How Does Muay Thai Help Build Muscles?

Montrait Muay Thai

A person performing a plank in a muay thai class in downtown toronto.

How Does Muay Thai Help Build Muscles?

Muay Thai, often referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs” is more than just a combat sport; it’s a wholesome workout that challenges and develops various muscle groups. Unlike conventional gym routines, Muay Thai offers a dynamic way to build muscles effectively and sustainably. Essentially, you are building the foundation for your muscle to grow on. 

Working with an educated and experienced muay thai trainer in Toronto will make a whole lot of difference. 

Here are five ways Muay Thai helps you build different types of muscles: 

1. Core Strength and Stability

Muay Thai places a significant emphasis on core conditioning. Every punch, kick, and knee strike originates from the core, making it the powerhouse of your movements. With regular training, two to three times a week, you strengthen the abdominal muscles, obliques, and lower back. It makes you feel stable on your feet and helps in overall balance and posture. 

2. Upper Body Sculpting

Punching and clinching, which are two integral components of the martial art, work on your arms, shoulders, chest, and upper back. These movements, especially when practiced with resistance like pads or heavy bags, help you grow new muscles in the upper body. Both these movements are used for repetition during workouts and promote growth and endurance. 

3. Lower Body Strength

Kicks and knee strikes are fundamental in Muay Thai, targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. While kicks and knee strikes need an explosive amount of power and agility, they can only grow stronger by repetitive exercises. You’ll feel improved stance and footwork, which helps in leg strength and muscular endurance. You can use this lower body strength in different sports including distance running and cycling, marathons, and kickboxing. 

Two people practicing in a muay thai gym.

4. Cardiovascular Conditioning and Fat Loss

As a high intensity workout, Muay Thai burns fat first and then builds muscle. You will start seeing some definition to your muscles in the first few weeks of training. That’s why it is often recommended to those looking for fat reduction. 

You’ll also notice better stamina, feeling less tired during physically-demanding days, and an improved motivation to do psychically-demanding tasks. 

5. Flexibility and Recovery

Flexibility is a key component in Muay Thai, with stretches and mobility exercises being a part of every session. At our gym in Downtown Toronto, all our sessions include a chunk of mobility workouts for better muscle recovery. Regular stretching enhances blood flow and reduces the risk of injury, especially after an intense round of kicks and knee strikes.

How often should I train for Muay Thai? 

As a beginner, attending 2 to 3 classes a week is a good start. It will be overwhelming at first but this martial art is all about pushing yourself. Our instructors are here to support you. For someone training to be a professional, 5 days a week will help you quickly progress towards the goal. Remember, taking recovery breaks in between is essential as Muay Thai is very intense and you also should avoid injuries caused by lack of rest. 

While Muay Thai builds muscles, it focuses on building lean muscles. If you want to bulk up too, add a couple days of weight training. Check out the sport yourself at Montrait Muay Thai in Little Portugal. Book your spot here.