cardio kickboxing

Kicking It: On Your Own or at a Gym, This Is a Great Cardio Kickboxing Workout

You’ve all seen it before. Perhaps you have even been to one before. But one thing is certain: as soon as your cardio kickboxing class is offered at your local gym, the sign-up list is quickly filled up.

There’s a reason behind the craze. Cardio kickboxing has, ultimately, in the last few decades, skyrocketed in popularity not only because it is a self-defense class but rather a form of exercise. It is a way that people have popularized the interested in developing self-defense techniques through martial arts with a fighting spirit and a distinct, fun rhythm.

Whether you’re looking to pick up a few defense moves or are looking for an exercise program that is purposefully created to get you in shape with a little fun, engaging in a cardio kickboxing workout might be the hype you’re looking for.

Although it has long evolved and changed from its original form, let me take you back to its origins to understand how it all started.

Origins

kicking boxing

From the beginning of its inception to the kickboxing video workouts, kickboxing videos on youtube that you can find today, kickboxing has had quite a journey.

Beginning in the 1950s in Japan, modern kickboxing evolved from martial arts history. This energetic fighting sport found its way to mainstream popularity by combining elements and aspects of various branches of other martial arts practices like Muay Thai and Karate. Enjoyable for spectators to watch and even more fun for participators to engage in, long, drawn out training involving kickboxing routines soon became 10 minute cardio kickboxing workout and 30 minute cardio kickboxing workout, trying even harder to appeal to the masses.

Almost two decades later after its conception, kickboxing made its way to the States and Europe, where it then eventually evolved into the cardio kickboxing as we know today.

The Blossom of Cardio Kickboxing

Benefits

Put into practice by Frank Thiboutot in Portland Maine in the early 90s, cardio kickboxing was a cardiovascular exercise program with a circuit training course that emphasized kickboxing techniques which later became cardio kickboxing moves.

The program was designed to accentuate kickboxing and blend it in with the popular fitness and exercise craze. These one-hour classes used heavy bags, kicking pads, resistance training, and cardiovascular conditioning, all mixed into one.

The popularity of cardio kickboxing grew not only in the U.S., but in gyms throughout the world, and also in the home (think Tae-bo, with a kickboxing workout DVD or in the 90s, VHS).

Nowadays, you can even simply search on Youtube for an award-winning cardio kickboxing routine and kickboxing exercises at home, bringing fitness and kickboxing to you. Although in retrospect, the development of cardio kickboxing wasn’t intended to increase fighting potential, it still helps you channel that spirit and physical demands. It will also make you burn calories like crazy.

Not only does a 30 minute cardio kickboxing workout burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, it also comes with various other benefits as well. Here is my list of cardio kickboxing benefits to really get you in the mood to move.

Benefits

benefits kickbosxing

I know that you know that with exercise, comes benefits. However, the popularity with cardio kickboxing is not only because of its craze it also is a fitness regimen that can completely replace most other aerobic exercises. Cardio kickboxing works the complete, full body and also has a variety of benefits that come along with it.

It’s a total body workout

Not only does cardio kickboxing engage all the muscle groups through kicks and punches, it also works on your coordination through having to do complex moves and combinations. Performing the kicks with one leg planted also works on your balance.

Improves your cardiovascular system

Focusing on your cardiovascular system your heart rate and blood circulation speed up, which targets your cardiovascular fitness.

Builds strength

Cardio kickboxing builds strength in your upper and lower body simultaneously. Kicking targets your leg muscles, punching focuses on your upper body and core strength and your abdominal muscles are strengthened from your balance-related stances and overall workout.

Burns calories

In cardio kickboxing, you’ll be exerting a ton of energy and therefore burning a bunch of fat.

It’s a flexible workout

Since cardio kickboxing requires little to no equipment, you can virtually do it anywhere. Although you can always add in a bag or pads, they aren’t completely necessary.

It‘s a great stress reliever

If you’re looking for an outlet, cardio kickboxing can be your vice. Like most sports, relieving stress and pumping in those endorphins can do wonders for your stress level. Evermore, cardio kickboxing offers even double of these benefits because you actually are performing actions that, biologically speaking, are literally beating and fighting the stress out of you.

Saves you time in the gym

Instead of going around the gym working out all your individual muscles for hours and then, afterward, heading to do some cardio, you can kill all those birds with one stone and complete the full body exercise in one routine. Working on your respiratory fitness, strength, endurance, flexibility, and body comp, all at once.

Actually, it helps with self defense

Although it is not necessarily the perfect way to train martial arts properly, that doesn’t mean you won’t get anything out of it. Cardio kickboxing incorporates multiple traditional martial arts components, all the while learning your imitations when it comes to flexibility and your strength when it comes to hitting power.

What to Keep in Mind When Cardio Kickboxing

cardio kickboxing

Stay on the Balls of your Feet

When you do this, it gets you ready for every move. Cardio kickboxing contains a lot pivoting, kicking, and swiveling in different directions. You need to be ready to execute these combinations.

Continuously Shift your Weight from Leg to Leg

This is not only to get you ready for anything, as I mentioned before, it’s also to keep your balance. Regardless if you are kicking with your right leg or your left, you will have to be able to shift all your one leg with ease.

Never Fully Extend

Whether you are punching or kicking, never complete the action to full extension. Your knees and elbows should never lock. Keep those joints soft simply by pulling the action back right before you are fully extended. This will protect your joints from hyperextending. Surprisingly, it also helps you increase the calories you burn.

Concentrate Your Core

With whatever move you’re doing, always keep your core tight. The core is the center of your body, it is responsible for everything. Therefore, when you’re pushing and pulling, kicking and punching, your core should always be tight. This will allow for faster movement and maximum force.

Ready to get started?

boxing workout

Taking that first step with anything in life is a tough decision. However, once you realize you want to do it, get your mind prepared for what’s about to come and I’ll let you know what to expect.

First, find a cardio kickboxing class at a martial arts studio in your area or at a local gym, they often have a class worked into their schedule. Normally, they will have some sort of indication of what type of level class it will be. If you are just getting started, you will want to look out for a kickboxing workout for beginners. There also might be certain aspects of what you need to further inquire about. For example, if it’s important to you, you can look out for a class with a kickboxing workout with bag or one that uses pads, etc.

So, you’ve set your clothes out for the next morning and your best gym shoes. You’re stoked about what’s coming the next day. However, before you lace own your shoes or pull that shirt over your head and head out the door, you should know a few things.

For your first class, make sure to do the following:

Think comfy

Always make sure you feel comfortable with yourself, whether it’s simply in your own skin or if you do brush on a little make-up, just make sure you feel at your best. Wear comfortable workout clothes. If you don’t have the best NIKE apparel, don’t worry! It’s not a fashion competition, just choose the clothes that make you feel comfortable and you can move around in. Lace up some athletic shoes if you have them, if you don’t go with the most comfortable shoes you have and it might even be possible to go barefoot — you just have to ask!

Bring water and hydrate before you go

Bring a big water bottle with you or small because the gym has water fountains, usually, where you can fill it up. Hydrating during and after the class is extremely important. But don’t overlook before it! Drink water the night before the class and the hours leading up to it. Have the color of your urine help you dictate whether or not you’re hydrated enough — it should be clear! Also, bring a towel with you, you will be sweating much more than you expected.

Arrive a bit earlier than the start time

No, this isn’t the doctor’s office but you might have to fill up some paperwork before you go in there. It doesn’t mean you’ll be in any danger, but just as a precaution. Arriving early will also help you get the spot you will want. Whether it’s in the front for the instructor to be able to see you and help or to get situated in a comfortable location in the room. If you want, you can even tell the instructor that it’s your first time.

Look for consistency

Schedule permitting, try and pick a class out that has a consistent teacher and schedule, and if you really into it — one that is more than once a week. That way, you have the opportunity to commit to a class, regardless if you’re busy on one particular day over the other.

Finding out what you need to know and looking around for what fits your groove is just as important as the class, itself. Having a class where you have no interest in it or no fun at all will have you less likely to keep coming back.

Let’s face it. Sometimes, it’s not possible to sign up for a class or leave the house in your spare time. Sometimes, a gym is not accounted for in your budget. Whatever the reason may be, you might have to just try and workout at home — which is fine! You can look at professional courses, Youtube videos, or workout routines.

If you’re on your own, learning the combination drills might already be daunting enough, so having any other complications is really inconvenient. I’ve put together a list of a last few reminders to pay attention to before you embark on the journey on your own.

Make a personal goal

Especially since you are doing it on your own, you will want to set a goal for yourself. Whether you are setting a long term goal of simply losing weight or a few short term goals like getting your high kick to a certain height. Do you have a few numbers that your doctor gave you to improve on? You need to clearly define your goal before you get started.

Listen to your body

Always consult your doctor if you have some precautions to follow and are doubting any part of beginning a fitness routine. Make sure you are healthy enough to begin. Once you get started, always listen to you body. It is an intense workout, so your body might not be used to the challenge. Push yourself but not to the point of danger.

Invest in proper gear

Even if you are doing it on your own, having the right clothes, ankle supports, boxing gloves, etc., and a towel or water bottle is worth the investment. Even if you are a beginner, dress for the shape you want to be in.

Fuel up prior to the workout

Not only should you be fully hydrated, make sure you’ve eaten before you workout. Fast-absorbing carbs half an hour to an hour before the workout is a great source of fuel.

Okay, okay. Now that I’ve covered almost all the questions you could possibly have, let’s get into what you’ve been waiting for: the workout.

Whether you are a newbie, a student or are looking for kickboxing routines for instructors and cardio kickboxing routines for instructors, this workout is a perfect source for you to take moves, a kickboxing combos list, and a full routine from.

Let’s start with the moves. When you’re doing cardio kickboxing, you should be familiar with these moves:

Punches

Jab

This is a straight punch done with the hand on your lead side of the body. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PGEGcTHHmg

Cross

This is a straight punch done with the hand on your trailing or rear arm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWI6ojJzBww

Hook

Think of a fish hook — it is a punch with this motion from either arm. It is swung high and its main target is usually the opponents head. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToHtpegEhKI

Uppercut

Another fish hook, however, this one begins the motion low and aimed at the face. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F_6OExW5-I

Kicks

Front Kick

This kick has you driving your knee straight up in front of you and then extend your leg forward. Can be done with both legs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXTguEsVWvs

High Kick

Begin by hopping with your rear leg to the front and kicking up with your other leg. Rotate your hips as you are kicking to get maximum height. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RKMQIhYm4Y

Knee Drive

Pull down your opponent towards your lifted knee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sERtk-89xmI

Shin Block

Blocking your opponent with your leg — drive your knee up and your elbows down as if you were doing a crunch in midair. Your limbs should be protecting the front of your face and chest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F5wlTWQMaI

For the Workout:

workout

Cardio Kickboxing Workout

Warm Up

Spend seven to ten minutes doing a warm up, swinging your arms, circling your torso, marching high, jumping jacks, jumping rope or running

Round One

Begin with right leg forward and complete these combos and then switch after every one.

If you cannot perform 10 repetitions, adjust accordingly!

Jab + Cross (1,2) x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Jab + Cross + Jab (1,2,1) x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Jab + Cross + Jab + Duck (1,2,1) x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Jab + Cross + Uppercut + Uppercut (1,2,5,6) x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Hook + Uppercut + Uppercut + Hook (3,5,6,4) x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Jab + Hook + Hook + Uppercut + Duck (1,3,4,5) x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Round Two

The first round was punching, this round is going to be with kicking.

Shin Block + Jab + Cross + Shin Block x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Knee + Knee + Jab + Cross x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Knee + Front Kick + Front Kick x 10 — switch legs and repeat

High Kick + Knee + Shin Block + Shin Block + Ducking Stance Change x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Front Kick + Jab + Cross + Front Kick x 10 — switch legs and repeat

High Kick + High Kick + Uppercut + Uppercut + Knee x 10 — switch legs and repeat

Cool Down

Take seven to ten minutes to slowly “shadowbox” to a standstill. Stretch and meditate a you wish.

This is a great and simple workout to get yourself moving and ease into cardio kickboxing. If you want to invest in a heavy bag or if you already have one at your gym, you can use it. Hopefully, you are now motivated to get started. While you’re executing the workout or before it, here are some things to keep in mind while you’re doing your cardio kickboxing workout:

Tips for Cardio Kickboxers:

 Cardio Kickboxers

Whether you are going to a class or doing it on your own, always incorporate a warm-up and a cool down. For the warm-up, you should complete a few dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching is different than static stretching because you are in motion while you’re stretching, which gets the blood flowing and gets you warm. When you’re cooling down, you can then incorporate static stretching. This is probably the one you are most familiar with — where you are standing, lying down or sitting while stretching. This is important to prevent muscle soreness the next day.

Be aware that you might not be bypassing core exercises. Although cardio kickboxing is exercise that targets your core, balance, and strength regardless, a class will usually incorporate crunches or planking in their routine. This will help you strengthen your core even more so you can execute those punches and kicks in proper form with ease.

Make sure you know that you won’t be punching or kicking anyone. If you are wanting to actually get into fighting in a controlled environment, cardio kickboxing might not be for you: it is a non-contact workout. All the punches and kicks you’ll be throwing are into the air or onto pads and bags.

It is a mental game as well. Not only does this condition your body, it also conditions your mind and concentration. It works with mental endurance and zeroing in on technique and proper form. You also need to fire up that brain to be able to remember and perform combinations.

Your elevated heart rate moves into in an intense zone in which cardiovascular conditioning takes place. This has a positive impact on your heart.

Cardio conditioning can help you have a daily calorie deficit, allowing for fat loss. This loss may include the belly fat that can be so difficult to lose. Excess belly fat has been associated with a higher risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes.

The great thing about cardio kickboxing is that you need absolutely ZERO experience in boxing or martial arts to take a class. This means that you’ll be ranched into a room or area with a bunch of beginners that also might have zero experience — just like you. However, since it is your first time, it’s normal to feel a bit nervous.

You are most likely to feel frustration at one point during a class. Especially for a beginner, this is completely normal. There will be moves and combinations that are unfamiliar to you simply because you’ve never seen or done before. Just like riding a bike, you first have to learn how to do it, you are not simply born knowing how to throw a perfect punch — unless, of course, you’re Bruce Lee. The main thing to remember here is to never give up and don’t ever quit. Even if you can’t keep up with the instructor or the other classmates, you should just focus on moving. With more practice and even more patience, the moves will come.

If you have the opportunity, sign up for a class rather than just doing it at a home. Completing a cardio kickboxing class with a group of people not only fosters a healthy sense of competition and camaraderie, it also has an accountability factor, which means that you are more likely to keep going until the end or push yourself to the fullest if other people around you are doing the same.

Wrapping It Up

Cardio kickboxing

Cardio kickboxing is a wonderful exercise to implement into your fitness journey and workout routine. Although it is a non-contact sport, it is a great way to ease into martial arts, especially if you don’t feel comfortable with fighting or contact just yet.

If you are looking to get the high intensity of martial arts without the aspects and competitive edge of a tournament, these classes are a perfect vice for you. They offer a full-body workout that not only engages every muscle in your body but also your endurance, balance, coordination, flexibility, and works on quickening your reflexes. It also has been proven to raise your energy levels for your everyday hustle and bustle and gets your heart to a healthier state.

You can always improve, too. There is always a more advanced move, a more intricate combination, a way of perfecting your form or advancing to a different style. The great thing about getting into cardio kickboxing is that regardless of the level you begin with, you can always improve and keep things interesting. Not only when classes are held regularly, you can even work on it on your own. Being able to incorporate extras, like a heavy bag or pads are also possible and something to motivate you. You might even also take these classes as a beginning to an entire journey of martial arts, which means that you have a very long journey ahead of you.

Whether you are the best in the room or a beginner with awkward kicks in the back, the most important thing in a class is finding out how to have fun and staying with that state of mind. Getting in a workout, making friends, and learning a bit of self-defense and an introduction to martial arts is a perfect way to get your cardio and exercise in.

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