Basic Muay Thai Training Equipment
One of the challenges that I face as a Muay Thai instructor is convincing people that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get into the game.
While other sports like football and golf demand thousands of dollars in gear and membership fees just to get started, Muay Thai is special in its accessibility to common folks like you and me.
That’s not to say that only a pair of shorts and a t-shirt will suffice for a serious Muay Thai workout. This is, after all, a combat sport, and I would be remiss not to tell you that protective gear, for example, will be required as you advance beyond the beginner stages.
However, your path to improved fitness and well-being through Muay Thai begins with the simple stuff. In this article, I’ll lay out what you need in terms of general and sports-specific development:
1. General Development (a.k.a. Beginners’ Stage).
A. Running Shoes.
Before landing your first punch or kick, a new Muay Thai student must develop a strong aerobic conditioning base. Buy a pair of sturdy running shoes so that you can go outside for a daily fifteen or twenty-minute jog. You’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish from a health and fitness standpoint from this one simple purchase. As your conditioning improves, you can kill two birds with one stone by shadowboxing as you go out and run.
No gym membership required, haha.
B. Skipping Rope.
Skipping rope is one of the most underrated (and inexpensive) ways for Muay Thai athletes to develop cardiovascular fitness, wrist strength, shoulder endurance and overall body awareness. All martial artist in fact can benefit from this type of Muay Thai training, which only requires a quality rope and good jumping surface (e.g. hardwood floor, exercise-specific impact mat).
C. Thai Pads & Punching Mitts.
As you go beyond the initial stages of Muay Thai training, you will want to practice your striking and defending Muay Thai techniques in simulated, “sparring” sessions. Ask your trainer or a friend to hold up the pads as you practice various combinations and perfect your technique and timing.
2. Advanced Muay Thai-Specific Development.
A. Boxing Gloves/Punching Mitts; Hand Wraps.
At some point, you’ll want to have your own pair of boxing gloves specially fitted for your hands. While top-end gloves can cost upwards of $200, you should be able to find quality gloves for as little as forty dollars.
Hand wraps are useful for protecting your wrists and knuckles as your training and sparring sessions get more intense.
B. Basic Protective Equipment: Shin Guards, Head Gear.
As you begin sparring regularly, protective shin guards become mandatory because of the amount of shin contact in Muay Thai boxing. You will also want to buy a head gear, and a quality mouth guard (teeth).
C. Groin Protection.
Groin injuries can be extremely painful and often require a lot of time to heal. Although kicks to the groin are illegal in Muay Thai fighting, accidents can happen. And it does not feel good… trust me, haha. Therefore, invest in a good cup (steel is the best, but most expensive; cotton/plastic combination may be good enough for lower impact training).
As Muay Thai practices become more mainstream and grow in acceptance, training methods and equipment availability will continue to improve with the addition of more certified instructors.
For a couple of hundred bucks, make sure that the equipment you select meets the highest standards, and not that cheap stuff you get at wal-mart or a sporting store. Seek out a good reputable distributor that sales high quality Muay Thai equipment; Twins, Title boxing, Top King, Fairtex, Boon, and Windy to name a few… and seek out the best advice from people in the know.
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