How Do Muay Thai Fighters Train Their Shins?

Muay Thai originated in Thailand and is a combat sport focusing on an eight-limb striking system. The sport is often called “the art of eight limbs” and targets elbows, knees, fists, and shins. 

Every fighter who practices the sport can be attributed to iron-like shins and many years of conditioning. Strong shins can produce a powerful attack and also be a great defensive shield for withstanding kicks. 

In Muay Thai, conditioning of the shins is essential. Kicking a shin can be as painful as striking a baseball bat. But how do Muay Thai fighters train their shins? 

In this article, we will discuss the many ways that you can harden your shins with and without kickboxing gear. 

How Do Muay Thai Fighters Train Their Shins? 

Muay Thai Training Shins

In Muay Thai, powerful leg kicks are an ultimatum from every fighter’s arsenal and can decide the winner in many fights. But how do Muay Thai fighters train their shins to be so powerful? What is the secret? 

Muay Thai fighters implement a lot of hard work and consistency and train their shins by kicking a heavy bag, sparring with a partner, and giving them enough time to recover. Additionally, the shins can be hardened without Thai boxing gear

There are better ways to train the shinbones than punching coconuts and bamboo trees on an island. There is no secret recipe to it, either. It is all about conditioning. 

Sharpening the shins is not an overnight process. You must use proper techniques and build up power over time. Going too hard from the beginning will only get you bruises and more severe injuries

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Shin Conditioning for Muay Thai 

The human body is awesome; it can heal in such a way that it is more sustainable to pain than it was before. The harder your shins are, the more pain you can produce and withstand.   

Every time you practice kicking a bag, the shinbone develops microfractures. Afterward, the fractured bones are repaired and get much denser through a process that people in white lab coats call “ossification”. 

The new bone tissue created is stronger and much more powerful. If you implement the proper techniques, rest, and nutrition, the shins can basically condition themselves. 

The shins can also be hardened without kickboxing equipment. Weight training and running are great and often overlooked ways to strengthen them.  

How do Muay Thai fighters train their shins? Let’s discuss all the ways that boxers use to have strong shins! 

Kicking a heavy bag 

How Do Muay Thai Fighters Train Their Shins? 3How Do Muay Thai Fighters Train Their Shins? 4

Practicing kicks on a heavy bag is a staple of every combat sport. Bag work is a type of conditioning training used by all striking-based martial arts. By punching a heavy bag, you can develop more power in the legs, have more coordination, and become a much more balanced fighter. 

For shin kicks, a heavier bag is much preferable. You need the bag to exude the kicks and not absorb them. Kicking on regular bases can definitely help you make the shins tougher

You can implement spinning techniques in your workout to take things even further. Just make sure that you have the proper technique before you start to drill repeatedly.

Sparring and pad work 

Pad Work In Muay Thai

In Muay Thai and every combat sport, sparring equals success. Nothing gives you the similar taste of stepping into the cage, like sparring with a partner and doing some pad work

Practicing shin kicks with a fellow fighter can help you make your shins stronger and be very beneficial for the boxer’s speed, focus, and reaction. 

In contrast to the heavy bag, the pads are very soft. Therefore, this part of the training is where fighters go “all out” to improve their muscular and cardiovascular endurance while simultaneously working on their shin strength. 


For ossification to happen and make the shins more resistible, fighters must recover properly. In combat sports and martial arts, recovery is crucial for becoming a better and stronger fighter. 

The recovery process is actually where the bone and muscle density increases. An old saying goes like this: “abs are not made in the gym; they are made in the kitchen.”. The same goes for shin density. Sufficient rest is vital for quick recovery. 

Because Muay Thai is a high-impact sport where fighters get bumps and bruises at every corner, not resting enough can be a road that leads to a fatal injury. 

A healthy diet also increases bone density and makes the shins more resilient. 

How To Condition The Shins Without Kickboxing Gear?

Shin Conditioning In Muay Thai

Kicking a heavy bag or pad work are two essential things in Muay Thai training that can effectively toughen the shins and prevent the fighters from injury. But there are many different ways that you can effectively train the shins without any additional equipment, such as running, weight lifting, skipping rope, and foam rolling. 


Despite the fact that many people think running is a boxing trait, Muay Thai fighters often leave the gym and go for a run. The practitioners of the sport use running as a warm-up routine. Anything between three to six miles will do the trick. 

Running with low and moderate intensity can strengthen the shinbones, joints, and muscles and build the overall cardio endurance of the fighter. Alongside the shins, calves are also activated. 

A jog before Muay Thai training can: 

  • Strengthen the legs, bones, glutes, and core
  • Improve the overall stamina of the fighter
  • Embellish the discipline you need to step into a ring
  • Generate microfractures that harden the shinbones

In Thailand, the Muay Thai training culture implements running before the actual workout. But, in other parts of the world, jogging is often overlooked. 

Resistance Training 

Lifting weights can be crucial for shin conditioning. Most people believe that resistance training and practicing Muay Thai are two different worlds, but proper resistance training can help you increase bone density and prevent any injuries. 

When done properly, weight training can help any athlete in the world, especially compound movements that activate multiple muscle groups, like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. 

Adding a lot of pressure and doing lower body exercises can toughen the muscles, tendons, and shins. The microfractures from the stress can induce cortical remodeling, strengthen the shinbones, and prevent any injuries in the future. 

Jump Rope 

Jump Rope In Muay Thai

Muay Thai fighters with knee injuries often substitute running with skipping rope. Jumping rope is a simple exercise that can be done anywhere by anyone and brings many benefits to the body

Skipping rope can strengthen the calf muscles and train the shins. The movement is crucial for stability and footwork and prepares the fighters to move in many different rhythms depending on the opponent. Plus, just jumping rope can drastically increase stamina and endurance. 

Foam Roller 

Foam rolling is not a sign of weakness; just like resistance training, every athlete can benefit from it. Implementing a foam roller before or after your training session can harden your shinbones and stretch properly. 

The truth of the matter is this method is less effective than the ones we previously mentioned, but it can be done much more easily. 

What Are Shin Splints? 

Shin Splints In Muay Thai

How do Muay Thai fighters train their shins? How could you condition the shinbones for the demands of the sport? 

The truth is, you can not; pain will always be a part of the Muay Thai training process. Anyone who has ever tried this sport is aware of the subsequent bruising and pain that comes with it. 

A shin splint is an injury that occurs when the microfractures have not completely healed yet, so you feel pain in the legs anytime you try an activity like running, skipping rope, lifting weights, or simply kicking again. For that reason, we mentioned how important recovery is to upgrade your shinbones and toughen them. 

To have iron shinbones, you must be patient and let the shin splints heal before putting more pressure on them, causing even further damage. If you are not careful, microfractures can easily become macro fractures, and before you know it, you will have to skip training for multiple weeks.  

How to Treat Them? 

Shin splints can be treated with proper resting. However, some things can speed up the recovery process, such as: 

  • Adding cold compressions and ice packs on the shins
  • Applying tiger balms, gels, and hot towels
  • Foam rolling

If the pain is too severe, you can turn to antibiotics. Ibuprofen is the most common option. Keep in mind that using too much can harm the digestive system. 

You can rub CBD oil or cream on the inflamed area as a great alternative to conventional medicine. The effects from CBD come much slower than from antibiotics, but cannabidiol has more lasting effects without causing any side effects. 

Muay Thai Shin Training Final Ideas

How do Muay Thai fighters train their shins? Shin strength can be improved with heavy bag kicks, sparring, running, resistance, training, and proper recovery. The fighters will go a long way by having patience in strengthening their shinbones and training Muay Thai. 

Strong shins cannot be made overnight. The results will correlate with the intensity and frequency of your training.

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