T Nation

Shin Hardening Techniques

Making the transition from insteps. Recently a friend of mine received a hairline fracture on his tibia in his efforts to do the same. So far I moved from wrap around guards to competition insteps (just a thin pad, like a thick sock) but am curious to know some ways to properly and safely do it.

Currently, I am running an old rolling pin over my shins daily in conjunction with lots of heavy bag work. I find that I get lots of pain on the underside of my shin if I apply pressure to it post training. I am sure this is normal as I remain diligent in my training and would like to hear some advice from the Muay Thai lads out in T-Nationland.

Its all about the journey even if it hurts like hell, makes the small victories sweeter.

Cheers fellas

In “A Fighter’s Heart” I think the author describes rolling a glass bottle up and down his shins with baby oil on it.

The honest truth is you should just kick a heavy bag about 1.5 million times. Throw kicks for a round, or whatever, then massage your shins and repeat. Thai’s doing do shit like rolling their shins. I trained with a 7x Muay Thai champion from Thailand and he told me to kick the bag only.

No, don’t roll a glass bottle up or down the shin. Always roll it away from the heart, so down. If you roll the bottle up and down, it will cause “bumps” and will make your shin bone weak and brittle.

Also, bone hardening takes years, not months and if you feel any pain, you are supposed to stop.

Bone hardening is forcing the body to create more osteoblasts on the top of the bone and thus thickening it.

A better way to harden shin bone is to grab a bag of sand (50 pounds), and have it hanging from a rack and just kick it with the middle of your shin. You do this a few hundred times a week.

yup, just keep on keeping on with bag kicking.

[quote]danew wrote:
The honest truth is you should just kick a heavy bag about 1.5 million times. Throw kicks for a round, or whatever, then massage your shins and repeat. Thai’s doing do shit like rolling their shins. I trained with a 7x Muay Thai champion from Thailand and he told me to kick the bag only. [/quote]
QFT.

500 times a side per day on the bag. Rolling your shins won’t build up bone density.

No rolling at all…just heavy bag.

^ Genki Sudo is the man :slight_smile:

Just kick a firm thai bag dude. Kick lightly at first and work your way up to it. This has worked for me and i’ve noticed a huge improvement in pain tolerance the last 6 months.

I asked my coach this, he supported my initial idea but gave me a way to break into it…

he said either buy an empty bag or get a canvas bag from an army surplus store. You can either hang it or lean it against something big and stable (Solid wall works).

He said have some ripped up cloth in there and mix sawdust with 1-2 cups of sand NOT MUCH.

Kick. A lot. 1000x a day if possible.

add more sand every month.

my shins are already conditioned, so he started me off on a bag he had that was mostly sand already and after about a month (basically last time this was brought up) I can kick that bag as hard as possible without any ill. And I only kick that bag MAYBE 500x a week.

I’ve gottened smacked on the shins pretty fucking hard and haven’t had any problems so i have to vouch for it’s legitimacy.

I just got a canvas bag, some sawdust and sand, and I’m making my own floor bag to lowkick.

You get two fold benefit… improved technique refinement and hardened shins

So what do people with lives do instead of kicking a bag 1000x a day?

kick it as often as their training time allows and progress accordingly?

[quote]Quinnthology wrote:
So what do people with lives do instead of kicking a bag 1000x a day?[/quote]

I don’t have a bag to kick, unfortunately.I do, though, have a standing padded makiwara I use for about 20 minutes a day, spend two hours a day in the gym, make constant progress with conditioning.

After that, I only have time to work 40 hours a week, drive 90 miles to hang out with friends, and play chess and pool at a semi-competitive local level.

I’m awake for 16 hours a day an I hate to be bored.

[quote]Quinnthology wrote:
So what do people with lives do instead of kicking a bag 1000x a day?[/quote]

Not train to be fighters.

Some do, some watch.

[quote]Quinnthology wrote:
So what do people with lives do instead of kicking a bag 1000x a day?[/quote]

You only need to do that on your non-training days, IMO. If you’re kicking the pads and sparring while training, you don’t need to add a lot of bag work. But the idea is to work your way up to 500x on a side. Once you’re there, your shins are probably good and your bones are hard.

[quote]Quinnthology wrote:
So what do people with lives do instead of kicking a bag 1000x a day?[/quote]

Go to the hospital to get their leg set and put in a cast after an unhealed stress fracture gives way.

More important then just kicking, kicking and more kicking for some weeks is, of course, consistency over the years. And I should add that it shouldn’t be mindless shin bashing, else your technique will go down the drain. So don’t do your kicks like a set of pushups or situps, but play with rythm, speed, combinations etc as usual.
You can do isolation lifts like a zombie, but technique should be trained as realistic as possible for the most time.

Bonus question:
Has anyone ever heard of this bizarre thai fighter toughening drill? I heard it from a training buddy years ago:
Apparently, to strenghten the chin, the muay thai fighter chews a gum, while the trainer whacks him (with thick gloves, of course) playfully left and right on the chewing muscle for half an hour. Doing this should help you develop more meat around the masseter.
Don’t know if it’s true or bollox, to me it souns really weird and stupid.
Fo a pro it might have slight benefits while for the weekend fighter it’s more like a waste of time combined with an extra session of jolly brain shaking.

You guys really need to put the training methods of the Thais in perspective. They aren’t training for longevity. They are training to escape grinding poverty. If a fighter is crippled at the old age of thirty it is a small price to pay if he is able to buy a farm with his winnings.

Things like bone conditioning are hardcore techniques that you pay a price for. If you plan on having a short life then it doesn’t matter.

You guys really need to study the history of martial arts and get some perspective. It might be super hardcore to do body modifications but they may not be neccessary like they were a couple hundred years ago, for the people who came up with them. You might also be living much longer than the person who came up with them and suffer a lifetime of problems the old timers never had to worry about…

The body is not a machine that you can beat on every day and demand it to respond with daily progress. The body doesn’t grow while it is being worked, it grows while it is recuperating.

Gentlemen thank you for your comments, much appreciated. Sifu you make a great point and I share your sentiment.

My goal is not to be hardcore, nor be able to kick the shit out of someone on a whim, but simply because I love Muay Thai. Training and conditioning are the best parts of my day, challenging and dedicating myself to a particular lifestyle. I am excited to take it to competition: those that challenge us (in this case our opponents) are the best teachers.

Its all about the art and excellence is never easy to attain, hence the quote in the beginning of this post. I think we can all take something from Sifu’s statement.

Cheers

If you aren’t looking to go to war with it I would suggest a rolling method. That will build a callous on the bone. Start near the end of the bone and move towards the center. That way you don’t push bone chips into the joint.

Use that along with the heavy bag work to stress the bone. There is also some partner training you can do.

Another thing to take into account is individual anatomy. Some people have nerves that are buried while others are sitting right on the edge of the bone. If you have exposed nerves it’s not going to be easy getting the nerve off of the bone.

We always used to kick a tire that we lag-bolted to a post, tree or wall. When you kick it hard enough, it bends but if you don’t kick it hard enough, it doesn’t give and actually hurts more.

It helps deaden the nerves and strengthen the bone…plus it’s just a neouro-psychological process of knowing exactly when to be prepared for pain and what kind it will be.

We even had a Makiwara that we kicked full power instead of punching and it took a while to get up to being able to do that.

Lastly, I’ll say that with all of the work that needs to go into attaining fairly reasonable goals in this area, it is all lost pretty damn quick if you don’t keep things going with the deadening techniques. For me it was a couple weeks and alot of feeling already had come back.

Now adays, I’m just used to how much it hurts…