Why Are Muay Thai Fighters So Tough?

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Muay Thai is one of, if not the most, brutal and devastating martial arts in the world. So it follows that Nak Muays are some of the toughest and most badass fighters there are.

Both are completely accurate statements.

If you’ve ever watched a Muay Thai match, whether live or on TV, it would be easy to confirm this. 

You’ll see both fighters striking one another alternately or simultaneously. They’ll fight toe-to-toe and pound each other with kicks, elbows, knees, and punches. They also get sweep and thrown to the canvas.

The fighters will get cut and bloodied, knocked down, or even knocked out. But they’ll battle on in search of victory. 

And they do this match after match. 

Ever wondered where they get their “Iron-Man” life toughness? Their willingness to receive a torrent of punishment only to dish even more in return?

Simply put – Why are Muay Thai fighters so tough?

Reasons Behind Muay Thai Fighters Toughness

how muay thai changes your body
Young fighters at Petchrungruang Gym (Thailand)

Let’s check out the possible reasons why this is an absolute truth in the sport of Muay Thai.

1. Muay Thai Fighters Start Young

Muay Thai fighters start young. In the case of a lot of fighters from Thailand, they start VERY young. 

Just how young? Try 5 or 6 years old. Yes, a lot of Thai fighters start training at that age and some will likely have their first fight at 7 or 8 years old.

Imagine their young bodies getting used to the hard training very early on. And as they grow older, the training becomes more intense, and their toughness levels up as well.

The truth is that fighters tend to come from very humble backgrounds and it’s the same case in Thailand. Some of them have had a very rough upbringing and Muay Thai offered them a chance out of poverty.

Training and eventually fighting, was their way out. They carried their difficult life experiences with them and it made them tougher in and out of the ring.

Basically, Thai fighters learn how to fight for food and survival from an early age. If that doesn’t grant them with lifelong toughness, then nothing else will.

Outside of Thailand, there are more and more practitioners taking up the sport at a young age too. Some go on to become professional fighters with over a hundred fights to their name.

2. The Comprehensive and Intense Training

The sheer comprehensiveness of the training regimen in Muay Thai is another major reason for the toughness of Muay Thai fighters. 

It covers every aspect of the art of 8 limbs and makes sure every fighter is ready for war. By the time the fighter steps into the ring, every weapon is sharpened to a razor blade-like readiness.

The intensity of the training is also taken up a notch. All combat sports have tough and intense training routines but Muay Thai takes it to another level.

Training sessions can last anywhere from two to three hours a day. And in Thailand, the training is typically done twice a day – once in the morning and another in the afternoon. 6 days a week.

The day starts with roadwork, which would be between 3 and 5 miles. This wouldn’t be restricted to straight-up running as it would be paired with related activities such as wind sprints.

After the roadwork comes a couple of cardio-related workouts – skipping rope and shadowboxing. Skipping rope is a great warm-up and cardio while shadow boxing has the added benefit of refining technique.

Then comes intense sessions on the pads and the heavy bag. Clinch work and sparring are also likely to be a part of the training, particularly if you’re training for a fight.

Do this continuously for weeks and you’re bound to be in phenomenal shape and feel tougher than ever!

3. Conditioning is Second to None

Similar to the entire training regimen, the conditioning drills in Muay Thai are second to none.

Let’s take the core conditioning drills, for example. Your entire core needs to be rock hard in order to take all of the incoming punishment during a fight. Not just the punches, but the possible kicks and knees to the midsection as well.

The core conditioning workouts are comprehensive but can seem brutal to some. From crunches, sit-ups, leg raises, to Russian twists, you name it and it’s likely included.

Another great example is the way Muay Thai fighters condition their shins. To achieve the steel-hard shins required for fighters, it needs to be hardened through repeated strikes on dense surfaces. 

This is done by practicing the roundhouse on Thai pads and heavy bags. Striking other hard surfaces is not recommended as it could result in injury. The pads and heavy bags should suffice.

4. The Intense Heat While Training is a Factor

Again, this is applicable to Thailand and any other place where Nak Muays train that is literally like an oven.

Westerners who are on their first trip to train in Thailand are shocked at just how hot it is there. They might have heard about it before they came over to train. But nothing can prepare them for the heat than actually experiencing it first-hand.

Even more shocking is that they are expected to train in that heat for two or more hours daily just like the Thais do.

Research has shown that it’s beneficial to train in hotter climates. A few weeks of training in such conditions can get you in shape for a fight. Especially if the match is going to be held in a place with a cooler climate.

So training in Thailand or anywhere else that has a similar climate seems to be a great idea. At least for a Muay Thai fighter or anyone who’s preparing for a fight. It can help toughen you up even more.


These are just some of the reasons why Muay Thai fighters are so tough. There are other factors that play a role in why they become the fearsome warriors that combat sports fans and other martial arts have come to admire.

The reality is that anyone who decides to train the art and step inside a ring is a certified tough badass. They deserve respect, admiration…and serve as our inspiration to be the toughest version of ourselves!

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