Ask amateur fighters what their favorite Muay Thai techniques are, and you’ll probably hear “flying knee strike,” “reverse roundhouse kick” or “double elbow chop.” However, experienced fighters will tell you that the only “hack” for succeeding as a fighter is hard work. Are you ready to commit to a rigorous training program? Read on.
Toughen Up Your Shins
In Muay Thai, the roundhouse kick weaponizes the shin bone which is tougher on your opponent than kicks that utilize the ball of the foot. However, it can be pretty tough on your shins too. When your shin crashes into your opponent’s, it hurts, even with top-shelf shin pads. Fighters and Muay Thai techniques experts in Thailand numb the nerves in their shins by kicking banana trees (watch video below) until they no longer feel pain. Depending on where you live, you may not have access to banana trees and that’s ok. Kicking a heavy bag multiple times per day (this Muay Thai fighter in the video below recommends 200), sparring with shin guards and doing lots of jump squats can all help you become a fighter who feels no pain.
2. Increase Flexibility With Ballet
A kick to the face often results in a TKO. Just ask Ronda Rousey. You’ll never make that happen, though, if you can’t kick any higher than your opponent’s kneecaps. Muay Thai techniques require flexibility. If you want to be a good fighter, you’ll have to work on agility. Cross-training is always a good idea, and when your aim is better flexibility, there’s no better training than ballet. Add one or two weekly barre classes to your training schedule and you’ll see gradual improvement.
3. Tighten Your Core With Kettlebells
Have you sensed a theme yet? Most of the time, success in the ring comes down to conditioning. You can have the perfect technique, but you can’t win against someone who has better endurance. Core strength is the only thing that stands between you and injuring your back just by bending over to pick something up. A strong core is what gives you the stability you need to check kicks, dodge punches and strike efficiently. Kettlebell training is an excellent way to build core strength. Why? Because with a kettlebell, you work more than just your abs. You also need to tighten your glutes and lats when dead lifting, swinging or squatting with a kettlebell. The result: better shoulder and hip mobility, which will make your Muay Thai techniques easier to execute.
4. Be Smart About Injuries
You must know the difference between pain you can “push through” and pain that requires treatment. Try pushing through the latter and you might end up with a permanent injury. There will be times when you will just have to take a break from training and wait for your injury to heal. However, if you want to get back to training more quickly, you can try Whole Body Cryotherapy. It works by decreasing your body temperature and boosting endorphins, which help to speed recovery. If you don’t want an injury to derail your Muay Thai techniques training, this is the way to go.
5. Focus on the Basics of Muay Thai Techniques
Muay Thai techniques like spinning back kicks and Superman punches are crowd pleasers, but basic techniques are the bread-and-butter of any martial art. Like one instructor always says, “drillers make killers.” Practice basics like round kicks and jab-cross combinations until you can’t stand it anymore, then do it again. Once you have the basics embedded in your muscle memory, you’ll be ready to rumble.
6. Get Humbled
Many people are surprised to learn that the most effective Muay Thai fighters are often the smallest people. Fighters who are small spend most of their time sparring with people who are bigger and stronger than they are; they have to work twice as hard to survive. Meanwhile, bigger fighters are often not challenged in the same way, because there isn’t anyone around who makes them small by comparison. You have to find someone who can humble you if you want to grow as a fighter and perfect your Muay Thai techniques.
7. Be a Good Training Partner
You can master every single Muay Thai technique and still get nowhere with your amateur fighting career. Sparring requires trust. When someone agrees to fight you, they are putting their health and safety at risk. No one wants to do that with someone who is rude, inconsiderate, reckless or unnecessarily aggressive. You’ll never be ready to step into the ring if you don’t spar. Be a friend to your gym-mates and save your maximum aggression for the street.
Breaking Muscle. Kettlebells for an Iron Core – a 3 Step Training Plan.
Unlimited MMA. Tip of the Week – Why Is Core Training Important.