COVID-19 may have led to the shutdown of your favorite Muay Thai gym, but that does not mean you have to stop practicing “the art of eight limbs.”
With just the basics in your gym bag and some clear space, you can continue perfecting your craft while life is on pause.
Here are five Muay Thai exercises you can practice to keep your body strong, your kicks sharp, and your heart rate pumping.
#1 Skipping Rope
Other than a jump rope and some space, you do not need much to do this exercise while your life is on pause.
Skipping rope helps you warm up before you go on to more rigorous exercises. It also strengthens your feet and ankles, which will make them more resilient to injury while kicking.
ONE Super Series standout Superlek “The Kicking Machine” Kiatmoo9 points out a few other benefits.
“Skipping helps strengthen our bones,” he says.
“It also helps us concentrate because we must focus on the rhythm of the movement of our feet as our hand spins the rope continuously. This also helps our brain and nerve function, if done regularly. Over time, our various organs will work more harmoniously.”
If you do not have a jump rope, you can get some of the same benefits from mimicking the movements.
#2 Blocking And Kicking Combos
This is another Muay Thai technique you can do at home without any equipment.
Start off by shadowboxing as if you are blocking left and right kicks. As you stand on one foot, with the other up to block, hold that position for three seconds, and then throw a push kick (or teep, in Thai).
If you have seen ONE World Champions Sam-A Gaiyanghadao and Nong-O Gaiyanghadao in action, then you have seen this move. They can counter even when just standing on one foot, and it is exercises like this that help them.
After you execute your block-teep combinations, work on your kicks. Have you ever had someone catch your kick in sparring? That is exactly what you want to emulate.
Throw a kick, picture someone catching it, and hold it there for 10 seconds or longer if you can. Alternate between left and right kicks.
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#3 Punching And Sprinting
The next exercise is running and sprinting, and you really have to push yourself for this one. Without a pad holder around, this comes down to you.
For the first round, do three minutes of straight jab-cross punches with interval sprints. For the first 30 seconds of your sprint, think of it as a jog. For the next 30 seconds, run as fast as you can.
Do this for two rounds – and if three-minute rounds are not enough, then increase the time to five minutes per round.
#4 Alternating Knees
This technique is not the same without a bag, but if you push yourself, you will reap the rewards.
Start by throwing left and right knees while shadowboxing for three minutes.
For the first 30 seconds, focus on technique as you throw your knees, keeping your balance strong and centered and pointing your toes down.
Then for the next 30 seconds, double up your knees. This time, however, focus more on speed.
In both instances, make sure your knees are nice and high. Try to do two rounds of each drill, and if you do not feel the burn after three minutes, kick it up to five minutes per round.
In addition to being known for their amazing conditioning, Thai athletes are also known for their abs. If you need a reminder, just look at ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon and his incredible six-pack.
Fortunately, it is not genetics – you just have to commit to doing hundreds of sit-ups each and every day. And, since you are isolated at home, you have plenty of reasons to reach those numbers.
For Rodtang, the benefits of sit-ups go far beyond aesthetics.
“Doing a lot of sit-ups will burn more fat in the abdomen,” he says.
“Sit-ups help prevent injury to the spine and can reduce back pain. They also help the body move better whether standing, walking, or sitting. Lastly, sit-ups help increase efficiency when playing other sports or just exercising.”
Turn on some music and take your time. You do not have to do hundreds of sit-ups at once, so take as many breaks as you need. Start off with a goal of 200 sit-ups, and see if you can work your way up to 500 a day.