Bodybuilding vs Martial Arts – Who Wins In A Fight

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: June 21, 2023
Bodybuilding vs Martial Arts

Bodybuilding and martial arts are two different disciplines, yet they have much in common.

Fundamentally, bodybuilding is all about increasing muscle mass and looking good while martial arts is focused on defending oneself.

The differences between the two activities couldn’t be better highlighted than with the comparison of Big Ramy, the massive Egyptian bodybuilder, and Bruce Lee, the renowned master of Kung Fu.

Both Big Ramy and Bruce Lee are great at what they do. Big Ramy shows off his huge strength in competitions, and Bruce Lee takes down opponents with style and creativity.

Despite their clear distinctions, both require dedication to excel; whether it be lifting large amounts of weights for mass gains or spending long hours refining technique for sophistication in sparring, success is determined by commitment and focus.

Ultimately, bodybuilding and martial arts are unique yet similar ways to get fit!

This post will examine the various contrasts between these two professions, what it takes to be a part of either, and who the best athletes are.

Which is more difficult: bodybuilding or martial arts?

Comparing the difficulty of martial arts and bodybuilding is a bit like asking which ocean is wetter it’s impossible to measure!

Even though martial arts may require more physical discipline and may seem more dangerous on fight day, those in the bodybuilding world would have to work much harder to get ready for a fight.

It’s not just pumping iron in the gym but also enduring grueling cardio sessions, closely following strict dieting rules, inserting drugs into your body, and often sacrificing family time these are all part of a successful bodybuilder’s lifestyle.

This is why comparing the difficulty between martial arts and bodybuilding is tricky, though both require dedication and immense passion.

Which is more effective, bodybuilding or martial arts?

People who are into fitness will often debate which sports are the best; this heated discussion can include comparing powerlifters with strongmen, Formula 1 and NASCAR, as well as Crossfitters with any other form of physical activity.

Ultimately, deciding which sport is right for you really depends on your genes and what works best for you mentally.

For instance, if you have impressive muscle mass even without training or a set of visible abs at all times, then bodybuilding could be the perfect fit for improving these traits even more.

On the other hand, if the idea of outsmarting others in hand-to-hand combat is more interesting to you than anything else, martial arts may be a better way to improve both your physical and mental abilities. 

Who Would Win A Fight a bodybuilder or a martial artist?

Jamie Christian and Emmanuel Yarbrough are proof that size isn’t everything.

Not everyone can have super-sized proportions like these two champions, but everyone can embrace the lifestyle of fitness that led them to achieve the incredible feat of Jamie, becoming an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder at over 300+ lbs and 6’5”, and Emmanuel, becoming the largest Martial artist at 6’8” and 600lbs.

While in a fight between a bodybuilder and a martial artist, it is likely that the martial artist would prevail because of their ability to use an opponent’s body weight against them, it does not mean that bodybuilders should be counted out.

Training wisdom can help anyone overpower sheer strength any day.

Can Bodybuilders Practice Martial Arts?

If bodybuilding is your sport of choice, then martial arts could be an interesting addition to the mix.

Both involve physical activities that help improve discipline and strength; however, they’re both distinct styles of exercise with different approaches.

If you have experience in bodybuilding but not in martial arts, then there’s a great opportunity for growth as you challenge yourself to learn something new and adapt your current fitness habits to a diverse lifestyle.

That being said, if you’re exploring the world of martial arts, it’s best to stay focused on that discipline specifically.

Martial Arts

Is Martial Arts Good for Strength?

If you’re looking to build strength, there are few activities better suited than martial arts. Engaging with martial arts helps increase your strength, but it doesn’t just happen overnight.

To keep getting stronger, you have to up the ante. This means additional resistance, longer times under tension, and shorter rest periods.

Over time your body recognizes the continuous strain and will no longer produce the same results of earlier training due to the lack of stimulating growth factors.

It is important to constantly challenge yourself so you can see continued progress in strength!

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Are Bodybuilders or Martial Artists stronger?

Strength is an incredibly important component of fitness, and it goes beyond just being able to lift heavy things once in a while.

True strength comes from the ability to move mass from one place to another, and this requires finesse as well as power.

Martial artists know this well, which is why they employ leverage and technique to great effect.

On the other end of the spectrum, bodybuilders have a different kind of challenge: training for maximum intensity with heavy weights that will help stimulate growth.

While some bodybuilders may opt for volume training over pure athletic strength, high-level bodybuilders are still usually much stronger than martial artists pound for pound.

The power dynamics of physical strength are fascinating when seen through this lens!

Is Powerlifting Beneficial to Martial Arts?

Powerlifting can be a great addition to a martial artist’s training program.

While powerlifting is a stationary sport, it isn’t just lifting weights to get bigger muscles: it focuses on lifting heavier and heavier weights in squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.

By pushing your body farther than it is used to going, a martial artist will benefit from increased strength and control which could prove useful in certain combat situations.

However, if they are not careful with their diet, the excessive mass gain can slow them down when trying to move quickly or when executing specific fighting maneuvers.

Deadlifts, in particular, are fantastic for martial artists since they require the use of the whole body and can help you throw an opponent around more easily.

Incorporating powerlifting into your regime is one way for any martial artist to take their strength and fighting capability to the next level!

Is Weightlifting Beneficial for Martial Arts?

Weightlifting is an incredibly beneficial form of training to incorporate into any workout program, particularly if you are interested in martial arts.

Unlike simply lifting weight, it refers to Olympic weightlifting, which requires performing specific exercises like the snatch and power clean.

These moves help not only build strength and speed but also help control any potential body mass gain that may arise from more traditional forms of weight training.

It is a great option for anyone looking to challenge themselves physically and improve their overall athletic performance!

Are Bodybuilders Good at Fighting?

Bodybuilding is an incredibly rewarding pursuit, allowing anyone with the right dedication to carve their body into a masterpiece.

Building mass while emphasizing good lines and flow allows aspiring bodybuilders to target different parts of their physique to create the most aesthetically pleasing appearance all while keeping body fat at 10% or below.

As impressive as this may seem, however, bodybuilding alone is unlikely to prepare one for a fight. Training in fighting and combative sports such as boxing, Muay Thai, and wrestling is necessary to produce a genuinely effective fighter.

It is also essential that strength training remains complemented by exercises designed to improve flexibility, agility, and speed; these facets are not usually part of a typical bodybuilder’s regimen, meaning fighters seeking size must train accordingly if they hope for success.

Which Martial Art is the Best Workout?

Martial arts is an engaging and worthy activity for fitness enthusiasts to pursue.

With four distinct categories, martial arts offers a range of different styles for practitioners to choose from.

Japanese Karate, Chinese Wushu Kung Fu, Korean Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all offer unique training methods and skills for aspiring students to perfect.

Of these martial arts styles offered, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is widely considered the most difficult to learn.

From mastering its conditioning movements and submission holds to maintaining balance throughout competition matches, the mastery of this particular style requires a tenacious track record of success.

While many have attempted to master Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, few have succeeded in doing so speaking volumes to the challenge level it presents even novice practitioners.

Bodybuilding vs Martial Art Training

Bodybuilding and martial art training are two distinct means towards achieving physical goals – one embraces muscle growth and the other, overall performance.

Bodybuilding requires arduous training that focuses on generating muscle damage to induce rapid changes in size and strength.

Martial arts, on the other hand, emphasizes efficient movements more than outward anatomy and involves strengthening body mechanics, developing technique agility, and acuity of balance.

Whereas bodybuilding is prone to becoming repetitive and may not improve certain aspects of fitness, martial arts offer a more diverse set of regimens that are designed to bring out the best in an athlete.

Both provide impeccable ways to hone your physicality, so don’t be afraid to combine forms for the ultimate power boost!

Which Martial Art Is Best for Bodybuilders?

Bodybuilders have a dedication to the sport and their own goals that knows no bounds – they will do anything necessary to reach those goals.

Muay Thai is one of the best workouts for bodybuilders regardless of their current muscle mass; not because it can help build and strengthen muscles, but mainly due to its cardio capabilities.

Muay Thai provides an intense cardiovascular workout which is highly beneficial to those who are even heavier than 300lbs and some of whom may be using supplements as well.

If you’re looking for a high-intensity Cardio workout that pushes your physical boundaries then look no further than Muay Thai; you’ll be sure to burn some serious calories!


The bodybuilding vs martial arts debate has been heating up for years, but the reality is that each choice comes with its own set of perks and challenges.

If you’re looking to get strong and build muscle mass, then bodybuilding is your best bet.

Martial arts, on the other hand, provides a great workout while teaching you timeless fighting skills perfect if you want to increase speed and agility.

No matter which path you choose, dedication is a must; working hard will be essential to take your fitness goals to the next level. So don’t hesitate to start today and unlock your inner warrior!

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.