Kickboxing Your Way To Health

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Welcome back! Here’s to hoping you had a great cycling experience. If not, don’t worry. It’s time for another new workout. If you are looking to get your whole body moving, learn some life skills and sweat, you might enjoy this one. This time, we’re taking you through a hard-hitting experience with kickboxing.

As a full-body workout, kickboxing engages the arms, core, and leg muscles improve balance and serve as a good source of cardio. One hour of the sport can burn 350-800 calories if executed properly according to the American Council on Exercise. It has similarities to other types of martial arts such as Karate, of which kickboxing is believed to have originated from. There are several different types, including American and K-1, distinguished by the level of contact involved and its country of origin. Each also comes with its own set of rules for contact. 

Kickboxing is a mat sport, meaning it is practiced on a padded surface. It is usually performed barefoot, so if you're not into the whole exposed feet thing, this might not be the sport for you. You will need some materials for your first day. The first is tape. With the constant high-power contact throughout the workout, wrapping your hands and wrists is recommended for support and to avoid injury. The second thing you will need is boxing gloves. There is a right and a wrong way to tape hands, so check out this video for a quick tutorial.

The art of kickboxing is all about technique. Every move needs speed, strength, and power behind it. From the speed bag to lunge kick or front kick, every move used in kickboxing has a purpose and has a right and wrong way to execute them. When standing in the ready stance, the kickboxer should be on their toes, ready to throw a move at any minute. The jab is a quick, powerful punch with the front hand. The jab cross adds on a punch with the backhand coupled with a pivot of the body for extra force. The hook is a rounded punch coming in from the side. Uppercut is similar to a hook but differs by coming in from the bottom. The roundhouse is a kick with the back leg coupled with a pivot on the front leg, helping to bring extra power to the blow.

It is important early on in kickboxing training to learn to follow through with entire moves and not cut them short. As this will limit power and efficiency. Once these are mastered, try them in a combo. To jab cross, step back with a lower outer block and roundhouse. This is a simple combination learned early on in kickboxing and will be later built upon with more difficult moves and combinations. It will help develop coordination, and reaction time and improvisation when practicing with a partner.

Breathing is an important part of kickboxing, as with all forms of working out. To maximize the power behind every move, it's just as important to remember to control breathing, letting out a breath with each contact. When in a ready stance, bouncing on the toes is shortens the amount of time it takes to get in position to strike. It is just fractions of a second, but that is just enough to get ahead of an opponent. 

Learning the proper way to execute these skills is for more than just working out and burning calories. They can also translate into real-life situations if and when self-defense is needed. Not only will you have powerful, well-executed kicks and punches under your belt, but also the right mindset, including avoiding any blows being thrown at you, the proper way to block them, and the mindset and confidence that you can protect yourself. Had a rough day? Need to relieve some stress? What's better than kicking and punching problems away? 

Rising in popularity are gyms that specialize in kickboxing classes, such as iLoveKickboxing. These classes begin with a quick warm-up that includes push-ups, ab work, squats, and other toning exercises before getting into the kickboxing portion, as it's important to build muscle and get moving first.

Similar to cycling, those who practice kickboxing intensely have the opportunity to compete professionally and on an international level, with global competitions held for the best of the best.

Like with any workout, it is important to start slow and pace yourself. Stretch properly before and after to avoid injuries. If you do have any injuries, be sure to disclose them to an instructor so your routine can be adapted by a professional. Due to the high intensity that comes along with a kickboxing workout, hydration is important. Remember, have fun and don't try to compare yourself to others. Everyone works at their own pace and has to start at the beginning. Your workout is what you make of it. Stay tuned for our next workout shake-up.