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Muscle Mass Pros and Cons

Hi everyone,

me and a guy at my kickboxing gym had a discussion wether in a street fight muscle mass would be beneficial or if a wiry guy with better relative strength would be in a advantage provided both have the same skill level.

I wanted to know your guys thoughts on the pros and cons of added strength & muscle mass in a street fight as opposed to “just” strength.
So for example two otherwise identical guys fight, both have the same strength in compound lifts, one just carries 20 pounds more muscle.

The Pros I could think of:
More weight behind punches and kicks
More pressure on the ground
Harder to get taken down

The Cons:
You tire out faster (but since most street fights dont even last a minute that wouldnt be too much of an issue)
Less speed/agility

What is your take on it?

So pretty much one bloke has like 10kgs on the other guy?

Yeah, pretty much, its just an example.

If the guy is 20lbs of lean mass lighter but just as “strong” on compound lifts, chances are he’s not really stronger. He may be a better lifter and/or have better leverages, but the guy with 20lbs of added muscle on his frame will have the advantage in brute forcing another person, all other things being equal.

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According to his scenario they are identical except for weight. It’s like me vs another me with 20 extra pounds of muscle. I don’t see how I could put on 20 pounds of muscle yet not get stronger.

And to your point, I’ve seen guys outmuscle others who could lift more, or rather, lift more on specific lifts.

I also think the idea that an extra 20 pounds will somehow make you tire faster is not necessarily true.

The guy with more mass may be better suited for grapples and take downs as you can use your weight to throw the other guy around.

One time I was in a fight after school, the guy who wanted to fight me knocked a kid out before at a party. Everybody was in a circle so he went at me with fists raised.I didnt know what to do since im not experienced in fights, so I just charged him.He hit me in the shoulder before I reached in and grabbed him by the waist and sorta threw him to the ground then twisted him around until he screetched. I just dragged him around and twisted his arms while he tried to kick me. Then I got him in a headlock and it was over. He was popular for fighting in school and had way more more experience and a major height/reach advantage. I probably has around 30lbs more then him and more strength and once I got him to the ground it was over. (P.s ive never had any real fight/wrestling experience before the incident)

This is some straight up DBZ stuff right here.

One of the big things to keep in mind is that the primary purpose of martial arts was to come up with a way to have enough skill to overcome a size advantage. Typically, all things being equal, the bigger opponent wins. This is what is observed in nature, and it’s why weight classes exist in the sport.

Heavier would win over taller if i had to guess.

Poor guess, as it’s been demonstrated many times to be the opposite of true.

I guess if muscle mass doesn’t matter why do weight classes exist? I’m assuming light heavy weights don’t fight middle weights cause the middle weights would lose. Otherwise I don’t know why weight classes existed. I realize the discussion is about street fighters but professionals have differences in relative strength with similar skill levels.

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Doesn’t surprise me, unless someone has some serious training or actual experience, mass and strength always wins

I don’t know. They have weight classes, not height classes.

Yes, but in open weight and unlimited competitions, taller opponents have beat heavier opponents.

Reach is a factor, just like weight. Knowing how to use it is important. To guess that weight will always beat size is a poor guess.

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And shorter and lighter people have beaten taller and heavier. LeBron isn’t beating prime Tyson. And Tyson beat a lot of taller and heavier opponents.

You realize you are agreeing with me here, yes?

LeBron isn’t beating any fighter in a fight. There used to be really tall NBA players who would throw down, but you need to back to the 1980’s before the league went soft.

Kurt Rambis was tough as nails. I think he’d give any fighter under 5’3" some real problems.

Charles Oakley’s still ready to put up at the drop of a hat.


Larry Bird would destroy most featherweight MMA fighters of today.

That feeling of fear for us spectacled fellows when your glasses go flying and there’s other people running around nearby :flushed:

You can see it in his eyes

False. Rambis had no fear.

I think there’s a bit of bias to the whole “muscular guy burns out quickly” thing because of the examples shown in MMA. The really muscular guys seem to cut a lot of weight, which I think it hurting their conditioning.

However (TOTAL BRO ANECDOTE ALERT) I think the training that leads to more muscular bodies tends to ignore some of the training needed for longer lasting conditioning. During my recent exploration into combat sports, I’ve been helping with some strength and conditioning with amateur and pro guys. I remember one day doing a weighted dip drop set. I did the most weight and the most reps in the first set, but by the time I was down to the bodyweight set I could barely do 5. The other guys still hit 20+ on their last set. Maybe its saving oneself to perform throughout, maybe it’s a fiber type thing, I’m not really sure. But it was a bit eye opening.