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The A, B, C’s and K’s of Kickboxing: A Beginner’s Guide to Kickboxing

Although kickboxing is hardly new at any rate, it still is growing in popularity amongst not only people that have the spotlight on them but also in the general population. The reason behind popularity isn’t because people have turned to wanting to learn how to throw a proper punch or defend themselves, it’s because it honestly has become so internationally known, accepted, and broadcasted as the way to go to get proper punch-packing benefits.
You can either get into kickboxing through a class signed up at your local gym or you can even get started with kickboxing at home for beginners. You don’t have to have the most advanced trainer, either. These moves, although they should be done properly, are capable of providing not only cardio and strength training but also a large aspect of fun.
Today, I’m going to go through some kickboxing basics for beginners, explaining a few elements to get you started on a basic kickboxing routine. From kickboxing moves to kickboxing techniques for beginners, this guide should have everything you need to know and more to get started.

Defining Kickboxing

defining kickboxing
Before I get started, I’m going to first tell you what you’re getting yourself into. In kickboxing workout routines, you’ll find a combination of boxing, Muay Thai, and karate, all rolled into one sport. Kickboxing combines all the fundamentals of these separate martial arts branches and makes it as mainstream as it gets—bringing the world of fighting to your local gym—or living room if you’re doing it at home.
This beneficial workout targets your strength and your endurance. So, before I get into kickboxing basic moves, let me tell you why it’s good for you.

Benefits of Kickboxing:

Benefits of Kickboxing

Works the entire body at once

If you’re looking for a beneficial workout session, kickboxing targets a full body workout: giving you the opportunity to burn a lot of calories and tone all the muscles groups in your body, all at once. In most cases, kickboxing involves striking using all eight parts of the body, which means you’re really touching base with your entire body.

Strengthen your core and enhance your balance

Since a lot of these moves require you to swing and move around while maintaining your balance, kickboxing engages your core and targets those centralized parts of your body. It’s a great option that will eliminate the need to turn to planks and crunches.

Tones your muscles

Since it works out your whole body, kickboxing will get your targeting and toning all your muscles at once. Getting the definition you’ve been looking for when it comes your deltoids, arms, and backs, kickboxing targets and tones all your problem areas that traditional fitness exercises might not get to.

It’s a Non-Contact Workout

Especially if you want to get into martial arts but aren’t too motivated to actually make contact, hitting, punching or kicking another person, than these classes might be perfect for you since your target is normally the air or cushioned pads. Sometimes, you can use heavy bags and they’ll be incorporated into the mix.

Burns Calories like Crazy

If you’re looking to fight off those calories and get into the summer season looking great, kickboxing can work off between 350 and 450 calories per hour, depending on your work rate. However, in general, it will definitely get your body moving, generating a calorie deficit and getting you on your way to a health fat loss regimen.

It’s the Perfect Source for a Healthy Heart

Not only is kickboxing a great cardio source, it gets your heart rate up to a healthy pace where it kicks in the improvement in cardiovascular conditioning and heart health.

It also targets your lungs, improving its function and increasing your body’s energy levels, which is helpful for anybody looking to get fit.

Bypasses Normality

Instead of simply targeting strength and centralized movements, kickboxing focuses on gaining power in every strike you make. Not only will you feel more powerful, you’ll be able to generate force quicker than ever, which is more practical for mobility levels instead of simply being strong.

Whatever your motive may be, whether it’s learning how to defend yourself or you’re looking into getting into great shape, picking up kickboxing can take you there. Even if you don’t have the resources or access to a great instructor that can show you the moves, the basics, and help you with your form, you can also do kickboxing with a sparring partner. Even if those aren’t available to you either, training kickboxing on your own is also extremely beneficial.
If you cannot make it to the gym, you can always try to get into kickboxing at home. Whether you’ve rented old-school DVDs or have searched the internet for resources and classes you can follow online, kickboxing is always possible, no matter where you are and at what level you begin. To be able to do so, however, you’ll first need to know a few things.

How to Start Kickboxing at Home

How to Start Kickboxing at Home
Whether it’s because of financial reasons or you’re looking at costly time restraints, your only option may be to kickbox at home. So, before you go searching on Youtube or the internet for great online kickboxing classes, you should check these things off a list:

Gear Up

Although kickboxing is definitely one workout that you can get away with doing without any equipment, there are some things that you will need if you’re looking to go about it properly.

If you have absolutely no access to any gear or no finances to spare for this workout, you can really get into shadowboxing, which requires absolutely no equipment and is an effective aspect of training that can work on your punches, on your various strikes, your form, your footwork, and so much more.

However, if you really want to look and feel the part and also get the most out of your training, it’s not a bad idea to invest in some kickboxing equipment.

For a basic exercise in kickboxing training, you’ll need clothes that are geared to athletic movement. To be able to move freely about is an important attribute that your clothes need to have, while giving you also support where you may need it.

You should also invest in supporting shoes, like running shoes, that provide stability but are also extremely light. If you are looking for a more complete and proper shoe, you should look into cross-training shoes. They are usually lighter than running sneakers and leave you light on your feet for agility and flexibility.

Especially if you’re planning to spar with a partner or planning to strike at pads or a punching bag, you’ll need to protect and wrap your hands or provide cushion to them with gloves. You can invest in both but you can also get away with either one. Hand wraps will focus on giving you the support when it comes to punching form and provide some light protection to your knuckles and bones. However, gloves will give you some stronger protection but might not focus as much as hand wraps on that form and wrist protection. You can also invest in other safety or protection equipment, like shin guards, head guards, and mouth guards.

Make Room

You don’t need to have a full gym floor for yourself or clear the entire house, as long as you have enough room around you to move about freely, throwing kicks and punches. However, if you have invested in a heavy bag or other equipment, you might need to look into sparing a little more room for kickboxing.

Especially if you’re doing it from home with a television or computer in front of you, be careful that you’re not in any danger of kicking your electronic device. Keep a wide enough stance and berth from it.

Begin With the Basics

We all had to start somewhere. Know that since you’re just starting out, you’ll have to begin with some kickboxing basic techniques. Building a foundation and learning these basic punches and kicks will help you advance much easier and learning the proper form will help you avoid injury as much as possible.

Just like with any martial arts, technique is everything, so starting with the basics and really working on your form is an important aspect of working with kickboxing.

Find Your Fighting Stance

Just as I mentioned with learning the basics, learning kickboxing punches and kicks also means learning a fighting stance and developing one that is not only comfortable and tailored to you but also effective from getting through one combination and onto the next.

A good fighting stance is essential for stability and power behind your strikes. Although it may look different from one person to another the basics are:

  • Your feet should be staggered, one in front of the other.

  • Keep your knees slightly bent with the heel of your back foot a little bit lifted off the ground,

  • Your elbows should be perpendicular to your ribs and your fists should be on guard near your chin. Your palms should be facing your face, inwards.

  • After you have that, make a fist with your fingers curled in and your thumb over your first two fingers.

  • Keep that core in tight and contracted when you’re performing movement so you have balance and power—you’ll also get killer abs.

Here is a video to also help you with your stance: View Video

Now that you have the basics, I’m going to move on to some basic movements that you can get started on. Since you already have all the equipment you may need and know certain facts to take you through the first basic punches and kicks, without further ado, here they are:

Basic Punches

basic punches
Being able to deliver a powerful and effective punch is crucial in kickboxing, whether you’re taking a class or fighting someone. Although you might not be concentrating on kickboxing to be able to fight successfully and are just into it for the fitness, it is still beneficial to throw a punch with proper form because when done correctly, you are targeting the upper body muscles, your core, and can get in an effective cardio workout.
This is a punch thrown with your rear hand. Starting originally from the guarded position, you should take your rear hand or fist, throw it directly from the chin across the body, delivering the punch in a straight line.
Here is a video to help you throw the cross:

Thrown with your left hand or your front hand, it is the punch that is the lead punch, with your weaker arm. Since it has longer range, it is effective and can be thrown quickly.
Here is a video to help you throw the jab:

This punch is really one of the most crucial and impacting strikes that you can throw if it lands on your opponent. Since it comes with power and with an angle, you can throw it when your opponent least expects it.
Here is a video to help you throw a hook:

Upper cut:
One of the punches generally improperly done is the upper cut, so make sure to pay attention to form here. It is a powerful punch that is jutted out from the waist in an upward direction, aimed for your opponent’s chin or body.
Here is a video to help you throw an upper cut:


Basic Kicks

Basic Kicks
Now that you have all the basic punches covered, it’s time to move down to your lower body. Since most of those large muscles in your body are located in your legs, you can harness a large amount of power by using them. Not only are they deadly when fighting, utilizing and engaging these muscles can burn and target a lot of calories.
Here are some basic kicks to get you started:

Side Kick:

Using the heel or outer edge of your foot for impact, a side kick is thrown from a sideway position or stance.

Here is a video to help you perform a side kick: View Video

Front kick:

This kick involves raising the knee and foot forward, making an impact with the ball of your foot.

Here is a video to help you perform a front kick: View Video

Roundhouse Kick:

Used because of its power and ease of use, the roundhouse kick is delivered by swinging the leg sideways in a circular motion, hence the name. There are many variations of the roundhouse kick but when done effectively, it can be deadly. When performed correctly, you normally have the impact on the shin.

Here is a video to help you perform a roundhouse kick: View Video

Now that you have all the moves down, it’s time to get into the other aspects of kickboxing. Kickboxing takes a certain level of fitness to be able to execute the moves as accurately as possible. To do so, you have to be conditioned enough and get fit. This may seem counterproductive if you are actually doing kickboxing to get fit in the process.
Therefore, if you are looking to use kickboxing as a tool to get fit, you should know that with these exercises, you’ll be building speed, stamina, and strength. However, you should be pairing it with different exercises that can work out your long endurance like running, cycling, swimming, etc.
Even though kickboxing works on your muscular endurance without pairing it with weights, you can always add them on. The great thing about kickboxing is that it can be done no matter where you are, what you have access to, and how old you are.
However, with every beginning, you will experience certain drawbacks that you may experience, simply because there is a risk with any type of physical exercise.
With certain aspects, you may have a negative experience. Although I don’t necessarily want to talk about all the negative or possibly bad aspects of kickboxing, they are things that can go wrong so to be aware of them is the first step to avoiding them.
Here are some factors that may cause injury or negative results:
injury or negative results

Participating in Too Much Exercise Frequency

Although I want to always encourage exercising often to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there’s a point where it gets to be too much. Whether it causes a negative impact on you and your health or you and your social or family life, exercising way too much might cause a negative impact rather than positive.

Letting Yourself Carry On With

Improper Form

As I already mentioned, using proper form is extremely important, especially when doing kickboxing. Therefore, if you’re doing these exercises without much attention to your form, you’ll most likely draw attention to fragile or open areas and might get yourself injured.

Performing the Exercises With Excessive Speed or Intensity

It’s also extremely important to start off slow. Especially when you need to perform the exercises with correct form, starting to move slowly so that you get every aspect correctly is essential to avoiding injury. Even if you aren’t a beginner, performing the exercises too quickly can still cause injury—no matter how experienced you are.

Working In Time with Music That’s Too Fast

Especially if you’re with a class, this might be a bit more difficult to control because you don’t have an opinion on what music is blasting over the speakers but if you’re on your own and playing music, try not to make the song over 140 beats per minute or else you’ll be put on overdrive and it could lead to excessive speed in the workout.

Ultimately, with this guide, I hope that you’ve learned some basics for kickboxing for beginners that you can carry on and begin your exercise regimen. However, to get more specific, you should keep reading for a kickboxing combos list or kickboxing exercises for beginners.
Here, I have a few tips when it comes to some drills you should learn while you’re first starting out. From the way you should move to different drills to help you develop some basic skills, here are a few tips for kickboxing basics:
some basic skills, here are a few tips for kickboxing basics

Nailing a Power Punching-Packed Drill

Even though it’s called kickboxing, punching is a main component in this martial arts branch. Learning how to throw a punch properly is essential and any beginner will quickly learn that it’s not all just in the arms.

Throwing a power packed punch requires the use of your entire body, which starts off in the power and weight of the muscles in your legs. It moves from your legs to your hips to your core and then to your upper body, shoulder, and then finally transfers to your fists.

When using the bag or shadowboxing, to perform this punching-centered drill, hit at the bag for rounds of three minutes, alternating between a right and a left-handed punch. In between sets, take a break of up to one-minute. Since this drill focuses on power, stay away from jabs and focus on more power-oriented punches.

Performing a Kicking-Focused Drill

Moving on to your legs, you can use the heavy bag to switch between the various kicks, from front to roundhouse to side kicks. Kicks are extremely important to train and having the power behind a kick can be the deciding factor in a fight. It is also a great exercise in training to do to work on toning and strengthening your muscles.

When you’re doing this kicking-focused drill, make sure you’re alternating legs instead of just simply using your dominant leg. Being able to perform a strong kick no matter which leg you’re using is very important in your kickboxing game and will give you more of a chance to be able to take your opponent down with a kick.

For this drill, shoot out three right roundhouse kicks, move onto three front kicks and then three side kicks. After performing the nine kicks in a row, alternate legs and complete it with the left leg. Run through both legs with nine reps (three each kick), alternate legs, and then complete the entire thing three sets—if you can.

Throwing a Combination Drill

Especially for a kickboxer, you have to be able to use both punching and kicking to perform to the best of your abilities—whether you’re in the ring or just training.

Nailing a quality combination is important for your attack.

For this drill, you’ll need a heavy bag or you will be shadowboxing. Circle the “bag” clockwise while jabbing with your left hand. Follow the jab with a front kick and then throw a left hook.

After this combination, come in with a left jab, a right roundhouse kick and a straight right cross.

The last set should look like a left roundhouse kick to a right uppercut punch and then a left side kick.

You should throw these combinations together for three minutes each, continuously repeating the combination. In between sets, break for one minute.

Mastering the Movement

Especially if you have access to heavy bag, being able to utilize it to learn how to move around while performing these exercises is important for fighting. This will help you perform your best when fighting an actual fight. The bag doesn’t move like a fighter but it will still sway and pivot after you’ve punched or kicked it.

Move around the bag as if you were going to be moving around in a fight. Throw some combinations and then as the bag moves, you should move. Working with a heavy bag also helps your timing when throwing combinations, punching, and kicking, as well.

I hope that this kickboxing basics guide has helped introduce to you a few basics that you should know before you begin training. You might not realize what’s important to know before you begin and aspects that your trainer or buddies might not tell you about that you’ll just be left to learn on your own.
With this guide, you now have a few exercises and drills that you can work on, whether it’s on your own or with a trainer or partner. You have the proper form of various basic punches and kicks to throw on their own or within combinations. You have the specific gear you might need before you even begin training that might help you be as successful as possible. Lastly, I’ve let you know a few benefits that come with training for kickboxing that you might see come to fruition within the first few weeks or months of training. Either way, with all this information, I hope that this guide has given you a successful first step in kickboxing basics.


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