Aerobic/HIIT & Full-Body Strength
Origin of Kickboxing:
Kickboxing itself has been relevant for years, initially with the main goal of self-defense.
More recently, in 2008, retired boxer Danny Cambell brought boxing to the fitness scene. He had the idea to create a “workout” oriented atmosphere, as opposed to “fighting” against another person.
Even more recently, in 2016, Title Boxing Club (where I attend classes) was named the number one fastest growing franchise on the Inc. 5000 list! The company currently boasts 160 franchise locations in 36 U.S. states.
One of the instructors explained how he, like Cambell, preferred to keep a fitness-focused energy in the gym. Instead of the competition that comes with sparring against another person, the instructors want to emphasize personal athletic growth.
Arrive a half-hour early to your first class so that an instructor can help you get set up with hand wraps and boxing gloves.
He or she will also give you a quick lesson on each of the boxing terms (jab, cross, uppercut, hook, roundhouse or switch kick, etc.) and how to complete them. This way, you can have a fast-paced, effective workout.
The Kickboxing Warm-Up:
Title Boxing’s one-hour (“Power Hour”) workout begins with about thirteen minutes of warm-up moves.
The instructor gets your heart pounding right away with a fun mixture of “shadow-boxing” (not actually hitting the bags), cardio, and calisthenics. The warm-up is usually completed without gloves on, and, let me tell you, it really gets me sweaty!
Then you move into the focus of the workout: eight, three-minute rounds of high-intensity, non-stop kickboxing!
The instructor generally begins a round with a simple combination or hit (jab-cross-jab, for example), and adds more moves throughout the round (jab-cross-jab-switch kick-hook, using our previous example) without any stops! This pattern continues for the duration of the three-minute round.
In the following video clips, every once in a while you will notice I stop and look off into the distance; the instructor will quickly demonstrate the combination to give you a visual in addition to the audial cues!
He can also encourage the class to focus on one of three aspects: form, speed, or power. For example, the first 30 seconds of a round may be focusing on the form of your hooks only, then the next 30 seconds on how fast you can complete the hooks, and then how powerful you can land the hits called out.
Furthering our previous example, you may hear the instructor shout out “power jab-cross-jab”. Then, for the last thirty seconds, they may call out “speed jab-cross-jab”!
The workout is completely customizable depending on the instructor for the specific day and thus varies, but always guarantees a heart-pounding, muscle-burning routine.
Throughout the Kickboxing Rounds…
…the instructor moves around the room in order to demonstrate the next set of moves, assist with form, and give criticism or commendation where due.
The workout is so physically demanding that there isn’t much focus on what your neighbor is doing next to you. It’s nice to be in an atmosphere where you are completely engrossed in your own personal fitness.
Kickboxing is really comprised of so much more than just your arms and legs. With proper form, you will be twisting, bending, ducking, and bouncing; you engage every muscle in your body and work as hard as you can.
In between each three-minute round, there is a one-minute active recovery rest period. The class instructor will give you a lower-intensity move to slow your heart down, like a wall-sit. My favorite active recovery move is getting water from the drinking fountain. 😉
After the eighth round, you are able to take off your sweaty gloves and grab a light medicine ball for the final thirteen-minute section: core and cool-down.
The instructor leads the class through slower, lower-intensity stretches and body-weight exercises (with the use of aforementioned medicine ball, if you would like). The focus here is on the abdominals and back since so much of good boxing technique comes from having a strong core.
If You Like…
- a fast-paced and high-energy workout atmosphere
- instructor-led workout plan, assistance, and critique
- using mental strength to push yourself
- to “let it all out” on the punching bag; cathartic; distracting
- a rhythmic, flowing exercise
- opportunity for a class-setting or private boxing lessons
… then kickboxing may be the best workout for you!
Closing Thoughts on Kickboxing:
Out of every exercise I’ve attempted or reviewed, kickboxing is “number-one” in my book; in fact, it is relatively difficult to think of any downsides to my new favorite workout plan… but this is supposed to be an objective review, so I will hush with my opinions. 🙂
If cost is an issue, kickboxing at a Club may be somewhat out of the question. However, if you are able to motivate yourself and create boxing regimes on your own, it may be in your best interest to invest in a punching bag for your own basement (or living room… why not?!)
I would also like to offer the warning that kickboxing is a high-intensity and high-impact sport. If you have joint issues, bone weakness, or muscle pain on a daily basis, kickboxing may negatively affect your current body status more than some other workouts.
The main goal of exercising is body wellness, so if your exercise routine is detracting from body wellness, then the routine is not effective for you and should be discontinued (though, I’m not a doctor… just trying to use common sense. Do what your doctor says, always. LOL.)
In the meantime… I’ll see you in the ring! 😉
Thanks for reading! Leave me a comment below if you’d ever like to try kickboxing!
Stay tuned for the next installment in the series!