Does Punching Your Abs Help? (Truth About Conditioning)

It may seem pretty crazy to an outsider, but the new trend in fitness to get a six-pack is to simply take punches right in the stomach.

Does Punching Your Abs Help?

But does this work? Does this painful method have any weight behind it or is it all blown air?

Read on to find out the science behind this.

Does Anyone Voluntarily Take Punches To The Abdomen?

Yes, they do. For many professions such as MMA, Muay Thai, or boxing, taking a beating is literally part of their job description.

Practicing to absorb these blows makes perfect sense, both physically and mentally.

Pro Muay Thai fighter Mia King takes regular leg kicks to the stomach as she squats whilst doing her training.

It’s not just prime fighters who adopt this technique during training even some celebrities such as Joe Jonas videoed themselves taking shots to the stomach during workouts.

Is It About Getting Abs?

You can’t just bet your abs into submission. So, why do people get socked in the stomach during their training?

It turns out, it’s not actually about the external hit at all. Rather, it’s about the internal muscles tensing in preparation to be hit.

What you’ll find in common with all of these videos posted of athletes and celebs is that they are always prepared for the hit- they aren’t just getting a walloping.

Whilst an external hit won’t make a muscle tighter or harder, contracting your muscles in preparation to get hit does strengthen your core.

This tension that you put on your muscles as you prepare for contact is what creates stronger muscle fibers, and thus can help you to build a six-pack.

It is all about training the muscles to contract on demand, rather than the external force of the hit that can help to tone and shape the muscles.

This sort of method of preparing for a punch teaches people to fully engage their core in ab exercises and their core muscles throughout their workout and daily life.

Preparing For A Hit

When you are training for MMA, Boxing, or any other contact sport, it’s not just about building the muscles in your body.

It’s also about building your reflexes. Tensing your muscles before a hit is essential for standing the test of time against an opponent in the ring.

By tensing your stomach, you are protecting your organs and also creating a harder surface to get hit by the impact.

Is This A Good Way To Train?

For the average Joe? No, not at all. Missing the tensing of the muscles and absorbing the impact of a full punch to your gut will not only hurt like hell, but it can also cause you serious injuries and damage your vital organs.

And this will not give you any gains at the gym when you’re lying on a stretcher.

If you are an athlete or professional and have a trusted partner whom you can train with, then punching in a controlled and routine manner can be beneficial.

It is essential however that you are already confident in your ability to tighten your ab muscles for impact before you start this sort of training exercise.

As a regular gym-goer, you can have a partner perform a kick or punch motion whilst you reflexively tighten your muscles without them hitting your body.

You’ll get the reflexive training and core tightening, and you save yourself from any mishaps as a non-professional. Remember, the hit itself isn’t adding anything to your ab routine, we promise.

What Can You Do To Boost Your Abs?

Does Punching Your Abs Help

To get the most out of your ab exercises, you should be engaging your core as much as you can throughout your workout.

A good way to do this is when performing something like crunches, visualize someone hitting you as you begin your move.

Or, if you’re not keen on imagining a swift punch, just make a concerted effort to tense up your core muscles.

After you get used to the feeling of tensing up your muscles, you’ll be able to do it on cue a lot easier, which will make your natural reaction to tense when you perform anything from a pull-up to a crunch.

Breathing through your ab exercises is also a solid way to boost your results. By maintaining a steady and controlled breath throughout your reps, you’ll be able to get the most out of your workout.

It takes a lot of effort to complete the reps but taking the time to focus on your breathing pays off in the long run.

Good Habits For Getting Abs

The best way to get a svelt set of abs is to set yourself a good routine and prioritize it as a goal right now.


Stop thinking about how you can outsmart the gym. Find yourself a solid plan that you can work from that works your whole body out, and then do some additional exercises that target your abs.

You can’t target fat loss, so if you have a bit of weight to lose, any full-body exercise will help you on your way to getting shapely abs.

If you’re already in good shape, add in some ab forced workouts or add additional resistance to your current routine.


You are setting yourself up for failure if you are eating away all of your progress at the gym.

Even if you are gaining those muscles, if you are overindulging during dinner time, those muscles are going to be hidden behind a layer of fat.

If having visible abs is your goal, make a note of the nutrition you are fueling your body with and perhaps replace some of the fat you are consuming with lean protein and whole foods.


If getting abs is your focus, you should probably say goodbye to cheat days. What’s the point in putting in all of that time and effort over the week if you are going to ruin it every weekend without fail?

Consistency is key to achieving your goals, so make them a priority.

Final Thoughts

Rather than focussing on the weirdest and seemingly ‘quick-fix’ results for getting abs, the best way is usually to go back to basics.

At the end of the day, and you’ll hate me for saying this, weight loss and muscle building are actually pretty simple.

It comes down to what you put into your body, how you train your body and consistency. Doing the damn thing? Now that’s not quite as easy.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy our article on ‘How To Throw A Hook‘.

Christopher Anderson
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