Practice makes perfect when it comes to mastering any martial art, and Muay Thai isn’t an exception. The heavy bag is one of the essential training tools Muay Thai fighters – and those who train in other striking-based martial arts – use to perfect their techniques and develop power behind them.
The heavy bag isn’t a staple of traditional Muay Thai, but Western boxing has heavily influenced the sport since the 1920s. Today, heavy bags are as common as boxing-style rings in any reputable Muay Thai gym.
Some of the benefits of training with a heavy bag include:
- Increases Power And Strength: Heavy bags are made to withstand the force of full-force punches and kicks while minimizing the damage placed on their hands and legs. This helps fighters increase the power and strength behind their punches as they repeatedly pummel the bag. It also conditions their bones, ligaments, and muscles to absorb the impact of punches and kicks.
- Increases Stamina and Endurance: Nothing gets you gasping for air like going all out on a heavy bag for a few minutes. Heavy bags help to build sport-specific endurance, and you can get a mix of aerobic and anaerobic cardio exercise depending on the intensity of your workouts.
- All-In-One Training Tool: A heavy bag is a training tool that allows you to simultaneously work on the mechanics of your strikes and the power behind them. It’s also a tool you can use anytime you want. There’s no need to wait for training partners to train with when using a heavy bag.
Improve Your Muay Thai Game With These Heavy Bag Drills
Let’s take a look at five Muay Thai heavy bag drills you should incorporate into your workout routine:
1) Footwork Drill
Footwork is everything in Muay Thai and other striking-based martial art. Your footwork gets you in position to land powerful strikes, and it’s also one of your main defensive tools. Master movement inside the ring and your opponents will find it challenging to land clean strikes on you.
The footwork drill is one of the most basic heavy bag drills and can serve as a warm-up for more intense bag work. During the drill, throw single strikes or short combinations and move around the bag before throwing another strike. You don’t have to move around the entire bag after each punch, but you should take a few steps or pivot before your next one. Break it up into three three-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest between them.
2) Power Drill
Perform this drill regularly if you want to increase the power behind your strikes. It is also one of the more straightforward drills on our list. It involves hitting the bag as hard as possible, resetting, and delivering the next strike with everything you have.
Here’s an example:
- Ten jabs
- Ten low kicks with each leg
- Ten crosses
- Ten roundhouse kicks to the body with each leg
- Ten hooks with arm
- Ten roundhouse kicks with each leg
Remember to throw each strike with max power and reset before throwing the next one. You can add more techniques to the drill as your endurance improves or perform more reps of each one.
3) Teep Drills
The push kick, aka the teep, is one of the most effective weapons you have in Muay Thai, and it works like a jab. Master this technique, and it’ll be virtually impossible for opponents to crowd or overwhelm you with pressure. A well-timed teep lands with more than enough power to knock out an opponent, but your main goal should be pushing them away with it.
A heavy bag is your best friend when it comes to perfecting this technique. Stand in front of one and throw as many teeps as possible for three minutes. Rest for a minute and try to get two more rounds. Ensure each kick is executed with the correct form, so the balls of your feet land on the heavy bag. To make the drill more challenging, use your footwork to avoid the bag as it swings back towards you after each kick, or try to stop its movement with another teep.
4) Interval Drills
Interval training on a heavy bag can be beneficial since it replicates the energy usage during a fight. You alternate between periods of light activity and short, high-energy bursts, just as you would in a fight.
These drills often involve breaking up three-minute exercise rounds into 30-second blocks. Here’s an example of how you can structure these drills:
- Throw strikes as fast as you can for 30 seconds
- Throw strikes for 30 seconds focusing on using the proper technique
- Throw as many full-power strikes as you can in 30 seconds
- Throw strikes for 30 seconds focusing on using the proper technique
- Throw strikes for 30 seconds focusing on speed
- Throw strikes for 30 seconds using full power
Have fun creating these circuits since there aren’t any rigid rules besides you performing a different drill every 30 seconds. Aim to have every 30 seconds of light activity followed up by 30 seconds of intense movements.
5) Low Kick Drills
Low kicks are one of the most straightforward Muay Thai techniques to master, yet one of the most effective weapons used in the sport, even at the highest levels. A single low kick typically won’t end a fight, but several aimed at the same target will diminish your opponent’s ability to move around the ring and throw strikes.
The low kick is also an excellent complement to your punching techniques. Many Muay Thai fighters finish up their punch combinations with low kicks. These are typically your most effective kicks since your opponent is distracted with punches before throwing the kick.
Here’s what a sample low kick drill looks like:
- Throw 25 low kicks with each leg focused on speed
- Throw 25 low kicks with each leg focused on full power
- Throw a jab-low kick combo 25 times. Switch stances and repeat with your other leg
- Rest for a minute
Aim for at least three rounds when performing the drill. Feel free to add any punching technique or combination you like to the drill as long as it ends with a low kick.
If you are looking for an effective, structured and comprehensive Muay Thai heavy bag drills training guide, consider Evolve University’s Muay Thai Training Series: Heavy Bag Drills, an in-depth online video Training Series taught by legendary Muay Thai World Champions!
No detail is spared as Evolve MMA’s Muay Thai World Champions break down and demonstrate heavy bag drills they use to sharpen their tools and prepare for fights. Learn how different heavy bag drills can develop specific parts of your game while improving your technique, power, balance, timing, and accuracy.
Covering offensive and defensive heavy bag drills on punches, kicks, elbows, knees and the clinch, this training series will help practitioners of all levels grow their game. The drills taught will complement beginners who are developing their Muay Thai fundamental techniques and also educate them on important Muay Thai fundamental concepts. Advanced practitioners will also benefit from this training series through the various drills explained and demonstrated, allowing them to pick up nuances, fine-tune and improve on their existing game with new drills, and also watch out for common mistakes to avoid.
Packed with 23 chapters of heavy bag drills, 4 hours of on-demand video, Evolve University’s Muay Thai Training Series: Heavy Bag Drills is your ultimate guide to training like a World Champion.
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