The Cardio Kickboxing Workout: An Introductory Guide

By Wendy Innes. May 7th 2016

Kickboxing has been getting plenty of attention as the popularity of televised mixed martial arts increases. While most have no desire to enter the steel cage, kickboxing is a great workout. Now, many gyms and private studios are offering cardio kickboxing classes that are designed to provide all the benefits of the popular martial art, but with more of a cardiovascular component.

What is Cardio Kickboxing?

Cardio kickboxing is a high-impact aerobic workout that mixes movements from traditional kickboxing with other aerobic dance movements being performed at a fast pace. It takes about 30 minutes of steady exercise for the body to reach aerobic activity where it will access the body's fat stores. Before that length of time is reached, the body will be using the fuel that is readily available within the body such as the carbohydrates that one ate for breakfast or the glycogen in muscles.

Classes Versus Trainers

There are benefits and drawbacks to using a cardio kickboxing class and a private trainer, and much of those benefits and drawbacks depend upon personal preference.

Cardio kickboxing classes are great for those who enjoy working out in a group environment. They are also great for those who like a set schedule, as most places that offer these classes have schedules for the month, or even for several months at a time. The classes tend to progress at a slower pace, to make sure no one is lost. These also tend to be more affordable.

A trainer is a great choice for those who like private, individual attention. They are also better for those who tend to have a more unpredictable schedule, because each session can be booked separately. They do tend to be more expensive since the client is paying for the individual attention and the trainer's time is limited. Using a trainer is better for those who would like their workouts customized for them. When using a trainer, the workout can progress at the pace of the individual participant, instead of having to follow the pace of the rest of the class.

Cardio Kickboxing vs. Kickboxing: What's the Difference?

Kickboxing is a form of martial art, although it is less formal than some other disciplines, and works great for beginners who are seeking a full-body workout. Traditional kickboxing does use group classes, but the emphasis is on perfecting technique and repetitive drills. Students will often practice these techniques on pads or dummies as the class progresses. There is usually a sparring component as well in the more advanced classes. In kickboxing class, students actually learn how to defend themselves from an opponent, with an emphasis on striking and defensive techniques.

Cardio kickboxing, on the other hand, is very different. Cardio kickboxing does not place an emphasis on proper fighting technique. There is also no "self defense" benefit. When someone does regular kickboxing, they are actually learning a martial art. With cardio kickboxing, no techniques are taught to defend one's self from an attacker. There is also no practice with pads or dummies and there is no sparring. The kickboxing-inspired movements are added simply for variety and cardio challenge.

The advantage that cardio kickboxing has over kickboxing is the cardiovascular workout. Since kickboxing concentrates on technique instead of speed or repetition, it isn't a cardio workout. So if a person is looking for a fun, high tempo cardio workout, cardio kickboxing just might be the thing they are looking for.

Safety Tips

It's important when exercising to do so safely. Cardio kickboxing is a high intensity, high-impact workout, and as such, it isn't appropriate for everyone. Those who have problems with balance or problems with their joints might want to reconsider, or speak with their doctors beforehand. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before you get started:

  • Go slow at first, and watch the intensity. Try not to overextend yourself and stay within your limits.
  • Be sure to choose a class with a qualified instructor, or select a certified trainer for individual sessions.
  • Always be sure to warm up to avoid injury.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • If a participant experiences shortness of breath, dizziness or pain he or she should stop immediately.

Cardio kickboxing is great fun and a great workout. Participants should always listen to their bodies, change it up, keep it fun, and they will be able to kick and punch their way to better health. Remember, cardio kickboxing is more about physical fitness. Do not mistake cardio kickboxing for actual kickboxing. Attempting to use any techniques taught in cardio kickboxing on an actual person or object can result in serious injury.


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