Muay Thai turns your entire body into a weapon. Fights are a blur of fists, elbows, knees, and shins, which is why the sport is also known as “the art of eight limbs.” In fact, you rotate your hip with each attack and block, and Muay Thai trainers have always been innovators when it comes to the mechanics of strength and power; they understand innately what science proves empirically.
On top of that, there’s also the mental aspects that help toughen you up, especially when it comes to mastering your breathing during workouts.
Shallow breathing might not seem like a big deal. But it is. It’s a natural consequence of being in an adrenalized state, but it floods the body with stress hormones, reduces oxygen intake, accelerates time to fatigue, bottlenecks energy and brainpower, and increases muscle tension. This, in turn, limits strength, power, mobility, and range of motion. In short, such breathing sabotages your performance and exponentially increases your risk of injury, Maxwell says. And its effects aren’t limited to fighting.
The secret is to breathe through your nose, using your diaphragm to draw as much air as you can deep into your lungs. That first part, breathing through your nose, is key; it stimulates the vagus nerve, which calms your nervous system by counteracting the fight-or-flight response. Your performance might drop initially while you get the hang of it, but you’ll quickly begin to see improvements in strength, power, and mobility as you lift and breathe in a calmer, clearer, more controlled state. Protip: try holding water in your mouth to make sure you breathe through the nose.
Given the fitness benefits, it makes sense that even if you’re not looking to get into the ring, an MMA-style workout gym class is a pretty good way to build muscle and burn fat, fast.
We popped to Triplefit to train under Royston Wee- yes that Royston, Singapore’s very first MMA fighter to fight in the UFC- for their Cardio Kickboxing class. They promise that ” this class improves endurance, coordination and strength for the participant who wants a challenge – no matter if you are a beginner or advanced practitioner.”
Here’s what ensued below.