Kickboxing has long been a fitness realm dominated by men and is an all-out, fan-centered sport. Cardio kickboxing, on the other hand, has transformed this sport into something that women can engage in for full body fitness and involves a variety of benefits, ranging from weight loss to self-defense.
In fact, kickboxing has become so popular that many mainstream gyms across the U.S. employ specially trained instructors to teach cardio kickboxing classes within the weekly ‘group fitness’ calendar.
Women can sign up and walk into an aerobics classroom, where an instructor walks out the steps in the front– just like in a typical aerobics exercise class.
As the trend continues to rise, many freestanding cardio kickboxing gyms have started to pop up for those who want to center their fitness routine exclusively around the unique workout.
Cardio kickboxing is a workout routine for women of all shapes and sizes. For those intimidated by the ‘group fitness’ environment, there are many excellent DVDs available to help you shape up your skills at home before walking in to your local gym.
Kickboxing DVD Programs
The three 20-minute workouts on this kickboxing DVD are sure to get your heart pumping. You will follow along with Jillian and six other women, having the option to choose kickboxing routines that focus on different parts of the body: Workout 1 focuses on the upper body, Workout 2 on the lower body, and Workout 3 is centered on abs.
Jillian fits a lot into each 20-minute video, like high kicks and sculpting moves. She incorporates some equipment like jump ropes and dumbbells, but most of the moves can be done without them—if you are not ready to make the extra purchase.
She will instruct you to do to jab crosses, front kicks, upper cuts, and a host of other boxing moves. Each workout has a warm up and cool down period. Plan to be exhausted, but happy, at the end of these workouts.
As its name suggests, the workouts on this DVD are inspired by boot camp fitness exercises. These workouts are unique from other kickboxing DVDs in that you can mix and match them to design the type of workout you want. The DVD contains a series of five 10-minutes workouts that each focus on different parts of the body: abs, buns and thighs, and arms and shoulders. The first workout is titled “Basic Training” to introduce you to the concept.
You can choose to do one 10-minute work at a time, or do them back to back for an intense 50-minute workout. The moves in these workout videos are refreshingly unique, guaranteeing that your body will be exercised in new ways. The 10-minute length of each video makes starting a kickboxing routine at home actually something you can do.
You do not have to jump into an hour-long or even 30-minute weekly routine, which can be intimidating to the novice. You can build up your strength slowly, by doing one video a week, then two, and eventually working your way up to all five workouts in one week. These moves are tough and they will whip you into shape.
These four DVDs offer four different types of kickboxing workout: Strike Zone, Kick It, Hardcore Kickboxing, and Kickbox Underground. Each disc features one intense workout close to an hour long (total run time on all four discs is 215 minutes, or about 3.5 hours).
In Strike Zone, world renown instructor Janis Saffell gives you a workout that burns calories by working your upper and lower body. Kick It pushes you to incorporate kicking high and low into your workout. Hardcore Kickboxing focuses on strengthening your muscle groups.
Finally, Kickbox Undergound offers a whole body workout that conditions you for coordination, flexibility, speed, and more. She adds in weights sometimes, but you can still do the workouts without them. Although Saffell has done other videos, this four-disc set has fans raving because of the way you can pick and choose your workout based on what you want to target each day.
How Is Cardio Kick Boxing Different?
Cardio kickboxing is different from kickboxing performed in a boxing ring. The goal is not to defeat an opponent, but to provide you with a solid workout.
Instead of pulling yourself up into a professional ring where you engage an opponent in front of a crowd, you walk into an aerobics classroom at a local gym and perform the steps and motions in place while an instructor guides you, much like a yoga or aerobics class.
Just like any fitness program, there are essential moves that the novice must work to perfect in order to get the most out of their workout.
Similar to the boxing sport, these moves include basics, such as learning the names of individual punches and how to block while punching.
Kickboxing is so popular that it is listed as an aerobics class nearly every day of the week in a typical local gym like the YMCA.
You do not need boxing gloves or special clothing to engage in this cardio workout—though you may still want to bring a towel for wiping away sweat. You just put on your workout clothes and take your spot at the back of the kickboxing studio, where you’ll kick and shadow box in place.
What Are The Benefits Of Cardio Kick Boxing?
Cardio kickboxing is an intense cardio workout. That means it gets your heart pumping and burns calories, both of which have benefits.
Cardiovascular exercise has been proven to lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and improve the overall fitness of your heart. It also increases your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories and resulting in loss of fat. Cardio releases the hormone endorphin, which makes you feel happy, and decreases feelings of hunger.
In addition to the typical benefits of cardio, the moves you perform in a cardio kickboxing routine burn extra fat. Not all aerobics exercises can burn the stubborn belly fat that cardio kickboxing does. This workout routine is efficient, burning on average 750 calories in an hour. Cardio kickboxing has been proven to cut down fat on the belly faster than training with weights and other resistance exercises.
Cardio kickboxing also has an advantage over other types of cardio: it tones the entire body. The moves associated with kickboxing compel you to kick your legs, thrust your arms, focus your core, and engage most of the muscles in your body.
On top of burning extra fat and toning all your muscles, cardio kickboxing teaches you self-defense and gives you an outlet for stress and pent-up anger. You do not need a punching bag in most kickboxing classes, though some classes incorporate occasional use of punching bags to ‘spice up’ the workout.
However, punching the air can help you envision taking down a force that is out of your control, including stressors and give you empowerment. Kickboxing is a perfect way to work out frustration right after a long day at work.
Finally, kickboxing has fast results. Going to an hour-long class twice a week can help you improve overall toning in less than eight weeks. Soon after starting a kickboxing program, you start to look better and feel good about your body—which ultimately increases your confidence.
Things To Keep In Mind
When starting a kickboxing routine, there are important things to consider. You need to determine which type of environment is best for your needs. Do you want to perform the moves at home in your living room while shadowing a video, or do you want to join a group of women at the gym so you can get feedback on your form or how to improve your moves?
It depends on what you are looking for in a program. If you are pressed for time or feel uncomfortable in a group environment, kickboxing at home is fine.
However, if you want the motivation of being around others performing the same physical routine and the guidance of an instructor, a class is probably best.
Though the convenience of an at home class is always a plus—it is advisable to take time to work on perfecting your form in the basic moves in order to get the most out of your workout and prevent injury.
Take into account your body’s limitations. If you do not usually do well with exercise that works your legs, cardio kickboxing may become uncomfortable. It can also affect your eating habits, since it boosts your metabolism and decreases hunger. Thus, if you are trying to gain weight for medical reasons, cardio kickboxing can inhibit your progress.
Overall, cardio kickboxing is a great place to start for any woman. It combines intense cardio, fat burning, and toning with self-defense and release of stress and aggression—all things that help women lead more empowering lives.
Safety In Cardio Kick Boxing
Just as with any new fitness routine, you should consider the safety of the exercise for your body. If you have a medical condition, such as heart disease, asthma, or an old injury, consider how a high impact cardiovascular workout will affect your illness or injury. Consulting with your doctor before starting a kickboxing class is wise, since he or she knows your body’s limitations.
Cardio kickboxing is an intense workout, which means you need to stay hydrated and cool. Be smart about water and food: do not eat in the hours preceding a workout, and drink plenty of water both before, during, and after a workout.
You will sweat, which means you need fluids in your body before you begin, and you need fluids to replenish what you lose during a workout.
You should also not engage in kickboxing without supportive shoes because you will do a lot of work on the balls of your feet. This is especially important if you have any foot conditions. Wearing tight clothing rather than loose is helpful so that you do not trip over any fabric, are able to stay flexible, and do not trap excess heat in folds of loose clothes.
As always, if you become overheated or dizzy, you should immediately stop your routine and take a break until you feel better. You should always stop or reduce the intensity of any moves that give you pain.
It does not take a lot to become a cardio kickboxer. For starters, you should closely consider your workout outfit. Make sure that your clothes are tight rather than loose and that your shoes fit well and stay tied throughout the workout.
Many women like to keep it simple with just a sports bra and tight yoga capris or shorts. You will sweat a lot and need a lot of mobility during a kickboxing workout– which is provided by such basic wear. On top of a sports bra, you can may want to add a tight tank top or workout tee combined with tight shorts, capris, or pants.
You should wear socks to keep your feet comfortable in sturdy, flexible sneakers so that you have grip on the floor, and adequate support for moves that have you up on the balls of your feet.
You may also benefit from the addition of a sweat band in your hair. Remember to bring a water bottle and towel to your workout session in case you become overheated or sweat excessively.
Although you certainly can engage in cardio kickboxing without any equipment, many instructors and DVD workouts do include extra equipment like dumbbells, weights, and jump ropes. However, you can certainly perform these workouts without the equipment and not lose anything by cutting them out.
Do not forget to look at the class schedules of local gyms to find your kickboxing class and pay any necessary fees in order to join. If you are doing home workouts, find reliable DVDs or online videos to follow along with, making sure that you have plenty of space for your workout so that you can perform all the kicks and punches.
Time to Begin!
All in all, cardio kickboxing is a solution for any moderately active woman wanting to lose excess belly fat and get toned. You can get your body into shape by engaging in kickboxing workouts several times a week, seeing results in about two months.
Cardio kickboxing workout DVDs are a great solution for busy women who do not have time or resources to join a gym, but who can spare an extra 10 to 60 minutes several days per week at home.
The wide range of exercises that you are able to do in cardio kickboxing keeps you interested so that you do not get bored– an important feature for those who struggle to stay motivated to keep exercise as part of the weekly routine.
Here are some other great workouts you may want to take a look at: