Fitness - Fit to Fight
Written by Admin
Some clubs offer classes that focus on the fitness aspect of kickboxing (also known as Muay Thai) training. With group sessions and classes for different levels, it’s possible to get the full benefits of training without ever having to exchange punches. Traditionally, Muay Thai is a martial art that uses all the weapons of the body: knees, elbows, fists, legs and feet. Strikes are delivered with a specific style, and most are punches and kicks. Training for a sport like Muay Thai includes tons of technique, strengthening and endurance for the whole body.
While Kwest does train fighters to compete, a large chunk of students are there purely for the workout. Kwest owner Kelly Westerlund wanted to make sure he ran a supportive facility open to all types of people. “Muay Thai should not just be for the elite athlete or a male,” he says. “Everybody can learn something about themselves by taking up this sport.”
Westerlund says he has a lot of female students who were looking for a more motivating and structured workout. He keeps the pace of his classes fast, and every class is different. “There are probably about 75 different types of sit-ups we do,” he says as an example of how things are changed up. There’s no question the workouts are tough, but a partner and instructors are there to keep motivation high. Exercises are often counted or timed, so reaching the end of the exercise helps build incentive. Students regularly training see big improvements. Muscles are developed, stamina is improved and fat is burned.
At Kwest, pads are used in a lot of beginner classes, meaning students are striking pads instead of each other. Those new to the sport will first learn technique before joining group training sessions. Proper technique in Muay Thai is important not only to help protect the student and their partner, but is also part of the challenge of the training. The sport is all about pushing your physical and mental limits in a way a traditional gym workout tends to fall flat in. “There’s a real feeling of empowerment learning a martial art,” says Westerlund. It can be used as self-defence, plus the strength and energy gained from training spills over into everyday life.
And apart from all that, let’s face it; it can’t hurt to let out your stress by pummelling pads for an hour. In fact, it feels pretty darn good.
These three exercises are to be done circuit-style for three to five rounds.
They are to build muscle and stamina,
and to improve ability in executing Muay Thai strikes.
1) Skipping: Three minutes of skipping.
2) Weights: Use one-to-five pound weights (depending on your strength) and perform a continuous jab (punch straight with less dominant hand) and cross (punch straight with dominant hand) for one minute.
3) Squats: Do 40 to 60 squats (depending on ability). Try to bend to the point where knees are at a 90 degree angle, keeping the back fairly straight and without overly leaning forward.
Muscle strength is needed not only to improve technique, but also to help
protect the body.