What Muscles Are Used When Punching?

Modern athletes focus on different training schedules such as amateur wrestling, which focuses on take-downs and clinches; kickboxing, which focuses on the striking; submission wrestling, which focuses on submissions and ground positioning.

While mixed martial arts is an incredible sport, it is also an excellent way to get into shape through fitness and training. People choose the sport to gain muscle, look good, and learn self-defense.

All MMA fighters have incredible physiques with a unique body composition that looks great and is flexible, strong, and athletic.

Training for MMA is intense, engaging, and fun. Each session is different and learning occurs each day because there is always a new thing to learn. MMA doesn’t limit you to one fighting style. Hence it is probably the most dynamic fighting sport.

MMA requires body workouts that emphasize certain key muscles to provide power, balance, and movement that comes from the lower body.

The upper body is responsible for defense, kicking, and landing punches. When fighting the muscles of the upper and lower body work simultaneously and provide balance one to another

To train for the sport effectively, it is important to understand which muscles are used when punching and how best to train them. These are the muscles that an athlete will give priority to. In this article, we shall discuss the muscles used to punch when fighting in the MMA.


Leg power is derived from the quads and calf muscles. The quad is the muscle located at the front side of the leg just above the knee while the calf muscle is located on the backside of the leg above the heel.

To excel in the sport, you must understand that these are the two most important muscles that are responsible for giving your leg a fatal kick.

The human body’s strength that power comes from the ground and it is the legs that connect the human body to the ground. The legs are, therefore, responsible for the generation of power throughout the body.

Also, according to the human anatomy, the legs have the single largest muscles in the human body. This is the reason why proper punches are thrown when the legs are pivoting and rotating.

The legs also give the most power. When you look at great athletes in the MMA, they have strong legs because that is where they derive their power from.

The legs support all the other body muscles that are responsible for delivering a punch. While the hands need to have strong bicep muscles, the major strength of the punch comes from the power of the legs. You will find that to throw a good punch, you need strong legs as well.


Training the hips provide you with balance and lower body strength for the delivery of a great punch. The hip section of the body holds the legs and the upper body sections of the body together.

They are responsible for the generation of power by pivoting the body in the shape and direction you want it to take. Also, your general body balance is positioned by the hips because of their central location near your body’s center of gravity.

Strong hips ensure that you have better control of your balance, which is a vital factor in delivering a strong punch.

Losing balance in a fight is likely to make you fall, and believe me, you don’t want to fall and get hammered with some good ground and pound. It doesn’t matter how good you are on the feet if you are not standing.

Also, the hips move with the leg muscles. When they are strong, you can put your entire body in your punch, thus having it go with the most power possible. This balance essentially determines how effective and efficient your punch will be, and it makes the whole difference in your offensive capabilities.


The abs section is the area around the abdomen, which ensures that Frontal Body Core and Snap of the punch are efficient and fast. These muscles hold the upper body muscles together. When throwing a punch, each and every muscle in your limbs provide a certain amount of power.

Abs muscles combine the forces generated by the other limbs into one major force. It is a connecting muscle from all the other limbs. The abs also help the body to breathe properly and thus take better shots at the opponent.


The back helps in the punch recovery after the punch has been delivered. A weak back muscle is likely to leave your body without balance which is essential in MMA. It also helps you in the event that you require to make successive punches at your opponent. Which is almost all the time.

It holds the core body together and combines all the power that is generated by other limbs. The back is also responsible for improving the speed at which you pull your hand back to your body after throwing a punch. To be effective in MMA, knowing the importance of moving your hand back to the position is one of the most important secrets.

Your hand needs to be back to position for many reasons including defense. In the event that you miss reaching your opponent after throwing a punch, you need to have your hand quickly back to its position so that you can use it for self-defense from being attacked by the opponent.

The best way to train the back is by using traditional gym methods of strength training such as dead-lift weight lifting. Giving too much focus punching the heavy bag may not provide you with enough strength of the back muscle because when it bounces back, it gives you a recovery phase as it comes back on its own.

In a real fight, your opponent will be standing still and you have to adapt by having the necessary back energy to bring your hand back to position.

In a real fight, missing a punch is dangerous and you can easily lose a fight because your opponent will capitalize on your slow speed of getting your arms back to the correct position which is beside the abdomen. Moving hands back quickly is a product of strong back muscle that needs to be trained adequately to keep you moving during a fight.


The shoulder muscle provides the power and a punch snap, but they are also responsible for endurance. You have probably noticed how many fighters tend to lower their hands at the end of the fight. That is because their shoulders are keeping them up, but once you are tired, it becomes excruciating hard to keep your hands up.

A shoulder muscle that is well trained will provide the endurance to the punch and enable you to make as many punches as possible depending on the opportunities that are presented in the fight. While training the shoulder muscle, the focus should be on endurance and not necessarily strength or its size.

Therefore, you should focus on long punching practice hours and lifting of light weights but with many reps. This will ensure that your shoulder muscle provides you with the required level of endurance during an MMA fight.


The arms provide the delivery power, speed, and snap to the punch. This is the most important part of the MMA because it is the arm that gets to the opponent and delivers the powerful punch.

While they are not responsible for the generation of power in the kick, they are responsible for connecting the power that has been generated by other body parts to the body of your opponent.

While the task is seemingly like that of a messenger in human terms, it is very important because they need to be in great shape for them to deliver.

It is therefore important to ensure that you have fast arms that don’t have to be necessarily strong because speed is of utmost need. As discussed above, the strength of the punch is generated from other body parts.


The chest muscles are the core muscles of the upper body whose most important function is the connection of shoulders and arms into one force during a punch. The power generated from the upper body muscles is coordinated by the chest muscle.


Punching involves muscles from all over the body including legs, hips, core, back, shoulders, arms and chest. Each muscle has its own purpose, however, it is important to learn to coordinate them together to produce the best punch possible.

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