3 Top Muay Thai Fighters: their fighting styles & training routines
We all aspire to be great students and fighters, which we can achieve through learning from other fighters, hard work, and diligent training. Today, we’re going to focus more on the training methods and routines, to improve our Muay Thai and make us better fighters. Some good examples of effective exercises and routines can be seen by some of the best fighters in Muay Thai. Great fighters utilize various exercises and routines, in combination with good nutrition and plenty of sleep to advance their fitness and skill to higher levels. Another important note to consider is the repetition and dedication of these fighters, devoting the time to their training day after day to push forward and progress. Here are few of the top fighters in Muay Thai and their routines to help give you an idea of what the pros use and how it can help you advance in your training.
Buakaw Banchamek, formerly known as Buakaw Por. Pramuk
Buakaw utilizes an aggressive fighting style with powerful KO punches and strong kicks, constantly advancing on his opponent. This approach forces his opponent to engage and be defensive/evasive against his attacks. This certainly makes him an exciting fighter to watch in the ring. His dedication to training is apparent by his physique and intense daily training routine, resulting in a very successful fighting career. Link to his KO highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT_GIHZNmC4
Daily Training regimen
6:00 am – Start with stretching & 6-10 km run
7:00 am- Push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, and squats
7:30 am- Shadow boxing, bag training, and pad training (5 rounds each)
8:00 am- Clinch Training & Sparring
9:00 am- Weight lifting and strength training
9:30 am- Shadow boxing for 3 rounds, then stretch to relax muscles
Follows morning routine with a NAP.
Buakaw uses coreplate or landmine exercises prescribed by the Faculty of Sports Science at Kasetsart University. The exercises consist of the landmine twist, the landmine reverse lunge and knee, and landmine push press, which all target core strengthening. We will focus more on these exercises next time!
3:00 pm- Warm up with 5 km run
3:30 pm- Rope for 5 rounds
4:00 pm- Shadow boxing, bag training, and pad training (5 rounds each)
5:00 pm- Clinch training & sparring
5:30 pm- Finish with push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and crunches
Buakaw follows his training routine with dinner made up of fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, and rice, which is very typical of dishes in Thailand. Due to his intense routine having burned a substantial amount of calories throughout the day and needing to replenish his body with nutrients for muscle-building.
This is a standard regimen for Buakaw, if he is training for a fight then the training regimen is intensified a few notches with increased training duration and strength training.
Yodsanklai is most well-known for his powerful left kick, on top of his mastery of Muay Thai techniques and substantial punching power. He is also referred to as the “Boxing Computer” for his unparalleled ability to read his opponents and for his fight IQ. His fighting style ranges from aggressive to elusive/counter, while he reads an opponent. He uses the first portion of the fight to feel out his opponent, making mental notes to their strengths and potential weaknesses which could be exploited later under pressure. Combining his mastery of Muay Thai techniques with the exploitation of weaknesses, adding in deadly left kicks and KO punches with calculated precision certainly makes him a fierce opponent to face in the ring. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q7eHdC5rZg
Yodsanklai utilizes a combination of free weights and kettlebell exercises on strength and conditioning days in addition to the standard grind of running, pad and bag training, clinching, and sparring methods. The free weights exercises include squats, weighted pull-ups, lunges, and medicine balls for core training. These all add resistance to the body and increase strength for the target muscle groups and over time also increase speed. Yodsanlkai also tends to end his training sessions with kicking drills, claiming he doesn’t count the kicks or focus on speed but focuses mainly on power. This would certainly add to why his kicks are revered in the Muay Thai world.
Saenchai utilizes what’s known as the “Tricky” fighting style. Being a technical wizard in the ring, Saenchai is well-renowned for his unique style and an incredible combination of technique, agility, power, and evasive defense. He is also known for the creation of the unique “cartwheel kick”, often seen in his fights. Saenchai’s mastery of technique has truly given him an incredible edge over his opponents. Muay Thai fighters are known for their power, but the true art of Muay Thai focuses on technique more than power. To quote from the late great Grandmaster Kru Yodtong Senanan, “A technical style is much more effective than brute strength. Fighters like Samart Payakaroon and Chartchair Sityodtong never used strength or power, they used pure technique to beat almost everyone.” This is truly exhibited by Saenchai in his fighting style, allowing him to take on and conquer much larger opponents. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0LHkcIjFx0
Saenchai utilizes standard training methods of pad and bag training, shadow Muay Thai, clinching and sparring, as well as strength and conditioning. With all of his standard training, there is a clear focus on technique, honing the muscle’s memory to follow a given path at lightning speed with excellent precision and power. To give you an idea of his training routine here is a break down:
Training Schedule: Morning Training: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Morning Training Schedule: – Running Riverside Park 3 to 10km (level dependent) – Skipping Rope 10 minutes – Shadow Boxing 3 rounds x 3 minutes – Kicking Pads 3 to 5 rounds x 4 minutes – Heavy Bags: Up to the Fighter
Afternoon Training: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Afternoon Training Schedule: – Running Riverside Park 3 to 5km (level dependent) – Skipping Rope 10 minutes – Heavy Bags 3 x 4 minutes – Kicking Pads 3 to 5 rounds x 4 minutes – Sparring and Clinching 30 minutes – Shadow Boxing 3 rounds x 3 minutes – Push-ups / sit-ups 20 minutes
All three fighters use different fighting styles according to their strengths, your fighting style may align
with one of these fighters or range depending on the situation. However, all of them have similar training routines to prepare them for fights. We can see rigorous training is necessary to become a great fighter, but excellent training is just one component in the equation. We also can’t lose sight of the art of Muay Thai and must also keep focus on the technique to advance ourselves in our journey. I hope these training profiles will give you an idea of what professional fighters practice to get ready for fights but also to hone their skills as Muay Thai fighters. This is just the basic layout of their training guide, which must also be paired with good nutrition, plenty of rest, and a positive mental attitude. Those topics we will cover later in our journey. Until next time, keep pushing forward!