I get more and more requests for kickboxing lessons every day. These requests aren't from young 20 year old Bruce Lee wannabes, but mostly from women who are 30 plus. Clearly kickboxing for fitness is the new mantra for those serious about losing fat and improving health. I think that's great news, as intense workouts like kickboxing do much more for you in terms of fat loss than those boring long morning walks.
For years kickboxing was practiced as a combat sport, just like boxing, where young boys would compete to see who was the toughest. Broken noses, bloodied faces were a common sight at kickboxing competitions. The fear of an injury kept the general fitness population away from kickboxing classes. However, despite the risks involved, kickboxing has always been a great cardio workout that is much likelier to burn away the fat on your thighs and waist when compared to other forms of cardio like running. Check out the calorie comparison chart below to get an idea:
- Kickboxing - 863 calories burned in 1 hour
- Running (5.2 miles/hour) - 776 calories burned in 1 hour
- Bicycling (12-14 miles/hour) - 690 calories burned in 1 hour
- Aerobics (high impact) - 604 calories burned in 1 hour
Unlike sports kickboxing, fitness kickboxing does not contain any form of sparring where two practitioners face each other, or try to break each other’s noses. The participants simply practice the various kicks, punches, footwork drills, that are part of traditional kickboxing, sometimes on punching bags or in the air. Which would also mean that one should not equate such sessions with self defense practice. To be able to defend yourself, you must spar against a live opponent.
If you too are interested and prepared to work hard to burn the fat, but do not have the time for joining classes or are more interested in training at home, here are the basics that you can practise for your own fitness kickboxing session, alone or with a partner.
Before that here are some precautions that should be first taken.
- Consult a physician before starting
- Never lock out the knees and elbows fully while executing a kick or punch
- If practicing on a hard surface then avoid high kicks, turnings kicks, and jumping kicks
- Always warm up before starting the session. Do some spot jogging, joint mobility drills, etc to warm up
The basic moves that are used in cardio kickboxing are-
- The proper stance- knees bent slightly, one leg in front. Fists lightly clenched near your face.
- Jab- a punch thrown with the lead hand (if your left leg and left hand are ahead then the left punch is the jab, or vice versa
- Cross- a punch thrown with your rear hand
- Hook punch- a circular punch with the rear hand, thrown with a bent elbow (imagine you are trying to hit an opponent’s cheek). Twist your hips slightly with the punch
- Uppercut-a punch thrown in an upward motion(imagine you are trying to punch an opponent’s chin from below)
- Front kick-imagine you are stamping down the garbage in a can that’s horizontal at waist level-lift your knee as high as you can, then drive it outward
- Roundhouse kick-imagine your rear leg as a baseball bat, and you are swinging it for the fences. Lift your rear knee, then rotate your hips and straighten your leg as you drive your foot into an imaginary target.
- Side kick-lift your rear foot and throw a kick to the side. Imagine stamping on the garbage can like in the front kick, but to the side this time.
Always remember to exhale when executing a punch or a kick. You can begin by practicing shadow boxing style, i,e against the air. Later on you can start working against a heavy kickboxing bag. The bag will provide resistance, and provide some strengthening, and is more fun!
Start by doing each move 10 times each side, and then repeat it another 10 times the other side. At first do the kicks and punches around 50-60% of full force. Do this workout 2-5 days a week. Increase the number and force of your strikes gradually.
You can change the order of executing the punches and kicks every workout to keep things interesting. At an advanced level you can combine various kicks and punches in one move.
Now if you are short on time and have say only 3 sessions a week, then you can combine kickboxing with strength training to get the work done in only 3 sessions a week. You can either start off with some strength training and then move onto kickboxing, or you can mix them up together. For eg. You can do some jabs, hooks, and then do some squats.
Needless to say that the possibilities for combining the two are endless, the consistent factor though is the results in terms of fat burning and enhanced fitness that you get with these workouts.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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