Muay Thai training is versatile, engaging and dynamic. Depending on your gym, who your teachers are and what their backgrounds are, training routines will vary from gym to gym. However, there are elements that are and should be consistently incorporated into your training programme. The key elements are:
- Warm up / Cool down: The idea is to build up a sweat and prepare your body for the vigorous exercise to follow. It is important to run, skip or bounce on old truck tyres (which is helps improve balance) for at least 15 minutes as a warm up to every Muay Thai training session. A suitable routine of around 15 minutes will prepare your muscles for training. Do not forget to do some gentle warm down exercises at the end of each training session. This will help your joints to remain supple and protect you from injury.
- Running: is essential to develop stamina and toughen the legs. Running is best done in the early morning and should vary in distance day by day. At least one day a week should be a rest day.. Be careful when running on uneven surfaces and wear good shoes. Steadily increase the distance you run each day.
- Skipping: is an integral part of Muay Thai training, it is an excellent in develop stamina and co-ordination. Skip by rounds, keep your mind relaxed and alert. When skipping hop from one foot to the other – don’t bounce on two feet.
- Shadow boxing: is essential to learning the proper Muay Thai technique. Shadow boxing in front of a mirror allows you to observe and correct your movements. When shadow boxing remember to use your full range of movement, do not shorten the punch or kick.
- Free weights: Incorporate the use of dumb-bells into your Muay Thai training routine. It will help to build strength. Lighter weights with many repetitions are best. Free weights work better than fixed weight training machines since they do not limit your range of movement, remember to train carefully to avoid injury. Training with very heavy weights is good for body building competitions, but not usually, the best way to train for a Muay Thai fight.
- Bag Work: Working on the hanging bags builds power and stamina into your kicks and punches. It also serves to toughen your body. Kicking the bags often is the only sensible way to condition (that is de-sensitize) your shins. Aggressive methods of training such as using bottles or other very hard objects to condition the shins are not necessary or recommended and may cause unnecessary injury.
- Pad Work: Full power striking of the Thai Pads is a tough part of Muay Thai training and an amazing workout. Your Muay Thai trainer wears a set of Thai pads, a stomach pad and shin guards which allows you to attack him as if he were an opponent. Pad work will develop your footwork, co-ordination and spatial awareness.
- Sparring: Once you have a comprehensive foundation in place you will be ready to participate in controlled sparring. This will form the major part of your Muay Thai training routine.
- Clinch work: This is a very tough aspect of Muay Thai training. Clinch work involves learning to control your opponent by trying to lock his arms or neck in a clinch. More advanced clinch work will incorporate the execution of knees and throw downs and knocking your opponent to the floor.
Incorporating these elements into you training routine will help develop and improve your strength, techniques, stamina and skill and ultimately a well rounded, balanced practitioner of Muay Thai.