Muay Thai Training Equipment

Published by Jason Narog on

Pyramid heavy bag workout

What Muay Thai training equipment do I need? This has to be the most loaded question I’ve decided to write on yet. Let’s start with what you need bare minimum and then get into all the “nice to have’s” in terms of training equipment / supplemental training and see how many thousands of dollars we end up spending. Ready? Cool, me too, lets go.

Mandatory Muay Thai Training Equipment

Assuming you’re joining an entry level academy / gym that has coaches, other members, bags, etc:

  • Clothes (preferably without pockets so your partner(s) don’t get their foot inadvertently trapped in your pocket [I was the jerk in basketball shorts as illustrated in the photo above])
  • Hand wraps (be it traditional or quick wraps)
  • 16 oz bag gloves
  • mouth guard (maybe)

Keeping with the assumption you joined an academy and want to spar, add the following:

  • cup
  • head gear
  • mouth guard (if you didn’t buy one above)
  • shin steps

Optional Muay Thai training gear (or buy when you have funds)

I’m still assuming you joined an academy here and are getting tired of using the shared gear:

  • focus mitts
  • Thai pads (preferably good ones from a Thai company)
  • Belly pad

If you wanted to get really crazy you can start adding more pads on top of that…

Final form

Supplemental training gear

Running shoes. I’m not going to argue in one direction or another as the goal is to get you to run. After spending a few days at the UFCPI and hearing that most professional MMA fighters suffer from the same upper and lower cross syndromes of desk workers its hard to go preach about “proper movement mechanics” and all that jazz. Barefoot or minimal shoes would be preferable over something really squishy that puts your foot into a weird position, but hey, your foot is already going to be in a weird position in Muay Thai anyway so …

The point is to just get you out jogging or running. My cardio was the best in my life when I was running 2-3 miles a few times a week. I was also doing Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, and throwing around kettlebells, but the running helped with the steady state cardio base. So buy some running shoes to help with your training.

Jump rope. This is also to help with your aerobic base, although (for me anyways) skipping rope is way less steady state than running is. I end up going fast, but I also suck at skipping rope. I can’t do crazy foot tricks, I can really only jump up and down. But that’s way better than when I couldn’t even jump up and down and bought weighted cheater jump ropes to “simulate” jumping rope.

Kettlebell or Bulgarian Bag and some medicine balls. At the UFCPI I had some pro fighters showing some medicine ball rotation drills they do to work on the rotation that comes from throwing punches. They highly (very highly) advised against doing things like holding weights in your hands while throwing punches as that’ll unintentionally teach you to drop your punches as the weights start to weigh your arms down.

Bells, bags, and med balls teach similar mechanics that you’ll use in Muay Thai without being the “actual movement pattern” so you don’t teach yourself bad habits (like you would with hand weights throwing punches….) They teach quick rotations, improve your strength endurance base (so you can train harder) and improve your grips for things like clinching. The kettlebell swing also strengthens your hip area, so you can throw harder and faster knees.

Agility ladder. These come in 2 flavors – the standard ladder and a rounded version. I used them with some of my personal training clients to work on foot drills for Muay Thai. They provide some good feedback for when you’re stepping (as you’ll literally step on a rung of the ladder if you misstep), to try and teach not crossing feet / equally stepping / etc /etc. They’re good for a variety of cardio and SAQ training as well.

Solo Training Equipment

Thai Pads on Tree

If you’ve got some rope and cheap Thai pads (I wouldn’t do this with my quality Thai pads) you can tie them to a tree and practice your punches and kicks. Just remember that trees don’t know how to hold pads so they won’t offset your momentum and you’ll be punching and kicking foam attached to a tree. Missing hurts.

But if you’ve got the space there’s some fun stuff on the market  –

  • Heavy bag (banana) – it’s 6 feet tall. Attach it to a heavy bag stand.
  • Spar bar (fill the bottom with sand or water, it teaches you to bob and weave)
  • Double end quick bag
  • Uppercut bag
  • Bob or Bob XL

The Bob XL with the upgraded vest creates a great opportunity to work a 3 6 combo. Assuming your right handed:

  1.  Left jab
  2. Right cross
  3. Left Hook
  4. Right Hook
  5. Left Uppercut
  6. Right Uppercut

The placement of Bob’s arms makes for great practice on your left hook to the head followed with a right uppercut right between his hands. You can start practicing level changes with hook to the body, hook to the head, right uppercut as well.

The biggest thing I love about Bob though is his head… Holding onto a heavy bag (which doesn’t really have grips outside of the ropes at the top) to throw knees is pretty awkward compared to throwing knees on Bob. You can clinch whenever you want with Bob!


Categories: Boxing