Having good balance is a key component of your Muay Thai game. Poor balance can lead to getting swept, your strikes being more easily countered, and not being able to throw the strikes you desire. Balance is a foundational component to allow you to strike, move, and defend when and how you want.
If you are looking to improve your balance for Muay Thai, be sure to try some of these tips to really hone in on and improve.
1) Improve Your Strength
It may seem a little counterintuitive to think about, but improving your strength will simultaneously help you to improve your balance. The stronger you are, the easier it will be to hold yourself up on one foot.
Every time you throw a kick or a knee, you end up balancing on one leg. How long can you stand on one leg? If you only have enough strength to hold yourself up for a few seconds, you will certainly struggle with keeping your balance beyond that. Here are some exercises for developing leg strength to aid in improving your balance:
- Squats: Do these with body weight or while holding added weight. Squats are excellent for leg strength development and can be done anywhere at any time.
- Lunges: Try lunging in different directions: forward, backward, and out to the side. These can be done with body weight or while holding added weight.
- Plyometric Movements: Try adding a jump to your movements. Burpees, jumping jacks, jumping squats, and jumping lunges are all excellent plyometric movements to help develop strong legs.
If you are looking to hone in on developing better balance for Muay Thai, be sure to add some lower body strengthening exercises to your workout routine.
2) Use Assisted Balancing:
One great way to help develop your balance is to take a step back and allow yourself to have something (or someone) assist you by giving you some balance. Regressing your motions will allow you to slow down your movements and really focus on the muscle engagement required to have good balance. Here is an example of regressing your movements and utilizing some assistance to perfect your teeps:
- Grab a chair to hold on to or a wall to place your hand on. Slowly move through the motions of a teep while allowing the chair or wall to give you some help with your balance. As you execute the teep, remember to go slowly, focusing on each aspect of how your body moves and engages to stay balanced. Work your toes into the ground, tighten up your core, and make sure you are moving fluidly.
Slowly moving through your movements with the aid of a wall or chair to help your balance will make you more aware of your entire body’s involvement in the process of balance. The next time you do those movements at actual speed, you will better be able to recruit and engage the proper muscles, allowing you to have better balance.
Flexibility is a key aspect of developing good balance. As your leg kicks higher, your upper body will naturally need to lean back to assist in keeping your balance. The higher your leg can kick, however, the less you will need to lean back to accomplish your goal. This will, in effect, help you to keep your balance as you are more centered over your planted foot. If your flexibility is lacking and holding you back from improving your balance in Muay Thai, be sure to add some of these into your weekly routine:
- Stretching After Practice: The end of your workout is the perfect time to get a good, deep, stretch. Your muscles will be warm from working out and will also feel great after you stretch.
- Yoga: Try adding a yoga class to your schedule. Yoga will stretch your muscles, giving you greater flexibility, and as a by-product, it will also develop strength. Yoga is also full of balance-focused poses, giving you plenty of opportunities to balance in various positions. All of these positions will help you to understand how your body moves and will translate to better balance in Muay Thai.
Developing your flexibility will help you to hone in on your balance for Muay Thai, and will help you to be able to land high kicks in time as well.
4) Check Your Technique
Many times, a lack of balance while throwing a high kick or a right hook can be traced back to something being a little bit “off” with the technique. Leaning too far forward or backward can cause your body to become off-balanced. A hook thrown incorrectly and without good balance can lead to counter strikes being thrown and landing when you aren’t expecting them.
Ask a coach to watch you perform a technique if you are regularly feeling like you are off-balance while throwing it. They may be able to give you a small adjustment that will inevitably help improve your balance, as well.
Alternatively, you can take a video of yourself in slow motion and critique your technique yourself. A slow-motion video will help you to be able to see what you are doing, where you are a bit off, and how you can fix your technique to better hone in on your balance.
Honing In On Your Balance Is Important For Your Muay Thai Game
Balance may seem like a simple concept, but when you put it into the context of Muay Thai, it is an incredibly important skill that should not be neglected. If you are finding that you sometimes feel as though you are lacking balance, consider adding some of these tips into your weekly practice.
Be sure to include lower body strengthening exercises, flexibility/stretching exercises, drilling with assisted balance, and checking on your technique. With these things, you should be able to input slow and steady improvement for your balance as you continue to train Muay Thai.
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