Top Muay Thai Pad Drills: The Things That Make You Stronger

(Last Updated On: June 2, 2019)

Your fighting skill in Muay Thai largely rely on two important aspects– athletic ability and training.  While the former is innate, you can do so much in compensating whatever is lacking out there with a more focused training regimen.  According to professionals, Muay Thai has 7 training methods namely, shadow boxing, bag work, pad drills, partner drills and sparring, conditioning and, of course, mental training.  You can train in some aspects by your lonesome, but you will need a partner for Muay Thai pad drills to do it properly.

The Importance of Pad Work

An integral part of Muay Thai training, pad work refers to a comprehensive regimen aimed at developing speed, power, stamina, timing, form, technique, and conditioning.  While agility and bag drills may be done on your own, a sparring partner or a trainer to exert resistance will be needed when performing Muay Thai pad drills.  This makes having a good coach or an experienced training partner an essential aspect when stimulating a realistic albeit injury-averse fight.

Using pads for drills, unlike other sparring gear, is considered effective and safe by many professionals.  These pads allow you to go full blast with kicks, punches, knees, and elbow strikes without truly hurting your partner.  These items help to deliver the needed barrier to the one holding the pads.  While focus mitts work on your precision and speed, training pads focus largely on proper form and technique.

Muay Thai Pad Drills

When it comes to the actual pad drills in Muay Thai, the most classic regimen often points to fast straight kicks, jabs, and cross boxing combinations for at least 10 reps or more, depending on your level.  Mixing punch-kick-knee-elbow combos complemented with evasive movements is another excellent way to do pad drills.  Here’s an excellent example for building muscle memory:

  • Right jab + Left Cross + Right Hook + Left Cross
  • Left Cross + Right Hook + Left Cross + Right Jab + Left Cross + Right Uppercut + Left Cross
  • Left Cross to Body + Right Hook + Left Uppercut with elbow

The basics of a Muay Thai Kick Drill with training pads is to fortify one’s defensive reactions while stimulating coordination in thwarting various kicking attacks.  Beginners can start with simple drills, then gradually progressing into heavy combination sets with the hand, elbows, knees, shins, and kicking legs.  Think about gaining muscle memory first and then, shifting focus on pad rounds, feed jabs, kicks, low hooks and crosses, and so on to carve agility, timing, proper footwork, flexibility, and strength.

An excellent and realistic pad drill is the Left Kick Counter.  Instead of just thumping pads, a partner can react, defend or counter an attack allowing a more realistic and engaging training.  This gives one’s partner a chance to practice the right technique without losing form and without incurring injuries.

Still on pad drills, this Low Kick Drill is quite a keeper for those who love steel hard hand combos with explosive leg kicks.  This drill helps to improve one’s timing and distancing, smooth flow in hand combinations, add more oomph to your reaction speed, and deliver explosive low roundhouse kicks.  Check the video tutorial below and observe how throwing low roundhouse kicks can be debilitating to your sparring partner’s moves.

Feel free as well to add side low kicks or have your partner raise the pads to chest level for a finisher body kick.  The key in delivering explosive kicks and hand combinations always relies on turning the shoulders and the hips into those kicks and jabs.

Gaining Traction


There is so much to learn in Muay Thai.  As a beginner, getting deep into Muay Thai pad drills will ultimately deliver the traction you need in crafting combinations and moves in both defense and attacks.  When starting, always find a way to build a trusting relationship with your trainer.  In reality, these professionals will help gauge each drill according to your body coordination and stamina as well as the experience (or none thereof) of your pad holder in the effort to deliver the results you need.