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5 Muay Thai moves to build a stronger core at home, according to Evolve MMA champion Daniel McGowan

For the initiated, Daniel McGowan needs little introduction. After all, it’s not everyday you come across a British Muay Thai fighter that has knocked out actual Thai champions at some of the most prestigious tournaments in the world.

It’s not surprising though; the Luton-born fighter started his journey into martial arts since the age of 10, and while he started with taekwondo and kickboxing, managed to find a passion for Muay Thai not long after. Since then, he’s become one of the youngest non-Thai fighters to fight at the famed Rajadamnern Stadium at the age of 15. He’s also been undefeated at Thailand’s two major stadiums: the above-mentioned Rajadamnern Stadium, and Lumpinee Stadium.

Today, the 25-year-old divides his time between honing his already-lethal skills and imparting his knowledge to those who aspire to be just as good a fighter as he is. 

As one of the latest additions to Evolve MMA’s team of World Champions, the athlete and instructor reiterates that Muay Thai isn’t just a means of self defence, but also a great way to keep fit because it’s so diverse.  “I think you’d struggle to find a better training regime for a full-body workout, and for your cardio training than Muay Thai. Everybody can benefit from it,” he said.

McGowan will front regular classes at Evolve MMA’s many well-appointed gyms to teach proper Muay Thai techniques while helping members keep fit, but if you’re still hesitant to step back into the gym during this pandemic, he’s also shared some Muay Thai moves to get started with at home.

“It’s good for beginners to start off and learn these basic techniques to improve their cardio and hand-eye coordination. For people starting out in their fitness or Muay Thai journey, these moves are a great start as they are static. Once you start getting used to it, you can increase the duration or weight using dumbbells. 

All these exercises are good because your core is always engaged. If it’s not, you’re going to lose balance. It might not seem that way but we’re engaging the whole body with these specific techniques, even when you’re kicking or kneeing.”

Ready to work up a good sweat while building a stronger core? Here are the Muay Thai moves (alongside plenty of useful tips) by the Evolve MMA champion to try at home now.

Block Kick

Pro tips:

  1. Bring your right leg up sideways to touch your elbow and same goes for the left side. You don’t want to bend down or slouch, you want to keep your core as straight and upright as possible. Keep your core tight. 
  2. Make sure the elbow is on the outside of the leg, not on the inside. 
  3. Keep your hands high so you’re not cheating, the leg must come up to meet the elbow. 
  4. Your posted leg is supposed to be straight, not bent. 
  5. Repeat this for 30 seconds. 

Elbow

Pro tips:

  1. You don’t just want to use your arm. When I’m teaching, people just use their arm, but it doesn’t engage any of your muscles. You want to twist your hips into your shoulders and arms. Keep your core engaged at all times with these exercises.
  2. When you’re doing the left, your right hand must stay up at your chin. The same on the other side. 
  3. Step into each of the elbows, don’t just swing them around – always maintain and keep your guard stance. 
  4. Repeat this for 30 seconds. 

Jab Combo

Pro tips:

  1. Speed punch for 30 seconds, maintaining the technique shown 
  2. If you’re looking for a more advanced workout, hold 1 or 2kg dumbbells in each hand 
  3. Fully extend your arms but fully bring it back to your chin and repeat that for 30 seconds. What a lot of people do is they intercross their hands/arms when executing this combo. They are two independent movements so don’t make any short cuts. You also want to twist your right leg going into your right punch.
  4. It’s good for your arms, shoulders, and core. Always take note and make sure you’re engaging your core in all these movements and techniques. 

Knee

Pro tips:

  1. With both hands, you want to pull it to the side you’re kneeing. Pull it into the knee. When your hands come from your head towards your hip, you then want to thrust your hip forward along with the knee movement. 
  2. If you thrust too much, you’re going to lose balance. You have to have the right amount of movement and hip engagement. If you’re falling, you know you’re doing too much. Keep your core strong and your body forward.
  3. Repeat this for 30 seconds.

Teep

Pro tips:

  1. Start in a 90-degree stance with your feet to increase stability and balance. The slightly angled leg out stays posted, bring your knees up to your waist and fully extend your leg out straight in a pushing motion. 
  2. When they come back for the alternate leg push kick, you want to land in a 90-degree angled stance. 
  3. Repeat this for 30 seconds. 

Find out more about Muay Thai, Daniel McGowan, and Evolve MMA here.

Shatricia Nair
Managing Editor
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.