Women are always looking for ways to lose weight, burn fat and tone muscles. Knowing how to kickbox can quench all of those desires in one workout, and even introduce some self-defense moves. There are few better ways to have fun, build your confidence, and shred a great body while you’re at it.
First things first, decide what you are looking for. If weight loss and fat or calorie burn is your focus, cardio kickboxing may be just the thing for you. Cardio kickboxing is available at gyms worldwide, often times for free! On the other hand, if you are looking for something a bit more powerful, or would like to stay true to the sport, Kickboxing classes are available that are designed for women, and include punching bags, hits and kicks, gloves, and often sparring, or protected fighting in the ring. Sounds intense but exhilarating, right?
How to Kickbox
Your best bet is to find a class with a talented and experienced trainer or instructor to be sure that you are maintaining form and completing the moves properly. Your body will find the most muscle toning benefit comes from more powerful punches and kicks. Learning how to do them from the start will ensure quicker results. There are boxing gyms all over the country where you can find a class that fits your needs.
If you are just starting out, try to master some of the basics. Work on improving your cardiovascular endurance as well by doing some interval training in your cardio workouts. Then, get kicking!
Start by warming up with a total body warm-up. Jog, run, row, or use an elliptical trainer, or try some total body calisthenics like jumping jacks, burpees and mountain climbers, rotating between each one for 30 seconds, and completing the cirucit for about 5 minutes. Save the jump rope for later in the workout–that focuses more on the calves, an extremely small muscle group.
Add in a bob and weave and try out the punches. Keep your back straight and shoulders down as you complete all punches. Focus on powering through the back and shoulder. Those are much larger muscles than your elbow, which is where many women try to gain power. Unfortunately, power through the joints lead to injury, not fierce hits.
Complete the kicks, focusing on pushing through the heel (except for the roundhouse) and keeping your guard with you. Choose power over height as you begin. Your flexibility will increase as you hone your craft, and your legs will be overhead before you know it. Don’t risk injury by overdoing it.
Punches: Keep your fists tight, reaching shoulder height at the extension. Keep wrists in line with the rest of your arm, not bent. Rotate hips and pivot to protect knees, and keep your eye on your target, guard up.
- Jab: straight forward punch from the shoulder.
- Cross: like a jab, but crosses in front of the body as the hips twist.
- Hook: hooks around the body as you twist, moving toward the opposite shoulder. Be careful not to wind up!
- Upper-cut: this fierce punch starts at the hip, and moves up and away from your face, as if you were punching someone in the gut or chin.
Kicks: For a powerful workout, put a little kick in it.
- Roundhouse: With hips and knee in line, slap your shoelaces forward to reach your opponent.
- Front push: Bring the knee up and kick high, pushing through the heel.
- Side push: Same as the front push –knee comes up and pushes to the side through the heel.
- Back push: Same as above! Push back through the heel, rotating hips to the back to gain control and power.
Benefits of Kickboxing
Besides the turbo-charged calorie burn, kickboxing works wonders on the legs, butt, back, arms and abs. All those front, side and back kicks sizzle away the fat stores around your hips and abs while they work to increase flexiblity in the hamstrings and hip flexors. Punches tone biceps and triceps, and work wonders on your back, where the power comes from. Abs get in on the action during the entire workout. It’s their job to keep you stable when you’re roundhousing your way around the ring. Zig zags (to avoid your opponent and block their punches) and kicks work your obliques like you’ve never seen before.
On top of the body-blasting benefits of kickboxing, your confidence will sky-rocket with your new ability to hold your own and protect yourself, even if you never need it outside of class.