Muay Thai Solo Training Hacks

By Joel Williams | Muay Thai

Jan 21

One challenge every martial artist faces is how to get in a good workout when they don’t have a partner available to train with them. In this article, you will learn how to tap into what motivates you and the best pieces of training equipment to have handy to burn some calories, get a good sweat, and sharpen your skills!

Let’s Get Straight To The Point

Let’s kick this one right off with some pro tips from GMAU Muay Thai Instructor, Nick Vasallo. Hey – did you know GMAU will have a BRAND NEW Muay Thai program this spring? I’m SO excited! Anyway, more on that later… let’s take a peek at what kind of toys Nick has in his gym to keep his technique sharp:

GMAU Muay Thai Instructor, Nick Vasallo, discusses home solo training options

The way to becoming better at, well, anything is practice. Whether you want to perfect a technique, combination, improve your speed, power, or precision – the secret ingredient is PRACTICE!  One of my martial arts mentors used to say “more practice is good – correct practice is better.” To practice correctly, you need good instruction – we all need instructors to introduce us to technique and to correct our mistakes. To practice consistently, having a training partner is invaluable. A training partner can also sometimes be difficulty to find, for any number of reasons (e.g., scheduling, geographical distance).

Any time I listen to Jocko Willink I feel like I can run through a wall!
Jocko says there are only 24 hours in a day and you need to get up early to take advantage of that time before it slips away. That is why he gets up at 4:30am EVERY morning, to train. WHAT gets you going? Figure it out and and tap into that energy.

For this reason – and others – you may find yourself doing more solo training. However, there are obvious disadvantages to training by yourself:

  • The most obvious: not having a real, live person in front of you.
  • Without a partner, you have no one to whom you are accountable.
  • Thus, sometimes motivation is lacking.
  • Its also easier to get bored when you train alone.

More practice is good … Correct practice is better

You CAN overcome such obstacles…. It really boils down to prioritizing YOUR training and development, and having the right mindset. A little bit of good old-fashioned determination can do a LONG way, too. Here are a few tips for how to stay on track with your solo training:

  • Make a schedule and decide to follow it. If you had someone to be accountable to, you would set dates and times to train. Do the same for yourself… NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • Use music to get you in the mood for the training at hand. Choose a genre (or artists) that when you hear them, it just gets your blood pumping. Come on, admit it… you already have one in mind, don’t you? For me, its Rage Against The Machine (but not when the kids are in earshot) … otherwise, some good old Green Day works well. Yeah, you guessed it – I was a 90s kid.
  • Change up your solo workouts… Don’t do the same thing all the time. Keep it fresh!
  • When training alone, focus on the “basics”. You never want your fundamental skills to decline. Instead, work on sharpening them. Practice the more advanced (or complicated) stuff when you have a partner.
David Goggins: another individual who seems to have endless motivation and resilience. Look for stories like his (people who overcame unbelievable odds and who have accomplished what may seem impossible) for motivation. Their stories will inspire you to be better. Invest in yourself. Buckle down, work hard and achieve your goals!

Supplementary Thoughts & Videos

When training alone, especially in a style like muay thai (and this applies to karate, taekwondo and krav maga as well) you’re either going to be practicing your techniques freestyle (kicking and punching air molecules as another mentor of mine says) or using some type of equipment. For all of these arts, you need to put in time working with a partner, for sure. But in between those chances to get with another person, you can work on your form, speed, strength, conditioning, power, etc. All of the pieces of equipment you see in Nick Vasallo’s video are very important to him and his students. Below you will find some embedded videos that provide a little more info on each of those, and hopefully gives you some additional inspiration to “get after it!”

Importance of the slip bag (or ball)
Heavy bag tips
More on the double-ended ball
How to hit the speed bag
DIY reflex bag – I want one!

Looking For More?

Loren Christensen is a martial artist and author, who has a number of books I’ve enjoyed over the years. Back in 1987 he wrote a book called The Way Alone. It was a book about solo training, and included sections on warming up, cooling down, resistance training, stretching, as well as examples of drills to make your kicks, punches and strikes faster and more powerful. Thirty years (2017) later he has a three-book series on training alone. Here is a link to the first one, called Solo Training: The Martial Artist’s Home Training Guide.

About the Author

Husband. Father. University Professor. GMAU Certified Krav Maga Instructor.

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(1) comment

Robb February 16, 2020

Cool I can’t wait

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