Kickboxing is a great exercise to burn calories, get stronger and lose weight. If your usual workout routine is no longer motivating you, or maybe you just want to try something new, kickboxing is a terrific option. Have some fun with it, while sculpting your muscles with each move and blasting away your unwanted fat.
Benefits of Kickboxing
If you are like me, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of kickboxing is the “punching and kicking.” It is a one-of-a-kind stress release which is something most, if not all, of us need in today’s fast-paced society. After a difficult day, you may appreciate the opportunity to pretend you are beating up your enemy, or a difficult co-worker, to relieve some of your stress.
Kickboxing is also one of the best cardio workouts you can do, burning an average of 500 calories every hour with some reaching over 800 calories. Not only does kickboxing offer cardio benefits, it is also a great full body muscle-toning workout. The movements target your abs, thighs, butt, arms and shoulders in a single workout.
To start kickboxing, I do not want to skip over the options of renting or buying a workout video, or streaming a kickboxing workout online. Not to plug a certain video, but one of my favorite and recommended video workouts is Kathy Smith’s 10 Minute Kickboxing Bootcamp. It is a quick, effective workout. You may also find local classes in your area offering kickboxing, or even a boxing club that offers group fitness. Regardless of your choice, these are all excellent options to jumpstart your kickboxing program.
With that said, here are some of the exercises that make up this excellent workout.
Exercise 1: The Jab
The Jab is probably the easiest move. It is a fast movement, like a surprise punch. The jab is simply a straight punch forward. Step back with one of your legs and punch with the opposite arm. If the left foot is in front, then the left hand is punching. Again, visualize trying to hit someone’s nose if standing in front of you.
Stand with your left foot forward, as if in a fighting position. Rotate your left hip forward and extend your left arm outward. Keep your arm even with your shoulder. Bring your arm back immediately.
Exercise 2: The Cross
The Cross is a straight punch, but through from your rear hand. The power behind the cross movement comes from your hips, and using your core helps with this force. If your left foot is in front, your right hand will punch across. To help, visualize trying to hit someone’s nose if standing in front of you.
Same as last time, start with your left foot forward in a fighting position. Turn your right foot, knee and hip to the left in the same movement, following it with your right shoulder and arm. Your fist should be horizontal when your arm is fully extended. Avoid locking your elbow when your arm is fully extended. Now, return to the starting position.
Exercise 3: The Hook
The Hook punch is just like it sounds, punching in a circular motion—like a hook. Stand with your right foot forward, again, in a fighting position. Pivot so that you are on the ball of your right foot, then turn your right knee, hip, shoulder and arm at the same time as you punch from the right to left. Bring your right forearm now parallel to the floor (your thumb up), with your left fist up by your face. Return to the starting position.
Exercise 4: The Uppercut
The Uppercut punch is similar to the Hook, except you are thrusting upward with your fist pointing toward the ceiling. See the image shown. Do not punch beyond the tip of your chin. For more force behind your punch, drive it from your legs up.
Exercise 5: The Front Kick
Moving onto the lower body, we start with the front kick. You can use either leg for the front kick. I recommend starting with whichever feels most comfortable. In short, the front kick movement is just a jab with the heel of your foot out in front of you. You can visualize a target of kicking someone’s knee, chest, or groin area—all different heights, of course.
To complete the front kick, stand with your right foot forward with fists by your face in the standard fighting position. Shift your weight toward your left foot. Now, bring your right knee up toward your chest with the foot flexed and your heel close to your glutes. With your fists still up, kick your leg straight out from the hip as if you were punching with the heel of your foot. Return your foot and leg to the fighting position. That completes one kick.
Exercise 6: The Sick Kick
Our final move here is the side kick. It is one of the strongest movements because the power behind the kick comes from your glutes. As with the front kick, you will want to keep your foot flexed. Imagine kicking a door shut.
Start with your right foot forward while in the fighting position. Turn your hips to the left and pivot your left toes just slightly. Similar to the front kick, lift your right knee toward your chest area and, with your foot still flexed, powerfully extend your right leg out to the side. As you kick, push through your heel while counterbalancing the movement by leaning the rest of your upper body toward the opposite side. Keeping your fists up near your face, quickly return to the starting position.