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Stout Strength

"He's bulging with what could be muscle!"
Leela, Futurama

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

This trope is common for a Boisterous Bruiser who enjoys good food and drink as much as he likes cracking heads. The Big Guy might also be packing on a few extra pounds. Muscles aren't the only thing that makes you big, after all! It's also common in older characters who are nowhere near as trim and athletic as they were in their youth, but are still as strong as they ever were. Strength, in reality, does last much longer than your cardiovascular endurance.

Sometimes the trope will be played for comedy, with a common fat character suddenly displaying surprising strength. Other times the character will be an unmistakable mountain of muscle and fat. This trope was especially common in older television and film, before bodybuilding became as popular as it is today. Large, bulky actors were much more easy to find than large, chiseled actors.

This is, in fact, Truth in Television, as a layer of cushioning fat is naturally an asset in a fight as long as you can move it. See the Analysis subpage for details.

See Kevlard, for vitality and stamina instead of strength. Contrast Muscles Are Meaningless, where the muscles aren't merely hidden, they're 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:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • 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 (pilot of Getter-3/Poseidon), 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 ˝: 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. His entire clan's fighting style is based on this very concept.
  • Jinbei from One Piece, an interesting looking Fishman (a 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 comparison to the body builder-esque major Armstrong, but is probably his equal in physical strength.
  • Banba in BioMeat is chubby as part of his role as the Gonk, but we quickly learn he has impressive physical strength as well.
  • In Tiger & 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  
  • Little Lotta is the epitome of this trope. She's depicted as being unrealistically strong, able to lift a grand piano easily.
  • Fat Cobra from the Immortal Iron Fist. While he easily weighs 400 lbs, and has a seemingly boundless hunger, he's strong on the level of Hercules himself.
    • 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
    • Actually a case of Muscles Are Meaningless, since his strength isn't muscular, but come from the magic potion (even if it's effects are permanent on him, after, as a child, he fell in a full cauldron of it, and drank it all...). He's also very sensitive about his size and insists that he isn't actually fat.
      • "Of course not, Obelix. Your chest just slipped a bit, that's all."
  • Buck Godot: 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 has even given Spider-Man a hard time once or twice.
    • In the Ultimate 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.
  • 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.
    • Landslide of Cerebro's X-Men has this ability, which is fitting as he is an artificial construct molded after Blob as well as Beast and Sabertooth.
  • 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 he's 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.
  • Armstrong from Archer And Armstrong. While not as fat as some of the examples listed here, he does have a fairly substantial gut, as well as a fairly substantial ability to kick your ass.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Road to El Dorado: Chief Tarabuk is very fat and kind, but incredibly strong, although we don't see it until the climax.
  • The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible once had a Heroic Build, but 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.
  • Po, the panda protagonist of Kung Fu Panda. This is actually a major advantage, since his fat protects him from nerve strikes.
  • Gloria from Madagascar can smash through brick walls with her power. Makes sense, since she's a hippo.
  • Robin Hood: The Sheriff, Friar Tuck and Little John are all obese, but are also the most physically formidable characters in the film. Lady Kluck, Marian's handmaiden and the resident Violent Glaswegian, also qualifies with flying colours.
  • Baymax from Big Hero 6 is rather round and pudgy for a robot, but he's still capable of lifting up to 1000 pounds and can deal even more damage while wearing the armor Hiro makes for him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Miss Blubberidge in Muppet Treasure Island. The pirates never had a chance.
  • Fezzik in The Princess Bride, played by real life example André 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.
  • Characters played by Donald Gibb:
  • Gentle Giant Mose in Open Range is noted to never start a fight, but reportedly kicked the asses of an entire bar full of goons.
  • The obese Pops in Speed Racer is played by John Goodman. When an attacking ninja notices his Greco-Roman wrestling ring, he starts tossing ninjas around like ragdolls.
  • Big Edna in UHF throws two men several stories into the air.
  • The two strongest players in A League of Their Own are played by Rosie O'Donnell and Megan Cavanagh.
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure: Andy, the jealous boyfriend of Simone.
  • Popeye: Oxheart Oxblood and Bluto.
  • In Godzilla (2014), Godzilla's more heavily built than other versions of the character, but it doesn't make him any less dangerous.
  • Blob, post-eating disorder in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Add the bulky composition with an elastic skin...

     Folklore  
  • 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  
  • 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.
  • Haymitch Abernathy from the The Hunger Games.
  • 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.
    • That would be Billy Borden, unofficial (at the time at least) leader of The Alphas. In later appearances he's noticeably bulkier, but again, mostly muscle.
  • In Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic League stories, 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.
    • 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.
    • Willie Hobson, the owner of a large stable complex, described in Going Postal as "what you would probably get if you shaved a bear".
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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. 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 was fat as a child, but spent most of his teens in intensive martial arts training. While he never managed to shed the extra weight, the end result was a portly, bespectacled young man who 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...
  • 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.
    • Robert Baratheon counts as well, at least later in life. His primary weapon is a warhammer that one character can barely lift with two hands, and Robert can lift with only one, and still fight with a shield on his other arm. At the start of the books, he's put on eight stone in weight (112 pounds), which given his body type would put him over 300 pounds.
  • Marco from the Animorphs is emphatically not this trope — until he assumes his preferred combat morph, a 400-pound silverback gorilla.
  • Chet in various Hardy Boys books is described as this.
  • Annie Wilkes in Misery is a fairly heavy-set woman, but is also capable of moving Paul Sheldon, an adult man, around as she cares for him. As her insanity becomes clearer to him, he realizes that, due to her strength, escape might be quite difficult, so he starts using his typewriter as a makeshift weight set.

     Live Action TV  
  • Seinfeld: Elaine tries to sell up George Costanza's stocky build as "powerful," claiming, "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.
  • Chris Farley's characters on Saturday Night Live are often characterized this way. In one particular sketch he plays an ice skater who has recently gained a considerable amount of weight. One commentator asks if there was any advantage to the extra weight. The other commentator says, "Power!" Farley then flings his partner a surprising distance.
  • Farkus "Bulk" Bulkmeier from Power Rangers.
  • Sammo Hung's character Sammo Law on Martial Law. Sammo Law is accused of being "out of shape", to which Sammo replies, "Not out of shape, just fat!"
  • Let's hear it for Lauren Zizes of Glee fame; she's a big girl and a Big Eater, but she's also the Ohio state champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and she wrestles on the boys' team. She's shown practicing in one episode by tossing aside an endless stream of challengers onto the mat, she's an unsheakeable stone wall in the episode in which she takes to the football field, and she wipes the floor with tough-talking Santana Lopez in a fight over Puck, without even breaking a sweat.
  • My Wife and Kids has the Calvinator, who can move entire work trucks & throw standard size refrigerators.
  • Hoss from Bonanza.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • 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 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 
  • Most Wild Samoan wrestlers (and Samoa Joe) are a variation of this and/or Acrofatic.
  • This used to be the norm in Professional Wrestling before WWE and TNA started requiring just about all of their wrestlers to have chiseled physiques. The extremely large wrestlers, however, often get a pass, such as Big Daddy V, Awesome Kong, and Mark Henry (whose "World's Strongest Man" gimmick comes from having legitimately won a World's Strongest Man competition before entering pro wrestling.)
  • On the Independent scene, Kevin Steen has a noticeable belly but is far from weak.
  • André the Giant. His stout physique came from his reluctance to exercise. He didn't feel the need to be any stronger than he already was. (Sadly, the biggest factor behind his great size was that he suffered from gigantism, and he eventually died from it.)
  • Female wrestler Reggie Bennett was a bodybuilder before becoming a professional wrestler and during the first few years of her career, but she gradually switched over to a stout strength physique as she got older.

     Tabletop Games  
  • The Ogres of Warhammer epitomize this trope. They regard a massive gut as the primary sign of strength, and the strongest Ogre character 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  
  • 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.
    • In fact, Snorlax, who might as well be the official "Fat-type" Pokémon, can be a formidable physical powerhouse when trained right.
    • Slaking is also quite fat, and has the fourth highest base Attack of all Pokémon (so far), tied with Regigigas.
    • Pangoro looks like a pudgy panda-man, but hits like a train with its 124 base attack points and with the Iron Fist ability increases punching attacks by 20%.
    • As for humans, there's two notable Gym Leader examples, Chuck and Crasher Wake. Chuck is an older man, and it's implied that he use to be in fantastic shape. While he still trains, he clearly settled down after marriage, and his Big Eater appetite, once needed to keep his strength up, is now a determent to his slower metabolism. Wake, meanwhile, is a masked wrestler, which are typically a bit doughier around the middle.
  • The appropriately named Heavy Weapons Guy in Team Fortress 2 in the image above. Whether or not he's fat per se or just a naturally large man is debatable, but that doesn't diminish his strength one bit.
    • If the Meet the Team videos are to be considered canon, the Heavy's Minigun weighs 150kg, or 330lbs (Ammo possibly not included)
    • In 007: 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.
      • Not to mention his jumps, flips and somersaults that would impress an Olympic gymnast. He's not slow, either.
  • 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. 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: Off the Record, Frank West's weight went a little north as his life and career went south, but he's still very muscular overall.
  • Purple Pikmin are very stocky. One purple weighs as much as 10 Pikmin of other kinds, and they can lift 10 times the weight.
  • The Ogres in the first WarCraft were slabs of lean muscle, but in Warcraft II, they gained a second head and a big ol' belly, which carried on into Warcraft III and World of Warcraft. A patch shortly before The Burning Crusade suddenly made them much leaner again and gave them significant muscle definition.
    • Also, the Pandaren. They consider being fat a good thing, but this doesn't stop them from being extremely capable fighters.
    Chen Stormstout: "Why would I want to feel skinny? Size is strength!"
  • Hugo Strange from Batman: Arkham City apparently trains his body to the limits every day in an attempt to be as physically fit as his hero/obsession Batman, to the extent where he could punch a dent in steel and not feel it. He dies before we find out if this was empty boasting or not.
  • The Goron from The Legend of Zelda are a race of these. Strong as boulders, most have big bellies to go with their strength. In Twilight Princess, they practice sumo wrestling (a common sight of Stout Strength), and the only way for Link to beat them if to strap on Iron Boots so that he can more easily stay in place.
  • The Sly Cooper games has "The" Murray, who despite being The Load in the first game is upgraded to the muscle of the crew in the later games. His missions generally involve wrecking stuff and dealing with large groups of enemies.
  • Battle Realms has Sumo wrestlers carrying cannons. As the manual notes, considerations of strength aside it takes a man of massive bulk to stay standing when such a weapon fires.
  • OFF has Enoch, the zone 3 boss, who is so bulky when you first fight him he's completely unkillable. You get to use this against him by running away so that, when you confront him again, he's so tired he can actually be harmed.
  • In Chuck Rock, not only can Chuck lift and throw heavy rocks, as the name implies, but his basic attack is bashing enemies with his enormous beer belly.
  • Meg from Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn appears to be chubby, but her description says that she's fat because of her large muscle. While not as strong as other Knights, Meg can still wipe floors with enemies if trained.
  • In Saints Row, you can turn the Boss into one of these—the option to be a huge Fat Bastard is there and the Boss is powerful enough to pick up and throw the average human being, or snap necks with minimal effort. More canonically, Genius Bruiser Oleg Kirrlov is first seen in the third game held captive and naked, and it's very clear that he's an individual of considerable girth. However, it's also patently clear that he is a main battle tank of a man and could probably crush a human head in his hand like a pea. The Brutes from the same game are actually imperfect clones of him, lacking his speed, intelligence, and ability to demonstrably kill the Boss dead with a single punch if angered.
  • In League of Legends there are a few characters who are notable for this trope. Gragas, the Rabble Rouser, is pretty much the fattest character in the game by far and is stated in his background to loom over the tallest man. At first glance he's doesn't seem anything more than an uncouth though impressively large drunkard but nonetheless, he holds his own among the League's experienced soldiers and deadly assassins.
    • After his relaunch, Sion also became this. While it's not as notable because of his size, he's quite portly now, and if one looks at his in-game character model, he has a very notable rotund shape. Which fits, as when he was alive he's described as "a human battering ram".

     Web Comics  
  • 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 & 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 Heavy Worlder, and while he looks like a walking blob, he grew up in 3G, and what looks like fat is actually pretty much solid muscle.
  • Ace Dick from Problem Sleuth is the strongest of the trio, even before gaining experience. After merging with two other selves, he becomes the strongest man in the world.
  • Rocko Sasquatch from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!

     Web Original  
  • 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  
  • 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.
    • Also the Hippo, one of the competitive earthbenders in "The Blind Bandit."
  • 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 Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • 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 claimed that he was "too small for sumo", although his stated weight of 480 pounds is actually typical for the sport.) 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Applejack's brother Big Macintosh. This guy once got tied to a house in order to stop him from moving toward the pony he was looking for. All it did was slow him down.
  • 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.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Bill needs to exercise to get in shape for his army physical. However, he befriends a group of bodybuilders who get him fixated on building muscle without doing anything else, meaning Bill ends up with beefy arms and legs but the same beer belly he always has.
  • The Acrofatic Tubbimura from Xiaolin Showdown is not only fast for his weight but incredibly strong as well.
  • In Samurai Jack the Scottman's wife obviously qualifies. Despite being overweight, she was able to knock out the Master of the Hunt and defeat a robot army by herself, unarmed. Exactly how she was kidnapped by them is a mystery. (Did I mention that she's one of the few people whom even Jack has fled from in fear?)
  • Elanore from Alvin and the Chipmunks is a slight variation on this trope as well as one of the few female examples. Despite her physique, she' was revealed to be very athletic and was able to beat Alvin in a one-on-one soccer match.
  • Goof Troop has a father/son pair of these. PJ has fought off bullies, and is required to do a lot of difficult manual labor which he is shown to be quite capable of doing even in rapid succession. Pete can carry his overweight 11-year-old son wherever he wants with ease.
  • Athos in Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds.
  • Muscle Man from Regular Show may not look to be in top form, but he's still pretty strong.
  • Clay Bailey from Xiaolin Showdown.
  • Ord from Dragon Tales doesn't look very strong, but he can throw a baseball out of bounds.
  • Both Patrick & Mr. Krabs are quite strong for their size.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Shaggy and Scooby temporarily acquire this attribute after they consume all of the starchy food in Crystal Cave. While too fat to fit into the Mystery machine, they have enough strength to go one-on-one with the Gluten Demon.
  • Bigmouth and pretty much all ogres in The Smurfs are big, fat, and strong.

     Real Life  
  • Weightlifters, powerlifters and strongmen. Even those that aren't pumped up on steroids tend to look like piles of marshmallows. Examples include:
  • Bodybuilders when they are "off-season" (not preparing for competitions). They may not appear as "ripped" as they are on-stage, but the muscles are still there (with fat covering them).
  • Sumo wrestlers and American football linemen both cultivate extremely large physiques to give them additional pushing power. They have quite a lot of fat, but over short distances they pack an enormous wallop. Justified in both cases as they are expected to be a Mighty Glacier to succeed in their career. In both cases, they also have to eat ridiculous amounts to maintain their size.
  • Masutatsu Oyama claimed to have killed bulls by punching them and founded a school of Karate that remains popular today.
  • 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.
  • Louis Cyr, the late 19th century-early 20th century Canadian strongman, looked like the Michelin Man with a moustache.
  • Boxers in Ancient Greece are thought to have pudgier figured than modern boxers. A possible explanation is that bouts were barehanded, focusing the sport more on bodyblows, and big bellies are thought to offer additional protection. It might also be simply because they had no weight classes requiring fighters to be as strong as possible for their weight. Classical artwork of the era, however, usually depicted boxers with classical heroic proportions favoring broad shoulders and narrow waists.
  • 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".
  • Heavyweight Chris Arreola was often criticized for his chubby physique, with the belief that he was not taking his conditioning seriously enough and was not reaching his potential. He went on a win streak after slimming down.
  • 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, and Eric "Butterbean" Esch. Fedor Emelianenko was widely considered to be the best MMA fighter for the better part of a decade with a noticeably pudgy physique.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Actor Abraham Rubin Hercules Benrubi.
  • Harold Sakata (famous as hat throwing henchman Oddjob in Goldfinger) only measured at 5 foot, 10 inches, and came in at a billed 230 pounds. A lot of that was muscle, hence his Olympic silver medal in weightlifting at the 1948 games.
  • Warren "Tiny" Everal got his 15 minutes of fame by lifting two tons worth of crashed helicopter off of Magnum, P.I. pilot Steve Kux, on camera.
  • Basketball player Charles Barkley acquired the nickname "The Round Mound of Rebound" while at Auburn University for his rebounding prowess, short height (listed at six-foot-six but, by his own admission, not even that tall), and rather chunky physique. He posed for publicity photos with a piece of pizza in his hand (which he later regretted). Despite all that he played center, a position usually reserved for the tallest players, because his strength and jumping ability were extraordinary. By his third year in the NBA, playing power forward, he was an almost unstoppable force on offense and was the shortest player to ever lead the league in rebounding for a season.
  • Baseball player Prince Fielder: five-time all-star, 2007 NL home run leader. He's billed at 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) tall and 275 pounds (125 kg).
  • Explained in this image here. Particularly the part that explains the difference between form and function.
  • The yearly World's Strongest Man Competition frequently features these.
  • Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters. Among other feats, the barrel-chested Hoosier has bashed through a wood-frame door with his shoulder and climbed up the side of a building using only a knotted rope.
  • Female examples: Powerlifter Becca Swanson, olympic weightlifter Jang Mi-Ran, and dancer and fat activist Ragen Chastain.
  • 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 the slim blonde/blue eyed Mario Girotti (who adopted the alias Terence Hill).
  • This is common among people who work hard physical jobs in the later stages of their life. People who perform that kind of exertion every day need a lot of calories to fuel themselves, but the constant exercise keeps them trim. When they retire they often keep the food intake and lose some of the exercise, so they quickly gain weight. Thet's why a lot of former lumberjacks, farmers, etc. become overweight in their twilight years.
  • Bare knuckle boxers are most of the times the embodiment of this trope. While the lean or athletic type is not uncommon, most champions look just like big blokes with plenty of flab. One good example is this chiseled American fighter being walloped by an foul-mouthed Irish with a prominent beer gut.


Sour Outside, Sad InsideMore Than Meets the EyeSugar and Ice Personality
Real Women Have CurvesHigh Fat IndexTemporary Bulk Change
Standard '50s FatherAlways MaleStraw Misogynist
The Pretty Guys Are StrongerStrength IndexStrength Equals Worthiness
Storyboard BodyCharacterization TropesStrange Salute
Shouting ShooterImageSource/Video GamesTalking Weapon
Standard '50s FatherMen Are ToughStraight Gay
Stone SoupAdded Alliterative AppealStrange Salute

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