What To Expect From Your First Muay Thai Class

So you’ve made your decision, your clothes, gloves, shinguard, mouth guard, cup and hand-wraps are packed. And soon you’ll be off to your first Muay Thai class.

It can be a little daunting not knowing what to expect though. This post will show you what your first Muay Thai class should look like.

Beginner’s Classes

Make sure is that you’re in the right class for your skill level. Most Thai Boxing gyms will have classes split into; beginner, intermediate, advanced, fighters only, sparring only and open mat.

As this post is for people starting out, let’s discuss a typical beginner class.

It’ll look something like:

  • Warm up (15 minutes)
  • Stretching (5 minutes)
  • Drilling 2-4 techniques (20-30 minutes)
  • Live drill/Light Sparring (5-10 minutes)
  • Cooldown (5 minutes)

Let’s dive into each one so you know what to expect.

The Warm Up

Similar to other sports, it’s likely to include jogging, mini-sprints, skipping to the side, star-jumps, burpees, pushups, situps and squats.

Some more sport-specific exercises will include shadowboxing, running and punching, walking while throwing knees and front kicks as well as skipping rope.

Don’t worry about your technique during the punching and kicking parts – the goal is always to loosen up.

Stretching

Generally, these progress from the top of your body downwards. You’re looking at something like:

  • Neck rolling
  • Shoulder mobility exercises
  • Tricep stretch
  • Chest Stretch
  • Hip Rotations
  • Hamstring and Quadricep stretches
  • Groin muscle stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Knee rotations

Most important thing to remember with stretching is to not overdo it. By pulling too far and too hard – you risk pulling a muscle and having to sit out training for weeks.

Drilling

This is the biggest and most important part of a class. Expect to be doing single movements or single combinations. Sometimes the techniques being taught are unrelated, but most good coaches will follow a progression. An example of four moves getting taught may be:

  1. Parry, jab
  2. Parry, jab, middle kick
  3. Parry, jab, middle kick, catch opponent’s middle kick
  4. Parry, jab, middle kick, catch opponent’s middle kick, sweep opponent

In drills, don’t muscle through techniques. Move slowly and explore the intricacies of the technique – you will learn faster, and your training partner will love you.

Live Drill/Light Sparring

Here, your coach will ask you and your partner to become less cooperative towards each other with the technique.

You will no longer be telegraphing and signalling to your opponent what you’re about to do.

This is where, for a beginner, adrenaline kicks in. Again, don’t go too hard or crazy. Most people training Muay Thai follow a “hit me as hard as you want to get hit” rule – so if you try to prove a point to your partner – expect to get hit back hard in return.

Take care of your partner, and your partner will take care of you.

Cooldown

This will be a set of bodyweight exercises and stretches right at the end of the session to prevent excess tightening of muscles and injury.

You’ll mostly be using the same movements as you used in the warm up – so nothing new here.

And that is what you can expect from your first Muay Thai class. Good luck with your training and enjoy yourself!