When it comes to training and fighting, strength, power and speed are three different (although dependant) physical qualities. And each one needs attention to reach your full athletic potential. And just like I’ve explained in previous videos, supplemental strength and conditioning is the only way to unlock all that a Thai boxer truly has.
Strength, power and speed are all parts of a continuum on a force velocity curve, from heavy and slow on one end, to light and fast on the other.
This begins with maximal strength, built with heavy lifts like deadlifts, squats, bench presses, shoulder presses, pull ups and rows at typically 90% of 1RM or higher.
This requires high force production, but it’s so heavy it moves slowly.
The next part of the curve, strength-speed builds POWER against heavy loads. That’s applying your force explosively quickly. And that’s done using heavily loaded Olympic lifts such as the split jerk, jerk press, clean, clean and jerk, and heavy jump squats, heavy kettlebell swings.
Then we move on to the speed-strength part of the curve, where the loads are a bit lighter, and therefore faster. This part of the curve is improved using the lighter Olympic lifts like the snatch, power clean etc., some plyometrics, medicine ball drills, lighter jump squats, lighter kettlebell swings.
At the lightest and fastest end of the curve we have speed, with no external resistance. Training for this is done using reaction drills, faster plyometrics, sprints, single kicks, punches etc.
Most Thai boxers only work this light, fast end of the curve. But this is sport specific isn’t it? And best for Muay Thai?
No, it’s a mistake that leaves you under developed, you’ll have a lot more left in you.
It’s true that generally, speed and power is more important than strength in Muay Thai, because we rarely have the luxury to of taking as long as we’d like to apply out force – we must strike, throw and defend as quickly as possible. But this doesn’t mean that strength training shouldn’t be part of a Thai boxers training.