Thai Boxer’s Guide: Using Energy Systems for Fight Preparation

Written by Federick Brooks

Sawadee Kup T.A.G Family!

Understanding Muay Thai training means much more than knowing how to do a proper burpee and low kick. Behind every movement your body makes, there is a chemical reaction taking place to produce power + energy. To get a basic overview of your body’s energy systems, check out this related post: Muay Thai Strength and Conditioning: Energy Systems.

Want to dominate in the ring or cage? Learn how to make that energy work to your benefit!

  1. ATP-CP Energy: The ATP-CP energy system is characterized by high force, but low duration.  This is important in martial arts because our primary offensive objective is to impose as much force into the soft tissue of our opponent as possible. Training this energy system is characterized by powerful and repetitive muscle contractions.Example inside the gym: 10 seconds of hard shadow boxing followed by 30 seconds light shadowboxing.
    Example outside of gym:  10×50 meter sprints—1 minute of rest between each set
  2. Glycolytic Energy: Carbohydrates like pasta or potatoes are broken down into glucose once consumed. Glucose is stored in muscles as glycogen. Glucose can be further broken down into lactic acid. If the onset of lactic acid exceeds the removal via oxygen intake, we encounter the “burning feeling” in muscles. This is why it is so important to breath during drills!Example inside the gym:  Medium to hard sparring for 2-minutes or Pyramid Drills
    Example outside of gym:  5×800 Meter run—3 min rest between sets
  3. Oxidative Energy:  Most amateur fights don’t require high cardiovascular performance. Physical activity at lower intensities for longer durations is important for health reasons, so don’t neglect cardio completely. I suggest running or jogging for 12-15 continuous minutes. Though Muay Thai is more about strength, power, speed, agility, and proprioception, the more W’s you get under your belt, the longer your fights are going to become. Championship bouts in MMA are up to 5-5 minute rounds—25 minutes people! So throw on your Beats By Dre headphones, hoodie up and hit the streets.Example outside of gym:  15-30 minutes of easy paced jogging.  Try to visualize techniques, combos, and in-fight situations and counters. Trust me, it works!!

Federick Brooks is a former fighter and coach for T.A.G. coming to you from the other Washington.  Federick moved to Washington State last year with his wife and (2 kids now) and is the Assistant Fitness Manager at 24 Hour Fitness in Lynnwood, WA.  Federick’s combat background began in the United States Marine Corps as a Martial Arts Instructor and Combat Conditioning Specialist who pursued Muay Thai nearly 4 years ago. After 10 years of honorable service, Federick finished his B.S. in Kinesiology (the study of Human Movement) at George Mason University. As fitness enthusiasts, he’s gained several certifications in Aerobics, USA Weightlifting, USA Track and Field, and Strength and Conditioning.