What was your New Year’s resolution?
For almost half of Americans, it was to get in shape. Whether you’ve fallen off the wagon or are looking for a way to change up your gym routine, Muay Thai can help you to do that.
A Muay Thai workout strengthens and tones your whole body. As well as getting fitter, stronger and leaner, you’ll learn self-defense skills that may come in handy one day.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to get the best out of the sport with a great workout plan.
Elements You Need for a Great Muay Thai Workout
Whether you’re training for a fight or just for fun, you should add these exercises to your routine.
Stretching may be boring, but it’s a crucial part of a Muay Thai workout.
It increases your flexibility and range of motion, which is important when you’re trying to throw head kicks all the time.
It also prepares your muscles and joints for training by increasing blood circulation. Getting the blood flowing to your muscles brings them nourishment and flushes out any waste byproducts. As a result, you’ll be less likely to pick up injuries.
Don’t forget to stretch after training, too.
It will stop you from getting too sore and speed up your recovery, so you can hit your next Muay Thai workout just as hard.
Every Muay Thai session should start with some shadowboxing.
This is a way for you to practice your technique in a slow and controlled way while getting your muscles warmed up.
Practice throwing punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. Preferably, this should be done in front of a mirror. That way, you can see the mistakes you’re making and correct them as you go.
Focus on your footwork and maintaining your balance.
This is the most intense part of any Muay Thai workout, and probably the most fun, too.
In pad work, you’ll be paired up with a trainer and allowed to smash pads as hard as you can for a few rounds. Different trainers have their own ways of doing it, but generally, they’ll call out combinations for you to follow. Sometimes, it involves drilling certain ones over and over again until you get it right.
If you an intermediate or advanced student, they may let you have more control with some free-flow pad work. This means that you can throw whatever you want, as if you were in a real fight.
In this part of your training session, your heart rate will shoot up, you’ll sweat like crazy, and you’ll burn a ton of calories. That’s why Muay Thai is great for weight loss.
Pad work involves short bursts of high-intensity cardio, and the benefits of this kind of training involved a higher metabolic rate, decreased blood pressure, and fat loss.
Ideally, you should do 3-5 rounds of pad work in every session.
If you have training partners, you should be sparring with them.
After pad work, throw on some shin guards and sparring gloves and start working together. This allows you to put everything you drilled on pads to use in a real-life situation.
If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid of sparring.
It’s not a fight. In fact, you shouldn’t be throwing hard at all. Instead, you should be playing lightly and using control.
If your partner is going a little too hard, don’t be afraid to tell them. However, in a class, there will always be a trainer to keep things under control for you.
Drillers make killers, and you should always make time to practice what you’ve learned on the bag.
In every Muay Thai workout, do a few rounds of bag work. It’s just you on the bag, so you can go as hard as you like, focusing on building power in your strikes.
You can also drill different combinations and types of footwork that your trainer gives you.
Clinching is the wrestling part of Muay Thai.
In this part of training, you’ll learn different locks, throws, sweeps, and knees. It’s often done at the end , when you’re tired out from everything else.
If you’re training for a fight, you might end up doing around twenty minutes of clinching per session. It will all depend on your stamina.
It can be hard to get your head around clinch techniques at first, but you shouldn’t shy away from them.
It’s technique over power, so if you keep at it, you’ll eventually be able to dominate even when you have a significant size disadvantage. There’s something so satisfying about being able to trip someone much bigger than you to the canvas. Clinching will help you do that.
Ab exercises are a must.
In traditional Thai gyms, every training session ends with sit-ups. Thai fighters do hundreds of them every day!
However, there are other ways to work your abs. Mix it up with some other ab exercises, like planks, leg raises, and kettlebell lifts.
If you build your core, you’ll have better strength and balance overall. You’ll also be more conditioned to take punches in sparring. Of course, you’ll get a killer six-pack, too!
Single Leg Exercises
When you’re learning a martial art, you have to train smart. This includes putting sport-specific exercises into your routine.
In Muay Thai, you spend a lot of time on one leg, since you have to block kicks all the time. That’s why you should add single-leg exercises into your conditioning.
Build leg strength with Bulgarian split squats, lunges, and Romanian deadlifts. You’ll see the results in your Muay Thai later down the line.
Enjoy the Mental Benefits
The benefits of Muay Thai are more than just physical.
That’s why many people who start Muay Thai for fitness end up completely falling in love with the sport. Some of them even dedicate their lives to it, going on to become professional fighters.
It’s great for confidence building, stress relief, anger management, and discipline. To find out more, see our post on the mental benefits of Muay Thai.