Boxing is a very complex sport and an even more complex training routine. It's a great way to keep yourself active and in shape no matter your fitness goal. It helps to tone up, lose weight, and build muscle, the fitness trifecta. It can be a little hard to keep track of the more specifics because of how much it can do. One common question that gets asked is does boxing build your shoulder muscles.

Building muscle, in any case, is no easy feat, and as always, there are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind before you can answer a broad question like this. Boxing has a lot of different components to it, so when looking at it from a more general point of view, things do get quite specific, even more so when you're looking at your arms and your shoulders.


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Bodyweight

First of all, your shoulder muscles are going to be affected almost entirely through the use of your punching. As you move your upper body, you aren’t adding any excess weight which usually is the main route to build up muscles, but as you do more of it, you will begin to condition yourself and your muscles to be able to deal with what it is that you are putting them through. The result of this is built up muscle but in a variety of places.

Shoulders

Now the vagueness is out of the way, let’s break it down. Your shoulders are broken up into three sections, and all three of them play a massive role in your boxing. You need all of them to be in good shape if you have a chance at being at the top of your boxing game in the long term, and they will all build up in different ways.

Anterior

Your anterior deltoid is going to be the main player in your boxing technique. It's the front-facing deltoid, and it's the muscle that will work most heavily with your pecs and your triceps to be able to punch with a great force. The more you punch and the heavier you and your gloves become, the more you'll build.

Medial

The medial deltoid is the side shoulder muscle, and that plays a pretty big part of your boxing too. This is the muscle that is going to be moving your elbows outwards from your body rather than forward or back like the others. That's going to play a pivotal part in both the preparation of the punch, and the execution overall. The faster you pull the motion together is what increases the force of the blow. It's vital, and this is what will build the muscle-up.

Posterior

The final muscle to look at is the posterior or rear deltoid. This is the muscle that will move back for a heavier punch and be responsible for the recoil of your punch and getting your guard back up in time. Again, the frequency that you perform these movements will directly impact how much they can build.

Limitations

Woman practicing jabs on a punch bag

So, the answer to 'does boxing build up your shoulder muscles?' is a yes, but it is only to a certain extent. Your muscles can only build so much through repetition and bodyweight. If you want to build muscle in your shoulders more than punching exercises are giving you, you’ll need to start adding some weighted exercises. (This workout is an awesome place to start!)

You can use some bodyweight exercises or a huge range of weighted exercises, but either way, you need more than punching. Overall, your shoulders will build, but how effectively or how much are both limitations in the long term.


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.