How To Condition Your Abs For Muay Thai

As a serious Muay Thai student who is looking to gain some ring experience, strengthening your core could have a profound effect on the outcome of your fight. Any Muay Thai fighter knows the importance of having a strong core – it could mean the difference between finding yourself knocked out on the canvas or having the strength to go one more round even if you feel completely gassed out.

Having a strong core doesn’t only mean you’ll have great looking abs, it also means you’ll have the strength to take a few body shots as well as the strength to throw powerful strikes. A strong core also means you’ll have great balance, making it difficult for your opponent to sweep you or off-balance you with a teep or kick.


What is the core? 

The core is the center of your whole body, not just your abdominal muscles. It consists of many different muscles that run the entire length of the torso, including everything but your arms and legs. It is in charge of stabilizing the spine and pelvis, providing a strong, sturdy link in a chain that connects your upper and lower body.

When these muscles are weak, it could greatly affect your posture and movement. Using the core muscles is necessary for transferring energy from large to smaller muscle groups, which is very important for Muay Thai students.


Application In Muay Thai

All the weapons you use in Muay Thai – knees, shins, feet, elbows, and fists are connected by your core. Your core helps you build explosive KO power and use these weapons to their fullest potential. Not only will a strong core make you stronger overall, it will help you generate speed for all that dynamic movement you need in the ring.

As we mentioned, a strong core helps you take the impact of being hit. Instead of going down each time you take a devastating knee or kick to the body, you’d be able to withstand them and push on to the next round.

Another advantage of a strong core is stability. In an art where you are subject to being thrown to the ground and held in the clinch position, you will need a lot of core stability to take advantage of the situation. There’s no doubt that the nak muay with the stronger core will have the upper hand in a fight.


Core Conditioning Exercises For Muay Thai

No one is more familiar with building a strong core than multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Yoddecha Sityodtong. Today, he shares a typical core conditioning workout he learned at Sityodtong Camp:




Muay Thai fighters and boxers both use sit-ups to build their core strength. They do thousands of sit-ups throughout their careers, using sit-ups to help them take repetitious punches to the body. As you perform a sit up, your stomach muscles contract quickly, which is exactly what you need to absorb a shot.

How do I perform this exercise?

With your feet flat on the ground and knees bent at around 90 degrees or less, sit up until your head is directly above your knees. Once you’ve reached the top, quickly come down until the center of your back touches the floor. Exhale as you go down and inhale whenever you need it. To take your sit-ups to the next level, keep your legs straight and steady on the ground.


Oblique Twists 




Oblique twists target all three sections of the abdomen: rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and the external obliques. It also strengthens your lower back and improves your balance. To take your oblique twists to the next level, you can add resistance by using a medicine ball. The heavier the weight, the more tension will be added to your oblique muscles.

How do I perform this exercise?

Lie down and bring your upper body up off the floor. Lean slightly back and stretch your arms straight out in front of you. Crunching only slightly at your trunk, rotate to one side. At the end of your range of motion, quickly reverse the movement and rotate to the opposite side. Continue to alternate sides and use a medicine ball to add resistance.


Skipping Rope  


An alternative to the usual floor exercises, skipping rope with a weighted jump rope is one of the most challenging ways to strengthen your core. With a weighted jumprope, you generate a force that is constantly changing direction. This would force your core to work double time to stabilize your body, keep your balance, and control your pace.

How do I perform this exercise?

Hold the rope at about hip height and keep your elbows at a 45 degree angle, close to your sides. Work on shifting from side to side or adding double-unders to your repertoire.


Punch to the stomach 



One of the best ways to get your core ready for body shots is the punch to the stomach. Not only will you know what it feels like to absorb impact, but you’ll also condition your core to brace for the body shots, strengthening it each time. Although it may be painful, it’s certainly an effective way to get you ready for those body shots.

How do I perform this exercise? 

Have a training partner wearing gloves punch you in various places of the stomach as you tense your core. Make sure your partner starts light and you can ask them to gradually increase power as you become more accustomed to being hit. They should make your body feel uncomfortable, without causing pain.


Pads to the stomach



Similar to the punch to the stomach, the pads to the stomach will help prepare your core to take those strikes to the body. Although it is a less painful alternative, it is equally effective in conditioning your core for Muay Thai.

How do I perform this exercise?

Have a partner hit you in various places of the stomach with training pads. Make sure your partner starts light, and you can ask them to gradually increase power as you become more accustomed to being hit. They should make your body feel uncomfortable, without causing pain.


There’s no doubt about it — being in the ring is exhausting. Not only do you have to outlast your opponent till the bell rings, you’d also have to be able to take shots to the body. Thus, as a serious Muay Thai student, there’s no option but to condition your core for optimal performance in the ring.

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