Anyone who’s been out to Thailand to train in Muay Thai will have no doubt experienced some Spartan weight training equipment and limited resistance training use. The majority of time is spent running, skipping, hitting bags and pads or light sparring. Although this is common place throughout the majority of Thai boxing gyms in Thailand, things are changing.

Yodsanklai Fairtex (the former super welterweight WBC Muay Thai World champion at 154 lb and former three time Lumpinee Stadium champion in the 112 and 147 lb weight classes) trains at the very well equipped Fairtex Gym in Pattaya, Thailand. During my stay at the Fairtex Gym, I’ve witnessed “Yod” using the freeweights gym and kettlebell training on strength and conditioning days – not just hitting bags and pads.

Seeing Yodsanklai in the flesh, you are struck by just how solid and muscular he is. A far cry from the skinny youngsters you see training or fighting around Thailand. Yod’s physique is that of a fighter with balanced training – both skill specific energy system work and gym based strength and conditioning training. He’s a professional fighter at the top of his game with access to training equipment that most gyms in Thailand simple can’t afford.

Forget about weight training making you too bulky to fight. Used correctly you can become stronger and more explosive than you ever could with bodyweight alone, without bulking up. Progressive overload is the key. If top fighters like Yodsanklai are exploiting these benefits then so should you.


    Don Heatrick BSc. (Hons) Level 4 Strength & Conditioning Coach, Muay Thai Coach

    Don Heatrick

    Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

    Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), and now a podcast host and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

    Don helps committed Thai boxers organise training for accelerated self development & Muay Thai performance.

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