Its been a 10 months since I’ve trained properly for Thai boxing and to be honest I have missed it a lot. The adrenaline rush of stepping into a ring for an inter-club, the elation as you finally pull off a technique in sparring that has taken weeks to learn and also the constant war wounds to show off (we all know they work lads lets not pretend). This got me into the mind set of going back into it with a passion. However, I cant just rock back up to the gym in my present shape. Although I am in ok shape I am no where near fighting or even sparring shape. Due to this I have been designing workouts to bring me up to scratch. One of these workouts is an ab circuit for Thai boxing.
Last year I was in an inter-club down in oxford and got into a ring with a fighter who was in definitely better shape than me. I hadn’t really been training for it until the last minute and got the shock of the life when I stepped in the ring with someone who looked like blades younger brother.
In the first round I received two 8-counts against me both from the same style kick. A roundhouse off the front leg straight into the floating rib. Really quick and straight up under the guard. Needless to say the wind getting knocked out of you like that is a pretty ugly feeling.
After the first round he blew out and my cardio worked against his sheer muscle mass and I got some pay back but the kicks had left a lasting impression to say the least. I realised that, unlike in some other sports, training your abs in muay thai is incredibly important. Im not talking about training them to look good on a beach. I mean making sure that you get good all round abs so that if a kick does slip through there is something between shin and lungs (other than flappy, and soon to be broken, false ribs).
With this experience in mind I always make sure that the abdominal circuits I do always hit the transverse abdominus and the external obliques. These are the muscles that are on the side of your body. The transverse abdominus is the sheath over your kidney and the obliques cover the bottom of your ribs below your pecs and under arm down to your hip flexors.
As this area is prime round house real estate for where someone wants to plant their shin. If you don’t cover it, or have something there if you miss, your going to end up with the wind racing to climb out of your lungs in short order.
I have put together a circuit, that I like, for you to try. It is a work in progress and I would like to know what you think of it:
What you will need:
(Should you need any of the equipment feel free to give us a call during the day and we will see about getting you set up).
- 10 Mins Jump Rope Training – So the circuit starts up with 10 mins of medium jump rope training. Just whack on some music and plod away for 10 minutes.
- 30 x Incline Crunches – Set the bench to decline (knees higher than head). Lock your knees into the bench and then do 30 crunches. Please remember crunches are using the top of your abdominals. Your lower back should not leave the bench at any time. You are bending from the middle of your abs not your hips. Please note: it has been seen in experiments that locking legs and doing sit ups can actually cause damage to your lower back. This is why we are only crunching. Once youve crunched up as far as you can, un-crunch back to resting.
- 30 x Knee to Elbow – Hop off the bench knees shoulder width apart lying on your back and feet on the floor. Keep your finger tips on your temples at all times and DO NOT grab your head to make it easier or you will hurt your back. Raise your upper body up by contracting your abdominal muscles and concentrate on turning your trunk to the left until the right elbow touches your left knee. To get the most out of this concentrate on pushing your left elbow as far round as possible rather than concentrating on getting the right elbow to touch the knee. If you do the latter you will end up just moving your arm to make it touch rather than your abs. Then allow yourself to untwist and lie down.
- 30 x Leg Raises – Hop back on the bench this time lie with your head at the raised end and your feet pointing down the bench. Your head should be where the seat usually is (yes unless you wiped the bench your head is now in your arse sweat (that will teach you for poor gym hygiene)). Keeping your legs straight; contract your abs so that your legs point up to the ceiling. Continue contracting so that your lower back comes off the bench as well but your legs stay vertical. Then roll back down to resting.
- 20 x Oblique Lifts – For this i just grab the 20kg dumbbells with my feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells hanging, arms neutral, at my side. Slide one dumbbell down to your knee and you feel your range of movement halt. The other dumbbell should now be at hip level. Now slide the other dumbbell down bringing the other one up to hip level. You should now be doing a pendulum impression with your head. Try to keep your form strict so that you stay in line and don’t flap about. Loose smaller weights if necessary.
- 20 x 16kg Kettle bell Swing – Grab the kettle bell with both hands, stand with your legs apart with the kettle bell between your legs. should be in half squat at this point. Push back with your arms and squat down so the kettle bell shoots back then using your abs use the momentum of the swing to pull the kettle bell up straight in front of you at neck height and stand up at the same time. Let the kettle bell swing back to wards the ground and as it does so squat with it so it goes back between your legs.
- 20 x 16kg Kettle bell Sling Shot – This one is pretty easy and one of my favourites because it just irons out any weak spots in your abs. Pick up the kettle bell and again hold it arms neutral in front of you and feet shoulder width apart. Swing the kettle bell round to the left and behind your back. Put your other hand to the right of your body and behind you and take the kettle bell out of your left hand into your right hand and swing it round the right side of your body back to the front. Do 10 one direction and ten the other.
As stated this is a work in progress. Once you have gone through this once do a 5 minute skip and then go through it again. Obviously guys leave out the 10 minute skip on the 2nd and third times through and replace it with a 5 minute skip.
Let me know your thoughts!
Stephen Nash is the lead Exercise Physiologist at Faultless Fitness. With a wealth of experience in delivering clinical and sports interventions, he has helped scores of people achieve their health and sports performance goals.