Like most martial arts, practicing Muay Thai comes with many benefits. The art of eight limbs is one of the most effective striking-based martial arts in the world, and training regularly does wonders for your body. It is a martial art that teaches you how to defend yourself using your fists, elbows, knees, and legs.
The best way to drastically improve your Muay Thai is to train with world-class instructors and take your training seriously. You can also give yourself an edge by performing certain exercises that translate well into Muay Thai.
Here are 6 exercises you should incorporate into your workout routine to improve your abilities:
Skipping is an extremely easy exercise and it improves your cardio, motor skills, balance, focus, and stamina. It’s an exercise that boxers have benefited from for centuries and it is just as beneficial for Muay Thai practitioners.
The best part is that it is something you can easily do at home. Aim for three two minute sessions when you first start out. Once you start to get the hang of things, try incorporating some of the foot movements you use while drilling and sparring into your jump rope sessions. You can also mix things up by using a weighted rope or weighing yourself down with ankle weights.
Pull-ups are beneficial for anyone who competes in a sport that requires them to pull their own weight or manipulate the weight of others. That’s a major part of Muay Thai. Clinching is a big part of the sport, and having strong lats, shoulders, and biceps comes in handy.
The basic motion of a pull-up actually imitates the position you would be when you clinch with an opponent.
To perform a pull-up, grab a pull-up bar – or functional substitute – with your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart. Curl up your legs up so that your hands are carrying all of your weight. Now, pull yourself slowly towards the bar until your chin is over it. Lower yourself slowly back to the starting position. There are many variations when it comes to performing pull-ups. An inverted grip targets the muscles used while clinching the best.
Aim for about three sets of 5-10 reps. Once it starts getting easy, weigh yourself down with some weights when performing the exercise.
3) Box Jumps
This is a great way to improve your overall leg strength – which is good for Muay Thai. Box jumps also improve your explosiveness, another attribute that can be very beneficial when training or competing. Even your hip flexors get a nice workout when you perform box jumps.
When performing this exercise for the first time, it is best to start with a smaller box before taking on more challenging ones.
To perform a box jump, you simply stand in front of a solid box or similar structure that can support your body weight. Get into a ready stance and perform a mini squat before jumping up on the box. You want the box to be high enough where it is a bit of a challenge to get on top of it.
4) Dead Lifts
Here’s one of those exercises anyone who calls themselves an athlete should be doing. It is one of the most effective ways to improve your strength, especially your posterior muscles. When it comes to deadlifts, perfect form is extremely important. It is best to start off with lower weights until you are confident you have the proper form down.
To perform a deadlift:
- Stand with your feet halfway under the barbell.
- Bend over and reach for the bar keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Start bending your knees until the bar and your shins are touching.
- Straighten your back and lift up your chest.
- Breathe in, hold your breath, and stand up using your legs to power you.
- Hold the top position for about a second and slowly return to the starting position.
5) Pistol Squats
There’s a very good chance your Kru has already had you perform this exercise a few times in class. You probably just didn’t know what it’s called. Pistol squats help you improve your balance, leg strength, and explosiveness. Three physical attributes that are very handy when it comes to Muay Thai.
Pistol squats are simple and anyone can perform them at home. To perform this exercise:
- Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise one foot off the ground while staying balanced on the other.
- Stretch your arms outward with your palms facing the ground.
- Tighten your core.
- Start lowering your body to the ground while keeping your extended leg parallel to the floor.
- Go all the way down until your glutes touch the calf of the leg planted on the ground.
- Go back up and repeat the exercise. Make sure the extended leg does not touch the ground until you have completed all your reps.
- Perform a set using your other leg.
Burpees are a great way to work out your entire body and get your blood flowing. It strengths your core muscles and it’s a great way to build and improve your cardio. Burpees are also easy to learn.
- Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Squat down and place your hands on the ground as you would when performing push-ups.
- Bring your legs back and perform a push-up.
- Bring your legs back to the squatted position and jump as high as you can. Repeat until you’re exhausted.
Adding the exercises listed above to your fitness routine will take your Muay Thai training to the next level. They strengthen the muscles that are used to execute many techniques.
Of course, nothing compares to getting world class instruction from instructors that want to see you grow. If you’re interested in trying out Muay Thai, book a trial class below!
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