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Thai Boxing Conditioning

With the thai boxing class I’m doing 2x week, I still feel like I’m dying in there. Not so much from the bag work in and of itself, but from the crazy high volume of bodyweight work with push ups and all kinds of ab work.

For 1.5 minutes, 2 people take turns on a bag. One holding the bag and the other working on the combo. After both go, it’s straight to just for example 20 pushups + 20 reps of some bodyweight ab exercise. Then it’s back to the bag and this goes on for about 30 minutes. The 1st 15 minutes of class are usually taken up with a warm up and shadow boxing combos or partner drills for timing.

Once someone has the endurance and the skill with the bag and drills, they move them to ‘tier 2’ which is mostly drills and working on combinations against each other, but rarely actual sparring with again the bodyweight work thrown in like above.

Does this sound effective and ideal?

Over the years of weightlifting, I’ve learned when my body is telling me it’s had enough. But because my body is geared more like a corvette than a tow truck, 1-2 reps short of failure look a lot like fresh reps so my instructor sees the rep and thinks I have a lot more in me when I don’t and I’m finding it isn’t good to push myself to failure on these exercises which is annoying because it gives the impression I’m not trying or giving up. The reality is that I find it all too easy to push myself into oblivion far beyond my capability to recover.

I made endurance gains really fast the first month, but the last 1.5 months my endurance gains have stalled greatly. Is there anything I can do to progress faster?
I also do 3 one hour sessions of BJJ and 2-3 short regular gym training sessions. The BJJ is mostly just skill work and rolling, but the rolling really doesn’t fatigue me too bad.

I had a boxing teacher like that. I lost 15 pounds.

But you have to ask yourself, is this class taking you towards your goals?

And don’t mistake diminishing returns for something going wrong. The better shape you get in, the harder you will have to work to make more progress. Accepting that difficulty is something competitors have to do. It’s why I’m just a hobbyist. I do my best, but don’t stress about it.

Or maybe you aren’t getting enough protein, carbs, or sleep to restore yourself. That you have to ask yourself, too.

My $.02: If your goal is competition and/or self defense, I am not a huge fan of fight classes that are too boxercise.

If I’m paying you to teach me to fight and I spend most of my time doing push ups, burpees and flutter kicks and never/rarely any sparring or at least intense live drilling, I think I would look elsewhere.

In order of priority I would rank innate aggression/survival mentality tops followed by technique then fitness/conditioning. However I think fight conditioning is best built by drilling and sparring.

On the other hand, if the goal is more fitness oriented, that’s completely different. So I guess it depends what you want to get out of it.

I am by no means an expert.

Your mileage may vary.

I have been wondering about the thai boxing. If nothing else, it feels really good to be able to throw hard hitting fast punches and I’ve already built up a mean thai roundhouse. But the BJJ seems really solid.

I think I’ll just ask the instructor about when medium to high intensity sparring is appropriate in his view.

The higher intensity sparring is what they call tier 3 and tier 4 and is offered at other locations.

I have talked to someone already and know the reason they do it is because they’re trying to include the fitness and skill work in one class because a lot of people just don’t have time or don’t want to make time to do separate cardio. Personally, I’d like to do the strength and conditioning on my own and just go in there to work on skill.

I do largely agree with Batman, but, to play Devil’s advocate, Cus D’Amato used to focus on fitness/conditioning for his fighters (including Tyson) first and foremost, believing (rightly so) that the better conditioned you were the better you could handle the stress of a fight. Think about how many times you’ve seen fights where it was clear that one fighter was actually the more skilled of the two, only to have the tables turn and that fighter winds up losing in the end due to not being in good enough shape (Mendes vs McGregor would be the most noteable recent example in MMA).

The stronger the conditioning base, the more technical volume can be built on that foundation as well. That doesn’t mean you have to build that base with exercises like push-ups and burpees and you can definitely build it via striking specific conditioning; just trying to attempt to explain why your coaches may have structured things the way they have. Also, “fair weather”/not serious fighters will generally balk at or attempt to skip conditioning work as it’s usually uncomfortable and not all that much “fun”, so focusing on it first and kind of making people “prove” their dedication prior to putting lots of time into their technical skills may also be part of their plan.

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I heard a story about Bulgarian weightlifters under coach Ivan the Terrible. Coach would watch every lift, and tell the lifters how much to add for the next lift. Ivan was super tough on the guys. They developed “Krutchka.” Basically, they would make their warm ups look like shit, intentionally, so coach wouldn’t make them lift so heavy.

Apparently, Coach Ivan watched from the side. The lifters would leave plates off of the far side he couldn’t see, to lift just a little less.