Will Boxing Affect My Gains And Make Me Lose Muscle

Anhtony Joshua Weights

Lifting weights and boxing is a perfect combo for many young men as part of a healthy lifestyle and developing an impressive, strong and muscular physique. A common question that we get is whether too much boxing will affect your ability to gain muscle from lifting weights in the gym.

Whether boxing causes you to lose muscle or not depends on a couple of things but it needs to be said that boxing is highly intensive cardio that burns a lot of calories and you would need to be in a caloric surplus to put on muscle in general.

If you want to lift and box at the same time, maybe the ideal goal isn’t to be too bulky but strong, muscular, lean and ripped while a diet of boxing and heavy strength training with weights is a great way to develop an impressive physique.

If building muscle is your primary goal, then you shouldn’t be doing too much cardio during the bulking phase. You should be making sure that you’re in a caloric surplus by eating more than you consume and lifting heavy so that your muscle breaks down and recovers stronger and bigger.

If you do too much cardio, it is going to lead to some breakdown in the muscle which will also cause you to lose fat around the arms and mid section and look more ripped.


Problem With Bulking And Boxing

The main problem with trying to put on muscle and trying to improve your boxing game is that your body will try to become the exercises that you’re putting it through and the body of a boxer is lean, fast, strong & responsive, not just big and strong like a bodybuilder.

The training for boxing burns of ton of calories and if you’re in a deficit, the muscle in the shoulders and arms will be burnt as fuel while you exercise for boxing, although it will burn all the fat first which will make you look more ripped and reveal all your muscles more fully but will also cause you to burn up some muscle if you’re not eating enough.


Getting Ripped With Boxing And Weights

Joshua Pull ups

If you’ve already put on a lot of muscle and you want to get ripped for the summer, then boxing and lifting weights 5/6 days a week and having a good diet of healthy proteins and fats while cutting down your carbs as much as you can, will be an excellent recipe for reducing body fat and revealing all of the muscles that you built up during your bulking phase.


Its’ very hard for the body to build muscle and lose fat at the same time if you’re not a beginner.


Beginners will get their beginner gains and they’ll be able to increase muscle, strength and lose fat at the same time but once you hit that wall, you’re really going to have to pick one or the other. You can’t get big and lean at the same time, you have to do a bulking and a cutting phase.


Ideal Training For A Boxer

The ideal training for a boxer will involve 2 days of heavy weights and 4 days of boxing specific training, sparring and cardio that will turn that muscle into speed and power.

This will also cause you to put on some muscle, be extremely ripped, strong, fast and it is a much better condition to be in than a bodybuilder that has no cardio and will be tired after a minute of hitting the pads or bags.

While a bodybuilder might look great they are usually not in good condition under the hood and bodybuilding is not even healthy when you consider the negative impact it can have on the heart.

If it was down to me I would certainly lift weights but my goal wouldn’t be to pack on as much muscle as possible it would be to get in great shape with a good body composition and as strong as possible without being overly bulky with muscles that need to be fueled during boxing and making me gas out quickly.


Bulk First Then Cut With Boxing

If you go through your bulking phase first, where it is just all lifting weights, eating and maybe some heavy bag at the end of your workout for cardio. This is where you can pack on all your muscle and build up your strength with the goal of moving over to more boxing and less weights after some time.

When you switch to boxing you can start to cut the fat and reveal all your muscle and your abs while trying to keep as much of the power and strength as possible that you gained with all the lifting


A lot of times people that go down from heavier weights in boxing, they hit very hard because they keep a lot of the power that they had at the heavier weight.


4 Days Weights, 2 Days Boxing

If you want to gain muscle and not lose too much of your gains, but still want to be in good shape for boxing, you could try lifting 4 days and doing boxing 2 days.

Once your eating plenty of calories especially on a day where you are doing the boxing, you should be able to put on and maintain some good lean muscle, just make sure you’re eating enough to be in a caloric surplus throughout the week and try to keep the diet as clean as possible with good starchy carbs to fuel your exercise and solid protein and fats to build up and maintain your muscle mass.


2 Days Weights, 4 Days Boxing

Boxing Headgear 7

This is what I would recommend for someone who is more serious about boxing without training more than once a day. 2 days of heavy weight training, compound lifts and getting a good diet of proteins, fats and starchy carbs to fuel and replenish your body.

This is probably the best way to have a solid base of muscle and still be in great shape for boxing, with good cardio and be in good health with a lower resting heart rate than a typical bodybuilder while being able to compete in the ring at a high level.


Change Your Goal To Be A Solid Athlete

Neck Strengthening Floyd Mayweather

The goal of being a bodybuilder and being a strong and functional athlete in the ring are opposing ideas.

A boxers body does not have too much muscle because all that muscle needs to be fuelled by oxygen and it will cause you to gas and get tired much more easily than someone that’s lean and strong.

Maybe you should change your goal to being a solid, strong athlete, not worrying about how much muscle your packing but more interested in being in fantastic shape, as strong as a bull and able to compete in the ring, with confidence and a great physique to match


Compounding Lifting Is The Key To Strength And Power In The Ring

Strength training for boxing involves fewer reps of higher weight than bodybuilding and more sets.

Bodybuilding typically goes for 8 to 12 reps for 3 sets, strength training involves 2 to 5 reps for 5 to 6 sets and then maybe 6 reps for 3 sets on your accessories lifts, but everything is going to be heavy and that’s how you’re going to get stronger.

A compound lift is 1 that involves more than one muscle group, so training the compounds will build up your overall strength in unison.



Tyson Fury Deadlifting

This is great for the hamstrings, glutes, lower back and forearms so it’s perfect for building your base and increasing your strength which you can turn into power in the boxing gym.



Another Compound lift that is going to involve your quads, glutes and lower back building up overall strength in your lower body.


Bench press

Bench press is a great one for building strength in the chest, triceps and front head of the shoulder. This is a great way to directly increase your punching power by the heavy reps in the strength training ranges.


Weighted Pull-ups

Weighted Pull Ups For Boxing

Our favorite and this is the squat of the upper body, it’s going to blast your biceps, lats, And upper back which will definitely increase your strength once you stay within the strength training ranges and you can do this by adding a weight vest or belt.


Military press

Military press is a good compound lift for your shoulders, traps and upper back. Shoulders are the most used muscles in your punches so this is a superb exercise to include but make sure you go heavy for low reps.


Good 2 Day Strength Training Split For Boxing

Day 1


Deadlift 5*5


Squat  6*3  -(Switch Deadlift And Squat From 5*5 and 6*3 each week for balance.)


Weighted Pull Ups 5*5


Heavy Dumbbell Lunges 6*3 – (Each Leg)


Cable Row 6*3


Day 2


Bench Press 5*5


Close Grip Bench 6*3


Military Press 5*5


Lateral Raises 6*3


Heavy Dumbbell Flies 6*3


Everything is heavy on these lifts as there is no real need for too much volume, You’ll get that in the boxing gym.


Get Your Rest & Recovery


Remember that your muscle grows and repairs when you are resting so get plenty of rest especially on the days after your lifting to allow your body to recover.

Remember that you’ll also have to get your cardio runs in as well as all your boxing training so try to get your weights in the morning and take it easy for the rest of the day so you’re ready to go again the next day.


Diet Is Key

The diet is key, get your protein shake straight after your workout for recovery, you could even get an oats based gainer if you’re worried about getting enough calories to keep your weight up.



Mayweather Weighted Push Up

I think all boxers should be doing strength training but I don’t agree with the goal of packing on a load of muscle for boxing as it will just slow you down and make you gas out more quickly, so it is really one or the other and you will ultimately need to decide what you whether to be a bodybuilder or a boxer as the body building composition is not suitable for longer boxing exercise or fights


Aidan Lehane has been involved in the fight game for well over 10 and has trained in some of the leading boxing gyms around the world including Sinbi Muay Thai and MTK Global Marbella. He wants to offer as much advice to beginners and pros as possible.

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