Does Boxing Training Help You Build Muscle?

Does boxing help to build muscle

Boxers are known for their impressive physiques, which often resemble ancient Greek statues of gods and heroes. Many people aspire to attain a similar look. But how do boxers build such muscular bodies? Is it through boxing itself, or do they rely on other forms of training?

Contrary to popular belief, boxing alone does not build bigger muscles. To promote muscle growth, muscles must be subjected to sufficient resistance training, which boxing does not provide. However, boxing is a fantastic full-body workout that can help with developing a lean physique and overall fitness.

To build muscle, boxers typically incorporate other forms of physical resistance training into their regimen. Ranging from simple exercises like push-ups, squats, and crunches to more advanced strength and conditioning routines.

In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to the muscular physiques of boxers.

How do muscles grow?

There are various forms of strength that your body can exhibit, but there is only one way for muscles to physically grow larger: by working against resistance. To achieve optimal muscle growth, it’s important to engage in exercises that involve a full range of motion, which means contracting and fully stretching the muscles. This creates tears in the muscle fibers, which the body repairs by creating new muscle tissue.

There are several ways to create the necessary muscle tension for growth, such as lifting heavy weights, performing explosive plyometric movements, or using light weights or bodyweight exercises in high rep ranges until exhaustion.

However, punching and moving around does not provide the necessary conditions for muscle growth. While boxing may not directly lead to muscle growth, it can help maintain low body fat levels and create lean muscles, which can contribute to visible muscle definition.

But if boxing does not actually build muscle, why do boxers look so ripped?

Why are boxers so ripped?

Credit: Photo Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Strength and conditioning training is an essential part of every serious boxer’s training regimen, regardless of their skill level. This type of training includes exercises that improve strength, speed, and endurance, in addition to the technical training and sparring that boxers do to hone their in-ring skills.

The goal of this training is not to create an impressive physique, but rather to improve a boxer’s ability to execute and improve their skills. This includes punching faster and harder, tiring less, being able to withstand more punishment, and reducing the risk of injury.

A desirable physique is simply a byproduct of this training.

Even boxers in lower weight divisions engage in intense resistance training, although it may differ from the bodybuilding weight lifting that many people are familiar with.

While resistance training is a key way that boxers build muscle, boxing itself is a full-body workout that provides numerous physical benefits. Including burning fat and improving cardio and endurance. Shadowboxing, punching a heavy bag, and sparring with another person are all effective fat burners.

A comparison between early 20th-century boxers and late 20th-century ones illustrates the importance of resistance training in building muscle for boxers. In the 1920s, lightweights from the golden age of boxing were much smaller than the juggernauts of today.

In the past, weight training was often considered detrimental for boxing and martial arts, but in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of these myths were debunked and boxers began incorporating weights and calisthenics into their training, as can be seen in their physiques.

Which muscles work when boxing?

When boxing, nearly every muscle in the body is used, but some get more work than others. The calves, which are constantly under tension due to the hours of bouncing and footwork, are muscles that can grow as a result of boxing. The larger leg muscles in the thighs and the glutes play a significant role in generating punching power, with the most powerful punchers being those who can effectively activate their leg muscles and transfer force into their punches.

The back muscles play a lesser role in boxing, serving only to pull punches back, but they are still active. The shoulders, on the other hand, take a lot of punishment but do not grow in size due to the lack of resistance. In fact, to avoid fatiguing the muscles, it is important to punch and hold your stance with as little resistance as possible, engaging the muscles only at the point of contact.

The core muscles are vital for transferring power from the ground up and for defensive maneuvers like slipping. The arm muscles also receive less impact from most exercises, but punching a heavy bag or pads with force can still fatigue them significantly.

How to build the boxer’s body

Developing strength, speed, agility, and endurance for boxing requires careful training to ensure that none of these qualities are inhibited. This is why many professional boxers and amateur teams have dedicated strength and conditioning coaches to guide their training.

Traditionally, boxing resistance training has involved high volumes of bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, dips, and pull-ups. However, the need for explosive and reactive strength in boxing has led to the inclusion of exercises using bands, medicine balls, and various ballistic movements.

The variety of resistance training methods used in boxing is vast, and different boxers may rely on slightly different approaches to best suit their needs and goals.

If you want more in this area I recommend you check out the following articles:

Hopefully, this article was able to implement them as part of your overall boxing training plan.

I highly recommend you also check my other related article on this topic below. 


Jamie - Boxing Life

I'm a boxing analyst, amateur boxer, and blogger looking to pass on my boxing experiences and passion to anyone looking to learn or find out more about the sport of boxing. Whether that be gear reviews, fighter analysis, news, training tips, or my own personal journey, I'll be covering it on 'Boxing Life'.

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