If you’re looking for a workout to switch things up a bit and make things more interesting, try cardio kickboxing. It’s a high-intensity workout that’s fun, exciting and will burn lots of calories. but this cardio form of kickboxing is different from the intense form of martial art you know.
Kickboxing is a contact sport that emerged from boxing and martial arts. You can see it being associated with UFC and MMA athletes. With kickboxing, you’re focusing on self-defense.
On the other hand, cardiovascular kickboxing is a body workout that enables you to perform kickboxing moves without the need to fight or even have a sparring partner.
With cardio kickboxing, you can build stamina, improve flexibility and strengthen both the upper and lower body at once without the need to hit someone or get hit yourself. The good news for beginners is that even though you have never boxed before you can easily get into kickboxing and you don’t have to get a partner to practice.
You’ll immediately lose track of time while kicking and punching imaginary opponents, which makes kickboxing the perfect activity if you want to do something that involves both mental and physical stimulation.
How to Start Cardio Kickboxing
1. Decide what your goals are
You need a goal if you want cardio kickboxing to be part of your routine. Are you taking it up because you want to lose weight? Get fitter? Or do you eventually want to take on kickboxing and enter competitions?
Be specific. Let’s say you want to become fitter. What’s your target size or weight? When do you plan on practicing? How will kickboxing fit in with your daily activities?
Determine your goals and plan your days, then you can start planning your lessons.
2. Get your gears ready
Gear is a very important part of every sport, it’s like fuel for your car. Your gear itself won’t make you healthier but it does make the workout more comfortable, safe, and fun.
Though you won’t need things like mouthguards and paddings since you won’t be fighting with anyone, you’ll be needing some things that are similar to kickboxing if you’re planning to work with a punching bag at home.
You need to bring hand wraps and kickboxing gloves. However, if you’re going to go to class and won’t be using any punching bags, then you can just bring water, towels, and some comfortable clothes that you can move and jump around in.
3. Decide if you want to go to a studio or practice at home
“Can I learn kickboxing at home?”
This is one of the most common questions from those who are interested in taking up the sport. The answer is yes.
Since you’re not going to be in contact with anybody, that includes sparring, you have the choice to take cardio kickboxing wherever you prefer.
Cardio kickboxing workouts include choreographed moves so you can even find videos showcasing beginner classes on video hosting sites like YouTube. For a more personalized class, then you might want to go to a gym although some kickboxing gyms do offer online classes as well.
4. Learn the basic moves
Like all sports, there are fundamental moves that you should learn in the beginning. Learning these moves will help you to practice more combinations in the future.
The basic punches in kickboxing:
- The jab. A jab is quick and forceful punch. It is delivered with just one hand with speed but less strength than straight punches. This punch is useful for getting in close and can be used in combinations with other punches when mastered.
- A straight punch. A straight punch sometimes called a ‘cross’ in boxing, is a powerful punch that is thrown with a straight arm and is usually aimed at the head. It is done by taking a step forward as you throw this punch, but don’t cross your feet or you’ll lose balance. Also, keep your chin down as you’re throwing it to protect yourself from incoming punches from your opponent.
- The uppercut. An uppercut is a type of vertical fist-punching that’s also used in boxing and Muay Thai. You will need quick reflexes to do this properly so practice makes perfect. A good tip for learning how to do this is to try placing the tip of your thumb on your chin like you were talking to someone at a bar & making eye contact. This helps with proper fist positioning and prevents injuries such as accidentally hitting yourself.
- The hook. A hook is a punch that resembles a swing movement and usually aims for the head of your opponent. A good way to understand this punch is by imagining that you’re holding on to something like a rope and swinging it towards the target.
- The back-fist. The back-fist is when you swing your fist backward and hit your opponent. It can take time to master this one but be careful because it could cause damage if the wrong body part makes contact with the person or the punching bag.
- The hammer fist. A hammer is a punch that uses the end of your fist and usually aims for the ribcage or stomach area. It relies on speed and is very powerful, though not as much as a regular punch. Practice is crucial to make it look right. To do this, hold out your hand like you’re stopping traffic with your palm facing down. Then, bring your fist downward slowly but explosively before pulling back up again.
The basic kicks in kickboxing:
- The front kick. This is an oblique kick to the waist of your opponent with your forward leg. To do this, stand in fighting stance with your left foot forward. Transfer the weight into your right foot and pull the left knee up to your chest. Pull the left heel in toward your glute and flex the foot. Kick straight out, keeping the foot flexed. Push off of both legs to help generate power for this move rather than just using momentum from swinging the kicking leg alone.
- The sidekick. The sidekick is made from standing sideways onto your enemy’s face or chest. Start by standing with your left foot forward. Rotate your hips to the right and point your right toes out slightly. The left foot must be flexed prior to kicking. Bend the knee and bring it in toward your chest. Then kick the left leg out to the left, leaning your weight to the right to balance.
- The roundhouse. This is a circular kick swung from directly above your shoulder aimed downward at your enemy. Stand with your right foot forward. Bend the right knee slightly and turn on that hip so that most of your weight is over that bent leg. Swing the left foot clockwise, but keep it close to and behind you and not too far away (this will make you unbalanced). Swing all of this momentum into a hard clockwise roundhouse kick straight down at an opponent.
- The back kick. Here, you’ll do a backward kick as hard as you can with the leg furthest from your enemy. You should be standing in a fighting stance with your right foot forward. Transfer your weight into your left foot and pull the right knee up to your chest. Pull the right heel in toward your glute and flex the foot. Kick straight out, keeping that foot flexed. Push off of both legs to help generate power for this move rather than just using momentum from swinging the kicking leg alone. Keep your hips pointed in a direction opposite to where you will be kicking. This way you can pivot on one leg to get around quickly and easily if you need to retreat.
5. Get a bag
Once you’ve determined that kickboxing is a sport that you want to incorporate into your lifestyle, then it’s time to get a proper kickboxing bag so that you can practice at home. Adding a bag into your routine will help you gain more resistance, strengthen your muscles, and burn more calories.
Benefits of Cardio Kickboxing
Learning how to do a cardiovascular workout can be intimidating, especially at first. However, it’s a great choice for beginners because the punches and kicks you learn work your upper body and lower body at once. The punches will increase your arm strength and endurance while the kicks will strengthen your legs, hips, glutes, and core.
Since the movements are so complex, you’ll also test your coordination as well.
Cardio kickboxing workouts burn a lot of calories. A 124 pounds individual could burn 300 calories in half an hour. As you gain experience, you’ll become more conditioned to the movements and thus they’ll become more efficient. This means that you may burn more calories than beginners.
It’s also important to note that kickboxing workouts can be surprisingly demanding on the muscles. Your legs will get stronger quickly, but it may take some time for your arms and shoulders to build up their strength so be patient! You’ll notice results with consistent practice.
One thing remains true throughout all stages of kickboxing training: classes are fun because there is always something new to learn about the sport and your body. With enough motivation, dedication, and patience, you’ll start to see results quickly.
How Much Does Cardio Kickboxing Cost?
The average cost of having your first session at a kickboxing gym (including the required gloves) is at least $20. However, keep in mind that some gyms require you to purchase their uniforms. These usually run about $100 – $200.
Beginners are typically offered free intro sessions so ask the gym if they have any special offers for new students. If you have a friend who is already a gym member, ask them to take you as their guest the first time so that they can vouch for your attendance.
What does a typical kickboxing class look like?
Kickboxing classes are typically an hour long and involve both instructions from a qualified instructor as well as sparring with other students. The setting will vary depending on the location of your gym. Some have large spaces where everyone can move around freely, while others may be smaller and more intimate.
Kickboxing instructors can be really helpful when you’re starting out because they will also show modifications for beginners. For example, instead of doing a full jump-kick, beginners may only kick half-height or crouch down before launching their kicks. This is just another way for beginners to quickly learn while avoiding injuries.
The best part about kickboxing classes is that you don’t have to do it alone. Most gyms offer intro classes that are usually free so feel free to ask questions and get involved. You can go with your friends and family members to work out together.
Kickboxing or Cardio Kickboxing: Which One is For You?
You can take up kickboxing if you’re into martial arts or contact sports. It’s also an option if you want to enter competitions in the future. If your focus is mainly to incorporate a workout that involves a lot of movement and is fun to do, then cardio kickboxing is for you.
While kickboxing and cardio kickboxing are both good forms of exercise, kickboxing is a lot more dangerous and technique-centered than cardio kickboxing which focuses on fitness rather than self-defense.
Muay Thai and Kickboxing: What’s the Difference?
The two martial arts may be very much alike there are many differences. For one, Muay Thai involves the use of elbows and knees while they are banned under some kickboxing rules and fights.
Another difference is that in the ring, kickboxing uses a 4-point striking system while Muay Thai involves an 8-point striking system.
You’ll also notice that kickboxing uses hands, angles, and movements together in many combinations, while Muay Thai makes use of timing and relies upon the fighter’s chosen counter-attacks.
The two may look similar at first because they use many similar moves, but if you look closely, the execution is very different. An example would be the kicks.
In Muay Thai, the kick is done by turning the hip, and fully connecting it with the shinbone. In kickboxing, it’s more common to execute it by snapping the knee so the impact often involves strength coming from the fighter’s foot.
Rules may vary from time to time, but both sports remain to be very competitive and dangerous.
Who Should Take Up Cardio Kickboxing?
Anyone who’s interested in burning calories to stay fit should consider cardio kickboxing. Unlike kickboxing, you won’t be required to fight anyone. It’s a high-intensity workout that you can take slowly.
You don’t need any martial arts training or experience, but beginners should take it slow. If you haven’t been exercising for a long time and want to immediately jump into cardio kickboxing, then consider talking to your physician first, especially if you have any medical issues like asthma.
Always listen to your body and hydrate. Incorporate other workout routines as well such as running or bodyweight exercises as these will enable you to move quicker and incorporate more moves into your combination.
Don’t rush the process and just enjoy. If you’re taking classes, it’s normal to be worried about not keeping up with the class or your instructor. Practice and never quit, and you’ll find yourself improving in no time.