Muay Thai fighters are renowned for being among the hardest kickers in combat sports and martial arts. Besides their immaculate technique, the devastating power can also be attributed to having iron-like shins which Thai fighters condition over many years of training.
If you are just starting to train Muay Thai or curious about how you can condition shins for Muay Thai, then read on.
How To Condition Shins for Muay Thai
The truth is that there is no secret recipe or shortcut to develop iron shins. It is all about consistent training, recovery and letting time do its thing.
Beginners to Muay Thai will experience some pain, bruises and minor injuries when kicking heavy bags. This is due to the lack of conditioning. By working on having proper technique and building up power over time (instead of going full power at the start), most people will be able to get over the pain or bruises after 2-3 months of training.
Heavy Bag Training
Bag work is a major part of training in almost all striking-based martial arts. It helps to develop power, coordination, and balance. Depending on the weight and hardness of the heavy bag, kicking the bag on a regular basis also helps to condition the shins.
Kiatmoo9 Gym in Buriram is known for producing some of the hardest kickers in Muay Thai. Multi-time champions like Singdam, Superlek and Petpanomrung are well-known for their heavy roundhouse kicks. Their key to developing powerful hard kicks is drilling the same kicks on the heavy bag day after day. This helps to sharpen their accuracy, technique and also condition their shins.
Don't rush it or overcomplicate things by trying advanced spinning techniques. Start with the basics and keep drilling.
Besides heavy bag training, pad work is another critical component in Muay Thai training. It helps to sharpen reaction, focus, speed and is beneficial in conditioning shins. This is why pad work is an essential component of every Muay Thai training class.
Pad work is the best time to go hard, as pads are usually softer compared to heavy bags. By going all out, you will be able to improve your cardiovascular and muscular endurance, as well as condition your shins all at the same time.
Kick pads may come in different levels of hardness depending on their design or usage. Beginners may have the benefit of working with softer kick pads to help in conditioning and work with harder kick pads gradually. With regular training, harder shins are just a matter of time.
One aspect of Muay Thai training that is often overlooked and sometimes avoided is running. Professional Thai fighters run between 5-10km 1-2 times a day, as a warm-up routine. Outside of Thailand, this practice is not commonly adhered to.
Low to moderate intensity running not only helps in building cardiovascular fitness, but also strengthens lower limb joints and muscles. Regular running can help to build stronger calves and shins. Just running 2-3 times a week can contribute to conditioning your shins.
Recovery is key to developing strong bones and muscles. There is a saying that muscles are torn in the gym and built in the bed. Sufficient rest is necessary to speed up recovery.
Muay Thai training is a high-impact exercise and sport. Microscopic muscle tears are common and bruises or injuries can happen from time to time. With constant training and recovery, bones and muscles heal to become stronger than before.
Besides having adequate rest, a proper diet also helps in recovery. Ensure a balanced diet with protein, carbs, minerals, and vitamins for the best results. Adding supplements like calcium will also contribute to better bone health.