Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kickboxing: A Great Workout

Kickboxing incorporates many of the moves of boxers with martial arts techniques, all set to music. It is an aerobic workout, but it is not dancing. Tae Bo does not take a lot of coordination, although coordination always helps. Instead, you develop your timing and sequencing as you learn the routines and the moves.

When you take a kickboxing class at the gym, you will typically find a fairly diverse crowd. Both men and women take this class, and the attendees vary greatly in age and fitness level. The one thing everyone has in common is a desire to work out and sweat off some calories without any fancy prancing or special routines. Kickboxing definitely answers those needs.

You typically wear everyday workout wear to a kickboxing class - anything from a tee shirt and sweatpants to bike shorts and a crop top. Good solid athletic shoes are a must! I would recommend cotton socks and a sturdy pair of cross-trainers. There's a lot of bouncing, kicking and a lot (and I do mean, a lot) of jumping jacks, so your legs are going to get a workout. Comfortable shoes can help absorb some of the impact.

Kickboxing motion includes a lot of boxing moves. These include jabs, punches, hooks and uppercuts (all arm moves, directed at an invisible opponent in front of you). Your legs are almost constantly moving, in a boxing shuffle (side to side or front to back, typically at an angle), speed bag (a jogging motion while striking a punching bag) or in a lunging motion. There are also many martial arts moves that include front kicks, side kicks, rear kicks and knee lifts (called strikes). You may also jump rope or pretend to jump rope working both your legs and your forearms.

Kickboxing is also an excellent workout for your legs, you will probably feel it in your upper body as well. As I learned the motions more accurately, I started to see a lot more tone on my arms. My buttocks and thighs often become sore after doing a lot of kicks (this is a good thing, I want to work those areas!) and my calves will always complain the day after a kickboxing class. Because you lean when you kick, you will feel the workout in your back and obliques (sides of abdomen) too.

Although kickboxing is not a lot of high-impact movement, it is still a good cardiovascular workout. There is a lot of controlled motion, and a lot of repetition that helps those of us who are less coordinated figure out the moves and try to make our bodies go the right way at the right time. You can easily substitute one-legged jumping jacks to reduce the intensity or to help with a sore or injured leg. One regular attendee has an injured knee, he wraps his knee and minimizes the lunging motions but is otherwise able to keep up with almost everything in the class.

If you are looking for an athletic oriented workout while integrating a few interesting moves into your routine, or if you just want to try something new, Kickboxing is a fun way to do this. It doesn't require previous knowledge of boxing techniques or martial arts expertise, it doesn't even require a lot of coordination.

Kickboxing is the most co-ed class that I have ever taken at the gym. It focuses on working and sweating rather than appearance and fancy footwork. I have really enjoyed the contrast that Kickboxing brings to my exercise regimen. If you haven't ever tried a kickboxing class, I recommend that you try it. It's not for everyone, but it's a great way to incorporate a little more cardio into your workout regimen!

No comments: