Adding a weight training routine to your Muay Thai regimen may be just the thing to give you that competitive edge for which you have been looking. An effective strength and conditioning program will not only increase your power-to-weight ratio but can also be modified to improve your metabolic conditioning in the form of circuit training.
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Warm Up First
It is important to warm up before your weight training workouts. Exercises such as brisk walking, jumping jacks, running in place or even jumping rope are excellent. You should warm up just to break a sweat and no more. After the light cardio do some dynamic stretching. Warming up with light cardio and stretching will help to avoid muscle strain by elevating your body temperature and making your sinews more pliable, thus preparing them for greater exertion.
Exercises and Routines
Basic exercises that hit the most muscle groups are the best to put into your routines. Chest presses, shoulder presses, rowing, pull downs, leg presses and squats are all great exercises because they work virtually every muscle in the body and will serve the strength goals of most people. It is best to not perform all of these exercises in one workout but rather to split them into two workouts. For instance, on Mondays do chest presses, rowing and leg presses. On Thursdays, do shoulder presses, pull downs and squats. Start doing one set for each exercise and gradually work up to three sets. When beginning a new routine, keep your repetitions at least around 10 and rest for about two to three minutes in between sets. Practicing good form is far more important than lifting heavy. There are a myriad of ways to strength train but if you are a beginner choose a simple routine as this and stick with it for at least a couple months.
Circuit Training for Muay Thai
Many Muay Thai boxers typically use running, shadow boxing and sparring for their cardio, but circuit training is also something to consider to simulate the active and rest periods of an actual Muay Thai match. After a few months of regular weight training, you can bring your cardio conditioning to a higher level using the same weight training exercises but performing them in a different way. Formal Muay Thai matches have three-minute rounds with two-minute rest intervals for no more than five rounds. A circuit training type of workout would consist of doing three basic exercises -- such as chest presses, rowing and leg presses -- one after the other, immediately. Use lighter weights than usual for each exercise so you can do a set of each exercise for about one minute so the round will last for three minutes. Rest two minutes after the first round then repeat one or two times.
Weight Training and Recovery
After practicing both Muay Thai and weight training for a while, you will surely need some passive recovery. It is advisable to take a week or two off from the weights every two months. This will ensure that your body gets the rest it needs both physically and psychologically. During the time off, you can re-evaluate your workouts to better fit your Muay Thai practice. Keep in mind that proper form and safety always come first in your weight-training routines.