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Our last article discussed energy system training and its role during a fight. We also toucheed on periodization and the phases involved in preparing an effective conditioning program.

Today, we will lay out a basic strength training program to fit your needs. We will also highlight common concerns and myths of fighters regarding resistance training.

By: Daniel Salazar

Well, lets take a look at some common myths:


The American College of Sports Medicine held a meeting where they analyzed this question. Researchers compared the two techniques’ effect on flexibility of the same muscle/joint complexes over the course of a five-week intervention.

“The results suggest that carefully constructed, full-range resistance training regimens can improve flexibility as well as—or perhaps better than—typical static stretching regimens,” James R. Whitehead, Ed.D. FACSM, said.

Ultimately, if you follow a well structured and balanced program and you are good!


False! When lifting weights over 85 percent of 1 repetition max, our body’s primary stress is placed on the nervous system, not on the muscles. Therefore, our strength will improve by a neurological effect. But our muscles will not necessarily increase in size.

Note: “Repetition max” refers to the weight you can move during a specific movement for a given number of reps . In the example above we are using 85 percent of a weight the can be lifted only one time.

A study by Staron et al. (1990) showed that after a 20-week program of heavy resistance training, participants showed decreased body fat with an increase in muscle tissue, however, with their was no change in physical size.

The muscle you build actually tones and shapes your figure while strengthening your bones. Ultimately improving your body image and posture. Gaining significant size is a long and somewhat complex process and should be easy to control if you don’t give your body a surplus of calories.


Physics proves that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In terms of Muay Thai, the more force you apply to the ground, translates to more force returned in the opposite direction. This form of energy to propel your shin towards your opponent.

Our primary goal is to develop fast and powerful movements. This requires a low number of repetitions (2-5) with 75-80% of 1RM. We’ll use this rep range to insure that move that weight as fast as possible with out breaking down our lifting technique. We can also develop speed and explosiveness by throwing objects such as light medicine balls even kettle bells and dumbbells.

It’s all neurological! Since we lift moderately heavy weight quickly our brain is trained to get things done quickly. It is important to develop technique. Technique in terms of both sports and exercise. The strength and power we gained in the weight room will be useless you also put time in on the bag, pads and sparing.


This program is based on a 8 week training cycle, that includes strength training 2-3 times a week. Some people who train also have full time jobs and other responsibilities. This is just an example template and can be modified to fit your needs.


  • This program would be most efficient if split on Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday. If you have an extra day to train you may do so.
  • Always Remember USE WARM UP SETS. If a lower # of reps is prescribed to you for work sets, you can use a heavier load.
  • STOP 1 rep before your rep speed begins to slow down and/or your lifting technique starts to look crappy.
  • Challenge yourself!



3 sets 8-12 reps.

Rest Time: 60 seconds for each movement per group completion during reps… then, continue.

When all set are completed rest for 2 minutes before moving on.

Workout 1

1a) Dumbbell Dead lift

1b) Dumbbell Bench press

1c) Plank (Hold for 30 Secs)

2a) Seated over hand Row

2b) Dumbbell Reverse Lunges

2c) Reverse Hypers


Plate pushes

5 sets 25 yards each set (Use 2 45lb Plates)

Workout 2

1a) Zurcher Squat

1b) Chin up (palms facing each other)

1c) Hyperextensions

2a) Dumbbell Push Press

2b) Dumbbell Split Squat

2c) Anti rotational Cable or Band presses (with a 1-2 Second hold)


Squat Thrust ladder

Do 8 reps then pause for 1 second then 7 reps Pause for 1 seconds Then 6 reps, continue this pattern till you reach 1 rep.

You will then go right back up, so you start at 2 reps then pause for 1 second then 3 reps then break for one second then 4 reps then break for one second till you reach 8 reps again.


Strength Phase


Workout 1


Rest no more then 90 seconds between each group of movements. Continue till all sets are completed per group. When all sets are completed Rest 2 mins before moving to the next group of exercises.

5 sets 4 reps

1a) Weighted chin ups (under hand grip)

1b) BarBell Bench press

3 sets 8 reps

2a) NO hold Dumbbell rows

2b) Floor presses (palm facing each other)

No rest. Do the prescribed reps for A, B and C then go back to A till all sets are completed.

4 sets 12 reps

3a) Ab wheel roll outs

3b) face pulls

3c) cuban press

Finish with some foam rolling and stretching

Workout 2: LOWER BODY

5 sets 4 reps

1) trap bar deadlift

3 set 8 reps

2a) dumbbell walking lunges

3 sets 8-10 reps

2b) dumbbell single leg deadlifts

No rest. Do the prescribed reps for A, B and C then go back to A till all sets are completed.

3 sets 8-10 reps

3a) pull throughs

3b) over head rope tri extensions

3c) Hammer curls

Finish with some foam rolling and stretching


Rest for 90 seconds or less between each group of movements. Continue until all sets per group are completed. When all sets are completed Rest 2 mins before moving to the next group of exercises.

Workout 1

6 sets 2 reps

1a)box squat

6 sets 3 reps

1b) box jump/ jump squat

4 sets 3 reps

2a) double dumbbell hang clean+push press

4 sets 3 reps

2b) med ball chest pass

4 sets 25-50 yards ( rest up to 3 mins each set)

3a) heavy sled drags

3b) sprints

Workout 2

6 set 2 reps

1a)barbell deadlift

4 sets 3 reps (each leg)

1b)sprinter leaps

4 sets 5 reps

2a) sledge hammer swings

4 sets 3 reps

2b) explosive hand switch inverted rows


5 sets 30 second break after both exercises are completed.

3a) battling ropes 30 seconds

3b) kettlebell swings

Week 8: Completion

This program allows for a break before the fight from strength training. In this week you’ll work on tapering down with your Muay Thai coach.

This time is generally used to iron out some of the kinks your coach may see as well as go over the game plan. It involves very light sparing and pad work. The sessions are shorter than normal and used just to keep the blood flowing as well as keep you sharp.

Week 9: FIGHT!


As this program is effective, it will not make you a better fighter. Resistance training works to compliment your technique, not strengthen it.

Put in time, effort and dedication to your training. The results will be worth it!

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