There will come a time when your usual sparring partner is busy, tired, ill, or otherwise occupied. This, unfortunately, leaves you without a partner. It doesn’t have to mean that you miss your evening Muay Thai session though
Muay Thai can be done alone with the help of a sturdy heavy bag, open space, and the prerequisites of basic Muay Thai techniques. This being said, I’ll assume that you already have the basic moves and techniques down so I won’t spend time elaborating on them.
We will go into depth on various aspects of Muay Thai – benefits, essential gear, and a handful of great workouts, though.
Are you ready? Sit back, relax, and prepare to embark on a fantastic solo workout.
Table of Content
- 1 Benefits of Muay Thai Heavy Bag Drills
- 2 Necessary Gear
- 3 Attack and Defend
- 4 Muay Thai Defense Drill
- 5 Hip, Flow and Rotate
- 6 Muay Thai Footwork and Movement
- 7 Stamina and Power Kicking
- 8 Standing Your Ground
- 9 Muay Thai Defense Drill
- 10 Elbow Combinations
- 11 Speed Jab Drill
- 12 Roundhouse Kick Transition
- 13 In Summary
Benefits of Muay Thai Heavy Bag Drills
The Thais, as you may have noticed if you already use heavy bags, are pros at endurance training. This is because heavy bags are fantastic endurance building tools. In Thailand, a typical Mai Thuy session ends with 10 to 20 minutes of intense cardio on the heavy bag. With regular use of heavy bags, your endurance will gradually increase.
In a Muay Thai combat session, footwork is just as important as the actual moves and combinations performed. When using a heavy bag, many people neglect to practice their footwork. However, ensuring adequate footwork training within each heavy bag session is truly something to focus on.
Why? Heavy bag training should simulate fighting a real opponent if it all possible. This means that footwork – the in and out motions that one does when circling an opponent- should never go neglected.
Heavy bag training is a versatile exercise regime in Muay Thai. Not only is it great for working out the shin, calf, and lower body muscles. It’s also beneficial for heart health as it gives the body a dose of cardio. In addition, heavy bag training also increases lung function.
Using heavy bags to hone your Muay Thai skills is highly convenient. This is mostly because when you own a heavy bag, you’re able to use it whenever you see fit. There are also no annoying time limits, daily usage restrictions, or set workout hours.
Practicing solo with heavy bags allows you to squeeze in a workout before bed, after work, or right after breakfast – whenever it suits you best.
To summarize, the most notable benefits of Muay Thai heavy bag training are:
- The capability to workout whenever you want and for as long as you want
- Engaging in a full body workout that is especially beneficial to the heart and lungs
- Improved footwork during real combat sessions
- Steadily increasing endurance that comes about at a healthy, natural rate
To get started with at Muay Thai practice, you’ll need a few basic pieces of gear:
- Professional shin protection that fits well and stands the test of time
- A high-quality, durable heavy bag that suits your needs
- Hand protection in the form of gloves and/or wraps
Gloves and hand wraps
Arguably the most important bones in your body (when it comes to Muay Thai at least) are the bones in your hands and wrist. Without them or with injured bones, you’re unable to perform to your skill level and are bound to miss various training sessions and opportunities for combat. That’s why professional gloves and hand wraps are critical when practicing with your heavy bag.
Muay Thai Heavy bag
Although this seems like a no-brainer, it’s surprising how many people who want to practice with heavy bags forget to invest in the heavy bag they need to use. A good quality, the durable heavy bag is what makes or breaks a heavy bag workout.
Without shins that are in good shape, many Muay Thai moves are proven to be extremely painful, with bruises being a hot commodity among participants. Luckily, shin protectors are widely available and come in a variety of price ranges. When worn properly, they work to protect the muscles and tendons within the shin and surrounding area
Attack and Defend
This Muay Thai heavy bag drill aims to improve the effectiveness of both attack and counterattack moves. It focuses on protecting you against roundhouse kicks.
- Start by leading off your combo with a solid jab as you would with any other drill.
- Follow this first jab with a second in rapid succession. You can go from the opposite hand or the same hand for this.
- After completing the second jab, raise a leg to block the simulation of a roundhouse kick aimed at your midsection.
- Quickly lower the leg and raise the other to block the other side.
- Once your leg lowers, launch a sidekick with it. This move will surprise your opponent while also improving your leg speed.
You can start on either side of the body for this drill. Just be sure to practice with both sides evenly so that you improve leg speed in both limbs.
Muay Thai Defense Drill
Even the most powerful Muay Thai kicks aren’t guaranteed to bring your opponent down. This heavy bag drill focuses on defending yourself against the push and roundhouse kicks, both of which an angry opponent might throw at you after being hit particularly hard.
- Stand with a leg raised to block kicks to the midsection while keeping your hands up to protect your face.
- Bring your leg down and transition into a roundhouse kick with the other leg.
- Bring your leg back up to finish the sequence with a push kick.
- Steady the bag and repeat from the other side.
Remember to balance your weight for this sequence. Lean slightly forward to avoid falling backward. Start slowly and gradually increase both your speed and power.
Hip, Flow and Rotate
Flowing from one attack into another is critical in Muay Thai. It’s also the focus of this sequence, teaching you how to shift and balance your weight to move seamlessly from attack to attack.
- Approach the heavy bag in a fighting stance, hands up to block your face.
- When jabbing, shift your weight to the other side of the body and, without faltering, jab again from the opposite side.
- When retracting, kick at the opponent’s waist height or just below.
- Reset your stance and throw a punch with the other hand.
As you get more comfortable with this drill, consider using switching to knees, elbows, and various other targets. During this drill, your hips should be rotating and your weight pitching your body forward to land solid hits.
Muay Thai Footwork and Movement
“Frozen foot syndrome” is the tendency that many people have of keeping their feet in one spot while going about their kicks and punches. This Muay Thai heavy bag routine works on improving footwork and free movement.
- Get in a standard stance, balancing on the balls of your feet, and rock backward and forwards to avoid planting yourself in place.
- Move to the left and shift the same foot out, readjusting to the right.
- Step right, following the same steps as with the left foot but on the right one.
- Move forwards, shuffling the lead foot and resetting the back one.
- Move backward and finish the whole motion with a number of strikes.
Be sure to avoid crossing your feet when you’re moving. This will slow you down and can cause you to stumble, trip, and fall. Focus on the basics before moving to anything more difficult.
Stamina and Power Kicking
Stamina and the buildup of power are critical in successful Muay Thai fights. This routine focuses on increasing your stamina so that you can last the full 5 rounds of a standard match without powering out.
- Choose a side and take a stance.
- Jab with your forward side.
- Upon retraction, slide into a roundhouse kick using the opposite leg.
- Reset the stance, leading with the other side this time.
- Jab with the hand on this side.
- Retract and kick with the other leg like last time.
- Repeat for as long as you can, building your stamina.
When punching properly during this routine, your body will pivot, pushing you into the proper position. Try varying your speed and target locations.
Standing Your Ground
In a Muay Thai fight, other fighters should not be able to push you around or cause a falter in your balance. This heavy bag drill will help you improve your stance, enable you to stand your ground longer.
- Take a stance and use force to push your heavy bag as far away from you as possible, allowing it to swing back.
- Allow the bag to hit you. Yes, that means you need to ignore your instinct to move or block.
- Try to stay as still as possible. Aim not to be moved more than a few inches from your spot.
- Steady the heavy bag and repeat.
If you have a Muay Thai partner, have him or her kick you in the abdomen as soon as the heavy bag does. This will force you to regain stance more quickly. Also, keep your upper body as relaxed as you can, which will move your center of gravity into your legs, steadying them.
Muay Thai Defense Drill
Laziness after throwing a punch is, unfortunately, something that may new fighters are prone to. After performing a solid combination, they will drop their stance, leaving themselves susceptible to painful face hits. This routine works to instill good stance habits.
- Assume stance, distributing your weight evenly on both feet and positioning your hands to block your face.
- Throw a jab with your dominant hand.
- Follow with a jab from the other side.
- Perform a shin level roundhouse.
- Reset your feet positioning and place your fist as if you’ve just completed a punch, with your fist against the bag at full extension.
- Return to your former stance and try a new combination.
This easy drill is supposed to help you maintain a good stance and keep your hands up in order to defend yourself. Remember to square the hips, tuck the chin, and balance your upper body.
The ever useful Muay Thai elbow strike can be a damaging blow to an opponent who isn’t expecting it. This quick routine focuses on fine-tuning your elbow strike skills.
- Take a step in while rotating your hips and allowing your trailing elbow to strike heavy bag.
- Either throw a strike with the opposite elbow or return to your neutral stance.
- Perform a leading jab into the bag with your elbow. Focus on the outside this time.
- Using quick footwork, pivot around the bag so that your body eventually turns towards the bag “from behind”.
- Land another elbow strike from the side.
- Strike with the other elbow.
- Practice different combinations but try to avoid doing too much spinning, as this leaves you vulnerable to damage in a real combat session.
Don’t use the elbow itself to strike the target. Inside blows should come from the top of the ulna, while outside strikes should come from the area right above the elbow on the upper arm.
Speed Jab Drill
Jabs are fast attacks that require tons of practice. This workout will help you improve your jab speed.
- Punch with your leading hand as if you were cracking a whip.
- Hold your block for a few seconds without moving your gaze.
- Punch twice with the same hand and return to a neutral stance.
- Then Punch and block.
- Next, punch three times, attempting to complete three hits within the same time as it took to complete two.
- Repeat this with the other arm.
The snapping motion of this job will transfer your body momentum and power into the opponent more quickly, improving its effectiveness.
Roundhouse Kick Transition
Roundhouse kicks in Muay Thai are powerful attacks that are less off-putting balance wise than a full kick. This roundhouse-knee combo attack is great for close range combat.
- Launch a roundhouse kick from either side of the bag.
- Steady it with a fist, placing your kicking foot in front of your resting foot.
- Strike the bag with your knee.
- Reset your position and repeat the drill.
Be sure not to twist your feet during the knee portion of your Muay Thai strike set. Doing this disrupts your stability.
Advancing your Muay Thai skills doesn’t have to be done with a partner. And it doesn’t require you to have a body made of steel. All it takes is a good heavy bag, some great workout tips, and routines, and the patience to practice.