Boxing is a great form of exercise which is why so many people of all body types use it in their workouts, but will boxing make your arms bigger or smaller?
Boxing will tone your arms and help build muscle but won’t make them really big because it doesn’t build muscle mass like weight lifting can. Depending on your body, boxing can make your arms smaller by burning fat or maybe even muscle depending on a few factors like nutrition and other training.
In this article, we will cover your body’s composition and the impact boxing will have on the size of your arms, whether you have a skinny, fat, or muscular physique.
“Will boxing reduce your muscle mass? Find out in my other article: Boxing Vs Muscle Mass”
Will Your Arms Get Bigger or Smaller With Boxing?
Whether or not your arms will get bigger or smaller with boxing really depends on your body composition, or more importantly, the composition of your arms at the time you start out in boxing.
“What is body composition? In the health and fitness industry, body composition means the percentage of fat, bone, and muscle which makes up your body.”
So, when it comes to the size of your arms, your body composition means how much of your arm’s mass is made up of fat, bone, and muscle. And it depends on the type of your arm’s composition which will determine how much of a change you may see in its size from boxing.
Let’s take a look at the most common arm compositions and see if you can identify which one your arms may be yourself.
Large Arms: Mainly Fat
If you are a larger person who is carrying a lot of extra weight with a body composition that is higher in fat, or maybe you’re even overweight, then, first of all, boxing is going to be a great workout for you and help you lose a lot of weight.
But, if your arms are mainly made up of fat, then boxing is likely going to make your arms smaller because as you begin to burn calories in your training, you will start to change the body composition of your arms by reducing the fat levels in them, and therefore, the size of your arms will reduce.
“Discover the fitness benefits of boxing in my complete guide to boxing fitness”
Large Arms: Mainly Muscle
If you have a bulky, mainly muscular physique, but want to introduce some boxing into your workout schedule, then you could potentially affect your muscle gains or even begin to slightly reduce your existing muscle mass and make your arms smaller.
However, this does depend on a number of factors and whether or not you are getting into boxing for a hard cardio workout, or just to learn some boxing techniques while keeping it light and not raising your heart rate too much to make it a hard workout.
But mainly, whether or not boxing will reduce your muscle mass, and therefore make your arms smaller, will depend on your ability to maintain the same level of nutrition and weight lifting to support your existing muscle mass.
“To learn more about boxing vs muscle, check out my other article: will boxing reduce your muscle mass?”
Skinny Arms: Mainly Bone
If your body composition isn’t very muscular and you’re not carrying much excess body fat, then this could mean that your arms will be fairly skinny and most of their bulk is made up of the bones in them.
If this sounds like you, then getting into boxing won’t make much of a change in the size of your arms, but it will help tone them and condition them to have a higher level of endurance. Plus, you will also get the benefit of strengthening and conditioning your shoulders.
The Type of Boxing Training Matters Too…
Boxing training can be split into three distinctive categories (or types of training), each of which has a different impact on your body and muscles, and therefore, the impact it will have on the size of your arms.
The three different types of training you’ll experience in boxing are:
- Boxing training itself (throwing punches etc)
- Body weight training (push-ups & sit-ups etc)
- Cardio training (mainly running & skipping)
Boxing training itself (meaning the act of throwing, slipping, and rolling under punches) is unlikely to build any muscle mass because it does not provide a heavy resistance to the muscle. It is more of an explosive fast-twitch muscle response, which is great as a cardiovascular workout, but not for excessive muscle growth.
Body Weight Training
During boxing lessons, it is very common at most boxing gyms to have a section of the class dedicated to bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and sometimes even pull-ups. These are all implemented into training to help condition your body alongside learning the skill of boxing.
Again, this is great for strength and conditioning, and for burning arm fat to make them smaller, but not for bulking them up to be bigger.
If you join a boxing gym, the chances are that gym will incorporate some form of additional cardio work into their boxing classes. Whether it be running outside the gym before class, running around inside the gym, or maybe on a treadmill. Plus, you’ll likely do a few rounds of skipping over jump rope before the class starts.
This is because being light on your feet and having good cardio endurance are very important aspects of being good at boxing, which is why it is included in the class.
If you do this type of training regularly in your boxing sessions though, it will begin to burn fat, and potentially even reduce some muscle mass too. Both of which will reduce the mass of your arms and make your arms smaller.
The physical act of boxing and punching itself is unlikely to build a lot of muscle mass in your arms. This is because it doesn’t provide any weight and enough of a progressive overload which your muscles need in order to break down and then regrow bigger, known as hypertrophy.
However, during your boxing training, you will likely undertake a ton of push-ups and other forms of bodyweight exercises which are all great for muscle strength and endurance, but the truth is, it is better for toning than it is for bulking.
And as we saw, there are different ways you will be training your body during a boxing class (boxing technique, bodyweight exercises, and cardio). Depending on what type of boxing training you are doing the most each week, will determine whether or not boxing will have a big impact on the size of your arms.
If you do boxing and mainly focus on technique drilling – practicing your punches, footwork, and head movement, all without breaking out into a hard workout session, it’s unlikely to change your arm composition and size much.
If though, you go harder and start hitting the heavy sessions and doing all the additional boxing/ fitness training, including a lot of cardio – then boxing can begin to reduce the size of your arms and make them smaller and more toned.
“Want to maintain your muscle mass, but still do boxing? Check out my other article to see how.”