Where has Muay Thai been all your life? That is what you will ask yourself after the first time you step foot in a Muay Thai gym and have the full Muay Thai experience. The fact is, this martial art has been around for a long, long time. Muay Thai is a discipline with a cool description. It’s called the art of eight limbs because it uses the knees, legs, elbows, and hands as weapons.
What Is Muay Thai, Exactly?
Also known as Thai Boxing, Muay Thai is a martial art developed in Thailand. It is actually the national sport of Thailand and is one of the country’s better-known exports.
Muay Thai is a close contact martial art. To overpower your opponent, you use your fists in combination with your elbows, knees, shins, and feet. In Muay Thai, grappling is allowed, just so long as you remain upright.
You can attack your opponent at close range, at mid-range or from farther away.
To defend yourself, you use the shoulders, arms, shins, and feet to execute the following defenses:
- Blocking: The use of limbs to stop a blow
- Parrying: The deflection of a strike
- Moving part of the body to avoid a strike
- Moving the whole body out of your opponent’s range in order to draw them into your own striking range
- Countering a blow or catching it before it lands
Here’s why Muay Thai is the workout you’ve been looking for:
1) Gives you a demanding cardio workout
To keep up during a Muay Thai match, you need good cardiovascular conditioning. Practicing the sport will push your heart and lungs to their limits, in a good way. As you get more practice sessions under your belt, your heart and lungs will adapt to the strain and become stronger than they have ever been.
A typical Muay Thai routine includes both aerobic and anaerobic workouts that will leave your body burning energy long after the workout is over.
2) Improves core strength
While on the subject of the chest, consider the core, which is made up of all the muscles of the torso. A Muay Thai practice session will work the heart, lungs and all the other muscles of your trunk, abs included.
Muay Thai requires you to move and rotate your entire body with each strike. You will also need to use your core when performing techniques or drills.
3) Your hips become more flexible
The hips work best when they are limber. If you start exercising them early in life, your hips will thank you as you age. Towards this end, Muay Thai provides a full hip workout every time you train.
Muay Thai requires that you rotate your whole body with each strike. Meaning that with each move you make, you will exercise your hip joints and muscles. Your hip muscles will feel the burn as you practice your legwork. You will certainly feel the burn after your workouts.
With newly flexible hips, you can even take up fun activities like Latin dance: Some tango or samba maybe?
4) You get stronger legs
When you attend Muay Thai classes, you will spend most of your time on the balls of your feet. Your thighs, calves, feet, and ankles will become stronger with each class and that will allow you to enjoy activities you might not be able to currently do like hiking up a mountain.
The strain of supporting your body weight while you are constantly in a fighting stance will strengthen and grow all the muscles in your legs, as well as your glutes.
5) Gets rid of stress
The daily grind will wear down even the most centered of us. Lucky for you, a rigorous Muay Thai session is just the way to shed that stress. You get to punch and kick away the things that are getting you down.
By concentrating fully on your movements, you can also banish any stressful thoughts from your mind. In this way, Muay Thai works like a mindfulness technique.
Who knows, a bad day may be the fuel you need to work your body to exhaustion and some catharsis.
6) Adds fun and variety to your fitness routine
The number one reason that people gradually stop working out is boredom. Doing the same old workouts over and over may cause you to lose interest and abandon your fitness routine. Not with Muay Thai, though.
This close combat martial arts discipline has a near-infinite number of techniques that you can learn. When you perfect one technique, there will always be a new one that will make you a newbie all over again. Which means you will always be learning or perfecting a move, and that can never get old.
7) Teaches you how to defend yourself
Muay Thai is one of the most effective martial arts and it is great for self-defense purposes. Muay Thai is one of the very few martial arts disciplines to be constantly tested in both competition and real-world application. It gives students confidence and a conditioned body fit for self-defense. Just remember it is always better to walk away from a confrontation. Only use the techniques you learn when you are forced to do so.
If you are looking to start a new workout routine you will be able to stick to, Muay Thai is just the thing for you. Are you a fitness buff that wants to complement your routine with a martial art? Try Muay Thai. It doesn’t matter what your current fitness level is.
Muay Thai provides a great workout regardless of your fitness level. It’s a good workout for elite level athletes as well as corporate professionals. Muay Thai isn’t just for people who plan to compete. It’s a great martial art for everyday people who are looking for a more engaging workout that fits into their busy schedule.
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