%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1384342958085216600
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[[quoteright:275:[[WesternAnimation/BunnyHugged http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_bugsmuscle_1179.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:275: [-It's hard to imagine how he's even standing.-] ]]

->'''Crow:''' So, so what do you think? Am I buff or what? Am I blue twisted cold rolled steel or what?
->'''Mike:''' You're sure you've lifted already, you're not planning to lift at some future date or anything, are you?
-->-- ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' on ''Film/SpaceMutiny''

An image of a person flexing the biceps, but with the muscular bulge missing. Sometimes this is a comedy act, in which the flexer seems incredibly proud of their (apparently non-existent) muscles, or else hopeful that the muscles will miraculously appear, only to be dismayed. In cartoons, the upper arm may actually ''droop'' when the subject flexes, in a U shape, and swing back and forth like a hammock.

Otherwise, it's still a symbol of strength, achievement, and victory, just without the direct connection to muscular strength.

This trend goes back as far as [[WrenchWench Rosie the Riveter]], if not further, and is often found in advertisements aimed at [[http://i55.tinypic.com/11hqg4w.jpg women]] and [[http://i55.tinypic.com/1e5h53.jpg children.]]

The main rule is that the person has to be flexing, and that the biceps brachii is not developed enough to show a bulge. If there is any bulge, then it doesn't count as an example of this trope.

See also BicepPolishingGesture and FatFlex.



* Political advertisements
** UsefulNotes/SarahPalin's [[http://i51.tinypic.com/2aes0hy.jpg advertisement.]]
** Michelle [[UsefulNotes/BarackObama Obama's]] [[http://i53.tinypic.com/11rxi0g.jpg photo op.]]
* Walgreens loves this trope, for instance [[http://i56.tinypic.com/15x8vn7.jpg here]] and [[http://i50.tinypic.com/5k3x8x.jpg here,]] and some elderly people that are unavailable on your average Google image search, and ultimately (and just barely) averted [[http://i51.tinypic.com/261lxqu.jpg/ here.]] Ripped off by other advertisers, as seen [[http://i55.tinypic.com/154aukh.jpg here.]]
* WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead, as seen [[http://i52.tinypic.com/2hzsvx2.gif here.]]
* Creator/JulietteLewis on the [[http://i56.tinypic.com/23mk4uo.jpg cover of Four on the Floor.]]
* Sarah Haskins shows off her comedic muscle [[http://i52.tinypic.com/2nw1z5t.jpg/ here]] in a promotional image that was circulating with her interviews.
* The classic Charles Atlas cartoon adverts in the back of newspapers and comic books, in which a nerd with prominently absent musculature has sand kicked in his face then, after doing the Charles Atlas bodybuilding course, proudly flexes impressive biceps. Some adverts used "before" and "after" cartoons of the flexed bicep to illustrate the point. These have been around since at least the 1950's and probably before.
* The mascot for cleaning product Mr. Muscle used to be an ironically weedy, geeky-looking guy who'd show off his non-existent muscles like this -- the slogan being that the product "does the hard work, so you don't have to". They seem to have since decided it was unclear whether the guy represented the ''product'' or the ''user'' ([[IAmNotShazam was he "Mr. Muscle", or not?]]), and their mascot is now a CGI superhero in a labcoat.
* [[http://tinypic.com/r/346s08j/8 This]] T Mobile ad, found at Walmart.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Creator/AlexRoss did an oddball variant of this with ComicBook/PlasticMan, as seen [[https://dreager1.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/2228799-2228798-3447_a_full.png here.]]

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' - Shortly after she meets Hercules, Meg flexes her twig arms and nothing bulges. They remain little twigs.
** Herc himself back when he was a scrawny teenager. During the early parts of the "One Last Hope" training montage, Phil has him flex while he measures Hercs bicep with a tape measure, and poor awkward Herc can barely muster a tiny bump despite his SuperStrength. Cut to some 5 years or so later of TrainingFromHell, and Herc repeats the scene, except now he's a hulking adonis who ''snaps'' the tape measure when he flexes.

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* Charlie from ''Film/MysteryTeam''
* ''Film/JoeDirt'' - Where both Jaime Pressly and Brittany Daniel are more toned than David Spade, but that doesn't stop his titular character from saying stuff like [[http://i53.tinypic.com/hwx09g.jpg/ "Watch the guns, baby"]] or [[http://i54.tinypic.com/szv6og.jpg/ "Say it in the microphone."]]
* Maruti from ''Animation/TheReturnOfHanuman'' does this when he is signing up to a school.
* ''Film/NapoleonDynamite'': While talking with Kip at a diner, Uncle Rico can be seen crossing his arms but using his fists to push up his biceps.

* In one host segment in ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' after the movie ''Film/SpaceMutiny'', Crow is inspired to start working out by the movie's handsome bodybuilding hero, but has a barely noticeable and kind of pathetic bicep bump by the end of his set. Then comes Servo, who has become incredibly large and muscular after one squat thrust.
* In the pilot episode of ''Series/GameOfThrones'' ten year-old Bran does this when the king asks him to "show us your muscles".
* Sponge does this in ''Series/SaluteYourShorts'' when he and Donkey Lips are being weighed-in when they're signing up for the wrestling team. For added humor, Z.Z. attempts to squeeze it, and Sponge exclaims, "Ow! I got a bruise!"

* Music/HilaryDuff, flexing her amazingly flat biceps for Magazine/{{Cosmopolitan}}'s [[http://i59.tinypic.com/2elwq36.jpg March, 2015 issue]].

* In ''{{Agnes}}'', [[http://www.gocomics.com/agnes/2012/10/02 Agnes ignores Trout's legitimate description]] of her arms as "like angel hair pasta."
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' - Calvin is often drawn in this way, flexing his arms, and the upper arms are drawn with two parallel lines with no curvature whatsoever, for example on the cover of the [[https://www.amazon.com/Calvin-Hobbes-Books-Tenth-Anniversary/dp/0836204387 Tenth Anniversary Book]]. All of the main characters are drawn like this unless camouflaged by Calvin's imagination.
* In ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'', the weedy Jason draws battleships on his biceps, so they can bob up and down when he flexes. When Paige points out they aren't moving, he wonders if he should have started with a lighter ship.
* The ever-self-deluding Jon in ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'' has done this a few times.
--> '''Jon''' (to mirror): Arbuckle, you are a Greek god.
--> '''Garfield''': More like {{geek|Physiques}}y god.
** Garfield himself has an aversion, he gives a ridiculously impressive flex. "Did you know you can flex fat?"
* In ''ComicStrip/GetFuzzy'', Bucky boasts an arm hard as a rock. Satchel feels it and says it's all bone.

* [[Wrestling/WilliamRegal Steven Regal]] used to do a routine where he'd flex, nothing would happen, and then he'd use his finger to push a "bicep" up (he didnt actually flex at all, but instead relaxed his arm to make himself seem unfit). The funny part being that Regal was only non-muscular as compared to the other wrestlers (who commonly stuffed themselves with steroids), and that he was legitimately tougher than almost all of them.
* British wrestler [[NonIndicativeName Muscles Mansfield]] would often do this. His in ring pose had him flex his rather scrawny arms.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In a scene from ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'''s ''Meet the Scout'', the Scout "flexes" his arms and acts very proud of his muscles even though there's literally no bulge whatsoever. He does this in attempts to attract women in several supplementary comics as well. It... never works, unfortunately for him, even though it sometimes does make him look suddenly a lot more muscular.
** During that ''Meet the Scout'' video, after "flexing" he proceeds to beat the crap out of a guy twice his size. Guess MusclesAreMeaningless.
*** [[SubvertedTrope Eh, he did so with a metal baseball-bat, not his strength...]]
* ''VideoGame/PunchOut'''s Glass Joe would do this if he won, [[WarmUpBoss but he never wins]]. [[WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd Unless you're using the Power Glove]].
* ''VideoGame/JakAndDaxterThePrecursorLegacy'' will sometimes pull this one with Daxter when the player acquires a Power Cell. He also tries to impress Keira with it, but of course to little effect.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' uses a [[http://kol.coldfront.net/thekolwiki/index.php/File:Strnoboost.gif little icon of a stick figure]] with a drooping biceps to represent the effects of Wussiness[[note]]-3 Muscle.[[/note]] and Extreme Muscle Relaxation[[note]]+25% Muscle at the cost of -50% Combat Initiative.[[/note]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The results whenever [[WebComic/{{Sonichu}} Chris-Chan]] tries to prove his POWER.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/BugsBunny would get the "hammock" effect described above almost every time. When he didn't he got a comically-small bulge. The page image is from "WesternAnimation/BunnyHugged".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}}'' cartoons (before the point OncePerEpisode where he eats his spinach).
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants.'' In the episode "[=MuscleBob BuffPants=]", he shows off his "muscles" (Actually stick-thin bone and skin arms) to Sandy after working out with stuffed toys as weights; she then shames him by flashing her own massive guns. HilarityEnsues when he buys inflatable arms to look buff.
* Goofy in the WesternAnimation/{{Classic Disney Short|s}} ''Goofy Gymnastics''. At one point the only way he can get a bulge on his arm is to transfer it from a CranialEruption.
* Harold from ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' starts flexing his [[GeekPhysiques scrawny arms]] while talking to his crush [[SassyBlackWoman LeShawna]]; fortunately for him, she finds it more amusing than pathetic.
* The rail-thin Sokka from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' can't help but flex his "muscles" every time he sees his reflection. Even Suki, who knew him for literally a day notices it, and on their second encounter teasingly asks if he's been working out lately to provoke this reaction. Of course, he falls for it.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' used the drooping version again - Fred would flex his bicep and declare it to be "like a potato!", then Barney would attempt to do the same and copy the catchphrase, it would droop and Fred would comment "Mashed potato, maybe..."
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** While being interrogated by Pinkie Pie in "Party of One" ([[ItMakesSenseInContext it happens]]), Spike confesses to flexing in front of a mirror and saying "Lookin' good, Spike. Lookin' ''real'' good."
** Spike does this again in "Read It and Weep", and even kisses his non-biceps. Silence ensues, so he leaves in disgust.
** In "Putting Your Hoof Down", a nerdy pony does this when Rarity flatters him.
* Pleakley tries to do this in ''WesternAnimation/LiloAndStitchTheSeries'', however his arms (or tendrils) are literally RubberHoseLimbs.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MiraculousLadybug'', Chat Noir tries to show off his non-existent biceps in different occasions to different girls. None of them are impressed. Somewhat downplayed because Chat is actually in pretty good shape (being a superhero and a professional model), he just has a slim and wiry body type so his biceps don't bulge at all.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has the family visiting a boardwalk circus selling off its assets. Homer contemplates buying a weight from a strongman, noting that he could use a bit of toning. He flexes an arm, with no result, then pokes the arm, causing his ''whole body'' to jiggle. Homer ends up buying the weight, but only works out one arm, leaving him with one massive arm and one arm just as out of shape.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'' episode "Sleepover", Marco attempts to impress his crush Jackie by flexing his right arm. Despite being fit (he practices martial arts), his bicep doesn't bulge.