You know the drill, you’re between fights and focusing your weight training and Muay Thai training to be better than ever for your next outing. You’ve put together a solid block of strength training and have seen real results from this directed, periodised approach. But now a fight has come up in just three-weeks time. Now what do you do? How should you change your training — if at all?

This is a common problem for Thai boxers, and one that recently cropped up on the #TeamMuayThai Questions & Answers Forum.

There’s no off-season in Muay Thai, we fight all year round and often take unplanned fights at short notice. This obviously conflicts with a long-term plan for athletic development. You can’t optimise performance with sporadic training emphasis. It’s a focused, periodised approach pays dividends. Conversely, depending on the timing of the fight, a long-term approach can prevent you peaking adequately in time.

So here’s the key weight training considerations when taking a fight at short notice and week 1 of an accelerated 3-week programme to peak for a Muay Thai fight.

To Peak or Not to Peak?

So how do you deal with an unplanned Muay Thai fight? Firstly, decide how important the fight is. If your ranking or a title is at stake, then it’s worth interrupting the long-term plan. If the fight isn’t so important then I treat it as a ‘friendly’ and hardly alter my programme at all — aside from removing heavy strength and power training in the final week.

If the fight is critical, we must attempt to peak, shifting the weight training emphasis from strength to power, and finally power endurance. Power exercises generally need more skill than the strength lifts, and require adequate coaching. Assuming little or no experience of olympic lifting or plyometrics, here are some simple but effective power exercises that you could consider using:

  • Box jump
  • Medicine ball shotput wall throws
  • Medicine ball floor slams
  • Kettlebell swing
  • Push press
  • Dumbbell snatch
  • Squat jump

Further Suggestions

Power exercises must be trained explosively as fast as possible. Using 3 sets of 5 reps will work well for all these exercises, except for the medicine ball and kettlebell exercises which would be better using 10 reps. Stick to generous rest intervals (3mins or so) before repeating the same exercise to allow full recovery of the CNS, as it’s important to maintain maximum velocity when developing power. If you fatigue and begin to slow down, you’re building power endurance — and you need to save that until you’ve maximised power in the first place. I recommend targeting power for the first half of the remaining training block while maintaining strength.

Transition to power endurance over the final half of the training block, by reducing rest intervals between exercises and increasing to 10 reps on all exercises (20 reps on medicine ball and kettlebell exercises). I also like using a circuit format for power endurance training rather than simple sets. Generally progress from heavier exercises and get lighter (and faster) as the Muay Thai fight gets closer.

Example 3-week Fight Peaking Weight Training Programme

Programming training depends on many different factors that are unique to each individual and their circumstances, and 3-weeks is not long enough to get optimum adaptations. However, with that said here’s an example accelerated 3-week weight training programme to peak as much as possible at short notice based on the following assumptions (from the original question on the Team Muay Thai forum):

  • Just 3-weeks until the fight
  • 6 total sessions (2 per week) between now and the fight
  • Little or no olympic lifting experience
  • Little or no plyometric experience or conditioning
  • The preceding training block focused solely on strength using 3 sets of 5 reps

 

Session 1

Using superset exercise pairs (performed back-to-back with no rest), then resting 1-2mins before repeating the same pair for a total or 3 sets

1a) Box jump x5 reps
1b) 3kg Medicine ball shotput wall throws x10 reps per side

2a) Dumbbell snatch x5 reps (using 5-rep max load)
2b) 5kg Medicine ball floor slams x10 reps

3a) Front squat x5 reps
3b) Chin ups x5 reps

 

Session 2

Using superset exercise pairs (performed back-to-back with no rest), then resting 1-2mins before repeating the same pair for a total or 3 sets

1a) Box jump x5 reps
1b) 3kg Medicine ball shotput wall throws x10 reps per side

2a) Dumbbell snatch x5 reps (using 5-rep max load)
2b) 5kg Medicine ball floor slams x10 reps

3a) Deadlift x5 reps
3b) Standing overhead press x5 reps

 

Stay tuned for next week, I’ll be giving you the next 2-sessions of progressive training…

 

  •  


    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.

    Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram:

    https://www.instagram.com/donheatrick/

  •  


     

    FREE VIDEO COURSE | THE SCIENCE OF BUILDING CHAMPIONS

    The Science of Building Champions video series

    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
    • Better technique
    • 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!