When training in a martial art, regardless of what style you practice, it is always beneficial to have a partner to drill with. It is without a doubt the best way to improve. Drilling with another person simulates real combat and gives you the ability to improve all the skills incorporated in your art. In muay Thai for example, working with a partner allows you to practice timing, distance, proper cadence, and accuracy, to name a few.
Unfortunately, we are not always able to make it to the gym to train with our classmates. But don’t worry, because there are also numerous benefits to be had by occasionally training by yourself. I find that when I spend a session on the bag, I discover new combinations that really work for me or I can focus on fixing a minor mistake I am making in my kick. While training with partners is beneficial, training by yourself should not be overlooked by any martial artist.
This article will give you a workout to help burn some calories and practice some of the above-mentioned skills. All you need is some space, a heavy bag, a jump rope, and some good music to keep you motivated.
Part 1: Warm Up
- Mobility and stretching – 10 min
- Jump rope – 2 rounds (6 minutes total work)
- Shadow box – 3 rounds (9 minutes total work)
When shadow boxing, don’t be lazy. It’s easy to slip into bad habits when shadow boxing by yourself. Do not let that happen. When you shadow box, imagine you have an opponent right in front of you. Work at 70% speed for the entire three rounds. Use proper head and body movement, stay on the balls of your feet, focus on your footwork, work your defense, and always come back to a good, strong stance after your strikes.
Another good thing to do when shadow boxing is to focus on specific movements during each round. For example:
- Round 1: Footwork with the occasional strike. Move around like crazy and only stop for a split second to strike. The great Mohammed Ali said it best, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
- Round 2: Practice checking, knees, and teeps (push kicks). During this round still focus on footwork, but start to strike with your lower body. All the movements should be crisp and sharp. Don’t hesitate on getting back to your stance after you strike.
- Round 3: Put it all together. In this round combine all of your skills. Work your defense, footwork, punches, kicks, knees, and elbows.
Part 2: Heavy Bag Work
1. 50 push kicks
Alternate right and left kicks. Work with the swing of the bag during this drill. As the bag swing towards you, stop it with your push kick. Also, make sure you use your footwork to develop your reaction time. Don’t just stand in front of the bag waiting for it. Move from side to side and circle the bag.
2. 50 roundhouse kicks per leg
Complete all kicks on one side before switching to the other leg. During this drill, practice kicking to the leg, body, and head. Focus on maximizing rotation, speed, power, and retraction.
3. 5 rounds freestyle
Feel free to mix it up during this portion of the training session. Use all of your weapons, footwork patterns, defensive techniques, and feints. Just remember to keep it simple when you work the bag. Don’t get caught up throwing fifteen-hit combinations. You will get the best bang for your buck sticking with simple strikes and movement patterns. Remember that what you practice on the bag will be what happens when you spar. Practice doesn’t make perfect – it makes habit.
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