Muay Thai is the most brutal form of legal stand-up fighting. In a traditional match of the “Art of Eight Limbs,” combatants bludgeon each other with fists, feet, elbows and knees for five air-sucking rounds. A deficiency in conditioning during any of the three-minute rounds means getting pounded. This places a premium on training as efficiently as possible, the essence of which is developing core strength and an increasing anaerobic capacity.
According to former professional Muay Thai fighter and owner of CROM Martial Training in Rockaway Beach, Chris Romulo, striking power isn’t generated in the quads or shoulders, but in the center of the body. “Every hit in Muay Thai is thrown from the torso, not the limbs,” he says. Romulo focuses on dynamically developing that central source of strike power. “Sixty percent of your training in this fight sport is conditioning, forty-percent is technique. If your body can’t handle the rigors, forget it,” he says.
According to Romulo, a fighter should train in intensive three-minute periods to simulate what he will undergo in the ring, but habituate his body to decreased rest time — around 30 to 45 seconds. “In a fight, the one minute between rounds should feel like forever.”