In a striking martial art like Muay Thai, having good flexibility is extremely important. Read below to see the best Muay Thai stretches and the important details for performing them.
- Are Muay Thai stretches important?
- What body parts should I target with my Muay Thai stretches?
- Warm up before doing Muay Thai stretches
- Hip flexor stretches with bands
- Split stretches
- 3 Muay Thai hip stretches to kick higher
- Muay Thai stretches for shoulders
- Standing kick swings
- Partner kicking stretches
- Post training Muay Thai stretch routine
- Make your own routine of Muay Thai stretches
Are Muay Thai stretches important?
Yes, Muay Thai stretches are an extremely important part of your training. They should be done before and after every training session. Doing this will not only improve your flexibility, but also prevent potential injuries during training from tight muscles.
What body parts should I target with my Muay Thai stretches?
When doing your Muay Thai stretches, there are specific body parts that you should target. Some of the most important body parts that should focus on stretching include:
- Hip Flexors
- Lower Back
Warm up before doing Muay Thai stretches
One very important thing you should do before doing your Muay Thai stretches is getting a good warm-up in. Trying to stretch cold muscles can often lead to pulls and strains, so always try to break a sweat before stretching.
Hip flexor stretches with bands
Many fighters are now seeing the benefits of using bands when they do their Muay Thai stretches. Particularly targeting their hip flexors, which need to be flexible in order to deliver strong kicks and knees.
Lunge holds with bands
First, take your exercise band and put it around a pole that’s in your gym. Either a squat rack, cable weight machine, or a beam of the bag stand.
Insert one leg into the band and pull it up high into your hip flexor. Then step back to tighten the band and go into a lunge position.
Doing this stretch will stretch out your hips, glutes, and lower back all at once. Hold the lunge on both sides for 30 seconds to a minute to get a good stretch.
Toe touches in a semi fighting stance
Another great stretch with an exercise band you can do are toe touches in a semi fighting stance. Start by facing forward and step forward into a semi fighting stance until the band tightens.
Then drop down and touch your lead toe and hold the stretch for around a minute before switching. You can also lift your toes up to increase the stretch on your hamstrings, quads, and achilles tendons.
One of the most important Muay Thai stretches that you should do every day are split stretches. These are a variety of different split stretch routines that are great to implement into your routine.
Here is a really simple one that you should consider doing.
When doing split stretches, you always have to ease into the splits by doing easier stretches first. Start this routine by putting your feet shoulder-width apart and start by reaching your hands to the ground.
Hold at the center for 15-30 seconds and then repeat touch your left foot, then right foot for the same amount of time.
Semi Split Stretch
For the next batch of stretches in this routine, you’re going to stretch your feet out a little further. Going into a semi split position with good tension on your inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings.
Hold stretches at the center, left, and right with both hands for 15-30 seconds each.
After the semi split stretches, you’re going to turn, lunge forward, and drive your hip to the ground. When you do this be sure to keep your knee off the mat to keep the tension. Hold each side for 15-30 seconds before moving on to the next batch of Muay Thai stretches.
Splits stretches on the mat
For the last stretches of the split stretch routine, stretch your legs far out, and walk yourself to the mat. Keeping the tension, you’re going to walk your hands out as far as you can and hold for 15-30 seconds. Then reach to each leg and hold for another 15-30 seconds to complete the split stretch routine.
3 Muay Thai hip stretches to kick higher
If you want to land head kicks, you will have to have good flexibility in your hips. Here are three great hip stretches that you can do to be able to kick higher.
Lean backs on your knees
The first hip stretch that you’re going to do is lean back on your knees. Start by sitting on your knees and walking your hands behind your back.
Next, lift up your hips as you push your weight down to put tension on your hips and quads. Hold for at least 15 seconds and then walk your hands back a little more and repeat for another 15 seconds.
Next, you can hold a frog stance for around thirty seconds to put good tension on your hips. But if you want to go a little further, you can straighten your back and reach to each side. Hold each side for a count of five and repeat three times.
Then the last of these three hip stretches is a deep lunge on each side. Bring one foot forward along with both hands.
Put your hands on the mat and drive your knee forward for 15-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Muay Thai stretches for shoulders
Stiff shoulders can be a big problem for some Muay Thai practitioners. That’s why you should do a few different shoulder stretches to keep your shoulders loose during training.
The first stretches that you should do for your shoulders are arm hugs. Lay on your back, grab above your elbow, and pull it across your body. Hold each arm for 15-30 seconds.
Behind your back hugs
Along with arm hugs in front of your body, you’re also going to hug your arm behind your back. Reach one hand behind your back and cup your other elbow.
Next, pull your arm down towards your middle back and hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat the stretch on your other arm.
Right Angle Pushes
Right angle pushes are where you lay on the mat, and push your arm down and keep it at 90 degrees. Turn towards the arm you’re stretching and have your elbow on the mat with your arm facing up.
Hold tension on your arm as you push it to the mat with your other hand. Hold the stretch for at least 15 seconds on each side.
Standing kick swings
One of the best Muay Thai stretches that you can do are standing kick swings. These get your legs warmed up before class, while increasing your flexibility, and help you kick higher.
Axe kick swings
Axe kick swings mimic the movement of an axe kick, but you rotate your hips more for the stretch. Do at least 30 seconds on each side before moving to the next stretch.
Sidekick swings are performed as you place your hands outward and swing your leg out like a sidekick. Great for activating your hips and groin.
Back kick swings
Back kick swings are very similar to the sidekick swings, but you throw your leg straight back instead of sideways.
Knee extensions are just like you’re throwing straight knee strikes, but you’re putting force behind them. Instead, you’re just extending your knee to stretch out your glutes, hips, and groin.
Along with knee extensions, you can also do knee rotations that mimic diagonal knee strikes. Rotate your knees clockwise and counterclockwise to stretch out your hips and glutes.
Roundhouse swings are where you put your hands on the wall and swing your legs back and forth. Keep your leg straight and do both sides for 30 seconds or 10 reps.
Partner kicking stretches
If you have a training partner handy, you can help each other do some killer kicking stretches. They’re going to help you by holding your leg up while you’re in a kicking position.
Doing these partner stretches will help stretch on the important muscles for kicking and help you kick higher. It can also help you kick higher on your roundhouse, front kick, and sidekick.
Put your leg on your partner’s shoulder
You start this stretch by putting your leg on your partner’s shoulder. You can keep your hand on the wall if you need help keeping balance when doing this stretch.
Beginner, intermediate, and advanced kicking stretching
For those that aren’t that flexible just yet, you can have your partner sit in a lunge. This will mimic a leg kick.
The intermediate version of this stretch is when your partner goes a little higher into a half squat. This will look a little similar like, you’re delivering a body kick.
Then the advanced kicking stretch is when your partner is standing straight up holding your leg on their shoulder. It will look just like you’re delivering a head kick.
Post training Muay Thai stretch routine
Probably the most important time to stretch is post training. Making post training Muay Thai stretches a priority will open up your hips, loosen your hamstrings, and improve your flexibility.
Hands to the sky going side to side
First start with stretching out your shoulders, back, and hips. Stretch your hands above his hand, connect them, hold the stretch straight up and side to side. Hold each side for at least 15 seconds before switching.
Touch the floor
For the second stretch of this routine, we’re going to slightly bend our knees, and touch the floor. Hold here for around ten seconds before walking into the next Muay Thai stretch.
In the third group of stretches, spread out your legs to semi splits, and stay on the balls of your feet. Hold at the center, left, and right for 15-20 seconds each.
Step your foot forward into a lunge position and flatten your leg on the floor. Then put your inside elbow on the outside of your lead leg to stretch your lower back and outer hip. Hold each side for at least 10 seconds.
Lay on your leg
Then one of the last stretches that you can do to end your routine is laying on your leg. Fold your front leg and make it perpendicular with your hip.
Next, drop your chest to your foot to stretch out your hip and glute. Repeat on each side for at least 15 seconds.
Make your own routine of Muay Thai stretches
Muay Thai stretches are just as important as the training you do every day. Take all of the different stretches that we detailed in this write up and make your own routine. You will not only see significant increases to your flexibility but also less injuries from tight muscles and tendons.
A martial artist and former coach for two decades from Houston, Texas. Specializing in the disciplines of kickboxing, karate, MMA, and Jiu Jitsu.