Workout Fanservice
"Woah, look over here
We got a cute little ol' runner to the right
Blue shorts, no shirt
Whoo! Your looking good, darling
That's right, stay in shape"
K.T. Oslin, "Younger Men"

An athletic character working out or practicing a sport is an excellent opportunity for Fanservice. It gives ample opportunity to watch sweaty bodies in constant motion, labored breathing, muscle flexing...

This is a very common way to introduce stealth fanservice in works where it would otherwise be jarring to the audience, and it is especially popular in action movies or Shōnen anime, where it makes it easier for the guy to persuade his girlfriend to join him. They don't have to be muscular, either (though they often are) - they just have to be working out. Usually they're shirtless. Female characters aren't excluded from this either, but it's more common for the character in question to be male.

When they decide to work out, it can easily be justified as their way of training for a fight. They'll need to get their bodies into shape so they get a better handle on the physicality of a fight. It also allows them to wield melee weapons more easily, or it can be his way of honing his superhuman abilities... but let's face it, we're only really interested in the idea of a bare chested, hot, sweaty, muscly guy or strong, toned, curvy girl sculpting their abs or legs or improving his or her game in front of us.

The guy/girl in question has to perform anything from push-ups and sit-ups, to pull-ups and weight-lifting. Being completely nude is certainly optional. Compare Macho Camp and Training Montage.


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     Anime and Manga  

  • Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach had a very brief scene in the anime where he made a couple of push-ups without a shirt. This was during the Soul Society arc, when he was training to get Bankai.
  • Bonus images in Attack on Titan have a tendency to show Mikasa working out in a sports bra, revealing both her generous cleavage and ripped abs.
  • Chapter 21 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid begins with The Ojou Lady of War Victoria Dahlgrün working out in a sports bra and short shorts ensemble. This is in contrast to other characters, who do their exercising in more modest outfits.
  • Episode 28 of Soul Eater has a brief scene of Dr. Stein training shirtless, and we get many loving close-up shots of his sweaty, muscular body. Fangirls were delighted.
  • Sports series by design heavily feature these. Eyeshield 21 is especially shameless about them, particularly with Shin.
  • This trope is one of the main selling points of Training with Hinako.
  • This is the primary fanservice found in Tokyo Ghoul, with both Kaneki and Amon getting scenes involving little clothing and a lot of sweat.
  • Kogami receives this in the third episode of Psycho-Pass where we get to see his well-trained body and abs as well as the sweat layering all over him.
  • Shokugeki no Soma provides a fair bit of it, in spite of being a cooking manga.
    • The heavily-muscled Gin Doujima stretching in the bath.
    • Badass Grandpa Senzaemon Nakiri doing pull-ups with ease, displaying his sculpted physique.
    • Ryou Kurokiba, shirtless and doing one-handed push-ups.
    • Azami Nakiri, practicing iaido in a gi just open enough to show the sweat trickling down his chiseled abs.

     Fan Works  

  • The StarWars fic "Voyeurs'' starts out as this, then turns into Waterfall Shower. Luke comes in from his morning run in sweaty pants and a sleeveless shirt, then takes a shower in a waterfall.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, after the Fuchsia Gym, Iris decides that their group needs to train to become stronger and sharper. While Misty is mildly annoyed by the harsh training regime, she does find a fringe benefit in watching Ash working out.


     Live Action Television  

  • CSI: NY came very close to it in "My Name Is Mac Taylor", when Mac was doing his lap swim workout at the gym.
  • Supernatural: In "The Third Man," Sam starts his day with some push-ups, some sit-ups, and some pull-ups, keeping himself in shape for hunting demons, monsters, and spirits. Though the focus is mainly on his back, upper chest, and biceps during the workout, we get some lingering shots of his abs above his low-cut jeans (yes, he worked out in the jeans) post workout.
  • Arrow
    • Oliver had one almost Once an Episode during the first half of the first season, though that amount has gone down a bit as the show has continued. The Fanservice factor is acknowledged In-Universe, as Felicity pretty openly lusts after Oliver during his shirtless workout sessions.
    • And he isn't the only source of that. Diggle, Sarah, and Slade have all provided at least one scene of Workout Fanservice.
    • Lampshaded in "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak". We see the customary training sequences of Roy learning escrima from Oliver, Thea learning kendo from Malcolm, and Laurel getting boxing lessons from Ted Grant ...immediately followed by Felicity struggling to do situps in front of her TV (not that anyone minds).
  • The X-Files: Especially in the early seasons, Agent Fox Mulder was seen jogging, running in the stadium, or swimming a lot. His red speedo is legendary among his Estrogen Brigade fans.
  • Hal from Being Human likes to do his press-ups right on time. And shirtlessly.
  • Some TV shows supposedly based around fitness have been accused of being just excuses to deliver this:
    • There was an Australian TV series called Aerobics Oz Style, which was supposedly for the audience to exercise along to. However, the performers' skimpy dress, and some of the choreography and camera direction, raised much suspicion that it was more for the audience to... "exercise" to.
    • There was a similar series in the '80s called ":20 Minute Workout". It aired very early (around 5 a.m) and featured very hot models performing basic calisthenics to a musical background.
    • Aerobicise was an early 1980s workout show on TV. Lots of interesting angles on two to four hot women "demonstrating" workout techniques in a White Void Room.
  • ER's Dr. Catherine Banning was introduced to us via her morning workout routine. Despite her attractiveness, this seems to be more to establish her as a kickass character rather than a sexy one.
  • Duncan's sweaty, extremely sexy kata in one Highlander episode.
  • In-universe example in Harry and Paul: The recurring character Pik is a gym instructor. The one time we see him doing any instructing, he's helping an attractive woman through a stretching routine, and enjoying it rather more than he should.
  • Angel does a lot of shirtless working out in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Begun with the notorious shirtless Tai Chi scene in "Revelations", which was acknowledged as a deliberate example of this trope by Word of God.
  • Discussed on Emergency!. In "On Camera", Channel 8 news reporter Paula Hughes has her heart set on getting a lot of footage of Station 51's weightlifting in her "People Who Make the News" segment:
    Paula: Maybe we could get some pictures of you lifting weights later.
    Roy: Sure. Why not? We got a good physical fitness program here at the station.
    Johnny: Yeah.
    Paula: Yeah, I know. You have to take regular tests

  • This ''Nine News Now'' segment on good looking men has guys working out with their shirts off.
  • The 100 Season 3 premiere has Lincoln and Bellamy, the show's two main Mr. Fanservice characters, take part in a shirtless sparring match.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) engaged in this in gender-neutral style, with shots of both Lee working out Shirtless and Kara doing so shirtless other than a sports bra.
  • Charlie's Angels: In this scene from the "Angels in Springtime" episode, Kris goes undercover as an aerobics instructor.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode The Price, Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi chat during a workout that involves lots of bending over and stretching in space leotards.

     Music Videos  

  • The video for Olivia Newton-John's song "Physical" started out and ended with multiple handsome, muscular men working out, including several Fanservice shots.
  • The music video for Eric Prydz's remix of "Call on Me" depicts a man in an otherwise all-female aerobics class, clearly enjoying the rather suggestive thrusting and grinding of the exercise routine.
  • The video for Tanya Tucker's "Hangin' In" features multiple muscular men pushing iron by the beach wearing just square cut swimming trunks.


  • Future Spa shows a bevy of flawlessly sculpted men and women as they work out and hone their perfect bodies.

     Tabletop Games  

  • An in-universe version in a cut portion of GURPS IOU. Classes for the Department of Zen Aerobics consist of sitting in Lotus Position, watching aerobics on television. Despite the lack of any practical use for the classes, they are quite popular. (Unfortunately, the department was trimmed from the final version.)

     Video Games  

  • Mass Effect 3
    • James Vega does plenty of pull-ups. This is even lampshaded and considered to be in-universe fanservice - he works out near where gay shuttle pilot Steve Cortez maintains his shuttle and the ship's arsenal, and says "Heh, you know you love the show, Esteban!"
    • There's also Jacob Taylor and his Kasumi is fond of pointing out. "Mmm, crrrunches. Lots of crrrunches."
  • In StarTropics, the female guards of SheCola could be seen working out with weights, doing pushups, and complaining about their intensive training routines. Granted it was all 8-bit graphics.
  • Stardew Valley lets you walk in on Alex like this. He apologizes for not wearing a shirt, but nobody was complaining.


  • Ménage ŕ 3: Resident Ms. Fanservice supreme DiDi is occasionally seen pursuing her fairly intensive regime of exercise. It's not that the comic requires much excuse to show her lightly dressed and sweaty, but the effect on other characters and passers-by provides some comedy.


  • Many exercise videos by female celebrities are accused of being this, to the point that people who actually want to exercise complain that the fanservice gets in the way of being able to see the exercises properly.

  • Shape Up For Sensational Sex shows models and porn stars doing pseudo-erotic exercises that are designed to get the viewer in shape so that he or she can get in shape to have mind-blowing sex. Each exercise in the video is designed for a particular sexual position.
  • Many videos of professional and amateur bodybuilders training shirtless are uploaded on Youtube on a daily basis. Although some seem to only have the intention to show the muscles work, others are a more blatant fanservice.
  • This video shows adult film star Samantha Strong jogging.
  • Even though Kathy Smith is an actual fitness trainer, her late eighties and early nineties workout videos became fanservice due to her voluptuous figure as well as her appearing an a leotard.
  • Very often Truth in Television outside the specific examples above, particularly in warmer regions.