Younger Toguro from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' goes through this every time he unleashes a percentage of his full power, assuming ever more ridiculously bulked up forms during the course of the series. A less prominent example from the same series is Byakko, who grows as he absorbs the blows of his opponents, [[spoiler:which turns out to be his undoing.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Ggio Vega and Poww do this when they decide to unleash their full power. [[spoiler:Later on, fullbring forces a yakuza trapped inside a weaponised plushie to go through one of these.]]
* Aisha Clan-Clan in ''Anime/OutlawStar'' can transform into a more muscular version of herself under a full moon. (And then further into a non-anthropomorphic [[PantheraAwesome panther creature]].)
* Sandra Guts from ''LightNovel/DirtyPair'' does this to herself with her own formula called 'Hustle.'
* The [[ViralTransformation Eclipse Driver]] Marty of ''Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce'' has this as his viralizing ability. He could grow his muscles to increase his strength and toughness, to the point where he becomes [[ImmuneToBullets immune to physical attacks like bullets]]. [[spoiler:So Arnage switches weapons and pulls out a WaveMotionTuningFork]].
* {{Downplayed|Trope}} in ''Manga/{{Toriko}}''; when TheHero, Toriko, powers up for his signature move, the Kugi Punch, he pumps his right arm up and down, making its muscles bigger and bigger, while the rest of his body retains the same muscle mass.
* Ichiya from ''Manga/{{Fairy Tail}}'', whenever he uses his Power Perfume. Laxus did it once when he first showed off his Lightning Dragon Slayer magic, though subsequent uses lack this, and Cobra performs a downplayed version in that only his arms and hands get larger and draconic from activating his Poison Dragon Slayer Magic.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* [[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk The Hulk]] in all his incarnations. He is, after all, the TropeNamer of the related trope HulkingOut.
** Likewise, but to a lesser extent, [[ComicBook/SheHulk his cousin Jennifer]]. Whether or not she goes from mousy and unassuming to [[StatuesqueStunner tall]] and athletic to [[AmazonianBeauty flat-out ripped]] [[DependingOnTheArtist depends on who's drawing her]] (the same applies to the other She-Hulks, Lyra and Red She-Hulk).
* In ComicBook/TheNewUniverse, [[http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/lnders.htm David Landers]] of ''ComicBook/DP7'' goes through quite painful transformations when he grows muscles, which he has to sustain by being a BigEater.
* Patriot of ''ComicBook/YoungAvengers'', in the storyline where it's revealed he takes Mutant Growth Hormone. He injects himself with too much, and grows to the size of a truck.
* Some ''ComicBook/MarshalLaw'' superheroes "pump ions" to bulk up.
* This happens to Caitlin Fairchild in the first issue of ''ComicBook/{{Gen 13}}''. She goes from short and slender and mousy to [[StatuesqueStunner tall]], [[AmazonianBeauty ripped]] and [[BreastExpansion stacked]] once her powers activate.
* In his first appearance, ''ComicBook/{{Nightwing}}'' villain Blockbuster has one of these, turning him into a giant, deformed monster. Unlike most examples, the effect is permanent.
* Notably averted by ComicBook/{{Bane}} in his comic book appearances: Venom makes him veiny, but he stays pretty much the same size (although sometimes his muscles do bulge ever-so-slightly when he takes a dose, as seen when he prepares to fight Batman in ''Knightfall''). Most adaptations play the trope straight, though, and he's bulked up considerably in the ComicBook/{{New 52}}.

* Bane's initial transformation in ''Film/BatmanAndRobin''.
* Tim turning into The Muscle in the {{Imagine Spot}}s of ''Film/TheDangerousLivesOfAltarBoys''.
* Happens to [[spoiler:''[[TheScrappy Scrappy Doo]]'']] in the first ''Film/ScoobyDoo'' movie, and to Shaggy in the second, although the causes and intentions for each are different.
* The Nerdlucks turning into the Monstars in ''Film/SpaceJam''. Bugs Bunny, being a Looney Toon, is not above faking one to convince his teammates that [[MagicFeather "Michael's Secret Stuff"]] works.
* Invoked when Clown transforms into his demonic true form, the Violator, in the ''Film/{{Spawn}}'' film. It's an odd variant because Clown is a short FatBastard human and Violator is a much taller hunchbacked LeanAndMean demon.
* Done quite naturally in the film ''Film/TheThreeStooges Meet Hercules'', as the nerdy but affable MadScientist labors in a rowing crew aboard a galleon. The strain of pumping the oars causes him to bulk up significantly, with many [[FanService shots of his bulging biceps]], until he is a match for the mythological strongman himself.
* Seen in ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', when Dr. Jekyll transforms into Mr. Hyde after taking a sip of his formula. It's much more obvious when a mook later drinks a whole bottle.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. Lampshaded but averted when the Nerd Trio get their hands on a [[CompensatingForSomething couple of magic orbs]].
-->'''Andrew:''' [You] don't look any different. I thought they were supposed to make us all huge and veiny.
* ''Series/MahouSentaiMagiranger'' and by extension ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'': one of the Green Ranger's spells.
* ''Series/DoubutsuSentaiZyuohger'': Used Zyuoh Eagle becomes Zyuoh Gorilla.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/AlteredBeast'' has your character undergo two such transformations for the first two {{Power Up}}s he collects in a stage. His transformation into a beast once they pick up the third also has elements of this.
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' has this happen to a depowered Bane and some of Joker's goons when they get injected with [[PsychoSerum "Titan"]], a derivative of the [[SuperSerum Venom]] normally used by Bane. [[spoiler:It almost happens to Franchise/{{Batman}} when he [[TakingTheBullet takes the bullet]] for Commissioner Gordon, but he's able to resist the transformation until he takes an [[MagicAntidote antidote]]. ComicBook/TheJoker, [[VoluntaryTransformation on the]] [[OneWingedAngel other hand...]]]]
* Rick undergoes a pretty gruesome one in the opening cutscene of the updated ''VideoGame/{{Splatterhouse}}''.
-->'''Terror Mask:''' Aw, quit whining. Did I ''say'' it was gonna be fun?
* ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyDualDestinies'': The DLC case includes a scene like this when you start closing in on the culprit. Apparently, [[spoiler:fish-barrel water]] buffs you up like nothing else.
* The [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Bleeding Hollow clan]] from ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' uses a BloodMagic ritual to invoke this on their berserkers, turning them into massive, hulking orcs. [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Ariok]] voluntarily undergoes this same ritual in order to buy the player and their allies enough time to escape the clan during the intro for ''Warlords of Draenor'' . He ends up becoming ''[[UpToEleven even more massive than said hulking orcs in the process]].''
** The [[DealWithTheDevil Blood Curse]] that the orcs took from Mannoroth in the earlier games also increased their body mass, but to a much lesser extent than the mentioned blood ritual.
* In ''VideoGame/KirbyStarAllies'', this happens to ''[[AdiposeRex King Dedede]]'' of all characters due to the influence of a Jamba Heart, complete with close-ups on his newly obtained biceps and pecs.
* A staple of the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' franchise. While the T-Virus doesn't seem to provoke this effect, other, faster-acting or more prone to physical mutation ones like the G-Virus or T-Veronica virus tend to do this.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''Naked Butler'', Mizoguchi Toyoharu, ''a 56-year-old man'', does this ''to rip through ropes and his own shirt.'' Yes, it's every bit as crazy and hilarious as it sounds.

* Hazel Rainart, one of the direct servants of the BigBad in ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' reveals this talent in Volume 5. By stabbing raw crystals of [[GreenRocks electric Dust]] into his upper arms, Hazel's arms noticeably swell with his veins protruding. He also gains some slight electrical powers from this enhancement, making him a literal example of a LightningBruiser.

* Ace Dick's transformation into Fiesta Ace Dick in ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth''.
* Doc Scratch's corpse's transformation into Lord English in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''
* Sweet Bro [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/sweetbroandhellajeff/comoc.php?cid=041.jpg "GETS RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPED"]] in one strip of ''Webcomic/SweetBroAndHellaJeff''.
-->'''Hella Jeff''': fucking incredible

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Done in a number of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAM_tLYl6_o werewolf]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGMmxzZarBw transformations]] in animation. Apparently the "were" in "werewolf" is the Anglo-Saxon for "bodybuilder".
* Bane in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'': Vilgax in the early seasons had Cybernetic SpikesOfVillainy that did this.
* Raimundo from ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' had this issue when the Shen Gong Wu kept magnetically pulling towards him, making him increasingly more powerful to the point he was virtually invincible, with Wuya attempting to use him as a vessel for her to defeat the monks.
* One of the effects of the [[SuperSerum Super Soldier Serum]] that created ComicBook/CaptainAmerica.
* ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'': Prince Adam's transformation to He-Man usually ''doesn't'' involve this, despite the former being an ordinary Eternian and the latter "the most powerful man in the universe". In the first series, this was because [[ClarkKenting He-Man is pretty much Prince Adam with a tan and less clothes on]]. In [[WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse2002 the 2002 series]] a sequence is used for a few episodes in the second season, until He-Man gets his armor.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited'' in the episode "The Patriot Act" after a mad general steals super soldier serum and injects himself.
* A couple of Timmy's wishes in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' resulted in this.
* Billy turning back into Ganthar in ''WesternAnimation/MartinMystery''.
* [[OnceAnEpisode In each episode]] of ''WesternAnimation/TheMiniavengers'', a kid will pass through a momentary but incredibly exaggerated sequence before getting their superpower, temporarily ending up dozens of times the size of the earth.
* WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}}, every time he eats his spinach. The change is brief and usually located in the (already abnormally muscular) forearms, sometimes with a superimposed image of a battleship, a cannon, a high-powered turbine or similar imagery.
* Munya from ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretSaturdays''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Bart has an ImagineSpot where he's a professional human guinea pig. He takes one sip of Nature's Goodness soda and turns into a deformed monster.
** In "Itchy & Scratchy Land", the opening Itchy & Scratchy sketch has Scratchy lift weights for a few seconds which makes his muscles grow big instantly.
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperDuperSumos'' is a rare case where the characters are already bulky; what they are gaining in the transformation is definition.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TotallySpies'' episode "The Incredible Bulk" featured a plot involving power bars that would cause anyone who ate them to go through a series of such transformations until they would finally explode.
* Prime and Hardcase from ''Ultraforce''. For the former, it's a standard transformation sequence, for the latter a permanent change.
* Happens to Jade from ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' in the episode "The Amazing T-Troop" when she uses the ox talisman. Interestingly, while the ox talisman does grant the user the power of super strength, this is the only occurrence where this trope is applied.
* A [[StockFootage sequence]] depicting this happening is often played when WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}} transforms into [[HulkingOut Bad Kaeloo]]. [[MaleGaze The most attention is paid to her buttocks]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': In "Power Ponies", resident ShrinkingViolet Fluttershy becomes the Incredible Hulk-esque "Saddle Rager" in the comic book world. She doesn't actually get mad enough to use her new powers until she witnesses horrific cruelty towards an innocent firefly, whereupon she [[HulkingOut Hulks Out]] and smashes the culprit's hairspray cannon to pieces. Fluttershy's Hulk form is rife with bulging muscles, even featuring male pecs.
* The Crusher from the BugsBunny cartoon "Bunny Hugged." Even his muscles have muscles.
* Powerful Pierre in the ''WesternAnimation/HeckleAndJeckle'' cartoon "Log Rollers" flexes his muscles on his arm, his pinky finger, his tongue, his ears and finally his eyelash.