ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Get Fit through Combat: Muay Thai Training as a Fitness Activity

Updated on February 21, 2018

Muay Thai is not just for self-defense anymore. Although it started out as a martial art, it has become more popular as a fitness activity in the modern age. In fact, a lot of health and fitness clubs now offer their clients basic Muay Thai classes and other fitness routines based on this sport. It provides both men and women a fun and practical alternative to lifting weights in the gym.

Since Muay Thai is a physically demanding sport, a thorough understanding of its mechanics is important before jumping on the bandwagon. Although it is now practiced by men and women of all ages, it may not be for everyone. This guide will help you gain more knowledge about Muay Thai so you can gauge whether or not it is the perfect fitness activity for you.

What is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is a combat sport that originated in Thailand. It goes by many names including Kickboxing, Thai boxing, and the Art of 8 Limbs. Indeed, it requires the use of 8 limbs which are the shins, the elbows, the knees, and the fists. This requirement makes Muay Thai more complicated than other contact sports that require only a specific part of the body, such as the fists for boxing and the legs for Taekwondo.

In the past, Muay Thai was actually used in combat. It was an important part of the Thai military training during the reign of King Naresuan in 1560 CE. However, it gradually evolved into a sport. Spectators gathered as trained Muay Thai fighters battled in celebrations usually held in temples.

Eventually, Muay Thai turned into a formal sport with rules, a ring, and a referee. The first Muay Thai ring was built in 1921 at SuanKularp. The traditional Muay Thai outfit was also introduced, which includes gloves and groin protectors, as the strikes can be lethal.

There are 6 main attacks accepted in Muay Thai. These are 'chok' (punching), 'tisok' (elbowing), 'te' (kicking), 'tikao' (kneeing), 'thip' (thrusting with the foot), and 'chap kho' (clinching and neck wrestling). Defense, on the other hand, is a lot like that of boxing and other martial arts. It involves redirection, blocking, avoidance, disruption, evasion, and anticipation.

Fitness Benefits of Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a grueling full body workout, and Muay Thai training sessions can burn thousands of calories in one go. The movements in Muay Thai may require a lot of hard work, but they are worth it due to the countless benefits they have on the body. Here is how Muay Thai can help you achieve your fitness goals:

  • Muay Thai is excellent for cardiovascular conditioning. It has both aerobic and anaerobic benefits on the body that are essential for strengthening the cardiovascular system. Those who are getting bored with their jogging or dancing routine can try Muay Thai as an alternative.

  • It improves core strength. A lot of people who are getting into the fitness craze want physical activities that can strengthen and define their core at the same time. The rotational movements when executing kicks and punches give the core a good workout.

  • It increases hip mobility. Muay Thai involves a lot of kicking and kneeing moves, so it gives the hips regular activity. You may not enjoy this benefit right away, but it is something you will be thankful for when you reach your golden years. The important thing to remember is to take your warm-up seriously to prevent injury.

  • It develops leg strength. The legs, no doubt, get plenty of action in Muay Thai. The roundhouse kick alone which is a popular move in Muay Thai contributes so much to improving your leg strength, agility, and muscle endurance. As a cherry on top, it helps develop sexier calves.

  • It relieves stress. Most modern fitness enthusiasts get physical to relieve stress. It is a fact that hitting something when you are tired and frustrated is even more beneficial. Muay Thai provides that outlet, while getting the mind off of the worries of the day for the duration of the training. It also helps improve focus which can help make office work a piece of cake in the long run.

Downsides of Muay Thai as a Fitness Activity

Muay Thai, like any other contact sport, is no doubt dangerous. While there are few fatalities in the ring, there have been incidents of brain damage and other kinds of irreparable injuries. Using Muay Thai for fitness purposes may not be as dangerous as its competitive counterpart, but it still holds some risks that beginners should keep in mind.

  • It can cause bad posture. Like any other form of workout, overdoing Muay Thai can cause serious muscle imbalances that can lead to bad posture. The hunched fighting stance in Muay Thai is also blamed for the poor posture some fighters suffer. The trick here is to supplement Muay Thai training with physical activities that can counteract its negative effects.

  • There is a chance of getting shin damage. The shins take a lot of punishment during Muay Thai training so there is a possibility of developing shin-related problems later in life. Some reports even claim that nerve damage in the shin might lead to shin cancer. However, numbers and scientific studies proving this have not been released. The key is to invest in high-quality pads and wear them all the time.

  • You might get a few broken bones. This is a fact if you plan to scale the ladder to more advanced Muay Thai training. Unlike other fitness activities such as dancing or running, the injury rate in Muay Thai is high, especially when sparring is involved in the routine.

The same downsides of other fitness activities apply to Muay Thai, such as the possibility of getting muscle wear and tear and overexertion. However, these can be avoided by understanding your body’s limits and moderating your routine as you see fit.

Getting Started With Muay Thai

The right preparation is important if you want to practice Muay Thai for fitness. This is an important first step as Muay Thai involves more dangers than other fitness activities. Here are some steps to take before heading to the Muay Thai gym for your first training.

  • Choose a reputable Muay Thai training gym. Since the Muay Thai craze started several years back, Muay Thai training centers have been appearing everywhere. Most of these gyms offer watered down training though. Much worse, some of them may not practice safety precautions. Others even fail on the hygiene department which is a big issue if you will be using their equipment, like gloves and pads. Visit as many gyms as you can and ask all of the questions you can think of before committing. It will also help to read gym reviews on the Internet and to check out forums just to be sure that you are not missing any fine print. Once you have chosen a particular gym, choose a trainer. Again, reading reviews will help, but you also need to consider your personal preference. It is important to be comfortable with your trainer so you can ask all of your questions and you will feel free to move. If you are a woman and you are not comfortable with a male trainer, spend extra time and effort looking for a reliable female trainer.

  • Choose high-quality equipment. You will not have to buy all the necessary equipment on your first try as the gym will provide most of them. However, if you do not fancy the idea of sharing a glove with a stranger, it might be better to buy yours right away. The ideal Muay Thai outfit includes a pair of loose shorts and a comfortable shirt. You can use your regular gym sneakers. Men should wear groin protection too as accidents can happen even in less serious sparring sessions. Obviously, you need to buy your own mouth guard if you intend to spar. There are instant or boil-to-fit mouth guards you can find in most sports stores. You simply have to drop the mouth guard in hot water then place it in your mouth to get the perfect fit. This may be good enough for your first few training sessions, but a mouth guard from your dentist is still the best choice.

  • Prepare mentally and physically. Heading to your first Muay Thai training session without any form of preparation can be traumatizing. It is a very demanding sport and you might find yourself regretting the decision when you start to hurt in every part of your body. However, jogging for a few days before your first training, and doing simple full body workouts will help make the experience less punishing. Also, reading up on basic techniques and practicing them on your own will help make you feel less awkward when trying them out in the gym.

Would you try Muay Thai to get physically fit?

See results

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • kgmonline profile imageAUTHOR

    Geri MIleff 

    3 years ago from Czech Republic

    Hi, Andie! Glad you will. :) Thanks for reading!

  • profile image

    Andie 

    3 years ago

    Woot, I will ceatnirly put this to good use!

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)