Effective Muay Thai training routines and workout plans

Muay Thai training regime is very physically demanding - you will have to invest a lot of sweat and sore muscle pain to develop a great endurance and an outstanding cardio before you learn fighting techniques. It is absolutely necessary to condition your body and to build up a great stamina before you start a regular, full contact sparring and fighting with other Thai boxers. Properly crafted workouts will toughen up your abdominal muscles and prepare you to absorb more punishment in the ring. If you are physically fit and ready then take a look at Muay Thai combinations which you can practise on your own or with a sparring partner or scroll down to the bottom of this page for a technical training tips.

I want to share with you some useful knowledge that I acquired while training in KO Muay Thai gym in London and Fighting Spirit gym in Bangkok.

The first phase of training: build up your stamina and toughen up your abs

Let's start with the basics:

  • Running: one of the best ways to build up stamina. It is best to adopt a 'slow run-sprint run-slow run-sprint run again' pattern of running for the ultimate results. Not recommended if you are planning to build mass: this kind of training speeds up metabolism and it will burn any extra muscles.
  • Jump Rope Workout: good for stamina and breathing efficiency. It also helps to improve your footwork and limb coordination.
  • Plank: toughens up abs, back muscles and shoulders
  • Sit Ups: standard ones and bicycle Sit Ups. Great abs workout
  • Leg Raises: from lying and seated position. Don't forget to change the tempo of the exercise at a regular time intervals. This workout tones abdominal muscles.

Crunches make a great training for abs. There are few kinds of this exercise:

  • Thai crunch: is performed by hitting the stomach after full contraction. This variation is used by Thai fighters for conditioning the core. This way they are able to absorb much more punishment from knees strikes and punches during a fight.
  • reverse crunch: is done with the upper back on the floor and lifting the hips up instead.
  • twisting crunch: is performed by lifting one shoulder at a time. More emphasis is placed on the obliques.
  • cable crunch: is performed while kneeling upright by curling the body to pull down on a cable machine. The hips are kept motionless.

Second phase: toughen up your muscles and build strength and explosive power:

  • dips: they build up triceps and chest muscles. Train them with added weights for an extra resistance. Shoulder width dips train the triceps primarily and the rhomboid muscles of your back. Wide arm dips place an additional weight on the pectoral chest muscles and puts less emphasis on the triceps.
  • squats: great for building up leg muscles. I recommend doing both: body weight only and barbell squats
  • pull ups: regular pull ups - back of your palm is facing your head while lifting yourself up. This exercise is very good for training triceps, forearms and back muscles. Underhand pull-ups are more effective for training biceps. I don't recommend doing behind the neck pull ups cause they don't offer much benefit and may cause a neck pain.
  • explosive push-ups: are great for developing chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. Click on the link to read more.
  • diamond push-ups: improves chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. How to perform it:
move both of your hands under your chest and form a triangle with your hands with thumbs and index fingers touching each other. The rest of the exercise is like a regular push up but make sure that your hands are on a chest, not a face, level while doing it.

  • The bridge builds up back, triceps and leg muscles
  • weight lifting: bench press improves upper body strength and squats improve your legs and makes your back muscles stronger
  • medicine ball workout: improves explosive power. It is also good for toning abs.

You can also find a tons of great exercises for developing strength and flexibility in bodyweight workout routines post.

Technical Muay Thai training routines:

  • bag workout: kicks and punches. Click on the link to read more.

  • Thai pad drills: training kicks, punches, knees, and elbows. Improves stamina and body coordination. Useful to memorize more advanced combinations.

"Practice makes the master. It's one thing to know the technique and another thing to use it effectively in a fight." Read more about kicking drills

  • shadow boxing: it improves focus and body coordination. Helps to develop a muscle memory for strikes and combos. A shadow boxing is a very individual thing so it is best if you develop your own unique routine

  • sparring: virtually improves every aspect of fighting. It is also the best way of monitoring training progress and the essential part of every Muay Thai training and conditioning. Click on the link to get some more useful sparring tips.

Read workout drills and combos post to learn more workout drills and combos.

Some of these exercises are good for developing strength while other are great for boosting up stamina. Few of them are universal and good for both purposes.

Apart from that, you will need a strong will and persistence to reach and maintain your goals and desired level of fitness.
Your biggest reward will be that you will be able to defend yourself effectively in any situation. Getting a well-toned body in the process is a nice bonus too. And those are just a few of a vast benefits of training.

Also read:

Don't forget about a proper Muay Thai diet to increase your progress and after workout recovery to maximize the gain.

Take a look at a list of supplements for Muay Thai fighters to make your training even more effective.

Read this post if you are planning to start training in Thailand. It is packed with loads of info about Homeland of Muay Thai.

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