For every Muay Thai fighter, strong shins could mean the difference between possessing a powerful kick and knocking your opponent down or being knocked down yourself. Strong shins also equate to a better chance for a fighter to withstand kicks thrown at them. We now know that a strong shin is very important for every fighter. But what exactly does it means to condition our shins? How do we do so? In today's blog post, we will be debunking some myths about shin conditioning so that you can condition and train your shins the right way.
Myth 1 : Shin Conditioning is done by kicking the banana tree
Reality 1: Shin Conditioning can be done by kicking the heavy bag
While this is not so much of a myth and is actually practised by Thai fighters such as Buakaw to condition their shins, their shins are strong enough to kick and come off unscathed due to their years of training. So please do not see it as a good way for beginners to condition their shins. You will come off more hurt than strong. The most effective conditioning tool for our shin is that we use every lesson in the gym. The heavy bag! A heavy bag is an effective tool for fighters to train their shins because it is heavy enough to simulate you kicking an opponent. Still, it also offers sufficient flexibility that scatters your kick's momentum and impact so that you do not injure yourself. One thing to note, though, when kicking the bag, always use your shin's inner and outer muscles rather than the bone. This is because the muscles in your lower leg are much more pliable, whereas the tibia and fibula, like bones, are a lot more likely to suffer severe damage as a break. Proper form should also be maintained when engaging in heavy bag work. This means standing with your body square to the bag and using both your off-arm and torso to generate extra power.
Myth 2: Rolling a rolling pin up and down your shins.
There are a couple of ways we've heard of rolling pins being used; the first is rolling a rolling pin up and down your shin to 'deaden the nerves to make you able to take more pain. The second is like a bat, knocking it against your shins repeatedly. Or having a sadistic training partner do it because, realistically, it'll hurt too much to do it to yourself—all in all, good way to get bruises, not so great way to harden your shins.
Reality 2: Running
Most training often includes a run of 2 to 10 kilometres before a training session to build the endurance the fighter needs in the ring. Endurance is one of the essential qualities a Muay Thai fighter must have in his arsenal. It determines their ability to last all 5 rounds during a fight. While that is the main purpose of the run, running has also been known to increase bone density. This is because the vibrations from the constant pounding on the road, coupled with gravity, put bones under strain and force the body to overcompensate. This led to the shin being denser, and a denser shin is a stronger shin.
Myth 3: The best way to condition our shin is to do it repetitively
Some people believe that the best way to condition our shin is to kick an heavy bag repeatedly in a short period of time. They recommend aspiring fighters kick the heavy bag 500 to 1000 times in a single session, believing that that will strengthen the shin and desensitize their shins, allowing them to withstand pain.
Reality 3: Time is the key
While the above statement does have an element of truth, the keyword is time. Kicking bags in excess would only hurt and injure your bones more than strengthening them. It takes time. Basically, what you're doing is microscopically breaking down the bone throughout your training, and then when it heals, it heals stronger than before. This isn't a quick process, and there aren't any shortcuts to get there. Just like the whole process of learning a martial art, you need to put in the reps, put in the time, and the results will come.
Speaking about conditioning, in the sport of Muay Thai, one does not only have to condition their shin to take hits and deliver hits but also condition our body to have the stamina, endurance and mental fortitude to be a well-rounded athlete. The Jungle strongly believes in that and wants to help YOU be a better fighter physically and mentally through our High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which promises to be fun and exciting and ultimately assists you in becoming a better fighter! So do not miss out on the chance to "level up"!