Boxing or Muay Thai – Which sport is best for you?

Boxing or Muay Thai – Which sport is best for you?

Taking part in a combat sport is a fantastic way to develop your fitness game and get your body in tip-top shape. The training methods and techniques you’ll practice are also used by some of the fittest men and women on the planet – there’s a good reason why they’re effective.

Most people will know some of the great benefits associated with boxing training, but some may not have the same knowledge when it comes to Muay Thai. This combat sport is rapidly on the rise in gyms and specialist fitness studios across Singapore with a reputation for getting you fit, strong and confident.

With boxing and Muay Thai both highly effective and fun ways to work on your fitness, I’m sure you’re wondering – which one is for you?

The Sports – What is Muay Thai?

Firstly, Muay Thai is a form of kickboxing. It’s known as the “Art of the Eight Limbs” because the sport uses an eight-point striking system – punches, kicks, elbows and knees – totalling to eight points of contact. Compare this to boxing which uses just two points of contact – the two fists.

Although kickboxing is the umbrella term for combat sports that use both kicks and punches, Muay Thai is a distinct style. Traditional kickboxing styles, such as American, use a four-point striking system that doesn’t allow elbow and knee strikes, unlike Muay Thai which also allows a full clinch between fighters. Any clinches in boxing are generally broken up quickly.

So now you understand the terms, which workout is best for you?

How does a boxing workout shape up to Kickboxing?

For beginners, a skill-focussed boxing session is going to be more upper body focussed. You’ll be hitting the pads and bags, working your shoulders, back, arms and core. Once your technique advances, you’ll be using your legs more and more to duck incoming shots and to transfer power from lower to upper body – your legs will become the bedrock for your strength and style. In a boxing conditioning session, you’ll be doing plenty of leg-focused work – try our Bullet Boxing or Fighter Fit class and tell us we’re wrong!

Muay thai on the other hand will blast your full body from the first session. You’ll be punching and kicking, moving some of the body’s largest muscles, which means burning extra calories. Every time you kick you’ll be spending a good amount of time on one standing leg, which will work to stabilise the body. You can almost feel the calories burning already!

As a VANDA member, the free MyZone you’ll receive in your ToolKit will track your body’s performance to let you know exactly how hard you’re working.

Boxing vs Muay Thai – which muscles are worked?

During a boxing workout the main muscles you’ll use are:

  • Deltoids (shoulders) and rotator cuffs
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Latissimus dorsi (back)
  • Core, abs and obliques

Every time you throw a punch you’ll be using your shoulder and arm muscles, plus your core to twist into it. You’ll also be using the leg muscles in your back (latissimus dorsi) to pull your arm and body back into position. Over the course of a workout, this is a lot of upper body pushing and pulling.

Once you progress your technique your leg muscles will become more involved in your punching power and technique. You’ll learn that to throw an effective punch, and to dodge incoming shots, requires technique and coordination, rather than big muscles.

With Muay Thai, you’ll be using all of the muscles above, plus key leg muscles including:

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Gluteus maximus

The lower half contains some of the biggest muscles in your body, including the biggest of all, your gluteus maximus – more commonly known as your glutes. If you want a great backside, then Muay Thai is the one for you! Working bigger muscles means expending more energy, which will help you to keep trim and toned.

All this time twisting into the kicks and on one leg means you’ll be working the smaller muscles in your hips plus your deep core and oblique muscles. You’ll be constantly tensing your abs in the same way you would when holding a plank. Although you’ll work these muscles when boxing, muay thai hits them with an even greater intensity.

Let’s be clear, there’s no ‘easy’ option between Muay Thai and boxing.

For beginners, boxing may provide a simpler option to start. You’ll still have to think about your legs, footwork and coordination but in a different way than you would with Muay Thai.

With high quality coaches putting you through your paces, you’ll be learning new skills whilst improving your fitness with both sports, it’s just a case of whether you want to kick something as well!

Remember if you’re a VANDA member, all of our classes are free – download our weekly class schedule to plan your next class!

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