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Simple Muay Thai Exercises With Everyday Objects

inclined pushup
photocredit: Gabe Pierce

The beauty of the home workout: the location is convenient, you can do it while watching TV, and it’s not far from the shower. Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, the average North American would spend 68.7% of their time at home. This number has since expanded, leading me to ask the question: “Why not workout while I'm here?"

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
- Andy Warhol -


Very often we don’t consider time as a fleeting resource, which results in not taking advantage of each moment. Daily, we spend roughly 5.5 hours watching TV, 8 hours working, 2.5 hours cooking and cleaning, etc., but what if we could do a couple of things at once, such as stepping up our Muay Thai game while bringing in the groceries? That’s a pretty amazing reality.

With limited access to gym and equipment, staying motivated can be a challenge, especially when your favourite napping spot is only a few feet away. But that’s what it means to be an everyday Nak Muay, to find the gem in every opportunity and to see improvement as a habit and not a chore.

I remember the first time I tried to do a switch-kick, it was cumbersome and overthought, but now it’s instinctual. In that same way, once you realize how easy it is to integrate exercise into your everyday life, it’ll become second nature.

The advantages: your daily tasks become mini exercises
The disadvantages: *checks notes* None

The Exercise Habit

Andy Warhol - Campbell Cans - MoMA

Scenario 1: Putting Away Groceries

Equipment: cans, jars
Exercise: shadow boxing

If there are any hand combinations that you’ve been working on, this a great time to practice. The cans are already in your hands so why not do a couple jab-cross-hook combos before putting them in the darkness of the cupboards. The extra weight, though not a lot, will translate to faster hands when you’re barehanded.

Equipment: Jugs (water, milk, juice)
Exercises: oblique twists, leg raises

All immature jug comments stop here. Oblique twists are great for building your core strength but also to get your body in motion for core driven punches, like hooks and haymakers. You can also add upward crossbody arm movement to work your back and shoulders.

For the leg raises, tie a rope/string/towel around the handle, loop your foot through it, and lift the weight while keeping your leg straight. Execute this exercise slowly to engage your base leg as long as possible, critical to stabilize all kicks.

Scenario 2: Running Into the House After Errands

running up stairs
photocredit: Bruno Nascimento

Equipment: steps (optional: groceries, gym bags, etc.)
Exercises: jump squats, step-up knees, one legged step-ups with groceries

Yes, you may be tired from all the running around but think of this as the last round in a pad session - this is your defining moment.

Scenario 3: Netflix Binge

netflix fightworld title image

Equipment: couch
Exercises: elevated pushups, Bulgarian split squats, dips

So you’re finally ready to watch the newest season of [fill in overly hyped series] but seeing how you’ll be on your butt for the next couple of hours, sneaking in a couple minutes of training will do the body some good.

Scenario 4: Anytime, Anywhere

Equipment: Anything heavy
Exercise: Weighted squats/lunges

Anytime and anywhere with anything! This is one of the nonsensical exercises - just reach out, grab something that has weight, and squat. Kids running around? Grab one and squat. Cast iron pot? Hold it over your head and squat. Building a fence? Grab a plank of wood and squat. Easy peasy.

Staying Flexible

mom and child exercising
photocredit: Ketut Subiyanto

Your time will never remain the same day to day, and knowing these daily exercise hacks can give you the peace of mind to stay on top of your health and wellbeing. 

That’s the beauty of exercise: it can be as simple or as difficult as you’d like. The major key is to make fitness a habit, irrespective of the amount, and that’s the reason reps weren’t included. Do as many or as little as you’d like, the biggest challenge is to do them!

Check out our guide to effective shadowboxing to further your at-home experience. Happy training!

Khap Khun Khop!


About the writer:


Jonathan Chan-Choong (JCC) is a Toronto-based copywriter, poet, and content creator with 8+ years as a Nak Muay. A penchant for lifestyle and editorial content, JCC writes to invite his readers to take a glimpse at the world all around us, if nothing else.

Learn more at jayseesee.com and follow his Instagram @jayseesee.

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