BJJ vs Muay Thai for Fitness: The Ultimate Comparison [2021]

bjj vs muay thai for fitness

Are you looking for a new and more fun way of getting fit? Maybe you are bored of just lifting weights in the gym or spending hours on the treadmill? Well, martial arts is definitely a good way of keeping or getting fit while also learning new skills and exploring our bodies in whole new ways.

Muay Thai and BJJ are both popular forms of martial arts. They both have different physical and mental benefits. If you want to know more about which one is better for fitness, then this article is a must-read for you.

We’ll discuss the short history of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ and Muay Thai, the basic differences between them, and which one is more suitable for fitness. So, without further ado, let’s dig into the discussion.

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Martial arts are very popular all over the world due to multiple reasons. While there are different forms of martial arts, each requires a different set of skills and knowledge which also influences how they are being practiced.

However, one common thing amongst most of them is they can massively improve your fitness. They all train and develop us in a way that helps us to become better physically and mentally. Have you ever watched the UFC or boxing? Just look at how athletic and fit those guys and gals are.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai are two of the most popular martial arts. They are very different in styles and you will get to know more about these two art forms in this article. Also, you will understand the significance of the two in terms of physical fitness.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Overview

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also is known as BJJ originated from Judo. It has gone through several transformations and finally came to its present form as BJJ. It was developed and shaped to the modern style of fighting that it is today by the Gracie family of Brazil. From then on, this martial art has gotten attention from fighters worldwide. It uses the power of grappling against an opponent and teaches them how to use their physical weight against them.

Also read our comparison of BJJ vs Judo.

Muay Thai – Overview

Muay Thai is a martial art that incorporates kicks and strikes. It can be a very brutal sport and makes use of elbows, kicks, and knees (it’s also referred to as the “Art of the 8 Limbs”). Muay Thai is considered a sport globally and intense competitions are arranged for this. However, many people train to achieve physical and mental fitness.

muay thai fitness workout

BJJ vs. Muay Thai for fitness

It is very difficult to compare the two as they both require intense physical training but are practiced differently. Both of these martial art forms help to achieve physical fitness. It depends on your preference as to which one you want to train.

BJJ Fitness Benefits

BJJ helps achieving physical fitness because of the insane number of calories you burn while training. Sparring for an hour can burn you up to 1000 calories. You need to be always alert and prepared for making your next move. It teaches you how to bring the fights that end up on the ground to your favor. The hours of training make you more physically fit and active. A lot of the moves in BJJ require you to use your entire body against a resisting opponent.

Besides, making you physically fit, it also helps to develop you mentally. By learning BJJ you will also learn how to win against an opponent which is much stronger and larger than you physically. That is why BJJ is very popular among women across the globe as a self-defense technique.

But how do you do that? Well, it all depends on the strategy. Like any other sport, BJJ teaches you moves to defeat an opponent by using leverage and their own body weight against them. Because of this, you also improve your mental fitness. It gives you clarity of thought to understand situations better. It is also a great stress buster. That is why it is very good for the overall fitness of an individual.

1. Weight Loss

BJJ requires a lot of drilling and practice to master. The constant rolling and grappling is an inevitable part of the training. Because of the hardcore training that goes on behind the scenes, BJJ helps to lose a lot of weight.

People often think that one can only practice BJJ if they fall under a certain weight limit. But this is not true. Even if you are overweight, you can lose a significant amount of weight and become more active and fit due to the training.

2. Increased Awareness

BJJ requires a great deal of strategy, execution, and focus. While rolling and grappling, you need to focus on your opponent as well. To win a fight, one needs to read the move of the opponent beforehand. All of this is a part of the training for BJJ. So, it helps to improve spatial awareness and focus.

3. Improved Overall Health

BJJ not only improves your physical look but helps in the overall development of health. Through BJJ training, blood cholesterol levels fall, endorphin production increases, and the balance between insulin and sugar levels is maintained. That is why it has a positive impact on the overall health and well-being of the body.


BJJ training

Muay Thai Fitness Benefits

Muay Thai will give you the chance to have a full-body workout. That is why it is very good for increasing fitness. Professional Muay Thai trainers claim that Muay Thai helps in achieving overall fitness for the body. It involves intense cardio which is very good for the heart. It also helps to lose a lot of weight.

Due to the constant movement, one loses a lot of calories while training for a fight. It is said that an average person weighing 155 pounds can lose around 690 calories within a 1-hour session. That is why it is a very efficient way of losing weight.

The best thing about Muay Thai is that it does not focus on one part of a body. Rather it affects the entire body. It also helps to tone the muscle and strengthens the core.

1. Increased Leg Strength

Muay Thai is based on kicking. That is why it requires a lot of footwork. This helps to increase the strength of your legs. It improves the overall endurance of the leg muscles and increases agility. It also increases the agility of the feet. The continuous footwork helps to tone the calve muscles.

2. Increased Core Strength

The core muscles comprise of all the muscles in your trunk. It is the center of all the strength of your body. Core strength helps a lot in striking as well as kicking and overall body movements. It helps to improve the confidence of an individual as well. This is one of the most significant benefits of Muay Thai training.

3. Increased Hip Mobility

Muay Thai training helps to improve hip mobility through continuous kicking and movement of the knees. It does take a lot of practice to increase hip mobility, but the benefits are long term. Hip mobility helps to get rid of the pain caused due to different moves that one must pull off while training.

4. Stress Relief

Like any other sport, Muay Thai also acts as a great stress reliever. It is a fast-paced sport that requires constant attention and focus. That is why the mind cannot wander about in negative thoughts while practicing. If you are having a bad day or suffering from some kind of anxiety, a Muay Thai session can help to uplift your mood.

Muay Thai Kick


To sum it all up, it is difficult to tell which one is better in terms of achieving fitness between Muay Thai and BJJ. They both offer different benefits to one’s body. Therefore, the choice ultimately lies with yourself. Whether it’s BJJ or Muay Thai, if it does not worsen any pre-existing physical condition or create new problems within your body then you can choose whichever you want. 

So, if you are not comfortable with kicking and striking, then Muay Thai may not be for you. Similarly, if you do not like grappling then maybe BJJ is not for you. Either way, when it comes to improving your fitness in a fun way, you won’t be wrong with either. Or maybe you just do both and develop an all-around athletic ability and get the the ultimate self-defense benefits of both.

Why not check out our other articles on BJJ and see whether it’s something you’d like.



I'm Timmy and I'm the chief-editor and co-founder of Jiu-Jitsu Street. You'll usually find me on the mats and also cross-training Muay Thai. Besides martial arts I'm also into functional fitness and all things health. Jiu-Jitsu Street was created to provide useful information for BJJ beginners and seasoned practitioners alike to help you on your journey and love for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Oss!

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Jiu-Jitsu Street is a community of fun loving and hard rolling BJJ enthusiasts. Born out of our passion for the gentle art, we have decided to create this blog and help you on your journey. Let’s grow and learn together on this never-ending journey. Oss!

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