3 Neck Strengthening Exercises For The Muay Thai Clinch

Lara Fernandez clinches with Dangkongfah Banchamek at ONE 164

Muay Thai is renowned for its use of the clinch, a stand-up grappling technique that sets it apart from other popular martial arts such as kickboxing, karate, and tae kwon do. 

The clinch is a nuanced technique that requires precision and finesse. And, when executed correctly, it can be an effective method of controlling an opponent’s body and scoring a large number of points.

We share below three exercises that will help you build neck strength, enabling you to remain focused on your positioning and technique during a clinch battle.

Make ‘Yes-No-Maybe’ Movements

Tawanchai PK.Saenchai clinches with Petchmorakot Petchyindee at ONE 161

Exercising your neck can be done in a few simple steps, like by nodding your head up and down, then side to side, and finally by bringing your ears to your shoulders. These movements help to loosen the muscles in your neck, as well as improve your range of motion. 

When doing the technique, move your neck until you feel a slight tightness, but avoid rotating so much that it could cause pain. Repeat the exercise until your neck feels tired, and then take note of the positive effects it can have. 

This exercise is easy to do and can be done anywhere. It’s a great place to start if you want to have a sturdy clinch like ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Tawanchai PK.Saenchai.

Make it a part of your daily routine, and you’ll soon notice a difference in your training.

Perform Weighted Shoulder Shrugs

Liam Nolan clinches with Eddie Abasolo

Shoulder shrugs are a great exercise for targeting the neck and upper traps, two muscle groups that are often neglected in traditional strength training.

This exercise can be done with a variety of equipment, including dumbbells, kettlebells, and weight plates. 

To perform the exercise, begin by leaning forward slightly with your chin tucked, brace your core, and then raise your shoulders to your ears. Pause for a second at the top of the movement before slowly lowering them back down. In terms of reps, aim for six to 12 reps for strength and mass building, and 12 to 25 reps for muscular endurance. 

This can help you become like Liam Nolan, the tall English fighter who is famous for his clinching skills.

Wear A Neck Harness

Panpayak Jitmuangnon clinches with Superlek Kiatmoo9 at ONE 164

The use of a harness to strap weights around your head is a popular option, but it can be expensive. A less-expensive option is to attach lightweight plates to a towel and bite down on it while lying on your back with your head hanging off the edge of a ring.

This method will help strengthen the neck muscles and should be done in three to five sets once or twice a week, with lighter weights and more reps rather than heavier weights and fewer reps.

You can also do the same exercise in reverse while seated, allowing the weights to hang between your legs and nodding your head up and down. 

If you want to emulate ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion Superlek Kiatmoo9‘s level of strength in the clinch, make sure to build up your neck muscles with this technique.

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