Muay Thai: Cross-Train with Thai Boxing For Fun and Effective Results In the Gym
Kyle Brown, CSCS
One of the hottest new fi tness training methods is MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training. Its benefi ts are not just for competitors or self defense, but also for crosstraining conditioning. A wide variety of men and women from serious athletes to desk jockeys and housewives are
embracing MMA training to enhance their fitness level. Considered to be the most brutal of the Martial Arts, Muay Thai (Thai-boxing) includes kicking and punching as well as devastating elbow, knee, and shin strikes (1). Muay Thai is one of the best sports for physical conditioning and a great compliment to your resistance training program for fun and eff ective results.
Athletes and weekend warriors alike can benefit from incorporating Muay Thai conditioning into their workout routine without the dangers of combat. Muay Thai training methods develop incredible speed, agility, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, strength, and power. Side benefits
include: stress relief, increased confi dence, self defense skills, and exciting, challenging workouts (2).
Nearly all techniques in Muay Thai involve movement of the entire body. Th e foundation of these movements involves rotating the hips with each kick, punch, and block. The power behind each striking movement comes from the core—not the lever being used (the arms or legs). This intense focus on the core is a big part of what differentiates Muay Thai from other Martial Arts (2).
Muay Thai-specific training includes using Thai-pads, focus mitts, heavy bag, and sparring. Muay Thai athletes also use traditional combat sport conditioning methods like running, shadowboxing, jumping rope, weight training, bodyweight-resistance exercises, medicine-ball exercises, and abdominal exercises (1).
The foundation of the Thai-boxer’s conditioning is the use of Thai-pads. Thai-pads are heavy pads strapped to the arms of a trainer/workout partner that work as targets to absorb the impact of the strikes and allow the athlete to react to the attacks of the pad holder. Th is method of training is advantageous to the heavy bag in that it allows the fighter to respond to a “live” opponent (3). Lastly, the heavy bag training can be used in addition to the Th ai-pads and focus
mitts for conditioning and power training. However, if you do not have the benefit of a trainer/workout partner, a Thai heavy bag or Body Opponent Bag (BOB) can be utilized.
A typical Muay Thai training program includes three to five minute rounds alternating between these various training skills – followed by a minute or two-minute rest period
(3). If you are looking to include Muay Thai into your fitness routine but do not have the time to make it a separate workout from your resistance training days, you can incorporate
it into your resistance training workouts.
1. Kraitus, P, Kraitus, P. Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished
Art of Fighting: 9th edition. Phuket, Thailand: Asia Books,
2. Mousel T. The Thai Boxing Workout: A Scientifi c
Approach. Accessed May 22, 2008 from http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Thaiboxing-Workout:-A-Scientific-Approach&id=200986, 2006.
3. Rebac Z. (1987) Thai Boxing Dynamite: The Explosive
Art of Muay Thai. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 1987.