Does Muay Thai Build Muscle? 2022

Does Muay Thai build muscle? Typically, if you want to build muscle, you need to focus on training hard and eating healthy. A combination of those two factors is enough for most people. And as with most other sports and activities, the better your workout, the better the results you’ll see.

Muay Thai is an ancient combat sport originating in Thailand over 500 years ago. The sport involves the use of punches, knee strikes, and elbows against one’s opponent in bouts governed by a series of rules.

This type of training improves your cardiovascular fitness and stamina as well as your balance, coordination, flexibility, and reaction time. But does it help to build muscle?

In this article, we will discuss whether or not the traditional Thai martial art Muay Thai builds muscle or not.

What Is Muay Thai?

Muay Thai is a combat sport that dates back over 500 years in Thailand. The objective of this incredibly intense sport is to either force an opponent to the ropes, the canvas, the floor, or the guard rail and then to win by scoring a knockout or a technical knockout.

Muay Thai is a full-contact sport that allows for elbow and knee strikes, kicks, and takedowns. The sport is a combination of martial arts and more specifically Thai boxing. During the time of its inception, Thai boxing was an all-purpose fighting system that incorporated techniques from numerous other ancient martial arts.

Is Muay Thai Good for Muscle Building?

Muay Thai might not be good for building muscle, but if you are looking to improve your cardiovascular fitness, lose fat, and improve your balance, coordination, and flexibility, then it’s a great choice.

Since Muay Thai is a full-contact sport, it is a great workout for both your cardiovascular and anaerobic fitness. If you want to lose fat, you’ll need to incorporate a cardio routine into your Muay Thai training. You’ll not only burn fat during your cardio, but you’ll also burn more calories during your strength training, making it easier to lose weight.

Muay Thai isn’t necessarily a muscle-building sport, but it is a great sport to use when building cardiovascular fitness and improving your balance, coordination, and flexibility.

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Can You Train to Build Muscle While Doing Muay Thai?

Yes, you can. You will need to pair Muay Thai with another form of strength training, however.

Muay Thai is not a good sport for gaining muscle, as it does not emphasize strength training. Instead, you will want to try to pair Muay Thai with an activity that emphasizes strength training, such as weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, or powerlifting.

And, you will want to pair Muay Thai with an activity that emphasizes hypertrophy training, such as high-rep circuit training, HIIT, or cardio.

Muay Thai Muscle Building Diet

Muay Thai is also a cardio-intensive activity that can help you burn 600–1000 calories every training session. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose muscle as well as fat.

Eating as much of the proper protein-dense foods as you can is the greatest remedy. This way, you will increase your muscle mass and reduce the rate at which your body fat levels rise.

Utilizing supplements is another way to speed up the process of developing muscle. Whey protein shakes and post-workout supplements can give you the nourishment you need in amounts you might not be getting from entire foods while pre-workout supplements can boost your training.

Read Also: Can you build muscles without protein

Benefits of Muay Thai

Muay Thai training can build lean muscle mass, increase your strength, and improve your endurance. You can expect to see increases in your leg strength, your core, and the speed and power with which you can deliver your punches, kicks, and knees.

Additionally, your anaerobic capacity—the amount of oxygen your muscles can use during high-intensity training—will improve, allowing you to train longer and harder with less exhaustion.

The following are some of the benefits of Muay Thai:

Conditioning Your Cardiosystem

For those who practice regularly, Muay Thai offers tremendous levels of conditioning. The martial art of Muay Thai puts a lot of strain on your cardiovascular and respiratory systems and is both an aerobic and anaerobic sport.

Due to their rigorous cardiovascular endurance training, Muay Thai fighters can compete for three to five rounds without being exhausted. Your body is continuously under stress as it attempts to adjust to the demands of the sport.

When it comes time to complete those extra 100 jump ropes, keep this in mind; it will be beneficial in the long run.

Enhanced Leg Strength

Leg muscles are the ones that are used the most during Muay Thai workouts. By practicing the wide variety of varied kicks and footwork drills that are used in a regular Muay Thai training session, you may almost enhance every muscle in your lower body.

All the leg exercises will strengthen muscle endurance, force production, your agility, and footwork, and visually, your leg muscles will look firmer. The best Muay Thai fighters are well known for their calf muscles. This results from the numerous training sessions they have had.

Increased Hip Mobility

An improvement in hip mobility is a sometimes underappreciated advantage of practicing Muay Thai that can be beneficial in later life. According to studies, those who don’t play sports or exercise frequently are far more likely to experience severe pain or other health issues in later life.

Your hips will become more mobile as a result of your kicking, kneeing, and rotational actions, and you’ll avoid a lot of pain in the future. As with many martial arts, a solid post-workout program centered around stretching is essential to maintaining health.

Total Core Strength Improvement

Your core muscles, which include your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and pelvic floor muscles, are strengthened via core strength workouts. Numerous physical activities are made simpler by having strong core muscles.

Many newcomers to bodybuilding, athletics, and martial arts tend to believe that developing core strength consists solely of exercising the abdominal muscles. Rotational and repeated movements are essential to improving Muay Thai and the sport’s unique style of movement.

A strong and effective core is a result of the muscles that are engaged during strikes, defensive maneuvers, clinching, and conditioning activities.


Muay Thai is a great full-body workout and can help you improve your cardio and increase strength but it’s important to note that it’s not solely focused on building muscle.

That said, not everyone will see improvement from doing Muay Thai and many experts believe it’s not suitable for beginners due to its high intensity levels and risk of injury. Some say it could also be a good addition to an exercise program if done right but should never be the only thing you do at the gym or incorporated directly into your normal routine.

The sport is full-contact, and therefore highly dangerous. You can expect to see an increase in your strength, anaerobic capacity, and flexibility, but it’s important to note that these benefits come at the risk of an injury.

If you’re interested in Muay Thai, many gyms offer classes that are designed to get you started. Start with some basic drills, then slowly incorporate more advanced techniques as you learn them.

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