Are you tired of the same old gym routine and looking for a new, exciting way to get ripped?
Look no further!
Martial arts offer an incredible opportunity to not only learn self-defense but also sculpt your body into a lean, mean, fighting machine.
With a focus on strength, flexibility, and overall fitness, martial arts training provides a unique and effective workout that’s anything but monotonous.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve handpicked the top 10 martial arts disciplines that will take your physical prowess to new heights, while simultaneously teaching you valuable skills and techniques.
So get ready to unleash your inner warrior and embark on a transformative journey that goes beyond the mat.
10 Best Martial Arts for Getting Ripped
The best martial arts for getting a really ripped body are:
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
- Muay Thai
- Krav Maga
- Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Let’s take a closer look at each of these and why they’re good for building muscle.
Originating from Brazil and rooted in Japanese Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that emphasizes groundwork and submission techniques.
BJJ is an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped, as it targets multiple muscle groups and provides a full-body workout.
Focus on Groundwork and Submission
BJJ teaches you how to effectively control and submit your opponent using a variety of joint locks and chokeholds.
Rather than relying on brute strength, BJJ focuses on leverage and technique, allowing even smaller practitioners to overcome larger opponents.
This ground-based martial art requires the constant engagement of your core and lower body, resulting in a truly intense workout.
Develops Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance
Training in BJJ will not only improve your strength but also enhance your flexibility and endurance.
As you grapple with your opponent, you’ll engage muscles you never knew you had and develop functional strength that translates to improved performance in everyday life.
The dynamic nature of BJJ will also help you increase your cardiovascular endurance, making it an all-around fitness powerhouse.
Great for Core and Lower Body Conditioning
One of the main benefits of BJJ is its focus on core and lower body conditioning.
The various techniques, transitions, and grappling moves require the constant engagement of your abdominal, lower back, and leg muscles.
This leads to a strong, well-defined core and a sculpted lower body that not only looks great but also improves your overall stability and power.
If you’re seeking a martial art that provides a challenging and effective full-body workout, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may be the perfect choice.
Not only will you develop functional strength and flexibility, but you’ll also gain valuable self-defense skills that can be applied in real-world situations.
Originating from Thailand, Muay Thai is a highly effective and intense martial art that has gained worldwide recognition for its powerful strikes and techniques.
Known as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai utilizes punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, making it an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped while learning a comprehensive striking system.
Known as “The Art of Eight Limbs”
Muay Thai distinguishes itself from other martial arts by employing eight points of contact – the fists, elbows, knees, and shins.
This creates a diverse and potent arsenal of strikes that allows practitioners to attack and defend from various angles and ranges.
By incorporating these multiple striking points, Muay Thai training ensures a well-rounded and dynamic workout that keeps your body guessing.
Excellent Full-Body Workout
Muay Thai offers a full-body workout that engages all major muscle groups.
The striking techniques involve both the upper and lower body, resulting in improved muscle tone and definition.
Additionally, the intense training sessions – which include pad work, bag work, and sparring – provide a high-calorie burn that contributes to fat loss and a leaner physique.
Improves Cardiovascular Fitness, Strength, and Flexibility
As a high-intensity martial art, Muay Thai is an exceptional way to boost your cardiovascular fitness.
The rigorous training sessions push your body to its limits, increasing your heart rate and improving your endurance.
Additionally, Muay Thai builds functional strength through resistance training, bodyweight exercises, and plyometrics.
Furthermore, the dynamic nature of the strikes and techniques helps to enhance flexibility, especially in the hips and legs.
If you’re searching for a martial art that offers a comprehensive and challenging workout, Muay Thai is an excellent choice.
By training in this intense and powerful discipline, you’ll not only sculpt a lean and strong physique, but you’ll also develop valuable striking skills that can be applied in self-defense and combat sports.
With a history dating back to ancient civilizations, boxing is a classic and time-tested martial art that focuses on striking techniques using fists.
Renowned for its ability to develop upper body and core strength, boxing is an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped while learning the art of the “sweet science.”
Classic Discipline for Upper Body and Core Strength
Boxing training is heavily centered around developing powerful punches and quick, agile footwork.
As a result, it provides an intense workout for the upper body, particularly the arms, shoulders, and chest.
Additionally, boxing places a significant emphasis on core strength and stability, which helps to sculpt a strong and toned midsection.
Enhances Cardiovascular Endurance and Agility
Boxing is known for its fast-paced and high-intensity nature, making it an excellent way to improve cardiovascular endurance.
Training sessions typically involve a combination of shadowboxing, bag work, pad work, and sparring, all of which demand sustained effort and push your cardiovascular system to its limits.
Furthermore, boxing enhances agility and footwork, promoting quick and nimble movements in the ring.
Teaches Discipline, Focus, and Mental Resilience
Beyond its physical benefits, boxing also offers valuable mental and psychological rewards.
The intense and focused nature of boxing training instills a strong sense of discipline and commitment in its practitioners.
Additionally, boxing challenges you to remain calm and focused under pressure, fostering mental resilience and the ability to think strategically during high-stress situations.
If you’re searching for a martial art that offers an intense and effective workout while also honing your mental fortitude, boxing is an excellent choice.
By dedicating yourself to the art of boxing, you’ll not only develop a lean and powerful physique, but you’ll also acquire the discipline, focus, and resilience needed to excel in all aspects of life.
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Kickboxing is a dynamic and powerful martial art that combines elements of boxing and traditional karate techniques.
As a versatile and high-energy discipline, kickboxing is an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped while learning a comprehensive and effective striking system.
Combination of Boxing and Karate Techniques
Kickboxing fuses the powerful hand strikes of boxing with the dynamic kicks and footwork of traditional karate.
This unique blend results in a diverse array of striking techniques that engage both the upper and lower body, providing a well-rounded and challenging workout.
Total Body Workout with Emphasis on Leg Muscles
While kickboxing engages all major muscle groups, it places a particular emphasis on the legs.
The various kicks and footwork exercises help to tone and strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, resulting in powerful and sculpted leg muscles.
Additionally, kickboxing also targets the core, arms, and shoulders, ensuring a balanced and effective total body workout.
Boosts Stamina, Flexibility, and Reflexes
Kickboxing training is high-intensity and fast-paced, making it an excellent way to boost stamina and cardiovascular fitness.
The demanding nature of kickboxing workouts pushes your body to its limits, helping you to increase your endurance and overall fitness level.
Furthermore, the dynamic movements and wide range of techniques promote flexibility, particularly in the hips and legs.
The focus on quick, powerful strikes also helps to sharpen reflexes and improve reaction time.
If you’re seeking a martial art that offers a challenging and diverse workout, kickboxing is an excellent choice.
By incorporating elements of both boxing and karate, kickboxing provides a comprehensive and effective way to develop a lean and powerful physique, while also improving stamina, flexibility, and reflexes.
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Originating from Korea, Taekwondo is a high-intensity martial art known for its impressive and dynamic kicks, jumping, and spinning techniques.
As a discipline that places a strong emphasis on lower body movements, Taekwondo is an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped while learning an exciting and visually striking martial art.
High-Intensity Korean Martial Art
Taekwondo is characterized by its fast-paced and energetic nature, making it an excellent workout for those seeking a high-intensity martial art.
Training sessions often involve a combination of drills, forms, sparring, and conditioning exercises, all designed to push your body to its limits and develop explosive power.
Focus on High, Fast Kicks and Jumping/Spinning Techniques
One of the defining features of Taekwondo is its focus on high, fast kicks, as well as jumping and spinning techniques.
These dynamic movements require a great deal of strength, flexibility, and balance, resulting in a challenging and rewarding workout that targets the lower body and core muscles.
Develops Leg Strength, Flexibility, and Balance
Taekwondo training is particularly beneficial for developing leg strength, as the various kicks and footwork exercises engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
Additionally, the emphasis on high, fast kicks and jumping/spinning techniques promotes flexibility in the hips, legs, and lower back.
Furthermore, the dynamic nature of Taekwondo movements helps to improve balance and stability, contributing to overall functional fitness.
If you’re seeking a martial art that offers an intense and visually impressive workout, Taekwondo is an excellent choice.
By mastering the art of high, fast kicks and dynamic jumping/spinning techniques, you’ll not only develop a lean and powerful physique, but you’ll also enhance your leg strength, flexibility, and balance.
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Developed in Israel for military and civilian self-defense, Krav Maga is a practical and efficient martial art that focuses on real-world applications.
As a discipline that offers a full-body workout while teaching valuable self-defense skills, Krav Maga is an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped and feel confident in their ability to protect themselves and others.
Israeli Martial Arts for Self-Defense
Krav Maga was created with the primary goal of enabling practitioners to effectively defend themselves and others in real-life situations.
It emphasizes simplicity, speed, and efficiency, incorporating strikes, holds, and joint locks from various martial arts.
Krav Maga training also includes situational drills and scenario-based exercises to help prepare you for potential threats and attacks.
Full-Body Workout with Real-world Applications
Krav Maga training provides a comprehensive full-body workout, engaging all major muscle groups through a combination of striking techniques, grappling, and bodyweight exercises.
The practical nature of Krav Maga ensures that the skills and techniques you learn can be directly applied to real-world self-defense situations, making it an empowering and confidence-building martial art.
Increases Stamina, Strength, and Situational Awareness
Krav Maga training is high-intensity and fast-paced, making it an excellent way to increase stamina and cardiovascular fitness.
The combination of striking, grappling, and conditioning exercises also helps to develop functional strength and muscle tone.
Furthermore, the situational drills and scenario-based training in Krav Maga promote heightened situational awareness, enabling you to recognize and respond effectively to potential threats.
If you’re seeking a martial art that offers a challenging workout while teaching practical self-defense skills, Krav Maga is an excellent choice.
By training in this efficient and empowering discipline, you’ll not only develop a lean and strong physique but also enhance your stamina, strength, and situational awareness, allowing you to feel confident in your ability to protect yourself and others.
Originating in Japan, Judo is a martial art that focuses primarily on throws and grappling techniques.
As a discipline that offers both physical and mental benefits, Judo is an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped while developing mental toughness and strategic thinking skills.
Japanese Martial Arts Focusing on Throws and Grappling
Judo, which means “gentle way” in Japanese, is a martial art that emphasizes the use of leverage, balance, and timing to execute effective throws and grappling techniques.
Rather than relying on brute strength, Judo teaches practitioners to use their opponent’s energy and movements against them, making it an efficient and intelligent martial art.
Enhances Core Strength, Flexibility, and Balance
Training in Judo offers numerous physical benefits, including enhanced core strength, flexibility, and balance.
The various throws and grappling techniques require constant engagement of the core muscles, resulting in a strong and toned midsection.
Additionally, Judo training involves a range of dynamic movements that promote flexibility, especially in the hips and lower back.
The emphasis on balance and leverage in Judo techniques also helps to improve overall stability and body awareness.
Develops Mental Toughness and Strategic Thinking
Beyond its physical benefits, Judo offers valuable mental and psychological rewards as well.
The intense and focused nature of Judo training instills a strong sense of discipline and commitment in its practitioners.
Furthermore, the strategic aspect of Judo – the ability to read an opponent’s movements and react accordingly – fosters mental toughness and sharpens decision-making skills under pressure.
If you’re seeking a martial art that offers a challenging workout while also honing your mental fortitude and strategic thinking, Judo is an excellent choice.
By dedicating yourself to the art of Judo, you’ll not only develop a lean and powerful physique but also acquire the discipline, focus, and resilience needed to excel both on and off the mat.
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As one of the oldest sports with roots in ancient Olympic competitions, wrestling is a test of strength, endurance, and mental fortitude.
This grappling-based martial art emphasizes control, takedowns, and pinning your opponent, making it an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped while developing unparalleled upper-body strength and mental toughness.
Ancient Olympic Sport
Wrestling has a rich and storied history, with evidence of the sport dating back thousands of years.
As one of the original Olympic disciplines, wrestling is a time-tested and globally respected martial art that has stood the test of time due to its physical and mental demands.
Builds Incredible Upper Body Strength and Endurance
Wrestling training focuses on developing exceptional upper body strength through a variety of grappling techniques, bodyweight exercises, and resistance training.
By consistently engaging your arms, shoulders, chest, and back muscles, wrestling helps sculpt a powerful and well-defined upper body.
Additionally, the intense nature of wrestling workouts and matches pushes your cardiovascular system, enhancing endurance and overall fitness.
Enhances Mental Fortitude and Discipline
Beyond its physical benefits, wrestling also fosters mental strength and discipline.
The rigorous and demanding nature of wrestling training instills a strong work ethic, dedication, and perseverance in its practitioners.
Furthermore, the strategic aspect of wrestling – the ability to read an opponent’s movements and respond effectively – helps build mental resilience and the capacity to think critically under pressure.
If you’re seeking a martial art that offers a challenging workout while also honing your mental strength and discipline, wrestling is an excellent choice.
By dedicating yourself to this ancient and respected sport, you’ll not only develop a lean and powerful physique but also acquire the mental fortitude and discipline necessary to excel in all aspects of life.
Capoeira is a unique and captivating Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music.
With its emphasis on fluid and dynamic movements, Capoeira offers a full-body workout that not only develops flexibility, balance, and strength, but also enhances rhythm, coordination, and agility.
Afro-Brazilian Martial Art Combining Dance, Acrobatics, and Music
Developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil during the 16th century, Capoeira was originally a form of self-defense disguised as a dance.
Today, it’s practiced as a martial art that incorporates dance-like movements, acrobatic flips and spins, and the rhythm of traditional music played on instruments like the berimbau, atabaque, and pandeiro.
Full-Body Workout That Develops Flexibility, Balance, and Strength
Capoeira training engages all major muscle groups through a combination of fluid movements, kicks, and acrobatics.
This full-body workout helps to develop flexibility, particularly in the hips and spine and promotes balance through its emphasis on grounded, flowing movements.
Additionally, Capoeira builds functional strength through bodyweight exercises and resistance training, resulting in a lean and toned physique.
Enhances Rhythm, Coordination, and Agility
One of the defining features of Capoeira is its focus on rhythm and coordination.
Practitioners, known as capoeiristas, perform their movements in sync with the music, which fosters a sense of rhythm and timing.
The dynamic nature of Capoeira also requires quick, agile movements and seamless transitions between techniques, helping to develop coordination and agility.
If you’re seeking a martial art that offers a challenging workout while also honing your rhythm, coordination, and agility, Capoeira is an excellent choice.
By immersing yourself in this captivating and dynamic discipline, you’ll not only develop a lean and powerful physique, but you’ll also gain a deep appreciation for the rich Afro-Brazilian cultural heritage that Capoeira embodies.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is a modern and rapidly growing combat sport that combines elements from various martial arts disciplines, offering well-rounded and diverse training.
As a discipline that provides intense full-body workouts and develops a wide range of skills, MMA is an excellent choice for those looking to get ripped while learning striking, grappling, and submission techniques.
Combines Multiple Disciplines for Well-Rounded Training
MMA incorporates techniques from disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, and more, making it a comprehensive and adaptable martial art.
This fusion of styles allows practitioners to develop diverse skills and become proficient in various aspects of combat, both standing and on the ground.
Offers Intense Full-Body Workouts
MMA training provides a challenging and effective full-body workout, engaging all major muscle groups through a combination of striking, grappling, and conditioning exercises.
Training sessions often involve pad work, sparring, drilling, and strength and conditioning exercises, all of which help to develop a lean and powerful physique.
Develops Striking, Grappling, and Submission Skills
One of the key features of MMA is its focus on both striking and grappling techniques, making it a versatile and effective martial art.
Practitioners learn powerful punches, kicks, knees, and elbows from striking disciplines like Muay Thai and Boxing, as well as takedowns, joint locks, and submission holds from grappling arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling.
This diverse range of skills ensures that MMA fighters are well-prepared for any combat situation.
If you’re seeking a martial art that offers a challenging and diverse workout while developing a comprehensive skillset, MMA is an excellent choice.
By training in Mixed Martial Arts, you’ll not only develop a lean and powerful physique, but you’ll also gain proficiency in striking, grappling, and submission techniques, making you a well-rounded and adaptable martial artist.
Armed with the knowledge of the best martial arts for getting ripped, it’s time for you to choose the discipline that resonates with you and aligns with your fitness goals.
Each martial art offers unique benefits and challenges, so consider your personal preferences and objectives when making your decision.
Remember that consistency and dedication are crucial to achieving the lean and powerful physique you desire.
By committing to your chosen martial arts and putting in the hard work during training sessions, you’ll not only see incredible physical results but also experience mental and emotional growth.
So, take the first step towards a stronger, fitter, and more confident version of yourself by embarking on your martial arts journey today.
With time, patience, and perseverance, you’ll witness the transformative power of martial arts and enjoy the rewards of your efforts.
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