Making Your Pad Work Count
When it comes to gearing up for that big fight, let’s admit it: our pad work could use a little extra oomph. Especially in that crucial last week before the ring bell, where the training leans more on the mind than the muscles.
Here’s the thing—by the time you’re in that weight-cutting phase, the gruelling part of training is essentially behind you. Now? It’s about recouping and rejuvenating from the rigours of the fight camp. You want to enter the ring exuding energy and showcasing your top-notch skills, not as a weary version of your real fighter self.
But here’s the curveball—striking the right balance between peak performance and staying razor-sharp mentally and technically needs a thoughtful approach to pad work. One that many tend to sidestep.
Pad Work Vanity Sessions
So, what’s the unique twist? During the fight week, I swear by what I’ve coined as “vanity sessions.”
These sessions are more about fueling your self-belief than draining your physical stamina. In that ultimate week, aim for concise, intense, and fight-paced pad sessions with a pad holder who challenges you with some sparring-like pushback but without the risk of injury.
Fight Specific Pad Work
Zooming out a bit, in the final month-long stretch before the fight, go all-in on fight-centric pad work. Instead of pushing yourself with extended rounds that are tougher than the actual fight, mirror the real deal.
Say you’re prepping for a three, 2-minute round fight—your pad session should mimic that exact format. Follow that with a rest of about 8-10 minutes, and then, for the cherry on top, replicate that back-to-back (maybe 3 or 4 times). This ensures you manage your energy aptly, avoiding spreading yourself too thin over an elongated duration.
Here’s a simple analogy: Think of a 200-metre sprinter. Training for 400 metres, assuming it’s “tougher”, would be a misstep. Not only would they misalign their fitness needs, but their pacing would be all over the place.
This underlines the risk of not tailoring your training to the actual fight duration. Tailored, purposeful training equates to a polished Muay Thai performance. However, like all things, feel free to play around and discover what suits you best!