Fighters strength and conditioning should bring new challenges and complimentary physical adaptations that improve the fighter in ways that Muay Thai training  doesn’t. Otherwise, you’re missing THE trick!


So a mistake I see a lot of coaches making with their fighters for strength and conditioning is making the strength and conditioning sessions look and feel too much like fighting specifically. And that’s wasting your time really.

You should see the strength and conditioning as something different to fighting, to give you something different to the fight training – otherwise, do more fight training! That’s going to get you skill specific!


In your strength sessions, you should be trying to get those foundation lifts in,  building up fighter’s qualities. So if you’re doing more of the same, or something or something similar in your strength and conditioning sessions, you’re actually getting more of what you’ve already got.

So look to tap in and develop areas that aren’t being developed in your regular Muay Thai training.

Build real strength. Build real power… and in your cardio conditioning sessions, look to develop the aerobic system and the repeated explosive power in a way that you’re not getting on the pads or in the sparring. To give you some benefits that just doing more of that isn’t giving you.

And the other big thing with strength and conditioning that gets massively overlooked, because it’s not as sexy, is injury prevention or injury reduction.

There are a lot of overuse patterns that we have as fighters, and postural positions that we have to endure as well, and we need to manage those as best we can. You’ve got them, we have to deal with it.

And strength and conditioning is where we can address the balance on a lot of this stuff. Rather than all the horizontal pushing that we’ve got as fighters, while we’re punching, getting more of the horizontal pulls in there will balance you up and make your shoulders much more healthy.

And that’s just one example there. But just doing more of the same does create an overuse pattern to. So do consider that. Do look at the opportunities you can get with strength and conditioning to fill gaps, rather than just doing more of the same.

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), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

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