How to improve knockout power in Muay Thai

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There is one way to victory in pretty much all combat sports that is cherished above all others and that’s the dreaded Knock Out or KO! This is one of, if not the most dominant way to show your talents in Muay Thai. It takes the judges out of the equation and make sure you don’t fight longer than you need to. Additionally, it’s a great way to shock and awe a crowd. 

That’s all well and good, but to knock out your opponent, you need to have the power to do it. Whether it’s a punch, a kick, a knee or an elbow, there are a lot of factors contributing to knockout power.

From technique, your physicality, and many more: it can be overwhelming to try to figure out how to improve knockout power. This is why we’re going to look into the science and reasoning behind improving knockout power.

From there we are going to break it down and see how you can improve your knockout power for Muay Thai! 

The Science Behind Knockout Power

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Knockout power is a pretty strange thing to measure. Some guys don’t look too powerful that can take you out with one shot. On the other hand, some people look monstrous and don’t get that many knockouts. 

This just goes to show that what a lot of people like to call “God-given power” is real. That makes it difficult to quantify just what makes up knock out power. However, there are a few things that we can measure that are known to increase power in a person’s strikes.  

The first and most obvious one is overall body mass or weight. The heavier a person is, the higher chance they have of knocking someone out. This is why pretty much all heavyweights can knock each other out if they land a good shot.

This is not the same with lighter weight classes. That’s not to say that there aren’t lighter fighters with knockout power (check out the heavy punching Muay Mat fighters). However, we do tend to see lighter fighters both give and take heavy shots from one another without getting knocked out a lot more. 

Aside from just weight, strength is also a good indicator of overall power. Strength is the foundation from which all other aspects of athleticism draws and power is no exception. The stronger an athlete is, the more potential they have to be powerful with their shots. 

Finally, strike placement has a lot to do with getting a knockout. This has less to do with overall power and more with accuracy but it is still important. Certain parts of the head are more likely to force the brain to shut down when hit.

These parts are the temple, the jawline and the chin. A shot that lands clean on this area are more likely to score a knock out than a shot that lands on other parts of the head. 

5 Ways To Increase Knockout Power For Muay Thai

With all the learning out of the way, let’s talk about how you can increase your KO power. Here are 5 ways to become the one punch (or kick) man:


Drillers make killers. Quality matters but volume of training will always count. Many Thai fighters develop iron shins and destructive kicks through nothing but kicking the heavy bags over and over. 

As Bruce said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times.”

Padwork and heavy bagwork improve cardio, balance, technique and condition the body to withstand high-impact. It’s the simple things that work the best so just keep drilling. 50 kicks? Too little. Up the ante and go 100 instead. 

Gain Weight

This is the easiest and most straightforward way to get more power. Like I mentioned earlier, the heavier you are, the more potential power you have. Granted this is all assuming that you still stay in shape and not just get fat. 

While this is the easiest way to gain some power, it’s not the most practical. Because Muay Thai is a weight class sport, gaining weight might make it too hard for you to reach your desired weight class.

Also, if you cut weight for fights; you might end up losing all the weight you put on. This means that the only thing that you gained is a harder weight cut instead of more power. 

If you know how to balance weight gain with your weight cut, or if you are fine moving up in weight, then this is a solid way to build some power. 

Building Strength

Now to some people building size and building strength are the same thing. While these two things are generally connected, it is possible to build strength without gaining much if any size.

There are a few ways to do this. The main way is to do heavy compound lifts (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift) with 5 or fewer reps per set for 5 sets. This way you can maximize your strength gain while minimizing weight gain. 

You can also do some light cardio after your weight training to help lower hypertrophy, aka the process in your body that builds muscle. Building strength through bodyweight exercises is also a great way to maximize strength while minimizing weight.

This is more complicated than using weights but the trade-off is that managing weight gain with calisthenics is much easier.

Increase Explosiveness

Explosiveness can be defined as how fast you can access as much of your strength as possible. This means that if you become more explosive, you can put more strength in your strikes faster. This means that explosiveness overall is an important part of knockout power. 

Increasing explosiveness, like strength, can be done through weight training. You will need to use different equipment and exercises though. Things like kettlebell swings and medicine ball throws done at low reps with maximum speed for each rep will develop explosiveness.

You want to keep the reps low as you want to focus on that 0 to 100 and too many reps will shift the focus to endurance. You also want to keep the weight relatively low. 

Be More Accurate

The last thing that you can do to increase the chances of you getting a KO isn’t even about increasing your power.

If you can become more accurate and land your shots on those previously mentioned more sensitive areas of the skull, you won’t even need to worry too much about your power. These areas, if hit with a solid enough shot, will rock your opponent, if not knock them down or even completely out. 

This means that you need to target and focus your knockout strikes on them if you want to maximize your chances of finishing the fight. Training with focus mitts is a great way to sharpen your accuracy and develop that one-punch KO ability. 

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