Although you’ll be in the ring by yourself when you fight, training Muay Thai is anything but a solo sport. This is why we have teams of fighters training together at top-tier Muay Thai gyms, whether it be Diamond Muay Thai on Koh Phangan, Thailand, or King Tiger Muay Thai in San Diego, or a room with some beat-up mats in the middle of nowhere. In this solo sport, co-operative training matters.
As crucial as it is to train with others and a quality instructor, there are many benefits to training solo – and everyone should every now and then. It allows you to focus on yourself, rather than a partner or instructor. In these quiet, retrospective sessions, you can fine-tune the techniques you’ve learned from class and sparring to be better prepared for the real thing.
Here are a slew of tips on how to squeeze the most out of your solo Muay Thai sessions.
WHEN TRAINING SOLO… Slow Everything Down
One of the great things about training alone is that you’re not at the mercy of someone else’s pace. There is a time to go go go, and there is a time to slow down a bit. By slowing down, you are able to adjust and re-adjust accordingly to what you need, something that can’t always be afforded time-wise in group classes. By taking things a bit slower, you can gather yourself mentally and make better note of your mistakes and forms you need to improve on.
But don’t be mistaken: slowing down doesn’t mean going easy. It simply allows you to check in with yourself and keep rooted to reality. You should still be putting in 100% effort in one way or another, whether it’s power, technique, or speed.
WHEN TRAINING SOLO… Work On What You Want & Need
Training alone is the time to throw your favorite moves again and again. Not only is it fun, but you will gain confidence to throw them during sparring and fighting. It’s also the time to be real with yourself and work on the things at which you’re not so sharp.
The beauty of only having to worry about yourself is that you can do a drill over and over for as long as you want until you get it right (or at least until you see some improvement). Use the cues you learned in class and do the moves repeatedly as correctly as possible to strengthen your muscle memory for those moves. The more you do it, the more efficient you’ll become at it.
WHEN TRAINING SOLO… Work On Power & Timing With The Heavy Bag
The heavy bag is the solo practitioner’s best friend. There are countless drills and workouts you can do on a heavy bag, but perhaps one of the most neglected is to just work on power and timing. While this may not look as cool as ripping combo after combo on the bag, it will be a complete game changer when you’re able to punch and kick harder.
With kicks, kick with the best form you know and reset to your fighting stance. Take a breath or two and repeat. This allows you to give 100% effort each kick, increasing the threshold of how hard you can kick. The same goes for punches, knees, and elbows. Don’t forget that in a fight, you’ll score points on the fast combos, but the knockouts come from power shots.
The next time you have an hour or two on your hands, head over to wherever there is a heavy bag and mirror. Film yourself so you can critique afterwards. As always, properly warm up before training and cool down/stretch when you’re done. Solo sessions can be a part of everyone’s journey and are a great way to put in extra work.
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