Muay Thai is widely recognized as one of the most effective stand-up striking styles. It is practiced by professional combat athletes for competitive purposes and also by enthusiasts around the world. Besides self-defense skills, Muay Thai offers many health and fitness benefits.
Muay Thai training is known for being an effective weight loss workout while building body strength. Competitors and practitioners of the sport are often shredded due to the intensity of the workouts. If you are looking to achieve that summer body with washboard abs, then Muay Thai will help you get there fast.
More important than washboard abs, training Muay Thai is one of the best physical activity to develop core body strength.
Why is core strength important?
Having strong core muscles is not just about killer abs (but it certainly is a big motivator). Core strength is important for stability and helps in performing most physical activities from day-to-day tasks such as housework to combat sports or other sportive activities.
Core body strength consists not only of the (upper and lower) abdominal muscles but also the obliques and lower back. Among the multiple benefits, strong core muscles help in maintaining good posture which lessens stress on the spine and also projects more confidence.
Importance of Core body strength in Muay Thai
Techniques matter in Muay Thai but strength plays an important role too. Strong core muscles provide balance and stability, both of which are essential in generating more power while offering support in defense. Additionally, with proper conditioning, strong core muscles can allow combat athletes to withstand body shots better.
How to Improve Core Body Strength with Muay Thai Exercises
While drilling Muay Thai techniques with the heavy bag or pads lead to improved core body strength, exercises aimed at strengthening core muscles are performed during or at the end of each Muay Thai training for the best results.
Here are some Muay Thai exercises that improve core body strength:
Crunches and sit ups are the most common exercise for improving core body strength. It targets mainly the abdominal muscles (aka the 6 pack) as well as the external oblique to a lesser extent.
To increase the difficulty and achieve better results, get a training partner to throw body shots using a boxing glove or boxing mitt on the abs while you are performing crunches.
Leg raises is a killer exercise to end off each training session with. This exercise targets the abdominal muscles, obliques, quadriceps as well as hamstrings and lower back. Leg raises are great exercises which can be carried out with a partner or on an inclined bench for added difficulty.
Planking has become synonymous with abs training but what makes it an excellent exercise is that it also works the whole body. Planking targets the abdominal muscles, as well as quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, back and spine.
There are also different variations of planking which target other muscles like the obliques and deltoids. Some variations include the reverse plank and the side plank.
Muay Thai competitors condition their body by allowing a training partner or trainer to throw body shots at them. When performing this at home, start throwing lighter shots with a boxing glove and gradually build up on power. Other ways of abs conditioning besides punching include dropping a medicine ball, hitting with a kick pad/boxing mitt or throwing roundhouse kicks.
As discussed in this article, core body strength matters not just for Muay Thai but also for many aspects of our lives. It’s time to power up by incorporating core strengthening exercises into your daily workout routine.