What are the most important fighting muscles? I will explain the roles of each muscle for fighting and how they are used during boxing.
Everybody knows that training a muscle is an advantage compared to not training it. If boxing was that simple, then training the entire body would give you the ultimate physical advantage, right? The problem is that nobody has the time to workout every single muscle. Many of your smaller muscles offer only a slight advantage if at all.
Much of the physical aspects of boxing such as balance, power, and movement will come from your lower body. The more technical aspects of boxing such as accuracy, defense, and landing punches will typically come from your upper body. Depending on what you feel your style needs, the most it is up to you to decide whether to focus on more power, or handspeed, endurance, or all of it.
The key to effective boxing training is understanding how your muscles are used in boxing and to be able to decide how to train them to best fit that purpose. Smart athletes will know that certain muscles should definitely be given priority over the others.
Legs (Power)By “legs”, I’m referring specifically to the quads and the calf muscles. This is something that should be ingrained into anybody ever wanting to learn how to do anything powerful with their body. ALL power comes from the ground, nowhere else! Because your legs are connected to the ground, they are most responsible for pushing off the ground to generate power throughout your body. Your legs also happen to be the biggest muscles in your body, which is why all proper boxing punches are typically thrown with the legs pivoting and rotating.
Again, the legs generate the most power! Not the chest and definitely not the triceps. If you look carefully at many of the most dynamic and complete punches or boxers in history, you will see that they have great legs more often than great arms or big chests. Look very carefully at the typical boxer’s body and you won’t find over-developed pecs or huge triceps. Marcos Maidana, Manny Pacquiao, Thomas Hearns, Julian Jackson, and Felix Trinidad are some names of guys that immediately come to mind. These guys did not have big upper-bodies but they carried HUGE power in their fists. Even Mike Tyson, as dynamic a puncher as he was, was still more muscular at his legs than his arms!
Hips (Balance & Lower Body Core)The hips hold your lower body and legs together. They also generate a huge amount of power by pivoting your whole body when you need. Another important function is that your hips have to do with how well you are balanced. Since your hips are very close to your body’s center-of-gravity, stronger hips would mean that you have better control of your balance. I shouldn’t have to stress that balance is definitely one of the most important factors in boxing. Balance essentially determines the effectiveness and efficiency of your offense, defense, movement, and overal fighting ability!
You can also think of your hips as your body weight. By using the muscles in your leg to move your hips with every punch, you will be able to put your entire body weight into each punch maximizing its power.