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What Muscles Does Boxing Work?

Boxing is a competitive sport where two people attempt to combat each other whilst wearing protective gloves. In boxing, the participants will try to throw punches, and gain hits against the other for a predetermined amount of time whilst inside the boxing ring. 

Boxing is essentially a sport where the two competitors fight against each other until one resigns, gets disqualified, or is injured and incapable of continuing any longer. 

As the sport is highly competitive, participants have to be in the highest of fitness levels, able to move quickly, have strong muscles and both mental and physical resilience. 

Boxing has also become a popular sport to help you lose weight, gain muscle mass and tone up your body as it works so many parts of the body. Not only this, boxing can also help you refine your speed, hand eye coordination, endurance, strength and agility. 

This is why it has become a favorite sport for training and building muscles. 

What muscles does boxing work?

Boxing provides pretty much a full body workout. Through the means of boxing, you can exercise, keep in shape and lose weight through the active sport. Some people simply think that boxing is just about punching and using your arm muscles, they could not be more wrong.

Boxing does mainly work out the shoulder and arm muscles with excessive punching, but also the leg and calf muscles to strengthen the legs and promote movement, whilst also working the core muscles in the abdomen.

You can see why we called it a full body workout. So let’s start with the most famous muscles that boxing works.


You may be surprised to find that the power behind a good hit actually comes from the shoulders, not the arms.

The rotator cuff, which is the muscles such as supraspinatus, subscapularis and infraspinatus combined with the trapezius will be in constant training. These work together to stabilize your shoulders and help you deliver rapid punches with full power. 

To practice endurance when it comes to punching and powerful shots, then you will have to work on your shoulder muscles extensively, as they will give you the strength to do so. 


Of course, with boxing, you will work out those arm muscles.

The arms consist of the bicep and the tricep, which will help you greatly with hits, hooks and uppercuts. Working these muscles will help you learn to throw a punch. 

The arms will need to move quickly when boxing, and be able to attack and defend against competitors. 


With boxing, you have to generate power. This can come from the legs as they are connected to the floor, to keep you grounded and stable. Your legs can help you push off the ground and generate the strength for those powerful and winning hits. 

Your leg muscles help to keep your balance, and give you the right stance in order to deliver smashes to your opponents, whilst keeping your stand when on the defence or under attack. 

In addition, your hamstrings and quadriceps also help with your movement. In boxing, you will have to be able to move quickly, be flexible and able to dodge hits or punches. You will need strong and fast reacting leg muscles in order to succeed in the sport. 


It is so important to use your calves when boxing. If you are trying to deliver a punch, you will have to position yourself and step forward to reach your opponent. The muscles in the backs of your legs, such as your calves will help you reach and step forward towards your opponent.

You can then step towards the direction of the punch and work your muscles when on the attack.


During the sport of boxing, you will have to work your hips. Your hips can help you stay flexible and able to move around the ring. Your hips will also help you to pull power when punching, by pivoting your body around with the swing. 

In addition to this, hips can help you stay balanced and have control over your stance, which will improve your offense and defense in the game. Most importantly, moving your hips can also help you dodge attacks and punches.


Your core muscles are some of the most important muscles when it comes to sports. Having a strong core will help you greatly. The core muscles run between the hips and the shoulders. This includes your abdominal muscles, and the majority of your back muscles.

Your abdominal muscles will be worked out hugely when boxing. The sport demands a lot of strength and power, of which you can draw from your core. Abdominal muscles can also help you breathe in and out, or can suffer multiple abdominal shots from your opponent. 

These muscles will have to be strong enough to endure the hits from your competitor. Your chest muscles will also work to connect your arms, lateral muscles and shoulder muscles to provide you with the punching power that you need for boxing.

In addition, your lower back can also help the hips to rotate and move the body to give full flexibility and swing with your punches. 

Full body workout

As shown, boxing can give you pretty much a full body workout. When hitting an opponent or a punching bag, you can engage your body strength by using core muscles, shoulder muscles, upper body and lower body muscles. 

You can also improve your motor skills with quicker hand eye coordination, and work on your reaction time and fast reflexes. In this way, boxing can also improve your self defense skills, whilst also working out your body to help you stay fit and healthy. 


The heart is also a muscle, and one of the most important muscles in your body.

With boxing, you are working to improve your heart and cardiovascular strength.

Boxing is a very interactive and vigorous sport, that will really get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, in a good way. 


Boxing is at its heart, a sport of strength and endurance. In this sense, it can help you to build more mental strength too.

Boxing is also a great way of releasing anger, built up feelings or stress with the action of hitting or punching a bag. 

You can also release a lot of built up negative energy that will help you feel more relaxed, and at ease afterwards. 


Boxing is a very rigorous, demanding and active sport that is perfect for working out all of your muscles at once.

You can participate in boxing training in order to lose weight, gain muscle mass and improve your strength and endurance skills for an active, healthy lifestyle. 

Rayford Baxter
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