Shin Conditioning


For most of you who’ve been around Muay Thai long enough, you’ll know that it’s fairly important to have “conditioned shins”. To be honest I don’t ever think about it, since I’m not fighting professionally I’m not overly worried about shin on shin contact.

At our gym we have a bag packed densely with sand. A good kick to that bag and you’ll soon know if your shins need “conditioning”

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Here is a clip from HellFighter He shouldn’t be a stranger for those of you on the K-1 Fans forum. In the clip, he walks you through a traditional technique used in Thailand to develop and condition your shins. Many thanks to Hellfighter and “Saekson” for the info.

What techniques or exercises do you do for conditioning? I’d love to hear.


About Author

I started My Muay Thai back in 2006... I was tired of reading about MMA, and wanted somewhere I could watch real muay thai fights, be inspired and connect with others who love muay thai as much as I do... I currently live in London... when I'm not geeking out over muay thai you can find me bombing around London on my scrambler, ferreting out the latest street food gems.


  1. You will need Methyl-Salicylate (found in liniments), heavy-bag/Thai pad, cold compress, 600 mg calcium + vitamin D supplements.

    1. Apply Methyl-Salicylate generously to your shins and warm them up by going for a 20 min run. MS causes local vascodilation and good blood flow. You can also substitute with ditdajow.

    2. Kick Thai Pads, or a banana bag till your shins (not the skin or muscle above it) are slightly sore. Doing this in the sun is recommended. (Promotes vitamin D production for efficient calcium absorption.) Approximately 10 minutes of hard kicking on a regular pad surface should be sufficient for a beginner. Use your judgement.

    3. Sit down. Point your toes, flex your calves: repeat 10 times each leg. Apply more Methyl-Salicylate and massage the shins and surrounding muscles deeply. Attend to localised knots/bumps if you feel any and try to break them up. The blood carries calcium, protein and all the good stuff which actually thickens up the shins.

    4. Repeat steps 2-3 at least 4 times a day.

    5. Apply an ice pack to both shins for the next 20-30 minutes. Massage and apply ice-pack repeatedly for as often you wish upto the next 48 hours. Do not kick the bag for at least the next day.

    5. Take a 600 mg Calcium + vitamin D supplement. Else, drink a lot of milk and water. Eat fish, chew its bones, eat them.

    6. Having taken *at least* one day off, repeat all the steps above.

    This technique is more than just a superficial numbing of the nerves. In a month or two, you should be left with *denser* shins. Also, spar moderately to get a feel for what striking with it feels like.

    A word of warning: You could break your shins if you kick hard on a sharp surface. You could OD on calcium. You could get a sunburn from the sun. You could get a frostbite from the ice-packs. You could choke on fish-bones. You could develop a blood clot that travels to your heart and gives you a heart attack. So, use your good judgement and you’ll be on your way to devastating shins.

  2. Tong Po: It’s good to kick the pads and spar a lot. But its also necessary to make sure the shins are getting enough material to repair themselves with. That is the principle of hardening. Also, it hurts a lot of less if you have a good blood flow going. Its also a way of avoiding blood clots (in the knees usually) that can travel to your heart and fatally block essential vessels in later years.

  3. I think Saekson thought this was funny so he uploaded it on youtube. Adding calcium and vitamins to you diet is mandatory for proper bone health.

    My contribution: Do heavy weight squats and cleans. To support stronger legs your bones get stronger as well.

  4. we wrapped a wavemaster in hemp rope. the rope penetrates the skin better. its impoortant not to kick hard, only about 30% to start off with. your shins should look sun burnt the following day. only kick until your red, and never let the skin break. stage two is a rope soaked in water, and 3 is a rope soaked in alcohol. each stage the rope getts a bit thicker and penetrates better. by stage three you should be able to kick hard. resist “testing” the condition of your shins by kicking walls, posts, poles, etc. it will only set you back, since you have to wait for the bruising to go away to continue. the hair on your shins will start to leave also.

  5. Ooo, do I sense an attempt at Swedish by the Blog Keeper? I am in the process of reading through the whole site, and it has taken me a couple hours already… anyways, on we go!

  6. Thai liniment! then i start on the HARD bag (filled with sand & shredded rubber) i kick the bag lightly at first until the skin nerves start to desensitize (about 20 times) then start turning up the power! as time goes on (at about 50) i’m kicking the bag at full power until the 3 minute round is up then i re-apply liniment and go with the other leg. i do this every day before training even starts. i’ve found that a good way to get deep bruises and visible blood clots out of the legs is to roll a coke bottle or sugar jar in the shins while you are chillin’ watchin the fights! i, seriously, had a bruise on my lower shin for 2 years and couldn’t figure out how the hell to get rid of it, after 1 week of rolling a glass coke bottle on it, it got rid of it and the pain that went with it! i also do alot of massage on my shins when i get home, with liniment, if i feel any pain in them. it promotes blood flow and keeps the blood from clotting and creating deep painful shit that sticks around forever! i’ve actually been doing it this weekend because my sparring partner jacked my shin with a nice knee check and i could barely walk after practice and now it’s fine! it’s baisically what the thais do, liniment, condition on bags & pads, more liniment & massage. just take care of your small injuries to your shins and it will make them stronger! another thing is the road work!!! it increases the bone density in your entire leg and all of those little injuries that you have taken care of will calcify and create a more dense shin altogether! i think that roadwork is one of the most overlooked aspects of shin conditioning. yeah, it’s not gonna kill the nerve endings but it will make your shin bones much more dense!

  7. WOw its amazing to actually know people who remember the name tong po, but then again, i wouldnt doubt it, they problably saw the movie Kickboxer and came in here to see how to strengthen Shins, roll a wooden broomstick pole up and down to kill nerves (will not make bones stronger but will take away pain)

  8. i kicked heaps of shit and now my shin feels bruised and the bone is gone down and feels weak, i get pains in it wen i kick the heavy bag i went to the doctor and 2 physios and they sed there was nothing rong with it maybe just intense bruising? i been like this for 6 months now and i still cant kick the heavy bag without getting a pericing pain thru my shin? any suggestions pplz ??

  9. heyy,
    im from shins got a bruises and still wont show any sign of wellness.
    can you give me tips to get well soon.i wanna fight back normally without the pain.

  10. well,to be true.they are not my friends.they’re ganster in school who wanna beat the hell up of me.
    ive been hit all over the body and they hit my shins as well.many times.i mean many many times

  11. hmmm i think they are fucked. there is a chance they will heal but metal on shin is very bad trust me i know they could be fuckd for life, i suggest either learn BJJ or BOXING or go into MMA if at least ur rear shin is ok. then see wat happens down the track but thers a good chance there gone.

  12. A good technique I’ve learned is to take an empty beer bottle put a little oil on it and than rub the bottle up and down your legs. This will not strengthen your bones but it will kill the nerve endings which will eliminate pain caused by shin-on-shin contact.

  13. Best shin conditioning i have used is a regular heavy bag with rouch sand at the bottom, kikc that to start till red or somewhat sore not totally were you cant walk know your limits it takes a good while to condition you shins like building muscle takes time then you can graduate remove some cloth from the bag or pull it our completely and get green bamboo shoots soak them in water to soften them up line the bottom of the bag with them around the bottom and bottom also and repack the bag with the filling start out softly with this method for a few weeks after you get the stamina and less pain to kick it this way your good to go consistency always pays off

  14. @Gumby
    “A good technique I’ve learned is to take an empty beer bottle put a little oil on it and than rub the bottle up and down your legs. This will not strengthen your bones but it will kill the nerve endings which will eliminate pain caused by shin-on-shin contact.”

    I’ve heard that technique would cause pressure fractures, so something like that.

  15. Thanks man, i’m just going to use your towel technique.
    Hey I was wondering if in theory would the towel technique work for your other parts like fist and elbows and knees?

  16. I have just started thai boxing about four weeks ago and i do kung fu aswell. I was training on the thai pads and i have got some really big bruises on my right shin and foot. I bruise really easily it only hurts sometimes when i walk. will it stop bruiseing and hurting after training for a long time. can anyone help me please

  17. I never really did any tricks to make my shins harder. If your training for a fight, you should be running everyday, pads everyday, bag everyday, and sparring a least once a week. This is enought to make those shins hard. Also your fighting at least once every other month your shins will have no choice but to get harder (that is if you kick).

  18. hi if your shin hurts then i suggest you use deep rub after training, also before you start training you can use tiger bond on your shin. i also have a method to get your shins hard which i been doing for the past few years, jus get a piece of wood and start tapping your shins from the top to bottom next to your ankle but do it very lightly, do it 15mins aday then rub it down. that should the trick it takes time to harden so dont expect it to work over night. :)

  19. My shins are not the hardest shins they’ve ever met, but they’re not that bad either. I spend most my life on a ship without good access to training materials so I bought a few 1/4 in. bamboo sticks and wrapped them together and do light tapping on my shins until they get a little sore, then I move onto the rest of my body.
    My friend, who was making fun of me, uses bigger objects like broom sticks. He can only do it for about 15-30 seconds before he starts hurting. I don’t really see the point in this.
    I prefer light longer work, and my benefits seem to be better.

    When I hit land I don’t worry bout my bamboo sticks and kick the banana bag for a long time. This seems to be the best.

    I also rarely ever go bare shin to bare shin while sparring. I’m always wearing shin guards. There’s no point in risking a deep injury while working on technique. The light conditioning has paid off over time. Just ask my coffee table.

    But I’m always looking for better techniques. And I’m definately going to start using the balms and massage techniques that were mentioned in all these posts. That seems like a really good idea that I’d just never heard of.

  20. Shin conditionning ?

    Kicking the heavy bag full force for as long as you can will do the trick.

    Kicking the pads won’t.

    Also, somebody mentionned “road work”: hell yeah! Strong lower leg muscles (supporting and surounding the shins) should certainly not be overlooked. And on this note, try running barefoot, for it strenghten way more your lower leg muscles and your feet (for powerful teeps).

    I often use thai oil before and/or after working out. It’s a good product for deep warming of the muscles AND a good product to reduce pain and soreness.

    …and one thing to not forget: even the Thais feel the pain from shin-to-shin…so what’s their secret then ? they just got used to deal with the pain and keep pushing.

  21. yeah the reason it seems they ahave stone shins is cus they never show pain. they also dont go crazy and do extreme measures to condition their shins cus they fight and train so much already. when i was at a press conference with kaoklai and saenchai they were doing some traing for press. kaoklai found one of the heaviest/hardest filled bags, kicked i/knee’d it once[not hard at all], and was like fuck that im not hurting myself.

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