Pad Work Categories

Pad work is can be conducted in several ways, with the main categories being: Structured Themed Freestyle

Structured pad work uses a defined combination for the duration of the round. This combination is continuously looped, concentrating on technique, footwork and power. The pad holder should periodically feed light attacks with the pads, to keep their partner sharp. Even though this is a structured drill, you should aim to simulate sparring as closely as possible. Themed pad work only provides a general outline within which to work. The individuals will decide the techniques thrown. For example, a round could use a ‘herding’ theme in which the ‘pad hitter’ has to control the pad holder’s movement. Forcing them toward a specific point. The techniques used are entirely up to those training.

Freestyle pad work allows you to work anything you wish. When done well, this type of training closely resembles sparring, mimicking the movement, power and ‘give-and-take’ of a bout. Open-ended pad work, without a specified combination, can be conducted in three ways: 1. Pad holder calls the shots – partner follows the instructions 2. Pad holder offers target shapes – partner attacks with a suitable strike 3. Pad holder reacts to incoming strikes – partner is free to attack at will! Simply reacting to incoming strikes (3) by effectively blocking with the pads requires advanced pad work skills. You mils’, be familiar with both your partner’s movements and technique repertoire, and also be prepared to take a knock or two! This is not hr the feint-hearted or inexperienced. In my opinion. Muay Thai loig mitts are the most versatile and effective pad training tools. They dlow you to train however you need to.

Timing Structure

Pad work is very demanding on your fitness, dictating that each round is followed by a short rest interval. This also imitates competitive fighting, encouraging your body to adapt to the specific demands of this activity. At Martial Concept we recommend resting for 15 seconds after a I-minute round. 30 seconds after a 2-minute round and I -minute after a 3-minute round. The duration and number of rounds that you use should be based on your fitness levels and the typical structure of your competitive bouts.

If you’re pad work theme is to improve a specific technique, then it’s advisable to keep the rounds a little shorter and to work on improvements early on in your workout while you are still fresh. Repeating sloppy technique will only reinforce bad habits.

Having selected an appropriate timing structure for your pad work session, you should then decide the type of work each round will encompass.

Table 1 shows an example (which is elaborated on at Pad Work Essentials

Holding and positioning the pads for a training partner can be as demanding for the ‘holder’ as for the ‘hitter’. When pad holding, it’s important to keep elbows tucked in behind the pad to prevent unnec- essary injuries. When done well, pad work can be fluid, powerful and safe! Hold the pads close to your body. This will achieve two things.

Firstly, the pad is more stable, maintaining a specific angle and position – allowing your partner to confidently strike it. Secondly, holding the pads against your bods provides more body conditioning from the impact! The pad holder should attack back to test their partner’s defensive/countering skills. This is especially important as they tire. Punch bags don’t hit back, but a pad holder can! Simulate sparring as closely as possible, using footwork to aggressively pressure your partner or force them to give chase. Slay on your toes and vary your targets. If possible conduct your pad work inside a boxing ring or a limited matted area, to get accustomed to a confined competition environment. Practice controlling the centre position and cutting off your opponent, trapping them in the corners.

These are just a few points regarding pad work, there are many more areas worth exploring but they’re beyond the scope of this article – I’ll save them for another time!

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