Do bodybuilders make good fighters?

When you catch sight of a big muscular dude walking down a street or grunting in your gym, does the thought “Damn! He is scary I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy to cross paths with him.” cross your mind? But then when you’re up watching a UFC fight or a boxing match you wonder why aren’t the big muscular guys from your gym taking part in such fights? A plethora of questions like Can bodybuilders fight?, Do bodybuilders make good fighters? Are bodybuilders weak? Are bodybuilders good at fighting? Do big muscles help in a fight? are sure to cloud your mind once you open this door. To save you some time today, we did some research and watched a lot of videos and we reached to this conclusion-

NO! Bodybuilders don’t make good fighters simply because it isn’t what they train for. Bodybuilding is about growing muscles for aesthetic purposes and competing on a stage with fellow bodybuilders to look for who has the best muscular structure. Whereas fighting is a whole different game where you hit and take a beating and the last one standing wins.

This answers your question more profession wise but if a bodybuilder was to get in a heated argument with a fighter we would still place our bets on the fighter for he/she knows how to fight and knows how to produce an optimum power to punch someone whereas a bodybuilder will know better to flex his arms and awestruck people. So…

Are bodybuilders weak?

Bodybuilders aren’t necessarily weak. They can easily pick loads in this gym a professional fighter couldn’t. Big muscles are intimidating and if you fall prey to the muscles and not the skills in a fight and let the big dude grapple you then its a goodbye. But if you’re trained for taking a beating like most professional fighters and know how to knock someone down before they realise what happened then no matter if you’re a lightweight class boxer in front of a 300 pounds bodybuilder, you’re sure to kick his.

Being physically strong doesn’t always imply you can take an inordinate amount of beating and pin down someone or even lift a 500 pounds deadlift. The definition of strong will vary from sport to sport. A bodybuilder who is trained in fighting will be the most dangerous contender out there. But you can’t gain enormous amounts of muscles when training for MMA or Boxing simply because those sports require a lot of stamina and endurance-based training and if a physique athlete is to do that sort of training he/she is sure to lose a good amount of muscles which will cost them on a bodybuilding stage.

Therefore it can be concluded bodybuilders are not weak rather they’re not trained for fighting and do not carry the will to tolerate pain as much as a fighter. In a gym which is their territory, they are strong in the sense they can lift a good amount of weight. Similarly, a fighter may not be able to bench 220 lbs.

Can bodybuilders fight?

Yes, bodybuilders can fight. Just like you and me they know how to throw punches and kicks around and beat the shit out of someone if necessary just so long the person in front is not some professional at fighting. But if you’re talking about professionally then NO! Simply because they are two different sports. It is like asking Michael Jordon to play Hockey or Lionel Messi to play basketball. But if a bodybuilder decides to take on fighting professionally then he for sure can fight and compete once he is trained enough to step on the stage.

Do big muscles help in a fight?

Most of us often step in a gym to lift, build big muscles and look intimidating. So we start doing light weights, high reps to grow our muscles as big as possible. The concept of stamina, endurance, speed and power is always ignored. How can we even complain people for missing these important aspects when some of them don’t even train legs! They forget half of their body in achieving a intimidating physique. While some of these gym bros may walk as if they own the streets but the truth is they can be handed theirs with a blink of an eye. So why does this happen? Even after having achieved their goal of looking scary with big arms and chest, how can they be beaten so easily?

Simply because speed and power win a fight, not big muscles. They can help you so far as haunting the mentality of your opponent. They will keep the normal folks at bay and most won’t dare to pick a bone with you but taking pride and flexing taking up mirrors everywhere is not in the best interest always as you don’t know who the person behind you awaiting their turn to look at the mirror is.

Also, there exists a belief that big muscles can slow you down which is to an extent true because most muscles heads don’t work for speed and have zero to no flexibility. A lot of them find hard to catch their breath after going through the rigorous process of tying their shoelaces. Although they can take on the average joe in a brawl. But again if the average joe has spent his time jogging every morning and is a big fan of boxing then he may cause harm as long as he doesn’t get intimidated with the big muscles.

Can bodybuilders punch harder?

With all that muscles on the arms and forearms, one would think if not winning a fight a bodybuilder will at least have a stronger punch. Which is true to some extent as greater muscles will allow some force but generating force for punch involves not just the strength in your fist or forearm rather the whole body. As per physics, energy needs both mass and speed. While a bodybuilder has the mass they lack the speed. The speed is generated from the whole body. Let’s take a look at a bodybuilder punching on a punching machine.

The bodybuilder as a natural instinct for punches using only the strength in his fist and arms. The body rest of his body remains almost neutral and its just him throwing his arm at the punching bag. Now in the video below look at how various boxers who are probably smaller than the bodybuilder above punch and generate a score approximately 50% more.

Now notice the technique used by boxers. They don’t just throw their arms around rather they use the momentum from their body and generate the force around the target and then strike. A better way you’ll understand this is by noticing how the body moves in two cases after having punched. The bodybuilder’s body stays intact and only brings him arms to the rest back. Whereas the boxer’s whole body moves ahead due to the acceleration generated.

As to our original question of do bodybuilders punch harder? The answer would be no for most cases unless the bodybuilder has a hands-on practice on the techniques used by the fighters. All the muscles will surely contribute and make the punch harder than that of an average joe who hasn’t seen a light in the gym. But next to fighter or someone trained to take punches the bodybuilder can only rely on scaring the opponent away mentally.


It can be concluded by saying bodybuilders won’t make good fighters simply because they do not train for it and it isn’t their sport. They’re about flexing their muscles on a stage and not choking someone in a dark ally. They sure can fight and probably beat up an ordinary person who doesn’t work out or has no sort of physical activity in his life. Although it’s less likely such a person would commit a mistake of trying to fight a person with big arms. On the other hand, as mentioned several times before big muscles do not imply you’re strong enough to be a fighter. You need speed and power which most of the bodybuilders and big muscled up guys lack.

Bodybuilders chase size and most of the time they don’t even consider training for strength. For it is the size which wins them shows and not strength or how fast they can run or how hard they can punch. They train for what their sport asks them to do. Fighting involves how you use your body to your advantage and how you move around and not how you look. So as to the original question- Do bodybuilders make good fighters? NO!

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