Muscles are important in any physical activity, but there’s a difference between muscle mass and muscle that generates better kinetic energy in a fight.
That’s not to say you should neglect weight-training during your fight camp, however. Many of the top athletes in Muay Thai will integrate weights exercises into their strength and conditioning regime.
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Effective use of weight-training combined with cardiovascular activity can strengthen muscle groups that help with punching power, kicking speed, movement and endurance.
Here are some of the important muscle groups you should be focusing on to better your Muay Thai training:
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Legs (Full Body Power)
By far the most important of all muscle groups, specifically the quads and calf muscles. The legs are the largest muscle group on your body and generate the most power; not the chest and definitely not the triceps.
Connected to the ground, your legs are responsible for all power in your kinetic body movement. Not just for kicking power, strong leg muscles also contribute to punching power, too.
Abs (Core Strength and Body Armour)
Abdominal muscles and a strong core will hold your whole body and allow power generated from every limb to move into one full force.
Aside from the core strength and connecting your whole body, training abdominal muscles will help your breathing, support your back, give you better posture and allow you to take body shots.
Back (Core Power and Punch Recovery)
As well as the abs, your back also functions as a core muscle for body force by combining the power generated by all your limbs.
Another little known, but very important fact, is that a strong back can aid punch-recovery; the velocity of your retraction back to a defensive position.
Shoulders (Punch Endurance)
If you’re a puncher, strong shoulder endurance is a must. Typically, when boxers are too tired to punch or hold their guard up, it’s because their shoulders become tired.
Your shoulders are a relatively small muscle group responsible for holding up a much larger and heavier group (your arms). From a physics standpoint, it’s not difficult to see why the shoulders can tire quickly.
So if you want to be able to throw more punches and hold your hands up for longer, you better start training your shoulders for endurance.