Benefits of Combat Sports Training – Boxing and Muay Thai

As we grow into adulthood, we adopt an exceedingly busy lifestyle with barely enough time in the day for workouts and physical activity. The day begins with a quick breakfast, a strong morning coffee (or tea?) followed by a grind that usually stretches to evening. By that time, the motivation to engage in a boring and monotonous 30-60 min workout routine is low for the average person. This is where casual martial arts training offers an exciting, highly physical avenue. Whether it’s boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or Krav Maga, the result, though varying in the versatility of acquired skills, is very similar in terms of burning calories. Let’s explore a subset of exciting workout options inspired by combat sports: boxing and Muay Thai training!

Boxing Workout and the Perfect KO Punch

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A well placed power-punch serves as a remarkably effective sleep inducing medication.

Boxing, also known as pugilism, is a very ancient art with recorded mentions from around the Trojan War (circa 1200 +/- 100 BC). Due to its simplicity and elegance, it is also referred to as “the sweet science”. Equipped with intelligence, strength, agility and the skill to execute four basic punches, a skilled boxer is a formidable human being, built for the kill. FYI: In case you’re wondering, the perfect KO punch is the overhand right!

The four basic punches: jab, cross, uppercut, hook.

There is no simpler way of stating the fact that reaching elite skill level in boxing requires a training regimen that is grueling and intense. However, it is extremely beginner-friendly. Before getting into technique, everyone partaking in such training must condition his/her body. The key areas touched are developing cardio, core strength, and lastly, upper body strength. Training sessions can be both group-based or individual and often require punching bags (for punching, obviously), boxing wraps, and gloves. Individual workouts can be carried out with just wrist weights (or small dumbbells) and ankle weights for good shadowboxing along with a jump rope for cardio and focus.

DID YOU KNOW: a 10 min jump rope session is as effective in burning calories as a 30-minute jog?

Individual Boxing Training Sessions

An individual session starts with 5 minutes of jump rope (any variation) followed by 30 minutes of HIIT. The 15-minute HIIT session is intense and focuses mostly on cardio and footwork, legs, core, and abs. A smaller portion of that is for strengthening the upper body, focusing on pushups, pull-ups, and weighted shadow boxing. After HIIT comes 15-20 minutes of boxing skill training, focusing on basic offense (the variations of four holy punches) and defense (via body orientation and footwork). Typically, the workout ends with 5 minutes of abs workout and/or 5 minutes of stretching.

Calories burnt: 500 – 1000 (depending on intensity and rest taken between workouts).

Muay Thai and the Power of the Thai Clinch

As the name suggests, this art originates from Thailand and is a very (very very very) advanced version of kickboxing. Unsurprisingly, experts name it “the art of eight limbs” i.e., 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 elbows, and 2 knees. This versatility, however, is not the main enabler of this beautiful-yet-explosive art: that honor goes to the THAI CLINCH. Practitioners with mediocre 8-limb pure striking skills but high-level Thai clinch capability, more often than not, absolutely destroy the most elite striking purists due to their ability to control their opponent’s balance.

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If Julius Caesar was born in Thailand, his famous “I came, I saw, I conquered!” quote would instead have been “I came, I saw, I kneed my enemy on the jaw!”

The individual training for Muay Thai is nearly identical to that of boxing. Group sessions, on the other hand, offer a different story. In addition to punches, they have kicked. In addition to kicks, they train to have knees and elbows. A typical group session in boxing is 70% cardio and conditioning and 30% skill development whereas, that for Muay Thai is 50-50. This is because the act of skill development (and the underlying intensity) in itself has tremendous cardio and conditioning benefits. When you kick a punching back 50 times from each leg, in one go, the leg workout is truly sensational and with broad-spectrum muscle involvement.

Individual Muay Thai Training Sessions

As mentioned before, individual training sessions for Muay Thai are very similar to those of boxing. The video below shows an intense and, at the same time, beginner-friendly hour long session. Give it a shot!

Calories burnt: 500 – 1000 (depending on intensity and rest taken between workouts).

This is a 60 minute solo workout session that is intense but at the same time, beginner-friendly. Give it a try!

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