Training for a combat sport can be quite hard, especially when you don’t know where to begin from. Fortunately, for Muay Thai, even though all eight limbs are necessary, there is one that plays the most important role. The ‘shin’ is the keeper of the score, and this article will tell you everything that you need to know about conditioning the shin in the most proper way.
The Importance of Shin Conditioning
If you are new to Muay Thai or you are a pro, then you might have heard how practicing Muay Thai itself hardens your shin. However, this still does not mean that you can’t put in any effort during the free hours. Especially newbies’ shins are not quite conditioned to throw kicks. And perhaps this is why your kicks do not land hard as those of an experienced pro.
With the help of repetitive training, a powerful shin can easily be developed. And that is what we hope to present to you in this article. As a Muay Thai fighter, you need to know that whenever you are in a fight; you are engaging with your opponent in a no-holds-barred fight. And in it, you’ll have to down your opponent as fast as possible. To do this, all eight limbs of the body are put to test. Your fists, elbows, and knees would definitely need to be in proper shape. But most of all, your shin’s condition could change the game.
Ever wondered what it would be like to knock an opponent out with the help of a high-kick? Well, shin conditioning is not only important for your attacking skills, in fact, having a strong shin can also improve your defense by making you immune to the low-kicks thrown by the opponent.
On the other hand, even if you are attacking effectively or defending efficiently, if a connection is made with your bare-bones, it will definitely hurt. And that is why, your shins need to be strong, as you want them to be able to take the hit and prevent your bones from making contact.
In this next section, we have discussed everything related to shin conditioning. It includes eight simple steps to follow which will help you understand the time required to condition your shin.
Top Eight Steps for Shin Conditioning in Muay Thai
If you train properly, then you can achieve Shin Conditioning easily. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure high-intensity training and shin conditioning:
1. Training With Heavy Bag Kicks:
Whenever you are training, you always want to keep it real. For heavy kicking power, you need to position your heavy bag close to you. Performing kicks on it, both low and high, will not only help you exercise your shin, but it would also help you flex it. In turn, your power and flexibility will be increased with this simple practice method.
Practice is very essential for Muay Thai, and you will not always have a sparring partner around. Heavy bag training, a good cardio exercise, can increase the limit of your stamina over time. Here are a few benefits that you would receive:
- An Improved power
- More stamina and control over breathing
- Increased agility and speed
Make sure that whenever you kick the bag, you use the inner and outer muscle of your shin instead of the bone. The bone is more likely to suffer damage, so keep that in mind.
2. Spar as Much as You Can:
Sparring is considered to be the key component of every fighting-sport practice. This is where you’ll first get an understanding of what you will be getting into. But most of all, sparring is where you’ll get to use all the techniques that you have learned, and perhaps you’ll get to make some of your own.
For beginners, one of the best things that you could do before sparring is relaxing and take control of your breathing a little. It must be understood that sparring is not a real contest. Instead, it is a practice session in which you get to enjoy while understanding your own weaknesses.
Before sparring, make sure that you have locked on to some specific techniques that you’ll be focusing on for the session. For example, you can focus on your defense or your attacking posture and moves, it is all up to you. And also make sure to use proper equipment before sparring.
Even though some contestants might engage in hard sparring, most of it is only done before the starting of any tournament. But, make sure that you spar to learn and not to win.
3. Lifting Weights:
Muay Thai is not just about the legs and the kicks, it equally focuses on your arms and your punches. And for Muay Thai, smaller reps are the best. You need to keep most of your lifting between 1-5 reps.
Strengthening your arms won’t be detrimental to your skills, in fact, it will help in strengthening your upper body core as well. You could also go for more reps, but you need to be wise and longer reps are better for putting on mass.
4. Run Regularly:
Running is the best alternative for stamina building. Not only for stamina, but running is also important for power because in a way you’ll be pounding your feet on the pavement.
Running, as a part of Muay Thai training, is unlike any other. For a casual trainer, you need to jog twice or thrice a day, and if you are a professional, you need to do it at least 5 times a day.
Every fighter in the Muay Thai world uses running as a means to achieve the best shin conditioning humanly possible. However, the lesson that you need to learn is that it is the frequency and not speed that you should focus on. Rather than running for many miles and taking a break for the next few days to recover, you can start by running shorter distances too.
5. Proper Intake of Calcium and Vitamin D:
With any form of muscle growth, there are multiple nutrients that you have to take. Protein is for sure the most popular of them all. However, other than that calcium and Vitamin D are equally essential. Both nutrients help to strengthen your bones. In fact, your bones are made up of calcium itself.
When your body gets rid of excess water, it also gets rid of all the minerals like potassium, sodium, and even calcium. So, you definitely need some calcium to keep those bones strong or make them even stronger. And this makes it an essential component for your shin conditioning practice. Just make sure that you eat right and your diet is balanced.
6. Properly Treating the Bumps on Your Shin:
The appearance of bumps during shin conditioning training is not that rare. However, it becomes more important for you to treat them in the right manner. If you suffer from them, make sure:
- First, you need to warm the area where the lump is. You can use a hot towel for that.
- Now, from the top, press down gently on the swelling.
- You would see the fluid buildup, keep massaging it gently and it’ll move that out.
These three steps are the best way for you to get rid of those lumps with no difficulty.
7. Properly Treating the Knots on Your Shin:
Just like the bumps, muscle knots are also common during high-intensity training. These can be caused by stress or tension in the muscle, or even if you assume a bad posture while training. But, if this problem has multiple originating factors, then it also has multiple solutions.
Here are a few that you can try on your own:
- Apply a hot cloth or an ice pack to the affected area.
- You can take anti-inflammatory medication that will reduce muscle pain.
- Do a little stretching exercise.
- Take a little break from your exercise routine.
8. Food to Support Your Conditioning:
As we had mentioned in one of the previous points, nutrients play an important role in your body’s development. No matter how much you train, if you are not training right, you are not ready for the fight.
When you are done exercising, the body regenerates the muscle cells that were exhausted during the session. And in doing so it uses protein. Protein is the building block of your muscles that helps in strengthening them as well.
But this does not mean that you just need to eat a protein-rich meal. No, instead you need to have a properly balanced diet that supplies the right amount of minerals and vitamins to you as well.
How Long Does It Take to Condition Your Shin?
Considering that you follow the above points as your training mantra, you can expect to achieve that proper shin condition in two to three months. At the periphery, the time might seem long but the points prioritize your safety too.
Muay Thai is a less-forgiving combat sport, you will be fighting alone with your opponent. Hence, it’s essential for you to prepare for your own best defense, and a well-trained body will help you with it.
In the end, we advise you to give it your best shot. As the shin condition plays an essential role in your Muay Thay training, there isn’t any scope for sacrifices. Train for the fun of it but fight to win it! We hope the article helped you find a proper way of conditioning your shin.