Wondering If I Can Teach Myself Muay Thai at Home Correctly?

Professional Muay Thai fighter avoids a high kick.

If you are on a tight budget or simply do not like the idea of going to your local Muay Thai club. You may be wondering if it is possible to teach yourself Muay Thai in your own home?

The short answer is yes, you can go so far with training yourself, but you will eventually hit a brick wall. While training to a certain level is possible, overall it is recommended that you do join a Muay Thai gym at some point.

Muay Thai is one of the most intense combat sports on the planet, with children starting fighting in the homeland of the sport, Thailand, as young as 8 years old. Many Muay Thai fighters will have anywhere up to 150 fights by their early twenties. And for the most part, are considered a spent force before they hit thirty.

You can teach yourself anything at home, not just Muay Thai. But what you cannot teach yourself is facing an opponent. For this, you need to be put in what might be some uncomfortable situations, where there is another human being seeking to do their best against you.

Now it has to be said this does not necessarily mean getting beat up, far from it. The stories of gyms where their students take a constant pummelling are things of legend.

Of course, those types of gyms do exist, but quality Muay Thai clubs will not treat their students in that way, especially if they want them to come back. And only if you the student want to up the intensity. So in all honesty, the level at which you train is really all up to you.

What are the Differences Between Muay Thai and Thai boxing

I have trained and competed in Thai boxing specifically. Thai boxing is a denomination of Muay Thai which has been westernised or made more accessible for the average athlete.

While we trained in Thai standup techniques, parrying low kicks with our shins. Using front kicks or teep kicks, which is when we use the ball of the toes to push or strike our opponent. As well as high kicks and kicks to the midsection.

Muay Thai is different in that it allows the use of elbows during the fight. So often when you watch a Muay Thai fight you will see the fighters using elbow techniques significantly, especially in close quarters.

Pure Muay Thai which be used in combat situation outside of the sport even allowed for blows that could kill. Like the step in, on to the opponent’s knee or by jumping up. Then landing a direct 12 to 6 elbow to the top of the skull. At the very least a concussive blow, at worse potential brain damage or death. So it is important to point out some of the difference between the two types.

Do Shadow Boxing at Home

Working on your shadow boxing can sure make you feel like Rocky. Watching your won shadow or yourself in the mirror while you throw combinations can make you feel like Rocky Balboa, but you are not.

The point being that shadow boxing can look good to the untrained eye. But if your feet are out of position, if you are throwing those hands incorrectly. If you are not defending correctly and leaving yourself open to counter punches, then it’s really not work anything.

The amount of time I have thought, damn I am looking smooth today. Only for my coach to jump in with some pads and thrown back at me, completely upsetting the beautiful image I had read in my head, it’s two different worlds.

To do shadow boxing correctly you first have to have good technique. So shadow boxing is really only something that should be done as you are honing the technique or working on getting better. Not as a substitute for hitting pads, hitting the bag or sparring.

Your shadow does not hit back and will give you a false sense of security. I can’t tell you how many times my coach told me to stop looking at my own reflection in the window, embarrassing.

Home Setup Bag work Training

Now back in the days when I was but a young teen. I set up my own homemade boxing bag in my father’s garage. A long cylindrical canvas army style bag, packed with woodchips. It was pretty cool and did the job for a kid with no local gym, who just wanted to punch and kick things.

These days you can of course pretty much have a full gym in your very own home! Gym weights, a range of workout machines and of course most importantly a punching bag for working out.

So if there is one thing I would say that you must have to train Muay Thai at home, it’s a decent long bag for kicking and punching. Personally, I am not a fan of the padded upright punch bag with a filled water base that sits on the floor. In my experience, they cannot take a powerful leg kick and often end up awkwardly rocking and rolling around the floor.

So for my two cents find a good location in your garage or shed, with a strong supporting overhead beam and set up a quality kicking bag. It will last you many years is fit for purpose when it comes to training Muay Thai in your own home.

Muay Thai Clinching Drills with a Partner

So in Muay Thai clinching your opponent is one of the key striking techniques used. It’s a technique has transitioned into mixed martial arts, with practitioners such as Anderson Silva using it with great success inside the cage.

So in order to do clinching drills, you will need someone who is will allow you to grab them using your hands around the back of their head. With your forearms clinching tight in against their neck.

It’s a really uncomfortable and disarming position to be in as the Muay Thai fighter pulls the head down towards the ground while dragging the opponent from side to side. The result of which is the person being unable to lift their head or move their head down as it will be met with a knee strike. As well as being disorientating by controlling the person’s centre of balance their head

But you can try this with the other person by them cupping their hands or using pads in front of their chest to catch the rising knee strike, just don’t throw anywhere near full power!

Pad Work with a Partner

Padwork is one of the critical parts of any striking sport. And I can tell you from personal experience that holding pads correctly and calling combinations that will allow the fighter to learn is a skill in itself.

Not holding pads correctly can lead to an injury to the holder or simply a bad learning experience for the fighter. So again, this goes back to hitting that brick wall when teaching yourself Muay Thai at home.

A bad padman or pad-person (so PC) can lead to all kinds of bad habits being nurtured. Something that will not happen when working with a quality padman in a quality gym. People who have been doing this stuff for as long as they can remember.

Some Muay Thai Training Techniques

So if you are going to try a build a solid base in Muay Thai while training by yourself at home, it’s important that your training also has a solid base on which to build. With that in mind, it’s good to have a set Muay Thai training regime.

Here are some workouts or a mix of workout options which I have done in the past which can be done in a solo or with a partner training program. Keep in mind that there are a million ways to skin a cat (I do love cats, but dogs more so). So, by all means, tailor any program to your own tastes, so that you feel comfortable while training, keeping it enjoyable.

Training Muay Thai without a Partner

Warm-up110 minutes
Bag work55

If you are lucky enough to have someone who will act as a punching bag, sorry opponent, then great! Here are some additional training techniques for Muay Thai you can do with another person.

So the same program as above, with some additional techniques you can work on with your partner.

Training Muay Thai with a Partner

Warm-up & stretching110 minutes
Pad work35
Bag work55

Feel free to test the waters and see how you feel the day of training. No gym session is ever the same as the last and the coach will almost always throw in some training variations to spice things up. So be willing to do the same to keep things fresh.

Also, a varied Muay Thai training schedule will mean you can adapt to changes in future training sessions or even a fight. Not getting used to the same robotic preset path.

Related questions

So people ask can you learn Muay Thai online on the internet? And the answer is yes, too a degree. As I stated and laid out the case above, you can definitely get to a certain level in Muay Thai before not being able to grow much more.

You can use pdf’s, you can watch Muay Thai tutorials on places like Youtube learn many of the basics and even higher-level techniques. But, at some point in your journey, you will need to step up and go to a club.

Muay Thai is a sport which has been fine-tuned over many hundreds of years and is regarded by many as the most deadly of the standup combat sports. It’s simply not something you can even become proficient in without being trained by the right coach.

This is why we have Muay Thai trainers and Muay Thai training camps around the world and throughout as facets of sports, who are regarded as the best in the business. There are simply levels to this and without the proper training and right training regime, diet, lifestyle. You may never see or experience those levels in your lifetime.

So do as much of the teaching yourself Muay Thai at home as is realistically possible. But plan to attend or at least try some of the clubs or world-renowned Muay Thai training camps around the world and level your game up!


Hi, I'm Ross, at 40 years plus, I have been involved in the Martial arts for most of my life. Along with my first pet Collie dog named Tyson, RIP. My journey in the world of Martial Arts is something I want to share. So that others too can learn from my experiences.

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