Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and is a martial art that involves kicking and punching as well as elbow strikes, knee strikes and clinches. Muay Thai bouts take place in a boxing-style ring and involve multiple rounds lasting two to three minutes, depending on the association controlling the fight. Because muay Thai is a full-contact martial art, it is imperative that fighters be properly coached and be prepared to reduce the risk of potentially very serious injury.
Perfect Your Technique
Like all martial arts, muay Thai involves some very specialist techniques that need to be mastered before you consider entering a fight. These techniques include strikes, blocks and holds and are best learned from a qualified and experienced muay Thai coach. Practice your punches and kicks using a punch bag or with a partner holding a muay Thai striking pad to ensure you are performing each move properly. Technique training should involve defensive as well as offensive work.
Develop Cardiovascular Fitness
Cardiovascular fitness is essential for successful muay Thai so that you do not run out of gas during a fight. Build your cardiovascular fitness by running, jumping rope, sparring and shadowboxing. As is the case with boxers from the West, muay Thai fighters often start their day with several miles of running, referred to as roadwork. In addition to building fitness, roadwork helps a fighter with weight management.
Build Strong Abs
A strike to the abdomen can be very debilitating. It essential that you work on your strength in the abs so you can withstand blows to that area. Muay Thai fighters perform a high volume of abdominal exercises, and you should too. Situps, leg lifts, crunches, hanging leg raises, twisting situps and planks are all good exercise choices. Work on abdominals can be incorporated into a circuit where one exercise is performed after another to add an extra conditioning element to your workouts.
Toughen Your Legs
The whole body is a target in a muay Thai bout and a kick to the thigh can bring a fight to a very sudden halt as blows to that area are very painful. To limit the damage and discomfort of kicks to the thighs, spend time conditioning your legs so that you are better able to withstand the punishment. This can be achieved by sparring or by having a training partner or coach repeatedly strike your thighs.
Develop Your Strength
Strength training is an important aspect of muay Thai fight preparation, as it will increase the power and speed of your blocks and punches. The muscle you develop acts like armor as it absorbs some of the energy from the strikes you receive. You can use body weight and weight training exercises to build strength. Emphasize compound or multi-joint exercises as they offer the greatest crossover to muay Thai.
Planning Your Program
Training for a muay Thai fight should be logical and progressive and may require more than one training session a day to ensure all your fitness bases are covered. Try to alternate intense workouts with easier ones to ensure you get sufficient rest and recovery. A healthy diet and plenty of sleep are essential, and regular restorative massages may help prevent minor aches and pains from turning into major injuries.
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