Does Boxing Build Muscle?

By Logan •  Updated: 01/18/22 •  6 min read

Boxing is a sport that has been around for many years and has always been considered a great way to exercise. This article examines whether or not boxing can lead to muscle development, and if it does, what type of muscle is built.

Boxing does indeed build muscle and any boxing program will add some bulk to your frame. For best results, participate in a balanced workout routine and make sure your diet is focused. 

Does Boxing Build Muscle?

Does Boxing Build Muscle?

Absolutely. Take a look at any top boxer and you’ll notice their lean, muscular physiques and lack of body fat.

Achieving this look isn’t easy, but it will pay dividends in the ring if you put the work in. 

Participating in boxing workouts will certainly add muscle to your frame provided your diet is in check. You’ll also vastly improve your conditioning and lose fat. 

Now that we’ve established that boxing can, in fact, build muscle, let’s take a look at which muscle groups are going to be the most important for your endeavors in the ring. 

What Muscles Do You Need in Boxing? 


You wouldn’t believe the number of people out there who don’t train their legs in the gym. Though kicking is not allowed in boxing, the legs play a vital role in boxing. The power of your strikes will be generated from your lower body and you’ll need your legs to be in tip-top shape to keep you balanced. 

The quadriceps and the hamstrings will be responsible for generating most of the power as these are the largest muscle groups in the body. If you’re serious about your punches packing serious power, then make sure your routine features a lot of leg work.

Squats, deadlifts, and lunges will be your friend as you train your way to become a boxing beast. 


If you’ve seen any videos of boxers training in the gym, you’ll notice that they often take blows to the abdomen. This makes sense considering that the role of the core is to literally keep you upright and together. 

The power generated from your lower body is transferred to your top half via the core. Specifically, the obliques. You’ll need to train your core for boxing as opponents could target this area if it’s noticeably weak.  

Staples include sit-ups, leg-raises, and crunches. Aim for a mix of high and low reps to achieve strength and hypertrophy. 


A powerful set of shoulders will help you appear larger and more powerful to opponents and they’ll also help you deliver your punches with devastating force. 

The shoulders are a small muscle group meaning that they have a tendency to tire long before other areas of the body. In boxing, the fight is effectively over once a fighter cannot use their shoulders due to the mammoth task they have of keeping the arms upright and generating power. 

To avoid this happening, train your shoulders with heavy weights. Take a look at Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali during their primes and you’ll notice their large, powerful shoulder muscles. You can’t land a proper punch without adequate engagement from the delts. 


There’s a common misconception that boxers only need huge arms to succeed in a bout. This is far from true and the arms are a lot less important than you might think. 

For starters, they’re not responsible for generating power. That comes from the legs and is transferred via the delts and shoulders. The arms are merely the final destination of the power transfer and serve as the crescendo for your symphony of punches.

Though it’s important to have powerful arms, it’s more important to have a balanced amount of power throughout the whole body. 

How Do Boxers Gain Muscle? 

Boxers gain muscle the same way every other athlete does – through training, rest, and nutrition. 

A proper boxing workout plan will feature important exercises and condition exercises. However, your ability to gain strength and muscle will mostly depend on what foods you are and aren’t eating. 


It’s vital to achieve harmony between upper and lower body power. Athletes can achieve this by performing staple exercises such as the pull-up (which trains the back and biceps), the dip (which trains the chest, shoulders, and triceps), the squat (for the quads), and the deadlift (for the posterior chain).

There’s no need to waste time with endless reps of bicep curls and tricep extensions – these muscles will be taken care of with the above exercises. 

Balanced power is key when it comes to boxing. 


Getting on top of your diet is non-negotiable. Without a proper diet, you’ll be unable to put on the weight needed to succeed in the ring.

Pro boxers eat a healthy blend of protein, fat, and complex carbs. Staple food includes poultry, fish, brown rice, avocado, bananas, red meat, and beans. Aim to eat 1 gram of protein per 1lb of bodyweight for optimal muscle gain. For example, a 165lb fighter should eat 165g of protein a day if they wish to build muscle. 

Avoid junk food, sugary drinks, and alcohol as much as you can. You don’t need to be sober and healthy all year round, you just need to limit yourself when necessary. 

So there you have it. Boxing most certainly does build muscle, and now you know exactly how fighters achieve their lean, strong looks. 

Final Thoughts

Boxing absolutely helps you to build muscle, it consists of lots of various exercises like of weightlifting, running, squatting, punching bags, jump rope, and many others. These all help you to build muscle.

Boxing is often used as an effective form of exercise to help build muscle. It seems to be one of the best exercises for both men and women because it helps build muscle even more than weight lifting. Boxing is also an effective way to stay in shape because you can burn up to 600 calories per hour. This type of workout is also great because you use your hands, feet, and core muscles, which help prevent injury and give you a whole body workout.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

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