Tawanchai has been putting in the work for his first defence of the ONE Championship Featherweight Muay Thai World title.

And he’s shared a glimpse of his strength and conditioning prep on Instagram.

In the clip, we see him working through a series of exercises…

  1. Battling Ropes
  2. Band Resisted High Knees
  3. Band Resisted Agility Ladder Drill
  4. Landmine Push Press
  5. Band Resisted Pad Work with the kicks
  6. Band Resisted Reciprocal Push Pull
  7. Pallof Press with Plate Perturbation
  8. Kettlebell Plank Drag

What do I think? Well, let’s have a look in this week’s video!

by Don Heatrick

ONE Championship Fighter S&C

Video transcript:

I like it! There’s a lot of really nice stuff in here.

So first of all, I’d like to say that we have to comment in context of what we can see, and we don’t know everything that’s going on.

For example, what the work sets and rest intervals were, how many repeats were going on. But from a broad overview, I’d say looking at this, it looks like a power endurance routine, which is actually ideal in preparation for a fight.

So it’s coming up close to a fight. It’s not something we necessarily need to do further away from a fight. But getting closer, we want elastic repeating kind of endurance in the system there.

The first exercise that we see Tawanchai doing is Battling Ropes. So as a power endurance exercise, it predominantly targets the upper body.

It’s also going to get the heart rate up. So if we’re looking for that endurance aspect, a nice background level of endurance heart rate is good.

We kind of want, if you’re using it for endurance, you want it at about your anaerobic threshold. So it’s not going to super high, about sort of 80 to 90% of maximum heart rate for most people – the average that you’d see on a Cooper run, if you’ve done that – if you want to check out video of I’ve looked at on that before.

So we’re hitting the upper body there with the Battling Ropes, we’ve then go on to the next exercise there, which is High Knees against Band Resistance, and that’s now working hip flexion. So the muscles down the front of leg working into the quads a little bit as well.

So that’s a nice explosive repeating exercise that’s working those hip flexors pulling the knee up, but also driving plyometricly into the floor as well with a nice repetitive pattern.

And the next exercise we see is a Band Resisted Agility Ladder drill. And that band is applied at the hips, which is really nice because it’s it’s closer to your center of gravity. It’s not interfering with the way he moves his limbs.

And it makes that much more of a hip extension pattern as he’s going along. So whereas that High Knees exercise was about hip FLEXION pulling the legs up at the front, this one’s now a hip EXTENSION.

So we’re getting a nice contrast there. So I like that aspect, and there’s two different footwork patterns he’s doing there, both with, as well as projecting forward with hip extension, we’ve got a little lateral movement going on as well. So we’re starting to work the hips in a slightly different aspect. Again, while we’ve got that band tension on.

The next exercise we see is a Landmine Push Press.

So more of a focus on upper body again. Now, there is a lower body contribution to it, and there is an offset load as well – so the core is going to start getting involved, all in a nice sport specific way. But it is predominately going towards the upper body now. So we’re letting the lower body recharge a bit.

We’re going towards the upper body again… Now that means we get a bit of local recovery in the lower body, so we can have good quality repetitions when we go back to working endurance on that.

And that’s what happens next. We see Band Resisted Pad Work with the kicks. Now what’s important is that the band again is attached to the hips.

It’s pulling back towards the center of gravity. It’s not interfering with how Tawanchai uses his arms to torque up the kick or the kicking limb itself and pulling him back into strange positions. He’s just got resistance. He’s having to work his glutes and the hip extension pattern harder than he would normally. So there’s some overload there, but it’s not interfering with his kicking technique, it’s just making it HARDER.

So, I’m not sure how many repeats, and what the work/rest intervals were for that first part, but it was all about explosive power endurance of the fast twitch muscle fibres – a lot of elastic rebound.

Now it looks like we’re going for core strength endurance on the end. So I’d imagine this was a separate part on the end of the session after that circuit training was done and now it’s just working on core strength and it’s strength endurance in particular. So, it’s not massively overloaded, it’s already fatigued.

And the first exercise here is a Reciprocal Push Pull.

And something I’d like to just point out here to make it more sports specific; the pull is actually in a guard position. So rather than being like a rowing action pulling back, it’s in a continued flexed position there at the elbow. Guard is up and we’re working in endurance those specific patterns.

So again, it indicates that we’re close to a fight. And when we need less general activity here and it’s more sport specific.

And the next exercise we see here is an anti rotational Pallof Press with a Plate Perturbation.

And that just means he’s “perturbed” – he’s actually being distracted and randomly pulled through the core. Again, really nice sort of sports specific exercise and that mimics Muay Thai really well because the force is transmitted from the floor through into the core, and it’s not completely divorced of that.

So you really get to feel the ground and feel how the core connects to the ground. Which would help resisting throws in the clinch for example, but also generating power in strikes.

And then the final exercise we see here is a Kettlebell Plank Drag. Again, another sort of torsional exercise for the core anti rotation stabilisation through there.

And it’s more of an endurance exercise, again, more of a strength endurance exercise. A little less sport specific, but a good sort of finisher after you’ve done all the other bits and pieces that were going on.

Three exercises there on the core. Really working that quite strongly on the end, to make sure that the core isn’t going to fatigue – and it’s had to to deal with everything else that’s gone in the circuit up until that point.

So I’m not sure if the circuit was done with each exercise back to back one after the other. I’m not sure if it was done multiple times for that first portion. But, the main thing is this was done more for work capacity, explosive power repeats and it loads things in a different way that you would see in Muay Thai.

So we’re overloading those movement patterns. If they didn’t do that Tawanchai might as well just do more pad work. So this is loading things in a way that overloads the patterns that he will use in Muay Thai, but in a greater extent than he would see in the Muay Thai practice.

How I’d like to see this used if I was coaching this session would be to use it like an Aerobic Plyometric session – so, working the endurance of those fast twitch muscle fibres.

And that would look like 10 seconds of work and then 10 to 30 seconds rest or active recovery, before repeating again. So the quality of those explosive actions is the key, and we’re not looking for it to fatigue too much. But saying that that sort of 10 seconds work, 10 to 30 seconds rest is on continuous loop for about 5 to 10 minute sets, and then you’d rest for 2 to 3 minutes before doing another set.

And I’d like to see these sets focusing on predominately the upper body or the lower body, which is kind of what was happening here. But I would work those for like one, two, three sets on upper body and 1 to 3 sets on the lower body.

And depending on where I thought the weakness was for this particular fighter, we needed to overload it…

I’d either have the upper body and lower body alternating as we work through the sets, or, if I really wanted to overload it and make it much more endurance based, then I’d do all the sets on the upper body first before moving to the lower body sets if you’re doing that multiple times.

There’s lots of ways you could use these exercises, but all in all, very Muay Thai specific and very conducive to being at the end of a fight camp.

And then for the core endurance finisher at the end, the classic 1 to 3 sets of ten reps per side will go down really well…

Whether you need one set of each of those three exercises, or three sets of each of those, would depend on the athlete, and what the progression has looked like in the training up until this point, and what the fighter really needs to to move them forward.

And there are some extra resources that I’ll link for you in the caption, but also mainly on that show notes page that accompanies this episode (see below). So go ahead and check that out!

Timestamped Links To Video Sections

00:00 – Intro

00:47 – Battling Ropes

01:26 – Band Resisted High Knees

01:48 – Band Resisted Agility Ladder drill

02:28 – Landmine Push Press

02:59 – Band Resisted Pad Work with the kicks

03:58 – Band Resisted Reciprocal Push Pull

04:27 – Pallof Press with Plate Perturbation

05:00 – Kettlebell Plank Drag

06:01 – Structuring an Aerobic Plyometric Session

07:12 – Core Endurance Finisher

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.

Follow Don Heatrick on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/donheatrick/

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