Understanding Kickboxing Basics

By Lillian Chiu , last updated December 15, 2011

If you're looking for a new workout routine that works your whole body, then you might be a fan of kickboxing. It is essential that you understand the kickboxing basics before you begin. Kickboxing, also known as cardio kickboxing and boxing aerobics, is an exercise that combines martial arts, boxing and aerobics. There are other forms of kickboxing that involve physical contact, but this is the form that is most common.

Due to its multifaceted approach, kickboxing offers a full body workout that other basic exercises lack. It can increase your strength, flexibility and stamina. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a person weighing 135 pounds can burn 350-450 calories per 50 minute kickboxing session. In order to get the most out of kickboxing, it's vital to understand the basics.

Proper Preparation

Before launching into a full-on kickboxing class, it's important to prepare yourself. Kickboxing is an intense sport, and if you're a complete beginner you might want to start out slow before progressing to an advanced routine. Consider your current fitness level. If you haven't been exercising at all, then you should start off with a basic workout. Begin with low-impact aerobics and exercises that are not as physically demanding. As with all exercises, it's important to stretch beforehand. Stretching helps ease the muscles into, and out of, workout mode and prevent injury.

Basic Moves

A basic kickboxing class typically begins with a warm-up, which consists of stretching and basic exercises, such as jumping jacks. Then, the instructor demonstrates a series of punches, hand strikes, knee strikes, and kicks as the class follows along. The routine is followed by a cool down. Depending on the instructor, you may use equipment, such as punching bags or jump ropes. Some basic kicks include the roundhouse kick, front kick and side kick. All of these moves begin with a basic stance, where one side of the body, usually right side first, is facing the target while the knees are slightly bent and shoulder-length apart. Have your hands up so that they protect vulnerable areas, such as your face, jaw and chest.

Roundhouse Kick

Begin with a basic stance and have the right side of your body facing the target. Aim for the right side of your target by bringing your right knee up, rotating your body as you do so. Extend your leg and kick with the top of your foot. It might help to picture the motion of this kick as a semi-circle in the air.

Front Kick

This kick is very straightforward. Beginning as usual with the basic stance, bring the knee up towards the chest and kick straight out in front of you. The ball of your foot should strike the target.

Side Kick

Start with the basic stance. Pull your right knee up to your left shoulder and extend outwards. Ideally, the kick should be a quick, snapping motion.

Important Tips

There are several other important tips that will maximize your kickboxing experience. Firstly, make sure to drink plenty of water. Secondly, make sure to wear loose-fitted clothing. Kickboxing is clearly an active sport, and you don't want your clothes to restrict your movement as you work out. Also, know what the class is like before signing yourself up. Try to find an instructor that is ACE certified, in addition to having martial arts or boxing training.

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