Muscle Beach Tom is the 101st one-reel Tom and Jerry short, released on September 7, 1956 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer. It was co-directed and co-produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and it was animated by Lewis Marshall, Kenneth Muse, Ed Barge, and Irven Spence (erroneously credited as Irvin Spence). The backgrounds were designed by Robert Gentle, the layouts by Richard Bickenbach and the music was composed by Scott Bradley.
Several cats are working out with weights on a busy day at Muscle Beach. Tom, arriving on a date with his girlfriend, carelessly dumps their beach equipment on top of a sunbathing Jerry. Tom then carelessly tears Jerry's beach towel with his beach parasol and tosses food scraps at Jerry. Jerry angrily marches up to Tom, slapping him with a banana peel tossed at him, and is rewarded when Tom shoves a balloon into Jerry's mouth, inflating Jerry into a balloon. Tom then lets go, causing Jerry to spin in the air and whoosh off into the distance.
Tom, delighted, turns back to his girlfriend, but she is paying attention to Butch weightlifting. Tom confronts Butch, but Butch uses elastic string to launch Tom into a parasol and a pole. Jerry then returns and sticks the string onto the pole as Tom goes to confront Butch again. Tom crashes back into the pole, which splits and crushes Tom into a crab, scaring away a real crab out of its wits.
Both determined to win the girl cat's heart, Butch and Tom engage in games of one-upmanship. Both cats take turns lifting progressively heavier weights; all with equal results. After two lifts each, Butch is unable to lift the heaviest barbell. Tom then barely lifts it, but struggles, falls sideways and is flattened between the weights.
Butch and the girl cat then dance to conga music, while Jerry dances with a banana peel. After Butch dances on Tom's beach ball, Tom pulls Butch into the sand to dance with the girl cat. After Butch pulls Tom into the sand, Tom uses a crab to pinch Butch's shorts and send Butch flying upwards yelping in pain, but is unaware as Butch lands in front of him, dancing with Tom before throwing Tom into a trash bin.
In a last-ditch effort, Tom stuffs balloons into his bathing suit to make him look more muscular. After the balloons make him float over the ground, Tom ties an anchor around his waist. Tom returns to Butch, and after the pair strike each other, making Tom flip upside down, Tom vanquishes his rival with an accurate swing of the anchor, winning his girlfriend back.
Tom is flexing his "muscles" to his girl, but Jerry is noisily eating celery nearby on his picnic basket, annoying Tom. Tom flips the basket's lid onto Jerry's head to silence Jerry, causing Jerry to untie the anchor from around Tom's waist. Tom, kissing his girlfriend, holds onto his parasol after floating upwards again, but Jerry inflates Tom's suit into a balloon with a helium canister, forcing Tom to grasp his parasol with both hands. Jerry then pricks Tom's suit with a safety pin, causing Tom to spin in the air and float away into the distance.
With both Tom and Butch out of the way, Jerry then aims to lift a barbell of two tomatoes to impress Tom's girlfriend, but the weight is too much for him, and like Tom earlier in his successful but short-lived effort to win his girlfriend back, Jerry falls sideways and is flattened between the "weights".
- Tom returns to wearing his old 1940s-style red bathing suit in this cartoon for the first time since Salt Water Tabby.
- Tom's girlfriend in this short returns for three episodes of The Tom and Jerry Show (1975). Her name is revealed as Yvonne Jockalong and her voice was provided by Janet Waldo.
- Jerry and Butch's respective blue and yellow swimming trunks have also appeared in Tom and Jerry in War of the Whiskers.
- The footage from the cartoon was reused in The Mansion Cat.
- On the WB Kids YouTube channel, the cartoon is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio instead of its CinemaScope format in the Classic Cartoon Compilation videos.
- This is one of the twelve cartoons in which Tom and Jerry both lose in the end. The other cartoons are Fraidy Cat, Baby Puss, Polka-Dot Puss, Advance and Be Mechanized, A Mouse in the House, Saturday Evening Puss, The Framed Cat, His Mouse Friday, Blue Cat Blues, Baby Butch, and Filet Meow.
- This is one of the only episodes where Tom defeats Butch in order to get the heart of a female cat. The other is Springtime for Thomas. Unlike the other cartoon, this is the only cartoon of the two where Tom successfully defeats Butch.
- This is one of the cartoons where Tom loses with another cat. The others are Sufferin' Cats!, Baby Puss, A Mouse in the House, Tennis Chumps, Saturday Evening Puss, Casanova Cat, Jerry's Cousin, Smarty Cat, Catty-Cornered, and Cat and Dupli-cat.
- The way Tom and Jerry fall when they were lifting "weights" is similar to how SpongeBob falls when he lifts "weights". in the SpongeBob SquarePants pilot episode "Help Wanted".
- For some unknown reason, Cartoon Network and Boomerang USA/Latin America airings of the cartoon airs an unrestored pan-and-scan print (with blue letterboxing borders) taken from the Tom & Jerry Cartoon Festival Volume 6 featuring Bad Day at Cat Rock 1985 VHS after 1995 despite that a more superior-looking Turner print exists. As of 2017, Boomerang USA has started airing a restored print from Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection: Volume 2 DVD release, albeit in 16:9 aspect ratio.
- When Tom peeks out from the trash bin which Butch threw him in, his red bathing suit is notably missing, due to his shoulders appear to be colored grey instead of red.