Does Boxing Build Muscle?

Taking up a new sport is a great way to get fit and feel stronger in yourself.

If you’re new to boxing, or want to get started, you might be curious to find out whether boxing builds muscle.

Does Boxing Build Muscle?

In this article, I will cover some key information about boxing, including whether boxing builds muscle.

Without further ado, let’s begin.

What Muscles Do You Work When You Are Boxing?

Although it might not look like it to the untrained eye, boxing is a full body workout and you’re bound to get your sweat on doing it!

It’s not just your upper body that does all the work, your legs are foundational to your punching power.

So, let’s take a closer look at which muscles are worked when you’re boxing. 


Not only do the calves play a huge part in producing the power for the punch, but they are also heavily involved when you are moving about the ring.

To be light on your feet as a boxer, you need strong calves that are able to withstand long sessions. This can be achieved in a few ways, such as jumping rope.

Hips And Legs 

Your legs and hips are where some serious punching power comes from. Having strong hips and legs also allow you to pivot and move around the ring quickly to keep up with your opponent.


Believe it or not, boxing works your core and is essential for rotational power when punching.

In addition to this, being able to tighten your core upon impact is hugely important, as this works to enhance effective mass, resulting in more force being imparted to your opponent. 


Your shoulders are another part of your body that will feel sore after boxing. Holding your hands up in defense and throwing and landing punches on your opponent will leave even the most experienced boxer’s shoulders sore.


It may come as a shock to you to find out that boxing uses a lot of the muscles found in your back. However, a variety of muscles in your back are required to not only to provide you with stability as you throw punches, but also land them.


In the same way that your shoulders will, the muscles of your arms will get a significant workout when you box. 

From extending your arm to jabbing and punching when you’re sparring, your arms will likely ache after a good session in the ring.

Does Boxing Build Muscle?

Contrary to popular belief, boxing doesn’t build a huge amount of muscle. While it’s a great full body workout and will likely help you tone the muscles you already have, boxing isn’t going to turn you into the hulk.

It’s important to remain realistic. If you want to be building muscle in the gym then you will need to supplement your sparring sessions with weight lifting exercises.

Unfortunately, boxing doesn’t stimulate the key mechanisms of muscle growth.

While you work a lot of muscles when you’re boxing, you’re simply not going to see the same results from boxing as you would if you were lifting heavy weights in the gym. 

Progressive overload is essential to building muscle. This means to gradually increase the weight, frequency, and number of repetitions that you do when it comes to weight training.

Boxing unfortunately doesn’t provide enough muscular tension or metabolic stress that is required to build muscle.

So, while boxing will keep you fit, and is great for endurance, you won’t be able to skip your weight training sessions if you want to build muscle.

Setting goals in the gym is important to get an idea of where you want to be and what you need to work towards in order to get there. 

Ask yourself: Why do you want to start boxing? If the answer is because you enjoy boxing, and like the workout as well as the discipline that it demands of you then that’s great.

If the answer is to build muscle, then you’re much better off going to the gym and picking up the weights, as well as supplementing your diet with enough protein to fuel your body as well as your workouts.

How Do Boxers Build Muscle? 

How Do Boxers Build Muscle? 

So, if boxing doesn’t help boxers build muscle, you might be wondering what does. This depends on the boxer in question, as everyone has their own work out regime. 

Generally speaking, a lot of boxers supplement their workout regime with weight training. This will involve a variety of exercises, focusing on different muscle groups and emphasizing the importance of progressive overload.

Many boxers will perform calisthenics or carry out numerous bodyweight exercises to supplement their training. This will involve a variety of different exercises that includes pull-ups, push-ups, squats, as well as core exercises.

That being said, some boxers don’t go to the gym. Instead, they focus all their energy on boxing and any upcoming fights that they may have in the pipeline. Like I’ve said before, it simply depends on the boxer in question. 

It’s worth noting that professional boxers will have very strict diets in the lead up to a fight. Not only is their diet essential to the weigh in before they fight, but is also crucial for helping them to build and maintain their muscle.

Regardless of the workout regiment that a specific boxer has, they would be nothing without the fuel that they put into their body. You cannot underestimate the importance of diet when it comes to achieving your fitness goals.

If you’re not fuelling your body properly, then you’re not going to reach the goals that you set out to achieve.

If you’re serious about building muscle, then it’s definitely worth speaking to a professional about a nutrition plan. A nutrition plan will help you to gain a better understanding of the types of foods that you need to be eating, and when you need to be eating them.

Supplementing your body with enough protein for fuel and recovery is absolutely essential, so if you don’t know enough about the types of foods you should be eating, this is well worth your time.

Alternatively, research cannot be underestimated. Read around, but always remember to remain wary to not believe everything that you read online. 

The fitness industry is notorious for fake news, and social media pages are one of the worst sources for misinformation. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Is It Important To Have Big Muscles As A Boxer?

Many boxers do have big muscles, as big muscles often equal more punching power and can do wonders for your confidence when you’re up against big opponents.

Putting on size and adding some muscle mass can be beneficial in helping you to increase your potential and to help you punch harder when you’re in the ring.

In addition to this, the most technical aspects of boxing, including defense, landing punches, and the accuracy of your punches will come from your upper body.

Bearing this in mind, you want your body to be prepared for any kind of opponent that is thrown your way in your weight division and want enough muscle to make you as robust as possible to avoid injury.

That being said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that having big muscles is the best option for every single boxer out there, and many don’t put an emphasis on weight training for reasons of their own.

Having more muscles can actually weigh you down in the ring, making you slower to smaller and quicker opponents.

In addition to this, a fighter is thought to be more flexible and can rotate their entire body at a quicker rate, allowing them to generate more power if they have smaller muscles. 

While punching power is great to have, it’s no good if you can’t catch your opponent. 

With all things considered, it’s good to find a happy medium in the gym and concentrate on having a healthy, balanced diet to keep you in your best form.

Is Boxing Good For Your Body?

As I’ve already mentioned, boxing is a full body workout and can be great for improving your endurance.

Getting your heart rate up when you’re boxing can help you to control your blood pressure and strengthen your heart.

Due to the fact that it’s a high intensity sport, boxing is an excellent workout for burning both calories and fat. This makes it an ideal option if you want to shave off a few pounds, or are looking to tone up after a period of not working out.

Aside from this, boxing can be a hugely rewarding sport to get involved in. It teaches you discipline, and can give you a wealth of confidence when you begin to learn how to handle yourself in any situation that you’re faced with.

This confidence can even impact your posture, and you’ll be standing up taller with your shoulders back before you know it!

In Summary 

If your only goal is to build muscle, then boxing isn’t the right sport to achieve this. 

If you want to build muscle in the gym, then you’d be better off weight training, as you won’t receive the results that you want from boxing alone.

That being said, boxing is great for your body in a variety of different ways, including being fantastic for endurance, helping keep you fit, and even toning up and burning fat.

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of which muscles you work when you box.

Good luck if you decide to give boxing a shot!

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