Muay Thai Strength and Conditioning… Supplemental and Essential
Your primary training focus is of course MuayThai. And your main limitation early on is technical competence, and focusing on this will have the greatest impact on your performance to begin with.
Strength and conditioning, on the other hand, is supplemental – it plays a supporting role.
And although it may seem less important, especially to a Muay Thai newbie, I’d like you to consider this:
Strength and conditioning (done properly) brings things to the party that Thai boxing training Thai boxing alone can’t.
• It balances postural habits and strength imbalances to reduce injury.
• It allows you to focus on moving correctly and to test this, rather than encouraging rapid but poor movement under fatigue.
• It builds your maximum strength and power potential so that you can overcome your opponent physically.
• It systematically builds your energy supply and usage to relentlessly apply your power in a fight.
• And it makes sure you peak properly for a fight and are getting better month on month, year after year, rather than going a round in circles.
What strength and conditioning isn’t, is a quick fix. It takes time for your body to adapt to training, and it takes planned, progressive overload to maintain this progress and to build on it.
Anybody can chuck something together that will make you better for a month or so… but then what?
Don’t fear the fighter that’s trained randomly for a month or so. Fear the fighter that’s trained progressively for a year or two and has reaped the rewards.
You need to understand that it’s an investment. One that will heap a whole load of reward, that those that don’t follow through will never see.
To chuck in one of my analogies…
Strength and conditioning is like taking a racing car and improving the the power and capacity of the engine, improving the fuel economy, and fuel tank capacity, upgrading the brakes, tyres, suspension, everything.
This improves the car’s performance, but it also makes it more robust and less likely to breakdown. Whereas, technical Muay Thai training is like taking the best driver and putting him in that car.
So both aspects are important. The best tactician can’t win a race in small family hatchback against performance sports cars.
As your Muay Thai career advances, the technical differences between fighters becomes less prominent, and physical capabilities become increasingly important… you need to make sure your racing car is as highly tuned (if not better) than your opponent’s.
The problem here though is, unlike tuning up a car, you can’t build physical capability overnight with some last-minute overtime by the team of mechanics.
Your body can only develop as a result of planned, progressive, systematic overload over a period of time. And the earlier you start your strength and conditioning training, the better chance you have of hitting that race with a better car than your opponent.
And the longer it takes for your opponent to cotton on to this, the further behind they’ll be, and the less likely they’ll be able to match you physically. There are no shortcuts. Just direct routes and… less direct routes… with many leading back to the start, like a game of snakes and ladders!
But although important, strength and conditioning training is still supplemental to your Muay Thai training. Most fighters can only afford a couple of training sessions per week in the gym. And that’s plenty if you’re doing the training correctly.
In those training sessions, just like every session, you need to be training with purpose – just like I said in my previous video – then you’re moving ahead.
Strength and conditioning training is not about building “GUNS”, it’s about dropping “BOMBS”! Power, lots of it… relentless knock-out power. Just add your own fight style to this physical foundation – you can have both the best car and be the best driver in the race.
Don Heatrick, owner of Heatrick Strength & Conditioning, is a renowned Level 4 Strength and Conditioning coach, Muay Thai coach and former pro Thai boxer from the UK.
HERE TO…Help ambitious fighters & coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai