“If I have to do my Muay Thai and strength and conditioning sessions both one after the other, which should I do first? And If I can leave a gap, how long between sessions is best?”
I’m asked this a lot, and in this video I briefly share my thoughts on this while driving home from (another) hospital consultation appointment for my mashed up elbow! In fact, next time you see me, I’ll be back in a sling again following nerve decompression surgery… One-arm training, here I come again! ;)
Anyway, back to the topic… and actually, this all follows on from my previous “car drive” chat – there’s no such thing as perfect. This rational not only relates to injury, but also to training session order, your training week, everything!
So here we go… how to make best from less than perfect, and still make the best progress possible (and there’s a Muay Thai Training Week Cheat Sheet download at the bottom of the page for you too).
A question I often get is – should I do my my strength training before my Thai boxing or the cardio conditioning sessions, or afterwards, which way is the better way round.
And the honest answer to that is, it depends! But to give you some kind of proper answer – whichever session is the most important that day or for that block of training, whatever the purpose is – then that one should go first, because that will be less hindered.
So if your Thai boxing skill training is the most important one that day, then that should go first, and then trying to fit your strength and conditioning in afterwards is the way to do it.
If however, the foundation athletic qualities are your priority, and you have got other sessions where the skills can be made up -which is often the case – then the strength and conditioning session should go first, and then you will be a little more fatigued for the Muay Thai session for example.
If the Muay Thai session involves learning a new skill, you are trying to anchor a new engram – a new movement pattern – then don’t do your strength and conditioning first. That Muay Thai session should be the emphasis, that should come first.
But if it’s more of just a conditioning session and you are using well rehearsed techniques then the strength session can go beforehand, no problem. You just know you’re going to be a bit dull, and a bit more fatigued going into it. Which is not necessarily a bad thing if you’re then looking to test your Muay Thai specific technique under fatigue.
So to develop strength and power you need to be well rested before you do it. So if you’re particularly fatigued before you do it, then you’re not going to get the best out of that development. And in my experience most fighters are lacking strength and power development in the first place, so they rely on that movement efficiency of the skill to feel like their strength and power is at a good level, when actually the foundation qualities aren’t really there.
So most of the time, I would prioritise the strength and power session in a well rested unfatigued state, and then work the rest of everything else on top of that.
So try and arrange your training week around that. Try and make sure your strength, your power and your speed sessions, like the plyometrics and things like that, are all done in a really well rested state – away from everything else as much as possible – and then slot everything else in as much as you can around that .
Of course, a lot of your Muay Thai sessions are group training sessions, so they happen where they happen in the week. So it’s really difficult to shift those, that’s where your training partners, where the group sessions are, it’s when the coaches are available.
Where as the strength and conditioning sessions are much more personalised, generally. You’re more fitting those in when you can in your own time, so you’ve got more flexibility on where those can go.
So ideally, I’d like to see strength and conditioning sessions in the morning, and then any other training you’ve got, whether it’s cardio conditioning or Muay Thai training, later on in the day – in the afternoon or the evening. That kind of separation works really well. And you actually get a good training benefit from both those sessions then.
If you need to stack one after the other, then… less desirable, but doing something is better than nothing!
MUAY THAI TRAINING WEEK CHEAT SHEET
Making the best use of your limited training time is what makes every session count. And this cheat sheet reference and worksheet points you straight at your goal at the micro cycle level – the training week.