Following last weeks post, this article shares more in-fight relaxation tips inspired by my private session with Yodsanklai Fairtex in Pattaya. Every move Yod makes comes from a relaxed, shuffling fighting stance – which is a focus in his coaching.
Muay Thai is rhythmical movement, with an escalating tempo from the first to the last round. Synchronising with your personal rhythm improves your movement economy. To do this you need to ‘feel’ your own timing, your own dance. Strength coach Vern Gambetta describes all sports movements as rhythmic in nature – a series of synchronous and asynchronous rhythms derived from our fundamental heartbeat rhythm. To athletes it is a feeling almost like an internal metronome.
I feel that rhythmical movement also comes from moving elastically, riding the stretch shortening cycle as you pulse weight alternately between each foot in your fighting stance. By rhythmically pre-stretching muscles and tendons you can tap into considerable stored elastic energy. I find this rhythmical movement also encourages physical relaxation while allowing your awareness to remain focused on your opponent. Mentally you relax the cognitive part of your mind (left hemisphere) and engage your autonomous, creative mind (right hemisphere).
Stretch shortening cycle
Accessing this creative processing power saves considerable mental and physiological energy. By selecting autonomous responses, your movements are better coordinated without extraneous muscle contractions. Less experienced boxers tend to overcompensate for lack of skill by remaining tense and throwing everything they have and end up gassing out quickly. Part of your Muay Thai skill training is learning how utilise the energy you produce effectively – learning to pace yourself using efficient technique and strategy.
Strength and conditioning training contributes to movement economy by improving the contractility of muscle – how fast your muscles can contract and relax. Relaxation speed is important! This requires timing – timing that must be ‘felt.’ Fast twitch muscle fibres are capable of contracting and relaxing faster than slow twitch fibres, so train to ‘throw’ strikes. Hit through the target, letting your opponent absorb the force allowing you to return to your stance. Explosive medicine ball throwing drills develop muscle contract/relax efficiency. Plyometric bounding and power training sessions not only develop muscle contractility but also critically allow you to cultivate the ‘feeling’ of efficient timing.
All your power originates at the floor. It’s how efficient you can transfer this power up through the body into the striking limb that differentiates between powerful strikes and ones that feel ‘off’. When it comes to efficiently using stored elastic energy in your body, a subtle difference in timing can make the difference between maximum power transfer into your strike or an energy leak in the kinetic chain that leaves you feeling flat.
However you train, develop the habit of using your whole body with coordinated timing. Feel the rhythm of your internal metronome and get your dance on!
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.
Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram:
FREE VIDEO COURSE | THE SCIENCE OF BUILDING CHAMPIONS
The science of building a Muay Thai champion’s strength & conditioning, which results in…
- Fastest possible short-term progress
- Maximum long-term progress
- More efficient movement patterns
- Relentless endurance (never gas out)
- Reaching athletic potential as quickly and efficiently as possible (without wasting time on things that aren’t worth doing)
- Free up more time for technical training AND life!
- The Optimum 12-Week Fight Camp
Click here to get INSTANT ACCESS NOW!