why mma fighters dont have broad shoulders

why mma fighters dont have broad shoulders

Why MMA Fighters Don’t Have Broad Shoulders

There is a common misconception that mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters do not have broad shoulders. While it is true that many MMA fighters may not possess the same level of shoulder width as bodybuilders or weightlifters, there are several reasons for this phenomenon. In this article, we will explore various factors that contribute to the perceived lack of broad shoulders among MMA fighters.

1. Training Focus

MMA fighters prioritize functional strength and overall athleticism over specific muscle development. Their training focuses on a wide range of skills, including striking, grappling, and conditioning. While exercises like bench presses or lateral raises can contribute to shoulder width, they are not the primary focus of their training routines.

2. Body Composition

MMA fighters strive to maintain a lean and agile physique to maximize their performance in the ring. This often means having a lower body fat percentage, which can make the shoulders appear less broad. However, their shoulder muscles may still be well-developed and strong, despite not being as visually prominent.

3. Weight Class Considerations

MMA fighters compete in different weight classes, which require them to meet specific weight limits. To compete in a lower weight class, fighters may need to prioritize weight loss over muscle mass gain. This can result in a more streamlined physique, including less pronounced shoulder width.

4. Genetics

Genetics play a significant role in determining an individual’s muscle development and body structure. Some people naturally have broader shoulders, while others may have narrower frames. MMA fighters, like any other athletes, come in a variety of body types, and their shoulder width is influenced by their genetic predisposition.

5. Injury Prevention

MMA training involves a high level of physical contact and strain on the body. To minimize the risk of shoulder injuries, fighters may prioritize exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff and improve joint stability rather than solely focusing on shoulder width. This can result in less emphasis on exercises that specifically target shoulder width.

6. Weight Training Techniques

MMA fighters often incorporate weight training into their routines to improve overall strength and power. However, their training methods may differ from those of bodybuilders or weightlifters. They tend to focus on compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, rather than isolation exercises that specifically target the shoulders. This approach can lead to less emphasis on shoulder width development.

7. Weight Cutting Practices

Prior to a fight, MMA fighters often undergo weight cutting practices to make weight for their respective weight classes. These practices involve temporary dehydration and drastic reductions in calorie intake. These factors can affect muscle fullness and make the shoulders appear less broad temporarily.

8. Functional Movement Patterns

MMA fighters prioritize functional movement patterns that mimic real-life situations in a fight. While broad shoulders may contribute to aesthetics, they may not necessarily enhance functional performance. Fighters focus on movements such as punching, clinching, and takedowns, which require a balance of strength, speed, and agility.

9. Individual Training Preferences

why mma fighters dont have broad shoulders

Every MMA fighter has unique training preferences and priorities. Some fighters may choose to incorporate specific shoulder width exercises into their routines, while others may not. The variation in training approaches can contribute to the perceived differences in shoulder width among MMA fighters.

10. Time Constraints

MMA fighters often have limited time to train due to their busy schedules, which can include multiple training sessions, conditioning, and recovery. With limited time available, fighters may prioritize other aspects of training, such as skill development or cardiovascular conditioning, over exercises that specifically target shoulder width.


While it may be true that MMA fighters do not typically have as broad shoulders as bodybuilders or weightlifters, there are several reasons for this. Their training focus, body composition, weight class considerations, genetics, injury prevention, weight training techniques, weight cutting practices, functional movement patterns, individual training preferences, and time constraints all contribute to the perceived lack of broad shoulders among MMA fighters. It is important to remember that each athlete’s body is unique, and their training goals and priorities may differ from those in other sports.

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