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Dynamic Akimbo

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"I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this pose."

Keanrick: Why, your very posture tells me, "Here is a man of true greatness."
Blackadder: Either that or "Here are my genitals, please kick them."
Blackadder The Third, "Sense and Senility"

This one is Older Than Feudalism. A character poses boldly with both of their hands resting on their hips, and their elbows pointing outward; the impact can be increased by closing the hands into fists (in which case the knuckles rest on the hips), raising the chin, and puffing out the chest. The feet are squared up towards the viewer, and typically set wide apart for a sense of strong rootedness and balance. Usually the character will hit this pose while directly facing the viewer, especially if they do it to announce their heroic arrival on the scene usually in a Big Damn Heroes or The Paragon manner. Occasionally, however, the subject will be shown from behind, because they are so awesome or mysterious that their focus is on something or someone other than you. The dynamic akimbo pose projects confidence by demonstrating that the character isn’t afraid to face their opponent directly and flaunt their vital targets, while making them appear bigger and more impressive by widening the outline of their body.

The Dynamic Akimbo Pose is used so often in media that it's considered something of an Undead Horse Trope. It's something so Campy, so over-the-top ridiculous, that it's typically only used as satire or for characters saved by the Grandfather Clause.

Once upon a time, this trope was Always Male, but female characters later began using it as well. A heroine who is also Ms. Fanservice will typically get a gender-specific variation where she does this pose, but at an angle where you can see her sexy parts, serving a similar function to a Boobs-and-Butt Pose.

Expect to see this pose used by any Superman Substitute. It should be noted, however, that villains often like to pull off this pose, too, when they're confident or intimidating enough to do so.

See also V-Formation Team Shot, where this is often used. Compare Badass Armfold, which has a similar, though not identical, effect. Contrast The Teapot Pose, which looks similar but is typically used for feminine or sassy characters.

Not to be confused with Guns Akimbo, which is about Dual Wielding guns.


    open/close all folders 
  • Metro Manners: At the end of her Transformation Sequence, Super Kind strikes a variant where she stands with legs apart, one arm on her hip, and the other hand making a V-Sign. This alludes to her status as a superhero, but the V-Sign makes her more cute and less confrontational than the usual superhero, fitting as her goal is to get people to be respectful on the bus.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, the pose is both played straight and satirized.
    • Powerful characters, such as the main heroes, often pull off the pose in true dramatic fashion.
    • Comedic characters such as Mr. Satan/Hercule, Captain Ginyu, and the Great Saiyaman all do this in a satirical, over-the-top manner as well.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • Superman codified this in the Superhero genre. This is the standard pose he takes when Shooting Superman is invoked.
    • The Great Phantom Peril: When Superman first engages Faora-Hu-Ul, she just stands upright with her arms akimbo, daring him to fight her.
    • In A Mind-Switch in Time, Superboy stands floating and smiling confidently with his hands on his hips when confronting a delinquent armed with a futuristic bike.
    • Supergirl pulls this off once in a while. She doesn't often do this, though, because she's impatient and more concerned with stopping criminals than looking good.
    • In Supergirl (1982) #17 Kara pulls the pose off.
    • In Bizarrogirl, Kara poses like this after defeating her Bizarro counterpart.
    • The Death of Superman (1961): After murdering Superman, Luthor pulls off the pose as gloating that nobody can stop him from taking over the world now.
    • In The Girl with the X-Ray Mind, Supergirl rests her fists on her hips and puffs out their chest when she declares she can and will hold back the Phantom Zoners single-handedly.
    • In Death & the Family, Kara puts her closed fists on her hips while she scans Lana Lang, sporting a grim, determined face.
    • Supergirl (1984): After creating a whirlwind which successfully drags Selena and her shadow-clone into its twister, Supergirl smiles, places her fists on her hips and poses confidently and smilingly as looking how her sorcerous foe is tossed through a portal into another dimension.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Hulk himself rarely does this, but the Merged "Professor" Hulk took the pose often, and was one of the more confident, handsome and intelligent forms of the character.
  • Shazam!: Captain Marvel, the rest of the Marvel Family, and even Black Adam like to pull this off.
  • Iron Patriot and Venom (Mac Gargan) of Dark Avengers do it in a team shot.
  • The Incredible Hercules, being a Boisterous Bruiser with a huge ego uses this trope very often, as seen in his profile pic on this very site.
  • Doom: The Cyberdemon does this as "Doomguy" tries to "RIP AND TEAR" his guts out. Tries.
  • Nightshade of Captain Atom is fond of posing with a grin on her face and her hands on her hips.
  • Wonder Woman: While Diana's most famous pose has her wrists crossed in front of her, she does like posing confidently with her hands on her hips as well as it really gets across that she has nothing to fear from an opponent's weapons, and puts her hand right on her lasso of truth. The Lynda Carter Live Action TV version of the character would often pose like this and when turned into a living statue in one episode would obey the villain's commands to assume it before being frozen.
  • Wonder Woman 600: In Phill Jimenez's two page spread Donna Troy is depicted standing confidently with her hands on her hips.

    Fan Works 
  • X-Men: The Early Years gives a comedic example: Jean Grey takes this stance when Cyclops insinuates her driving skills are non-existent.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic: Lightning strikes this pose when dealing with a biker gang in Starpops.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Dev-Em adopts this stance to highlight how absolutely unamused he is when Superman and other heroes' sudden appearance disrupts his and his girlfriend's quality time.
    "El, you need to quit butting into our business without an invitation," said Dev, standing up and putting his fists on his hips. "And we aren't issuing any invitations to you!"
  • Humorous example in Echoes of Yesterday. Kara puts her hands on her hips when PRT's fashion designer tries to argue against her wearing a cape.
  • Rocketship Voyager: Captain Janeway adopts this pose when meeting the Hirogen, because as well as projecting authority it also puts her hands conveniently close to her holstered sidearm.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Batwoman (2019): When Ryan Wilder dons the Batsuit for the first time, she adopts this pose while looking in the mirror. In the following episode however she has to do an Emergency Impersonation by standing in the Batsuit on a tall building at a pro-Batwoman rally; Mary Hamilton-Kane thinks this trope is overkill and advises her to go for a Cape Swish instead.
  • Blackadder mocks this trope when some actors teach the Prince Regent to stand thus while giving a Rousing Speech. See page quote.
  • Naturally The Boys (2019) deconstructs the trope, with Homelander posing like this mid-air in the pilot episode, right after he's shot down an aircraft whose passengers included a child. It's a Wham Shot as up till then he'd been portrayed as The Paragon.
  • Supergirl (2015): Kara Danvers is depicted like this fairly often. Lampshaded when Manchester Black is making a speech on TV, saying that Supergirl is probably somewhere watching, "hands on her hips in the name of Justice", and dares her to come and meet with him. Supergirl, who of course is in that pose, looks annoyed.
  • In Wolf Hall, Henry VIII (Damian Lewis) often takes the hands-on-hips, legs akimbo stance that the real Henry struck in the most famous portrait of him.
  • In Guiding Light and One Tree Hill, the teenage Reva clone, Michelle Santos, and Haley all have their hands glued to their hips constantly. It's actually an example of Real Life Writes the Plot as all three characters are played by Bethany Joy Lenz, who always has her hands on her hips.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Our first sight of Captain Janeway has her standing this way, and it becomes one of her Character Tics. In "Macrocosm", she creates a diplomatic incident because standing that way is a great insult to an alien race.
  • Farscape: In "Scratch 'N Sniff", John Crichton stands this way in defiance of a crowd of alien gawkers, then a Reveal Shot shows he's dressed in suspenders and stockings. When this is pointed out to him, John Screams Like a Little Girl and flees.
  • Most of the heroes of the Ultra Series would make this pose at least once in their respective shows, either to establish their dominance over the monsters or simply to pose in front of the humans. It goes as far back as the third episode of the original Ultraman, when Ultraman stood with hands around his waist as an energy blast from Neronga bounces harmlessly off Ultraman's chest (receives a Call-Back in Ultraman Mebius, with Ultraman repeating the same pose against Alien Mefilas' electric beam). The titular hero of Ultraman 80 does a similar pose as the monster Salamandora's energy missiles hits Eighty in the chest without leaving a scratch.
  • LazyTown: When Sportacus actually stops moving for a short while (which isn't that often), he likes taking this pose.



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    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In her debut episode "Pretty Poison" we see Poison Ivy do this after slipping into her costume off-screen, slinking out to watch Batman's struggle with her "sweet little flytrap" from the shadows as seen here.
  • Freakazoid! villain Arms Akimbo has arms that are permanently in this position due to his work as a model. One might well wonder how he manages to dress himself.
  • In the title sequence of T.U.F.F. Puppy, Kitty Katswell is seen doing this pose.
  • The Powerpuff Girls are known to assume this pose, most notably on the print material for their movie.
  • Winx Club: In "Welcome to Magix", Flora and Musa do this pose combined with an angry expression when they find their inexperienced new roommate and suitemate (respectively) encased in ice and being bullied by some witches.

    Real Life 
  • The Renaissance era copied the muscular style of Ancient Grome and cemented this visual. Among the most world-famous usages of this would be the portrait of Henry VIII of England by Holbein the Younger.
  • Circus strongmen were often posed like this on posters in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
  • A famous study found that doing this and other "power poses" could raise your confidence and testosterone levels, but it turned out that the study had extremely faulty methodology and was non-replicable. Despite being debunked, it was spread widely enough that it's something of an Urban Legend.
  • Bodybuilding features at least three poses that involve placing the hands on the hips.
    • The front lat spread involves placing the knuckles of one's fists against either side of the stomach while flaring the elbows and shoulders forward, in order to display the size and width of the latissimus dorsi muscles as much as possible. The competitor may lean back as they hit the pose to provide a better angle for seeing the lats. Besides the lats themselves, pectoral, deltoid, and leg development are also displayed.
    • The rear lat spread is basically the front lat spread turned around to display the width and density of the back, as well as the development of the glutes, hams, and calves.
    • The Hands-on-Hips Most Muscular is a variation on the Most Muscular pose, which like the other versions involves placing the hands on the hips while flaring the elbows and shoulders. It differs from the lat spreads in some important details: open hands are placed on the hips instead of closed fists; the athlete leans forward and crunches down on the abs instead of leaning back; and while the width of the lats plays a part, the emphasis is more on overall muscularity through the deltoids, trapezius, arms, pecs, and abs.
  • Il Duce himself, Benito Mussolini, adopted this pose at least once during the March on Rome. Given that Italian Fascism was built around male machismo, this isn't surprising.
  • Bethany Joy Lenz of Guiding Light and One Tree Hill has her hands on her hips all the time. Seriously. When standing, walking, sitting, even running her hands her glued to her hips. This trait has been passed down to her characters as well. The normally agreeable Joie Lenz (as she's known to fans) once refused to wear a costume that would prevent her from posing this way during a taping of One Tree Hill. Her character, Haley, was given a different costume to wear that allowed her hands to rest on her hips.
    • One time during an interview before an awards ceremony, some of her hair blew in her face and she kept tossing her head and blowing her hair, trying (and failing) to get it out of her face, never once taking her hands off her hips to do so. You could tell the interviewer was clearly getting increasingly annoyed with her and cut the interview short.
    • Another time when asked by David Letterman if she ever took her hands off her hip, she said "no" and laughed, eliciting awkward laughter from Dave.
  • Pedro Pascal often assumes this stance, and not just when acting.
  • Subverting the usual "I-am-macho/tough" impression which this stance is intended to project, standing or walking with hands on hips can somewhat ease the discomfort of chronic back pain.