Almost any gym that offers group fitness classes will offer a form of kickboxing. This martial art is a very popular option for those getting in shape or looking for a new fun activity. However, it can be intimidating to those who have yet to try it because it’s a style of martial arts which entails a certain degree of technical body form and movement.
This article will highlight some essential knowledge for kickboxing beginners and anyone who might be interested in taking it up.
- What is Kickboxing?
- The Benefits of Kickboxing
- What to Expect in a Kickboxing Class
- What to Wear
- For Those With Physical Injuries
Kickboxing has been a popular competition fighting sport and activity for getting in shape since the mid 1900s. It’s a relatively new kind of martial art mostly based in Japanese karate and muay thai fighting styles and it’s actually a form of self-defense some people learn to have as a life-long skill.
Kickboxing incorporates a variety of kicks, punches, blocks, elbows, knees, and typical boxing moves you would find any boxer using such as bouncing or pulsing, bobbing and weaving, and shuffling. It’s great for cardio and agility training because it incorporates quick, repetitive movements front to back, side to side, and up and down.
Kickboxing is a cardio-intensive workout. It will rarely involve adding weights. It does, however, also involve some flexibility and balance training. Kicks, such as front kicks, involve pulling with your abs and hip flexors and stretching your hamstrings, pushing with your glutes, and balancing on the opposite leg by tightening your core and quads. This is only one move out of dozens you will experience in a beginner’s class. Every move, even if it looks like it only involves one body part, actually calls upon several different muscle groups to activate, which means more results than you might expect.
Those who practice kickboxing and other martial arts are known for being very light on their feet. This makes it so they can move quickly around their opponent. Practicing kickboxing develops agility and reaction time, especially when practicing with someone else.
Overall kickboxing is a very effective activity to add to a workout routine strictly for the sake of improving one’s health and fitness, but it’s also appealing to those who would like to learn some self-defense moves without the pressure or commitment of a typical martial arts class like karate or taekwondo.
In most kickboxing group fitness classes, the instructor will face the class members and perform moves choreographed with a certain rhythm or tempo which the members then mimic. This means that the class members must perform the moves at a certain pace and in a certain order. Trained instructors are very good about catering and changing their choreography based on the experience level of their class members.
In a beginner’s class they will also show you how to properly execute all the moves before showing combination moves, so newcomers shouldn’t feel intimidated if they’ve never done martial arts before as chances are, other people in class haven’t either.
The instructor will also teach and use terminology that might sound foreign, but they should also explain what each type of punch and kick is called and what the differences between them are, making the class members more comfortable with the terminology.
Some gyms offer a more personalized class that might only have 3 or 4 attendees. These classes usually involve more one-on-one instruction and contact training. This means training by hitting punching bags or using objects like jump ropes and resistance bands. But in a class of around 20 people, it’s difficult for the instructor to give each person a chance to practice hitting a bag, with smaller groups there is more time to use these methods. Both types of classes have their perks.
Larger group classes have a lot of energy and help people stay motivated by being surrounded by others with the same goal.
Smaller classes means more individual attention, so this might be a better option for those looking to really improve or perfect their form and technique.
Anyone interested in joining a kickboxing class should first make sure they have the proper gear. Many gyms and trainers provide their classes with punching gloves, but it’s best to check with the instructor to see if attendees are required to bring their own.
As with most fitness classes, comfortable and clean sneakers are a must— any typical cross training shoe will do. Be sure they have some grip on the bottom and are free of any dirt so they don’t slip and slide when performing lateral movements and kicks.
Breathable shorts or flexible sweat pants are necessary for stretches, kicks, knees, and lunges. If it’s uncomfortable to squat, then it will surely be uncomfortable to kick. The same goes for a shirt— be sure you can use your full range of motion by sticking your arms straight out and up without the shirt prohibiting your reach. You will being throwing many punches, elbows, and blocks while kickboxing.
Anyone new to working out at a gym or in a group class should start bringing a water bottle with them. The instructor will probably give allotted times for water breaks, but it’s nice to have a refreshment close by just in case. A towel is also good to have not only for wicking away body sweat, but also for drying off the floor or equipment from other people during a group class.
Anyone looking into taking a kickboxing class who might have a bad back, knees, or other ailment should not be deterred from this activity.
Although there are some movements that could put unwanted pressure or strain on a body part, well-trained instructors will know how to modify those moves to ease the pain without completely compromising the workout. For example, instead of jumping, a person with an injury might be asked to squat. But instructors will only know to give options if they are notified beforehand. If they don’t know someone has a problem, then they won’t know it needs to be fixed, so it’s important to be upfront with the instructor to get the most out of the workout.