Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Calf strain at Muay Thai: keep your chin up after injuries and find a solution!

Sunday I did a freakin 2 hour 15 minute Muay Thai class at my fave kickboxing studio, Toronto Kick-boxing and Muay Thai Academy and sure enough within the first 10 minutes I strained my left calf. I have experienced a strain in my right calf periodically since starting Muay Thai. It always happens whilst skipping bare foot on the mats.

I feel like a bit of a tough guy. You name the type of class and I've been there done it. I was so psyched for a kick ass (literally) work out Sunday. I'm a fitness person (dare I say pro) and own a fitness business. I'm the last person, at least in my mind, who should be hurting myself while doing something as simple as skipping rope.

After doing some research into why it keeps happening to me, I realize not having cankles isn't always a great thing. I have small calf muscles and small ankles and thus, the repeated shock my calves every time I land barefoot puts them over the edge. In addition, they might be a little tight so I'm forcing them into a range of motion that isn't natural for them every time I land. I'm no spaz when it comes to skipping. It took me weeks of practice years ago to do it well. I've got the technique down. I never thought it would be such a big deal to have strong calves but looks like I"m going to have to start working them if I want to continue with Muay Thai.

I stuck it out during the rest of the class and had to be careful. After all, I just got moved up to pre-intermediate. I didn't want to get dropped down to the beginners again! I was glad I did. We did some hard core stuff I've never done in my life like grabbing your partner around the neck and kneeing them in the stomach. We had to grab them and push their face in our bosom. Luckily my partner was one of my best buds, JoJo. We were holding pads of course. Crazy. I'm of the school of thought that being a sexy strong woman doesn't mean being ladylike. Muay Thai helps women find their inner grrrr.

The ONLY criticism is that their conditioning work at the beginning of class needs to get modernized. Crunches are so out and over doing the push ups without focus on posterior chain work is a no go in terms of proper strength work. Plus we did some hyper-extensions for the lower back which could easily cause injury to people with existing lower back problems. Many of the instructors need a little fine tuning in terms of form and technique. I can see the posture of many of the regulars starting to fall apart a bit, shoulders rounding forward and getting ready for an injury. I would love to give them some better alternatives that are just as hard but would make the body more balanced and efficient.

This morning I got a very kind email from the owner, Warren inviting me to their new uptown location for a Muay Thai Kickboxing Bootcamp class taught by Blaise Ambrose. There's a great fitness critic blog titled Why not try everything. She gave the class a 10 out of 10. The blog is great and makes staying up to date on every new thing happening in Toronto Fitness easier for me.

Just remember, to do proper back training to compliment your Muay Thai classes (like rows, pull ups, reverse flies, rotator cuff stuff) to prevent shoulder injuries and keep your posture nice and tall and aligned.

Have a good one,

Jane Clapp


  1. Kickboxing is a standing sport and does not allow continuation of the fight once a combatant has reached the ground, although certain styles of Muay Thai make exceptions to this rule - Toronto personal trainer

  2. Ugh, I strained my calf bad a week ago running around the mat. It flared up bad this week in training. Guess i'm gonna have to tough it out this week. Man it hurts.

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  4. thought I had cramping first time it hit me-- ultimately dx as bad strain of the gastrocnemius muscles. Rest and anti-inflammatories. And then more rest.

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