Energizing Kickboxing Workout: Get Empowered (and Sweaty)

Written by
8fit Team @ 8fit
Written by
8fit Team @ 8fit
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Are you bored of your same old fitness regimen and ready to spice up your gym routine? If so, maybe it’s time to consider kickboxing. The origin of kickboxing goes back to the 1950s when it was designed as a hybrid martial art based on kicking and punching. While this might sound a little hardcore at first, cardio kickboxing is actually an incredible full-body workout that is great for both cardio (duh!) and strength building. So much so that we think you should give it a go, at least once. Ready to unleash your inner warrior? Follow our lead.

So, what is kickboxing exactly?

Initially, kickboxing was an intense combat sport that required both hardcore endurance and speed to win. It originated in Japan by combining elements of karate, Muay Thai, and boxing. Today, cardio kickboxing has hit the mainstream and isn’t just about combat, it’s also a fantastic workout. Sure, you’ll be applying fighting techniques such as kicks and punches, but only to work a sweat. 

Despite the name, kickboxing is actually a non-contact sport. All punches and kicks are thrown into the air or onto pads. The workout itself is a real calorie burner that requires you to engage both your upper body (with punches and jabs) and lower body (with kicks and sprawls). Because you’ll continuously shift your focus from lower to upper body, you’ll be in for a full-body workout of a whole new level.

Why you should try a kickboxing workout

Don’t let kickboxing’s fighting background scare you off! There’s a reason why the discipline has become a favorite among fitness enthusiasts. Trust us when we say cardio kickboxing’s benefits are truly amazing.

Here’s what kickboxing can do for you:

Sweat it out

Whether or not you’re looking to lose weight, kickboxing torches a lot of calories. All the powerful arm and leg moves combined with heart-pumping cardio make for an incredible session. A kickboxing workout performed at high intensity could help you burn through as many as 800 calories per hour, and that’s not even counting the calories your body will continue to burn once you are done working out. Not bad!

Tone your entire body

One of the many benefits of kickboxing is its ability to engage all of your muscle groups at once. Sure, the kicking and punching will help you build a stronger lower body and upper body, but these moves also require a lot of core power. This means that you’ll also be working your back and abs. Because it takes your entire body to practice each movement, cardio kickboxing is a full-body workout that will get you toned you from head to toe.

Relieve stress

Exercising, in general, helps combat stress thanks to the release of endorphins (aka happy hormones) every time you work out. But the nature of kickboxing itself is a fantastic way to relieve any pent-up anger and anxiety. Ever felt so annoyed that you thought you might punch a wall? Kickboxing is a healthier option to let go of all your frustrations and take care of your mental health. These cardio workouts provide a great release and allow you to get stress out of your system by forcefully bashing away any bottled-up rage. 

Learn self-defense

Remember when we said that kickboxing draws inspiration from martial arts? Cardio kickboxing is a great workout, but you get to learn basic self-defense moves as an added perk. Being able to defend yourself with just your hands and feet can be incredibly empowering and help you feel safer. Learning only a few kickboxing defense and combat techniques will make you that much more confident in your everyday life.

Improve coordination

On top of all its other benefits, cardio kickboxing also improves balance, coordination, and flexibility. Wow-za! The rapid movements it involves require to control and coordinate your body when throwing the kicks and punches. Because cardio kickboxing helps you develop sharp reflexes, your brain will have to work as well to act quickly and execute each movement correctly. While you’re working on your coordination and reflexes on the mat, you’ll be improving your posture and balance off the mat too.

Want to do more for your coordination? Here are some exercises to improve balance.

Work out at home

Another reason to add cardio kickboxing to your workout routine is that you can train anywhere you want. If you don’t have access to a studio or just can’t be bothered to head to the gym, the comfort of your home will provide the perfect spot for a quick kickboxing session. Cardio kickboxing is a bodyweight-only workout, so you won’t need any equipment to get started. Sure, kickboxing pads and weighted bags are a thing, but they are just not necessary to work a sweat. Looking for a fun workout without the stress of having to take a class? Kickboxing at home it is!

Want to keep training from the comfort of home? Try some of our favorite at-home workouts.

Improve your cardio

All that kicking and punching isn’t just about strength building and muscle toning. The constant high-intensity and fast-paced movement you engage in while working out will get your heart rate up and get you sweating like never before. By improving your endurance and cardiovascular health, you will be able to keep your heart and lungs stronger for longer and eventually help prevent heart disease.

Have fun

Cardio training can sometimes feel a bit boring and repetitive, especially if you’ve chosen to run for hours on the treadmill. On the other hand, cardio kickboxing is a great way to add some diversity to your routine. The moves are challenging and exciting and will leave your energy levels sky-high. Overall, cardio kickboxing is a fun workout that will make you feel great without ever having to count down the minutes until it’s over.

Basic kickboxing moves you need to know

Cardio kickboxing is a mix of punches:

  • Jabs (straight punch with the lead arm)

  • Crosses (straight punch with the trailing arm)

  • Hooks (a hooking motion from the side)

  • Uppercuts (a hooking motion from below)

And leg motions: 

  • Knee strikes (drive back knee up at same time as pulling arms down into the knee)

  • Front kicks (drive knee up then extend leg straight forward, can be done with front or back leg)

  • Roundhouse kicks (from the side position, drive front knee towards chest and push the heel out)

  • Sidekicks (from the side position, pull the front foot back and push the arch of the foot out)

  • Back kicks (drive knee up then extend leg in the back, can be done with front or back leg)

Your at-home cardio kickboxing workout

If you’ve ever wanted to channel your inner Muhammad Ali, now is the time. As the master himself poetically said, all you have to do to box successfully is ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.’ So, are you ready to add some kicking and punching to your life? Just follow along to the moves below (after a quick 5-minute warmup to loosen your muscles and get your body ready).

First Set

  • Jab + Cross + Jab + Jab.

  • Start with left leg forward, knees slightly bent, fists up guarding face, and elbows in.

  • Do 25 reps. Switch sides. Repeat.

Second Set

  • Back kick + Knee strike.

  • Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent, fists up guarding face, and elbows in.

  • Do 25 reps. Switch sides. Repeat.

Third Set

  • Front kick + Jab + Cross + Front kick

  • Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent, fists up guarding face, and elbows in.

  • Do 25 reps. Switch sides. Repeat.

Fourth Set

  • Front kick (right) + Front kick (left) + Uppercut (right) + Uppercut (left) + Knee strike (right) + Knee strike (left)

  • Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent, fists up guarding face, and elbows in.

  • Do 25 reps.

New to boxing? Try this boxing workout for beginners.

How was that for a try-at-home cardio kickboxing workout? For even more workout ideas that will get your heart rate up, sign up for the 8fit app now.

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