Table of contents:
One of the most important yet most underrated parts of Muay Thai is flexibility and mobility. Without proper flexibility and mobility your kicks will be hindered and your risk of injury will be increased. In this article we're going to show our recommended routine for Muay Thai stretching to help you improve your flexibility and mobility.
Regular is proven to to boost your range of motion and mobility, prevent a bunch of injuries and can even help to eradicate chronic pain. As well as those benefits, stretching can even help you to feel refreshed and energised. Your probably reading all these benefits and thinking why haven't I taken stretching more serious already?
The reality is that most people do overlook stretching for Muay Thai training and will often only use it as a simple warm up routine to try and prevent injury for that upcoming session.
The different types of flexibility
Before we start to think about how we improve our flexibility, we need to understand the different types of flexibility. There are three different types of flexibility:
Dynamic Flexibility: This refers to the ability to perform dynamic movements of the muscles bringing your limb through its full range of motion in the joints.
Active Flexibility: This means assuming and maintaining extended positions using only the tension of your muscles. For example, lifting the leg in the air and holding it at the level of your body or head.
Passive Flexibility: This means the ability to hold maximum range of motion (ROM) positions using the support of your limbs, partner’s weight, or some other force.
Now that we understand the three different types of flexibility, we need to start thinking about which are most beneficial for Muay Thai stretching and why. The answer is dynamic and active flexibility. This is due to the fact that in Muay Thai strikes need to be performed quickly and efficiently and we don't need to hold positions for a long period of time.
The main target areas to stretch for Muay Thai
You may be reading this article and be thinking, "I stretch so I should be fine". Unfortunately for you that's not the truth, and your stretching routine could be hindering your performance if it isn't geared towards Muay Thai stretching.
You need to think about the main areas that you should be targeting when stretching for Muay Thai, and these are:
Hip Adductors: The hip abductors are your groin muscles. They are one of the most important muscles in Muay Thai as they help you to open your hips up, and flexible hip adductors will help you to land those high kicks.
Hip flexors: Having flexible hip flexors will help you to get your legs up faster and with less restriction. For Muay Thai this means you can kick quicker, and with more power, increasing the chance of your kicks landing.
Hamstrings: Tightness in the hamstrings is something that many people who train in Muay Thai suffer from. The hamstrings aid in helping with high kicks and building a strong teep kick.
Calf muscles: In Muay Thai ensuring that your stretch the calf muscles properly is key to avoiding injury. This is due to the fact that in Muay Thai you spend a lot of time on the balls of your feet where the calves are in a position where they are constantly stretched.
Shoulders: People often forget about the shoulders when stretching for Muay Thai. It's important to ensure you have full range of motion in your shoulders for striking and clinching.
Now we understand the most important target areas for Muay Thai stretching we can start to build out a stretching routine which we'll do later on in this article.
Why you need to stretch for Muay Thai
Stretching is important for Muay Thai for a number of different reasons, but the two main reasons are to reduce the risk of injury and to help improve flexibility.
Stretching helps to keep the muscles flexible, strong and healthy. Flexibility helps us to maintain a range of motion in the joints, and without it our muscles shorten and become tight. When this happens your muscles become weak and unable to fully extended, which puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Our recommended routine for Muay Thai Stretching
First of all before we start our stretching routine we need to ensure that we warm up. to do this we recommend either going for a steady 10-15 minute job or skipping. Remember that this is a warm up and you should keep the intensity low.
Now that we're warmed up, we'll delve into the routine. Remember that when performing the stretches not to force it too a point where it becomes uncomfortable or painful. Overstretching can cause tears in the muscles, tendons or ligaments.
Other tips for improving flexibility and mobility
Don't let the many pre-conceptions of yoga stop you from doing it. There are so many benefits of yoga for Muay Thai and it's certainly something that you should start to help improve your training and Muay Thai performance.
Remember that things take time and that although adding Yoga into your training routine might not instantly benefit your Muay Thai training, with consistency you will begin to see results and improvements pretty soon.
Ensure you stretch daily
Be consistent with your stretching and ensure you do it daily. Not every stretching sessions needs to take hours, you may have some days where you just spend 10-minutes doing it but it's important to ensure your consistent with your stretching for Muay Thai.
Maintain good posture
One of the best ways to ensure your improving your flexibility and mobility is to ensure that your maintaining good posture in your everyday life. Poor posture puts your muscles into unnatural positions that can cause them to become tight.
By implementing the proper Muay Thai stretching routine into your daily life, you'll not only be able to improve your flexibility and mobility but you'll be able to reduce your risk of injury and increase your Muay Thai performance.