Muay Thai workouts: fitness benefits for women

Is Muay Thai the right martial art for you? Discover how the "art of eight limbs" can help boost your fitness level.

Muay Thai workouts: fitness benefits for women

Muay Thai is an aggressive workout with practical application and a great addition to any woman's fitness regimen. This style is used in mixed martial arts (MMA) events, but it also has a strong following of its own championship bouts. As female MMA fighters gain more prominence and women continue to make up a large portion of fans, you'll probably be one of several women showing up at your local studio.

Combining physical fitness and self-defence

Martial arts workouts are excellent for building strength, stamina, balance and flexibility, along with speed and mental focus. A Muay Thai workout can include shadow boxing, hitting a punching bag, or sparring with an opponent.

By using your fists, elbows, shins, feet and knees, Muay Thai gives you a full-body workout. Throwing punches and elbows will quickly tone your midsection and shape your shoulders. Kicks work to lift the glutes and tone thighs. Sparring with a fellow student helps build confidence in yourself and in your ability to master the techniques. Plus, training usually involves fast bouts of quick combinations that give you the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Workouts that incorporate HIIT keep your body burning calories long after you've left the gym.

Muay Thai also has the bonus of teaching you practical self-defence skills.

Start at any fitness level

Beginning an intense workout like Muay Thai can be intimidating, but don't get scared off before you give it a chance. You can start learning right away no matter your fitness level. As with any new skill or sport, you'll start by learning the basic punches (jab, cross, hook, uppercut), kicks (front kick, push kick), and knee strikes.

Then you'll put them into simple combinations. The fast repetition of the same basic moves will quickly help you build up your endurance and allow you to progress to more difficult moves and combinations.

Muay Thai is flexible, allowing you to test your skills against someone else, or keep the workouts limited to personal fitness. For women, all you need is to find a local studio where you feel comfortable and begin learning. Many studios offer trial courses aimed at curious beginners, as well as all-female classes. Both can get you started on the fitness benefits of Muay Thai.

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