Muay Thai is a popular martial art that is considered the Thai equivalent to boxing.
It’s a contact sport that is pretty intense and extreme and due to its similarities to boxing, many people assume that it’s a great way to build up the strong muscles you want – but is that actually true?
Here, we are going to look at all the benefits of Muay Thai to see if this is the best sport to take up if you want to build muscles quickly.
So, let’s get into it!
Does Muay Thai Build Muscles?
Despite its close association with boxing, Muay Thai is not actually a great sport to rely on alone to build up your muscles. While there are many benefits to taking up Muay Thai, it’s not adequate on its own to build the kind of muscles most people want.
This is because the kind of training you need to take to progress with Muay Thai works to build your endurance rather than your physical strength. As a result, you don’t really engage in the kinds of exercises that help build your muscles.
This is because to build your muscles and improve your strength you need to provide your muscles with resistance. This is why boxers punch boxing bags or lift weights; repetitive moving is not enough to build muscles and you need to work them against something.
Instead, you will engage in training exercises like jogging and sprinting – which can strengthen your legs but not your upper body.
These exercises are included to help build your endurance rather than your strength so you can engage in long sparring sessions without tiring.
Your legs can grow more muscular because they are pushing against the ground, but this will not help you build muscles on your upper body and there are much better exercises to help build your leg muscles more quickly.
As for skill training, most Muay Thai fighters work with either a bag, a pad, or shadow box.
While boxing against a bag or pad can help build your upper body strength, exercises including shadow boxing will not because you are not providing the resistance against your muscles.
As a result, you will notice that most Muay Thai fighters are built quite lean. They do have strong muscles but they are not built heavily like weightlifters or other types of boxers.
This is because while Muay Thai can definitely help you keep fit and healthy, it’s not the right kind of exercise needed to build and strengthen muscles.
So, what can you do instead?
Best Exercises For Building Muscles
In order to build and strengthen your muscles, you need to provide them with stimulus with resistance. This resistance is what helps train your muscles to grow mass and encourage them to increase their strength.
So, punching the air a hundred times will not strengthen your muscles nearly as much as punching a boxing bag will.
So, what exercises are the best for providing resistance against your muscles to improve their strength?
Weight training and lifting is the best way to build bigger and stronger muscles.
This is why you will always find bodybuilders lingering around the weights at the gym – because those heavy weights help provide your muscles with a ton of resistance to help strengthen up.
So, bench presses, deadlifts, and dumbbells are a great way to build your muscles in your arms and shoulders.
If you don’t have access to any weights, then exercises like squats and pull ups, push ups and sit ups are also great to do in sets. You should do these exercises every day as recommended with your exercise routine.
However, you need to be careful not to over-exercise yourself otherwise you risk damaging your muscles through strain and burnout. So, start out small and build yourself up as your strength and endurance increases.
These exercises are a great way to increase your strength and build your muscles but you can do them alongside training for Muay Thai.
The Benefits Of Muay Thai
If you are specifically looking for a sport or martial art that will build your muscles up alone, then Muay Thai is not the one for you – but it’s still a great sport to take up because it has a range of other benefits.
Muay Thai is still an intense form of exercise due to the drilling and training,thus you can burn calories and improve your wellness and fitness. So, it’s a great way to lose weight!
Muay Thai can also help you improve your stamina and endurance so you can train up for other kinds of sports too. Although your strength will improve, it won’t be enough to get to the body-building levels that most boxers have.
But Muay Thai is also great for improving your mind too. It boosts your confidence, allows you to mix and mingle with new people and form new connections, and you learn key values like discipline and patience.
Some people even use Muay Thai training as an outlet for stress, so Muay Thai can benefit your mind as well as your body.
Overall, Muay Thai is a fun combat sport that can also teach you self defense as well as helping you take good care of your body. If you dedicate yourself to your training, you will find that you will become leaner and more fit – but not to ‘bodybuilder’ levels.
So, Muay Thai is a great way to keep fit and healthy but it’s not enough on its own to build your muscles up and improve your strength to extremely high levels.
This is because most of the training used for Muay Thai does not provide your muscles with enough resistance for them to strengthen and grow.
However, you can still train in Muay Thai and do other muscle strengthening exercises alongside, such as weight lifting and calisthenics exercises. This way, you can get the best of both worlds and enjoy your heft muscles while training as a Muay Thai fighter.