Stretching before and after a Muay Thai session is vital. It’s important to stretch in any walk of life, especially if you’re taking part in a martial art. Muay Thai stretches incorporate normal stretches that you might have even done before in another sport or if you’ve ever done yoga or pilates.
Making sure your muscles are warmed up before training will enable you to perform to a higher level. If you repeat these stretches for Muay Thai every day, you’ll soon see that you’ll be able to kick higher and have better mobility.
We’re going to break down the best Muay Thai stretches for each muscle group that you can then practice. There are instruction videos and images so you can follow along with how to perform these correctly.
- 1 Hamstrings
- 2 Hip
- 3 Upper Body & Core
- 4 Muay Thai Stretches FAQs
There are many hamstrings stretches that you can do in your Muay Thai warm-up stretches, here are our favorites.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
This stretch is one that you’ve probably done before. As seen in the image below, you keep your feet together, legs straight, and then reach as far as you can to the floor with your fingers.
If you can touch the floor with the palms of your hands even better! Every day that you practice this stretch you’ll become better at it. Some people reach for the back of their ankles and hold them with the palm of their hand to deepen this stretch.
The wide-legged hamstring stretch can be done in two ways, with a focus on both legs or a focus on one. Open your legs more than shoulder-width apart and make sure your legs are straight.
Then, whilst keeping a straight back, bend down towards the ground and only push it as far as your body can go. This is also a great hip adductor stretch which is why it’s so important to incorporate it into your routine.
To focus on one leg you should move your hands and body towards one of your feet, holding the stretch for at least 30 seconds. You should then repeat this for the other leg.
We’ve included images below so you can see some examples.
Floor Hamstring Stretch
A similar hamstring stretch can also be done on the floor and at most Muay Thai gyms you’ll do both in your warm-up stretching session.
This one requires you to sit on the floor with your legs together stretched out in front of you, toes pointing to the sky.
To feel the stretch, grab your feet whilst keeping your legs straight and bend forward as much as your body allows you to.
There’s an image of this stretch below.
One way to improve your Muay Thai kicks is by making sure you’re stretching your hip muscles. These stretches will help you to kick higher and harder. We’re going to break it down into stretches for your hip flexors and hip adductors.
Having tight hip flexors can be detrimental for Muay Thai. They are a group of muscles that help you to move your lower body which is important for kicking and knee strikes in Muay Thai. Here are some stretches that you can do to loosen up this set of muscles.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
We prefer the kneeling hip flexor stretch to the standing version as it allows you to get a deeper stretch. You’ll need an exercise mat or something soft to put your weight on, otherwise, your knees will get sore.
To do this stretch, kneel with one leg behind your hips and place the other one in front with your foot firmly on the ground. Place your hands on your front knee and hold this position for 30 seconds.
To get a deeper stretch, you can lengthen your back and front legs, but make sure that your core remains strong and your foot flat for balance.
After 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat the same method.
The butterfly stretch is another important Muay Thai stretch that you should be doing. This stretch is great for your hips as well as your thighs and groin too.
On the floor, sit with your feet tucked into the middle of your body with the soles of your feet pressed together. You should hold your ankles with your hands and rest your elbows on top of your legs to keep them as flat as possible. As with the other stretches, we recommend you hold this for at least 30 seconds.
Commonly known as the bridge, this stretch is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. This is used as a stretch for the glutes but you can focus it on your hips by doing the following:
Lay on your back with your legs shoulder-width apart and your feet on the ground just below your bottom. You should then lift your lower body and push your hips to the sky as much as possible.
To put a focus on your hips you should raise one leg after pushing off the ground, keeping the other foot on the floor for balance.
Kneeling Face Down Stretch (Frog Pose)
This kneeling face-down stretch which is also known as the frog pose is great for your hip adductors. Its purpose is to open up your hips.
To do this stretch kneel face down with your legs straight behind your knees. You need to support your body’s weight with your elbows and hold your hands together.
You should slowly open your legs as far as they can stretch and then hold this for 30 seconds to a minute.
If you’re confused about the position just think that you need to be in the shape of a frog, hence why it’s named the ‘frog pose’.
Wide knees squat stretch
You should start this stretch by standing with your knees wide apart and making sure your feet are pointing diagonally. Then, squat down with your knees and place either hand on the same knee to hold your weight. Lean into the stretch and hold this for 30 seconds.
Upper Body & Core
Whilst it’s good to focus on your lower body, you shouldn’t forget about stretching the muscles in your upper body.
Cross Arm Shoulder Stretch
Place one arm straight across your body and lock the elbow in place with the other arm as seen in the image below. Hold that for 30 seconds and then do the same with the other arm.
As well as stretching your shoulders it also stretches your bicep. It’s a common stretch in a lot of sports so we’re sure you’ve seen it before.
Lower shoulder and tricep stretch
To start with this lower shoulder and tricep stretch reach for the sky, like Woody in Toy Story. Then, bend your elbow and place the palm of your hand on your back. Grab the bent elbow with your other arm and hold it there.
To increase the stretch, you can pull the elbow behind the head but make sure you don’t overstretch as you could damage your shoulder muscles.
Here’s a video demonstration for your benefit.
Muay Thai Stretches FAQs
Is stretching important for Muay Thai?
Yes, stretching is important for people that train Muay Thai. The more flexible you are the better range of movement you’ll have. You should do both a warm-up stretch after some light running or jumping rope and a post-workout stretch too.
How do I loosen my hips?
You can loosen your hips by regularly stretching both your hip flexors and adductors. Start with the kneeling hip flexor stretch, butterfly stretch, kneeling face down stretch, and wide knees squat stretch.
Once you see progress, you can then start adding more advanced splits stretches and other hip stretches.
How do you get flexible in Muay Thai?
Doing Muay Thai stretches every day is the best way to become more flexible with a focus on this martial art. Even if you don’t stretch every day, turning up for training at least three times a week will help you progress. But at a slower rate compared to if you did more.
Though, make sure you don’t overdo it and cause yourself an injury.
Do I need to be flexible to do Muay Thai?
You don’t need to be super flexible to do Muay Thai, but it will help if you are. When I started Muay Thai, I wasn’t the most flexible person in the class but it didn’t matter as I could still knee and kick but to my beginner level.
Others that had been training longer with better flexibility could kick higher and had a better range of movement. But, don’t let not being flexible stop you from starting, it’s a learning journey you’re on.
Should I stretch before or after Muay Thai?
Ideally, you’d stretch both before and after Muay Thai training. It’s best to do a light warm-up to get the blood flowing around your body, either by jogging or jumping rope.
After this is the best time to stretch your muscles before you get into pad and bag work, plus sparring.
I like to stretch after a session too, especially the muscles that I know take longer to recover. A post-workout stretch can help with recovery time and loosen your muscles after intense training.