I’ll be honest. I’ve seen 300 lb people that are pure muscle get dropped like a feather in a fight. I’ve also seen 105 lb lightweight people take multiple hits in a fight. But, what’s the truth, and does bodybuilding increase your chances of winning a fight? Can bodybuilders fight?
The answer is a little more complicated than it seems. Bodybuilding itself does not make you a better fighter. However, if you do Muay Thai or Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu classes, bodybuilding can make you nearly unstoppable if you know your technique well. The strength causes the technique to be nearly impossible to slip out of. However, in a normal fistfight- things can really go either way, albeit the bodybuilder may have a stronger punch to land.
And the myth that bodybuilders can’t fight is just that- a myth. Bodybuilders are more than capable of winning fights and I have seen numerous MMA matches won by bodybuilders.
But, let’s cover this way more in-depth and really explain the the answer to, Can Bodybuilders Fight?
Why Can Bodybuilders Fight?
But Tommy, everybody says bodybuilders are super slow and can’t fight. What gives? Why can bodybuilders fight- they’re supposed to be slow!
I don’t know why this myth even started. People have forever said that bodybuilders can’t fight because they are ‘too slow’. However, this is just simply wrong.
When you get a ton of muscle, you don’t just like “slow down” or whatever people say.
Personally me and my friend Preston had a ton of muscle going into wrestling. Not saying me and him were good at the sport (it was our first month wrestling) but it actually did help us a lot in a lot of situations.
Even when I went against people from varsity teams from other cities, I never was ‘completely screwed over’ because my strength I had gained from bodybuilding actually helped me get out of a ton of risky situations. I was able to break half-nelsons, pull away their grips, or even just by peer strength stand up again.
However, I soon went into Brazilian jiu-jitsu. And the same thing applies there. While people with better technique than me can almost always win against me, they always commented on how my strength is just a big pain in the backside to deal with.
They have to constantly rearrange grips, position differently, and it just makes it way harder to win against me- even if I am far less skilled.
The bottom line? Just because you have muscle, doesn’t mean you suddenly start losing fights.
What About Fist Fights?
Everybody is always talking about fist fights. Truth is, fist fights are stupid.
The truth is, if you’re a 300 lb MMA menace, you can get knocked out by someone who weighs 105 lbs and you can literally die. And no, that’s not a joke.
Fistfights have that weird random chance factor to them because our ‘brains’ don’t like to be rapidly moved around. In fact, if our brains get moved rapidly around too much, it just shuts off. (being knocked out)
This means even if a 105lb kid leans really hard and just lands a good hit at the right spot, no matter what you do, you’re gone.
And vice versa, if a 300lb pure muscle machine hits you- you might not even react at all. Your brain might stay awake, or it might not. There’s just a chance of ‘randomness’ to all of it.
But, Bodybuilders May Actually Have an Edge Because of That
Here’s the thing, the stronger you are, the stronger you can land a punch.
That’s assuming you know how to throw a punch right. See, many people can be strong- but also not know how to correctly angle their hips or do anything right at all.
But let’s assume that both candidates both know their fair share of boxing and know how to land a real punch.
In this instance, the bodybuilder may actually have an edge just because of the laws of physics.
Force = Mass * Acceleration.
The more mass that is being thrown at the same acceleration level, means more force. Simply put, the 105lb kid throwing a punch at the same acceleration as the bodybuilder will output less force just because of the mass behind it.
There’s also other factors like “techincally” you might be outputting more acceleration if your muscles are more developed.
However, this can backfire for the bodybuilder.
Can having too much muscle actually SLOW your acceleration?
So here’s where many people call ‘bodybuilders’ weak in a fight.
Many people believe that having too much muscle can actually SLOW your acceleration in a fight, therefore reducing the force outputted.
However, there is a few problems with this.
If the bodybuilder has more mass, but less acceleration, it will still be around the same amount of force outputted. So, regardless, it doesn’t change much there.
The big argument is that the bodybuilder has a much harder time dodging these punches because of their weight.
This argument definitely is brought into heavy consideration, but it falls short ultimately.
“Bodybuilder” is a Broad Term
Bodybuilder is a broad term. This means your ‘bodybuilder’ friend can weigh 150 lbs and be jacked, or he can weigh 305 lbs and be jacked.
Really, you need to assess their size.
Someone like Rich Piana with 23.5 inch arms might be a little slower with his movements, but you can be sure he hits like a freight train colliding with a compact car.
But your friend that weighs maybe 180 lbs or 200 lbs probably isn’t going to be that much ‘slower’ and in fact will probably be as fast as anybody else out there in the fight club.
I mean really, unless they are pushing 270-300 lbs, I don’t see how they would be much slower in a fight at all.
Grip Strength Wins a Lot of Fights
This is something you’ll find out if you really get into MMA/fighting.
Grip strength really does win a lot of fights. If you’ve ever wrestled, done MMA, or any sort of grappling style of fighting, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
In fact, it’s this reason exactly why so many wrestling/MMA programs focus on grip strength in part of their conditioning and workouts. You might not realize it, but a lot of the practice is actually building up your forearms.
From things like plate raises, farmers carries, or even just general practice, you might not realize it- but your forearms are growing.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), the bodybuilder will have the upper hand here. You simply cannot bench press/do barbell rows/deadlift without your grip strength increasing. Furthermore, many workout programs will specifically have you workout your forearms such as in Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass.
Bodybuilding ALONE Does Not Help You Win Fights
No, just going to the gym and lifting weights will not help you win fights.
If you meet someone that is 300 lbs of pure muscle mass but they’ve never been in a fight in their life, there’s nothing to worry about.
So no, just having high numbers on your bench or squat will not make you some unstoppable force.
This is actually a big misconception too. People think they go into the gym, start benching 135 lbs (yep) and think they can sock anybody that “fronts up to them” and anhiliate them.
That’s not how any of this works. Sure, if you lift a lot you will find yourself being a little stronger in a fight. But I promise you, there will always be some guy that is 105 lbs and homeless that will put you in a coma because he knows his way around a fight.
Conclusion of Can Bodybuilders Fight?
Well, turns out- bodybuilders can fight.
But no, bodybuilding itself doesn’t make you some champion at the sport. You need to actually know how to fight. However, if a bodybuilder does know how to fight (6 years MMA btw) they will certainly have a big upper hand considering their strength can easily win them a fight.