One of the many reasons people take up Muay Thai is for the fitness benefits – not everyone is interested in the competition, but the training is beneficial for a whole host of reasons. In this article we’re going to answer the question ‘Is Muay Thai an effective workout?’
Thanks to the constant movement of the body and the use of all four limbs, Muay Thai really gets the heart racing. You’re on your toes, changing direction, making decisions, attacking and defending in combat. This has a huge energy demand and is an intense cardio training session.
Throwing combinations of punches, kicks, elbows and knees, not to mention constantly adjusting your position for attacking and defensive movements means that just a few minutes of Muay Thai training will see your heart rate race, burning a lot of calories and improving your fitness dramatically!
In order to effectively punch, kick, block and move, you need strong limbs and an ability to generate force quickly. The practice of this builds strength.
The training for Muay Thai and the moves themselves build a very specific strength in people who train in the sport. Again, because Muay Thai uses all four limbs as well as the core muscles, you end up developing an all-round strength that improves you as an athlete. The constant repetition of movements is like a gym workout, conditioning the muscles.
All martial artists are flexible, which is a huge fitness benefit of practicing their sport. If you aren’t flexible, you’ll be a really limited martial artist. Thankfully, Muay Thai naturally helps to improve your flexibility.
The ability to move your body quickly in and out of range of an opponent requires a lot of flexibility, not just speed. There’s also the requirement in Muay Thai to perform high kicks and high knees, both of which require a lot of flexibility. Practicing high kicks and high knees naturally improves flexibility.
When you start Muay Thai you’re learning a huge range of new moves – new skills, new tactics, new kicks, punches, elbow and knee strikes. You’re learning to read an opponent, to manage energy levels and new ways of training.
These new skills that you learn in Muay Thai can improve all kinds of physical abilities that you haven’t even considered – your balance, your coordination, your mobility, your distance perception and your breathing. There are all kinds of things you learn from Muay Thai that benefit you in other areas of your life.
There’s more to Muay Thai than the physical benefits – there are the mental benefits too. Healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
When your physically active, you feel better. Chances are you’ll lose weight and be fitter, so there are confidence boosts that way. You’ll also have a way to release tension and stress, so your mental health improves. Additionally, when you learn a new combat skill your ability to defend yourself improves, so you feel less social anxiety or danger.
Muay Thai is a fantastic workout and has all kinds of physical and mental benefits associated with it. Try Muay Thai and see what it will do for you!
Darren Mitchell is a Muay Thai enthusiast and writer for the Best Muay Thai blog. He has trained for several years at gyms all over the world alongside some world-renowned fighters and coaches.