Applying StrongFirst principles A&A etc. to Muay Thai.

Discussion in 'Other' started by guardian7, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. guardian7

    guardian7 Triple-Digit Post Count

    I do Muay Thai for fitness. I am a middle-aged "recreational" athlete, so not going to fight.

    It occured to me that so much fight training is based on glycolytic training (30 sec to two min. periods and doing calisthetics before skill work, which does not really make sense) but this may not be the way to train scientifically.

    When I have free time on the heavy bag, for example, how should I train? I occurs to me that I should do five full power Thai roundhouse kicks and then take a rest break. Maybe every minute on the minute for ten minutes. However, that is quite low volume for martial arts. We normally do 20 or 30 reps but you start to get a real burn after a while. I have done up to 50 reps on the pads but at a certain point after 30 most people are kicking like a little girl. This is definitely common practice in traditional gyms but not good exercise science in my opinion.

    So, how would you structure your free time heavy bag work using StrongFirst principles if you were training for skill and health rather than competitive fighting? I think competitive fighters need to learn to push through the lactic pain to win but this is not optimal according to plan endurance and the combat course I would guess.
  2. conor78

    conor78 Strong Member of the Forum

    Interesting concept, I have trained in Must Thai and boxing. I have fought in boxing bit my M Thai experience was limited to sparring. Our head instructor is a seasoned fighter and he has fought in Thailand, Austrialia and here in Ireland. His approach to conditioning was consistent with what he saw in Thailand 6 mile runs, 2 min heavy bag intervals and sparring. All the fighters in the gym are very well conditioned and the are no weights involved. More time is spent on dynamic stretching than even calisthenics.
    I have experimented with A+A with a heavy bag going up to 10 rounds. If feels good and power doesn't diminish as it would with running through the motions of a 2 min round. Whether it is effective for competitive fighting is a different matter. There are some pro boxers who looked for alternative ways to build endurance, Sergio Martinez did his on a bike and Conor Mc Gregor used a bike and a rowing machine. The greats like Marciano, Frazer the GOAT Sugar Ray Robinson did thier road work and used sparring to condition.
    "Stepping into the ring is not only an excellent conditioner, but also the best way to truly learn and master the intricacies of the sweet science. The most important part of a boxer’s training will always take place with the gloves on. Everything else is secondary."
    Ross Enamit
  3. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    I have not ever competed, but have trained and helped a buddy train for a fight. I do not believe you can or should train high end glycolytic all the time if not competing. should definitely be included on a consistent rotating basis.

    If nothing else you will absolutely need to be capable of clearing acid buildup rapidly, and high intensity training is proven to help with this.

    Just as with strength, the ability to push a bit longer/harder could prove decisive if skill sets are relatively equal.

    When doing solo bag work I would train slow cadence high power really focusing on accuracy to start. Follow with a few sessions to full gas-out or close, running the strikes as fast as my footwork would allow and letting accuracy go a bit. For recovery, cover and clinch putting my weight on the bag and work knee offense/defense, break clinch and work evasive footwork. After recharging I'd go back and train slow cadence high power, repeat the recovery.

    Even under an intended A&A protocol you could apply this by time instead of force output, taking longer breaks and shorter active periods - I would still recover in a clinch or with footwork/jab intervals.
    guardian7 and Norcoaster like this.
  4. Norcoaster

    Norcoaster Double-Digit Post Count

    I do Muay Thai on a weekly basis, intermixed with other disciplines, and I had some of the same thoughts regarding a possible A&A approach.

    I would echo some of the prior comments in that not all training should avoid glycolysis/anaerobic zones, though this seems to be a focus in nearly all Muay Thai training sessions I attend. When I train w heavy bag at home, I try to go for either repeated short bursts of power with lighter activity gaps between (a&a style) or steady prolonged combinations with lower power (diaz brothers style striking), never becoming breathless to avoid taxing myself as much as days that I am going for supervised training. Some good outlines laid out by northcoast Miller, I will also suggest joe valtellini for kickboxing technique videos and combos on YouTube.
    guardian7 likes this.
  5. jef

    jef SFG1, SFB Certified Instructor

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  6. guardian7

    guardian7 Triple-Digit Post Count

    This makes total sense to me Your Conditioning Program Does Not Have to be Sport-Specific | StrongFirst

    The benefits of HI training: go all out on the bag or whatever until form breaks down probably 10-15 seconds. Then rest periods for heart rate to return to avoid glycolytic burn, then repeat continuously. If you have a kind of every minute on the minute approach for 15 minutes, you will probably outlast yourself and get more quality work done than someone who burns themselves out after three sets of standard 2-3 min and 30 seconds rest boxing protocols which is usually followed by a long break. Since bag work is also skill work, neurologically speaking you want to keep skill repetition quality high. It is not the same as some kill yourself with burpees and jumping jacks nonsense. It is just like swing practice sets of ten reps.

    It seems intuitive that the effects of going all out are positive (HIIT research) but these are likely the result of the intensity, not the rest period. Then if we combine this idea with longer breaks and avoiding glycolysis of Strongfirst, then it is likely that we get the best of both worlds. Short rest periods, not just intensity level is a characteristic of HIIT training with 1:2 or 1:3 ratios whereas anti-glycolitic is more like 1:4-6 ratios it would seem. At the very least we can hedge our bets on the best training method. This is related to the issue of whether HIIT contributes to mitochondria cell death which is unclear in the research and a point of Strongfirst vs HIIT protocols that has come up in other threads.

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