Warm up for class so that your body will be just as receptive and reactive as your mind. . .
GETTING LOOSE & LIMBER BEFORE CLASS BEGINS
While you may be in for a sweatfest during a Muay Thai training session, everyone still needs to properly warm up for said sweatfest!
With all the high-intensity movements requiring flexibility and strength, you need to make sure your body is properly prepared to avoid getting injured. Warming up is for just that.
Ideally, you want to warm up all the major muscle groups before using them. This helps to recruit more muscle fibers and get blood flowing to those areas so you can actually do more during class. Next time, instead of jumping into class doing dozens of kicks and potentially pulling a groin muscle, try some of these methods to warm your body up without getting too tired.
WORKING YOUR CARDIO
The best way to get your body warm is to increase your heart rate. One of the best no-fuss ways to do that is to go for a light run. While this isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of “easy,” there are plenty of benefits of running, especially before a training session.
Running warms up the entire body and will improve your cardio conditioning much faster than if you just trained. A simple 10-15 minute jog is enough during warm temperatures. If it’s colder, bundle up (so you don’t get sick) and increase the time to at least 20-30 minutes.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to run, cycling is great too, the only downside being that your upper body won’t get to move and become limber. Another great way to warm up is with high-intensity spurts of high knees, lunges, squats.
WORKING YOUR CARDIO
Another way to warm up your body is to work on mobility. Your body becomes more mobile the more you sweat, but you can get to the mobility first (sweat-free) with foam rollers and mobility exercises. Generally for Muay Thai, focus on the hips first, then shoulders. If you have time, then mobilize your back and ankles. Of course, depending on your specific needs and prior injuries, change the order around. Mobilizing will help you feel like you can move with much more ease.
Many gyms use this following method – shadowboxing. Shadowboxing mimics the movements you will make during class, so they’re perfect in targeting the right muscles.
Always start slow, and as you get warmer, pick up the intensity and speed of your shadowboxing. Shadowboxing in front of a mirror will also help you see what you need to work on with your technique.
Get warm, decrease your chance of getting injuries, and prepare your body to smash your next Muay Thai class by getting in a proper warm-up beforehand.
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.