Top Ballistic Workouts To Strengthen Your Muay Thai Game

Top Ballistic Workouts To Strengthen Your Muay Thai Game
Muay Thai Tuesday

Ballistic training is extremely beneficial for Muay Thai athletes. They are short workouts, most of which only require a small amount of equipment, and can help fighters quickly and effectively increase the force behind their strikes. It is quickly becoming a central focus for serious Muay Thai athletes who are looking to make their strikes faster and more explosive in the ring, so in this article we are going to give you a crash course on what it is and how it can improve your Muay Thai game.


What Is Ballistic Training

Ballistic training is a little different from your standard strength and conditioning program. Where strength training focuses on making your muscles as strong as possible and conditioning focuses on building your cardiovascular performance, ballistic training focuses on increasing the force that you can recruit into each movement. Simply put, in ballistic training for Muay Thai, strength marries speed to increase the knockout power in your strikes.

In ballistic training, you are maximizing the speed of movements under duress, generating as much explosive power in the entire flight phase of a lift, not simply in the initial part of it. Therefore, most ballistic exercises involve throwing and jumping, usually with lighter weights to facilitate high acceleration so that speed can be maximized for the entire movement.


Ballistic Training For Muay Thai

You wouldn’t take up freestyle BMX to increase your kicking flexibility. The two exercises are completely unrelated and in the same vein, you want to make sure that you are incorporating ballistic exercises that train the specific muscle groups you will use when you are in the ring.

Likewise, you want to make sure that you don’t overdo your ballistic training. Quality over quantity is key to maximizing your benefits and that means your workouts should have low-repped sets with plenty of rest between them and they shouldn’t take you very long to complete.


3 Great Ballistic Workouts For Muay Thai

For an introduction to ballistic training for Muay Thai, try these three workouts. Each one has been designed with the specific demands of Muay Thai in mind, so you will be training the exact muscle groups and movements that you will use in the ring.


The Jumping Workout

This workout will help you build explosive power through your posterior chain. Not only will it make your kicks faster and more explosive, but rotation through your legs is also the first link in the chain of movement for punches, so it can help you get some knockout power in your hands as well.


3 Rounds For Quality


1) 5 Box Jumps

Box jumps are a great way to get all of your posterior chain firing. Make the height of these challenging and don’t feel like you need to piece together reps as fast as possible. Doing so will detract from your explosive power so take a second or two to reset between each rep.

Rest for 30 seconds.


2) 5 Broad Jumps

While the box jump trains you to become explosive vertically, the broad jump trains similar muscle groups to launch you laterally. This movement recruits the muscles in your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, all of which are key in maximizing the power in your kicks and knees.

Rest for 30 seconds.


3) 10 Single-Legged Lateral Broad Jumps (5 per side)

This is a great exercise for replicating the lateral hip rotation of a roundhouse kick. Make sure to take your time to reset between each rep and give yourself plenty of space so that you don’t accidentally crash into anyone.

Rest for 1 minute and repeat.


The Medicine Ball Workout

Medicine Balls are a great piece of equipment to utilize for ballistic training because they are so versatile. A decent med ball can be used to make just about every one of Muay Thai’s weapons faster and more explosive.


3 Rounds For Quality


1) 10 Standing Med Ball Rotational Throw (5 per side)

This explosive movement develops extreme rotational power through your upper body and hips. Not only does this rotation help develop bone-crunching kicks, but the whole-body movement increases the transfer of power from your lower to upper body, so you’ll develop some devastating punches too.

Rest for 1 minute.


2) 10 Lateral Overhead Med-Ball Slams (5 per side)

This simple ballistic movement builds strength through your upper back and lats which are key muscle groups needed for clinching. It also develops multi-dimensional core strength, which will benefit your dumps and throws in the clinch whilst making every single one of your striking weapons more dangerous.

Rest for 1 minute.


3) 10 Single Arm Med-Ball Wall Throw (5 per side)

It takes just a quick glance at this movement to see how it develops knockout straight punches.  This ballistic exercise replicates the key movements involved in throwing a powerful straight under load to make your punches fast and destructive.


The Kettlebell Workout

Kettlebells are a great tool to use for your ballistic training, and because they are such a versatile piece of equipment, it is almost certain that you will be able to find a set floating around your gym.


3 Rounds For Quality


1) 10 Kettlebell Swings

This standard kettlebell movement links your posterior chain, core, and shoulders into one ballistic movement that trains to make the transfer of power throughout your body more efficient.

Rest for 30 seconds.


2) 10 Lateral Kettle-Bell Swings (5 per side)

There isn’t a better ballistic exercise for replicating the external rotation of your hips when you throw a Muay Thai roundhouse kick, especially when you focus on driving your hips through each rep. Rather than doing 5 reps on one side and then swapping, you can alternate this movement side to side in one fluid motion.

Rest for 30 seconds.


3) 10 Kettlebell Push-Jerks

This full-body movement will get your shoulder firing, leading to faster and more damaging punches but just like the other kettlebell exercises, it also trains a more efficient transfer of power between segments of your body, resulting in more explosive strikes all around.

Rest for 1 minute and repeat.


In Summary

Ballistic training can make you faster and more explosive in the ring. Workouts don’t need to be long and grueling for you to reap the benefits of this form of strength training and you don’t need a whole heap of equipment, making it easily accessible for most fighters. While the three ballistic workouts we have given you here are a good place to start, there is no substitute for the knowledge and experience of a qualified strength and conditioning coach. If you want to get the most out of your ballistic training, we recommend working closely with a trained professional who knows the athletic demands of Muay Thai.


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