Is Martial Art Better Than The Gym? An expert weighs in

Weight lifting

Throughout the last eight years, I’ve had experience with many types of martial arts, weight lifting, running, and many other pieces of training. Consequently, I can assist you in choosing which workout you should focus on

Martial art training is not better than working out in the gym. Because martial arts won’t cause significant muscle growth, combining both weight lifting and fighting is crucial to progress. For instance, an individual who solely does martial arts won’t build muscle, which is vital. 

Many people may get confused about what type of workout they should do. Because of that, understanding your goals and being dynamic with the way you train is crucial to progress. Read the entirety of this post to learn what pieces of training you should and shouldn’t do.

What is better, gym or martial arts?

An individual looking to improve his overall well-being should keep his workouts dynamic. Thus, combining pieces of training from various fields will assist one in seeing more progress. Additionally, understanding your goals will drastically help you know what you need to accomplish.

As a general rule, the gym isn’t better than martial arts, nor the opposite. As a result, combining both fields of work to maximize results is a guideline you should follow. For instance, an individual who exclusively focuses on martial arts will see fewer results than one who trains both.

Krav Maga study
A study conducted in 2019.

In a study conducted in 2019, we can see the effect a Krav Maga session has on a person. It’s intenste and will eventually cause an improvement in one’s physical metrics. Consequently, don’t think you shouldn’t do martial arts because they won’t get you in shape, because they will.

A study conducted in 2019.

Let’s discuss the various goals you may have. First, if you’re looking to build muscle, I highly encourage you to consider weight lifting. Such a workout will tear down your muscles. That, with proper nutrition, will cause your muscles to build.

Secondly, if you’re looking to improve your character, I recommend trying martial arts. In the years I did Krav Maga, I had low self-confidence and a weak mentality. 

From doing Krav Maga and continuously working on myself, my character slowly built and noticing a change was unchallenging. As a result, I knew that it was from all the time I invested in these workouts. 

As time went on, the classes I’ve been through taught me plenty of meaningful skills. Being highly aggressive when I needed to use physical force, for instance, was one of them. Therefore, I had become more aware of my surroundings and had a solid mental state. 

Overall, doing martial arts changed my life and will change yours. Consequently, there isn’t a single part of my body that’ll advise you not to pick up a fighting style. 

If you’re a beginner, don’t go anywhere. I wrote an article on whether you should begin learning a martial art. I highly encourage you to read it as it will change your mindset.

Can you build muscle with martial arts?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Having proper nutrition combined with the right workout routine will build you muscle. Therefore, before you begin trying to do so, ensure you’re familiar with the right way of doing so. 

Overall, you can build muscle with martial arts. Because most muscle groups in your body work while doing martial arts, they will begin tearing down. As a result, with proper nutrition, you’ll notice muscle growth. Additionally, adding weight lifting sessions to your workout routine will assist.

I can’t stress enough how essential proper nutrition is to muscle growth. If you won’t consume more calories than you burn and a high quantity of protein, you won’t notice muscle growth.

Hence before starting your journey, I highly encourage you to study the science behind building muscles.

Usually, doing martial arts isn’t enough for bulking up. As a result, adding various pieces of training from different fields, such as weight lifting, will be of value to your progression. 

Throughout my military training, I’ve put on 8-kgs of pure muscle. How did I manage to do so? By combining various pieces of activity from different fields. For instance, my team and I would do two Krav Maga sessions and five gym sessions a week. 

Therefore, I was able to put on plenty of muscle. Because of that, I highly encourage you not to do martial arts exclusively; but to visit the gym. 

Do martial arts get you in shape?

Training the correct way will ensure you eventually get in shape. Thus knowing what to do will assist you in improving your well-being faster. Additionally, I’ve gone from being overweight to being a special forces operator in a few years. Consequently, knowing my beliefs will be of value to you. 

Martial arts will get you in shape. Because doing them involves using many muscle groups, workouts will be more efficient. As a result, your physical metrics will improve, and you’ll get in shape faster. For instance, Krav Maga involves using more muscle groups than running. 

Therefore, if getting in shape is your goal, training in martial arts is a fantastic way of doing so. 

I can safely say that Krav Maga was the most intense workout I’ve ever done. As a result, they were the most effective in improving my physical condition. Additionally, they assisted me in burning more calories than usual. 

I wrote an entire article on whether martial arts is a suitable way to get in shape. I highly encourage you to check it out to expand your knowledge.

To summarize, getting in shape involves improving your physical metrics with various workouts. Hence to accomplish that, you must include intense pieces of training in your workout routine. That way, you’ll ensure your condition betters itself with time. 

Can gym help in martial arts?

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay

Improving in martial arts may be difficult. Therefore, doing various actions may result in a roundabout way of improving. The gym is a fantastic instance where that’s the case.

Strength training and conditioning in the gym will help your martial arts capabilities. Because they’ll prevent injury, increase strength, and improve your mobility, they’re essential for your progress. Hence weight lifting and conditioning will provide high value to you while doing martial arts.

Because of that, one may better his martial arts game by going to the gym. Weight lifting works on different motions than you’re used to on your fighting workouts. As a result, your body will solely benefit from them. 

Not only will they improve your mobility, but they’ll also better your overall strength. That way, every punch you send will immediately hold more power. 

Consequently, if doing self-defense is one of your goals, you’ll benefit from it. You’ll have more powerful and intimidating moves. 

To summarize, the gym will highly benefit one’s martial arts capability. Weight lifting, conditioning, and stretching are all workouts that’ll assist your skills. Therefore, the gym holds a high value in improving your fighting style. 


Doing martial arts may be challenging to some. As a result, you may want to consider different pieces of training from various fields to add to your workout routine. Doing this will ensure you improve your game. 

Conditioning, weight lifting, and stretching are all fantastic examples of workouts you can start adding to your workout routine. Doing these will allow your body to progress faster.

Additionally, nutrition plays a large part in your progression. It’ll be the deciding factor on whether your physical metrics improve your decline. Therefore, I highly encourage you to research the different foods you should eat to get results.

Lastly, some think that if they do martial arts, they’ll improve their physical metrics. However, that’s not entirely true. By combining various pieces of training, you’ll ensure you progress quickly and get in shape. For that reason, the gym is not worse or better than martial arts.


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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