This article is in answer to an email I received…


Hi Don

I have started watching your Starting Strength & Conditioning for Muay Thai Video Course. I found it really informative. I have a couple of questions for you.

Being a mature age Muay Thai practitioner (52-yrs-old) I have been involved in Martial Arts for over 25 Years mainly Kung Fu. Only been training in Muay Thai the last 3 years and loving it.

I run twice a week 4.2km run and a 2.4km run plus hill sprints 2 x weights a week and muay thai class 2x a week. Plus skipping at home 5-6 two-minute rounds plus 5×2 minute shadow boxing.

From your information you were saying to increase Aerobic Capacity you need to run longer distances times around 30-40 minutes at a slower pace?

I find that I gas out quite quickly during the later part of my Muay Thai class, especially if we are kicking the Thai Pads. Would the slower, longer runs help with that and what other suggestions would you have to help me out – so I don’t gas out so easily?

Thank you.
Regards,

Ian

Perth Western Australia

P.S. Please keep up the great informative articles and videos much appreciated.


Hi Ian,

Thanks for getting in contact and for the feedback regarding the video course. :)

There are a number of reasons why you may be gassing out prematurely, ranging from insufficient aerobic capacity, aerobic power or power-endurance. Or perhaps all three! Without testing you it’s difficult to say which factors are contributing in your case.

The training effect you get from all your training depends on the intensity and duration or volume. If your running is at an intensity above 65-70% max heart rate and for a shorter than 30 minute time period, you’ll not be getting the eccentric cardiac hypertrophy development mentioned in the video. If you adjust some of your sessions to include that, then you’ve got that covered.

Incidentally, I also target strength in weight training sessions in the same training block while building aerobic capacity. This is compatible as long as the aerobic capacity work is lower volume – typically 30-40 minutes long.

ENERGY SYSTEMS CONDITIONING IN THE RIGHT ORDER

When it comes to energy systems (conditioning) fitness, I focus on building the aerobic capacity first, then move you on to rate of supply, or aerobic power development.

After building adequate aerobic capacity in my programs, aerobic power is exactly what I target next – whereby we increase the rate that the aerobic system supplies energy to keep up with demands. If aerobic power is lagging, then regardless of how much aerobic capacity you have, there’s a bottleneck in your supply.

Aerobic Capacity and Aerobic Power

As an analogy, think of aerobic capacity as building a bigger reservoir behind a dam. The bigger your reservoir (capacity), the more energy you have to use.

Aerobic power on the other hand is like opening up a floodgate in the in the dam wall, letting some of the reservoir water come flooding through.

Now if that gate is too small, all that awesome energy can’t get out quick enough! Aerobic power training is like opening up more floodgates.

Aerobic capacity is built with higher volume, lower intensity work, and aerobic power is built with repeated intervals at a faster rate. It’s a case of managing the work/rest intervals to progressively build what you need.

The next training block would focus on speed and power-endurance. That’s where we target local adaptations in the muscles to sustain power for longer. But it’s important not to overdo this or you’ll kill your aerobic fitness and gas out! It’s a peaking type of training block that should be used just prior to a fight.

This block is more about training to tolerate fatigue in the local muscle groups rather than overriding the aerobic process and swapping it for the fast fatiguing lactic system. The more power you can produce aerobically, the more likely you are to overwhelm your opponent, just as I explained in my recent video.

SO A LONG ANSWER TO A SHORT QUESTION!

There’s many aspects that could be contributing to your gassing out, without testing you specifically it would be impossible to say which quality you are currently underdeveloped in. A well-balanced training program would of course bring everything up to where it needs to be.

Something specific for Thai boxers over 35-40 years old, is the maintenance or improvement of strength and power. These qualities diminish the quickest past these ages. A relative lack of strength and power will mean you have to work closer to your maximum exertion levels to keep up, and therefore fatigue quicker too. Get some proper strength and power training in your program and you’ll see this off too.

Regardless of age, it’s important to train strength and power. I really need to write a blog post regarding ageing and physical performance for Muay Thai. I’ll see if I can fit that in soon.

All the best with you training Ian, and keep at it.

Best regards,

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