4 Best Martial Arts for Fitness

Martial arts are very popular for a number of reasons. Some people learn it to protect themselves; some go to martial arts gyms because they are actually having fun however some people want to get in the best shape of their lives! According to my experience, it seems like many people are in this category.

If you have fitness goals like having bigger muscles, burning fat, developing explosive strength… you should be aware that some martial arts are just better than others. So choosing the best martial art for your fitness goals is quite important for the results and efficiency.


When I watch wrestling matches, I immediately notice that wrestlers tend to have incredible upper bodies. It is actually needed as a wrestler needs serious strength for various techniques and scrambling with an opponent.

The wrestlers also do circuit training and explosive strength training. Other than muscle building benefits, these training types are amazing for cardiovascular health as well. Box jumps, explosive rows are just a few examples and these explosive exercises help you burn more calories in a short amount of time than standard bodybuilder workout routines. I actually have a hard time catching my breath after a rowing session and I am sure a few of you also experience the same thing. However, if you use a rowing machine for thirty minutes you can easily burn more than three hundred calories in a session! Shortly explosive workouts are worth the effort.

Also, in order to improve speed, wrestlers do a lot of cardio workouts like rock climbing, sprints so they can improve anaerobic endurance and acceleration on the mats.

How about strength?

Wrestlers rely on strength a lot. Because a wrestler needs to dominate the opponent so the wrestler can win the match. Thus gaining strength is one of the main goals of wrestlers.

As you can see it can improve many different aspects of physical fitness and these are the reasons why wrestling is at top of this list.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai gained popularity, especially in the last decade. It has incredible benefits including better mood and it is many experts’ first choice for self-defense. This martial includes various striking and grappling techniques including clinch.

It relieves stress and students feel calmer at the end of Muay Thai sessions. Thanks to these benefits, many enthusiasts want to learn and train this effective martial art in Thailand where it was originated.

Heavy bag workouts or training with kick shields are quite challenging and the muscle fibers are damaged throughout the workouts. On top of that, these workouts’ length can be anywhere between ten minutes to thirty five minutes. This is actually quite a long time to train as it provides muscle hypertrophy during the session and it occurs while striking. This triggers noticeable muscle growth. Thus it is very possible that you can get very fit after several months of Muay Thai training.


MMA includes many different forms of fighting styles. These include submission wrestling, kickboxing, judo… When this is the case practitioners have a chance to improve various physical skills with it. Since there is a variety of training types, you can greatly improve cardiovascular endurance as different muscle groups need to work against force every session. This triggers a decent amount of muscle growth as well.

Heavy bag, shadow boxing, mitt drills are all perfect for losing fat and training your core. Also, you can incorporate explosive exercises like explosive push-ups and plyometric exercises into your training routine so you can get physically stronger quickly.

You can burn more than four hundred calories during a thirty minute class. It is more than you expect, is not it? Considering the popularity of MMA and sources online you can easily find decent beginner training routines.


Not everyone wants to focus on upper body strength and muscles. Some people are looking to improve lower body composition, foot speed and build stronger legs.

Practitioners focus on various kicking techniques like reverse kicks, hook kicks during sessions and greatly improve strength and build leg muscles. This Olympic sport helps practitioners to have more cardiorespiratory endurance and thanks to exhausting footwork drills, you can achieve that goal and get quick foot at the same time.

Students can burn over nine hundred calories during a session. So you can definitely join taekwondo classes to lose your belly fat in a short period of time.

Note: Improving one of your physical skills might be your only reason why you practice martial arts. When this is the case you don’t even need to spar and you can avoid small, big injuries. If that is your choice, you need to talk about it beforehand with instructors.

Why do people prefer these for getting fit?

I am actually one of these people. When I first started training MMA, my goal was to lose fat. Then I just fell in love with different disciplines of martial arts and even started findbestboxinggloves.com. Anyway, I was overweight and had low self-confidence. However, after I had started training I got into incredible shape and this boosted my self-confidence. Then my life started changing for the better. I was no longer shy while I was giving speeches and even started doing presentations in front of crowds. In my opinion, this was only possible because I got an amazing body in a short amount of time and learned how to protect myself in the real life.

The paragraph above sums up pretty much every reason why people prefer martial arts for getting in shape. It helps you gain muscle mass and lose fat efficiently. Also, martial arts training is actually fun. This alone might convince people, who are sick of running on treadmills, to join a martial arts gym.

Why martial arts are good for physical fitness?

Martial arts training is generally a full-body workout and students spend a great number of calories in every session. Also, it is fun so one can actually continue training longer than usual and even burn more calories!

Also, these training types are perfect for building muscle mass. Many bodybuilders train with mitts, speed bags and various other martial arts equipment so they can build even bigger and denser muscles.

However, martial art might not be as efficient as other ones for reaching your goals. For example, if your goal is to have stronger legs, calves taekwondo or Muay Thai would be a better choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to bulk up fast and have a strong upper body then wrestling is an amazing option. Also, you can burn a significant amount of fat in any martial arts class and this helps you improve your cardiovascular endurance.

Some martial arts can include explosive exercises like frog squat jump. These improve speed, acceleration and in some cases, these reduce the likelihood of injuries.

By the way, there are some statistics about calories in this article however these are average numbers. The burnt calories depend mostly on your weight.

Always track your progress

Tracking how much calorie your burn, other fitness metrics like activity level is quite important. Because when you know these metrics, you can tweak your workout or nutrition intake to achieve better results. These can lead to more muscle gain, improving agility…

Tracking is not limited to calories. You can also track punching speed, kicking speed and other important various metrics for martial arts that focus on striking with trackers that are made for martial arts.

When you continue training martial art and can throw more powerful punches, kicks, this means that you have a fitter body. Because the same progressive overload principle in bodybuilding applies here as well. Even though you don’t lift and don’t actually use bars, weight plates you can actually measure the power of punches.

However, relative strength is important here. So if you throw more powerful punches and gained a lot of weight you actually may not be stronger. However, if the scale has not changed and your tracker measures power increase then it is a signal that you are getting fitter.

Conclusive Thoughts

A lot of people join martial arts classes for fitness goals and the goals are improving agility, strength, stamina…

Even though all martial arts can help you improve muscle density and get rid of your stubborn belly fat some are just more suitable for these. After you make that choice and pick a martial art that suits your wants and needs, your trainer can prepare a workout routine and diet plan that is tailored for you so you can achieve the best results.

Obviously consuming all the macronutrients, micronutrients that you need daily help you achieve your goal faster so it is important that you follow a strict diet plan that is prepared by an expert.

What about you? Which martial arts do you prefer for fitness? Share them below so we can discuss whether your choice is a good one or not for your goals.

Related Article: Supplement Guide for Fighters

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