Strength training is essential for anyone that wishes to gain an edge in their Muay Thai or martial arts training.
Given the popularity of strength training, an age old debate exists among supporters regarding which method is best. We have a look at two routines to see which one comes out on top.
Weight training involves the use of resistance equipment to help increase muscle mass.
Getting stronger and leaner can be accomplished with consistency. If you are a beginner to weight training, a method called progressive overload involves choosing a weight that you can complete 8-10 repetitions with, and then increasing the weight once you are able to do more than 10 repetitions. Over time, you will be rewarded as you become stronger.
Isolation exercises consist of one muscle group moving one joint. Compound exercises, or multi-joint exercises, require the use of more than one muscle group, and involve more than one joint. Multi-joint exercises are recommended for increased muscle strength and size. Each session should start with multi-joint exercises before moving to isolation exercises targeting smaller muscle groups. This is not possible with bodyweight exercises.
Unfortunately, like all forms of exercise and strength training, injuries can occur with lifting weights. Therefore, it is essential that good form is practiced. Lifting weights with poor technique can easily result in tears and strains.
Bodyweight exercises can be performed anywhere and at anytime; without the use of equipment.
Most bodyweight exercises are multi-joint; meaning that they work several different muscles at the same time. Bodyweight exercises help increase lean muscle mass, while increasing balance, flexibility and agility.
Strength is gained differently with bodyweight exercises; usually by performing the same exercise in different ways. For example, when doing push-ups to increase chest strength, switching to a one arm push-up increases the complexity and difficulty of the exercise.
Bodyweight strength training has its benefits. The likelihood of injury is much lower, as less stress is placed on the joints. Resistance comes in the form of the body, where the load is always the same and relative to the body size. This allows the joints to adapt to the training, thereby avoiding injury.
Being multi-joint exercises, it is not possible to isolate specific muscles with bodyweight strength training. Certainly, muscles can be targeted by variation of exercise performance, but the outcome will deliver a leaner look compared to that produced by isolation exercises using weights.
Weight training will increase strength, helping to gain mass by isolating muscle groups. Bodyweight training will also increase strength, but the gains are much leaner than with weight training.
Overall, your goal(s) will determine what method you take up. From our experience, we have found that bodyweight strength training is complimentary to Muay Thai and other martial arts, increasing functionality in all areas of your life.