Because Chuck Norris would want you to
Brendan Rolfe, DipA, PTS, NWS
If you think kickboxing is only for Chuck Norris types, you might be surprised. Kickboxing moves provide a plethora of cardio benefits for everyone.
Where were you when Jean-Claude Van Damme roundhouse-kicked his first coconut in half, or for Keanu Reeves’ slow-motion leg sweep? Chances are you were in a theatre watching them. But kickboxing offers a plethora of health-enhancing benefits. Get in the game and kick a few coconuts of your own!
Cardio kickboxing 101
Before you try any underwear-tearing split-kicks, focus on four crucial fundamentals: strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. The beauty of cardio kickboxing is that you don’t have to work on each one of these pillars individually, as most exercises utilize a combination of all four!
Cardio kickboxing is a fantastic workout. You can burn as many as 450 calories in a single one-hour session by employing precise, powerful movements using both your arms and your legs. Once you become skilled enough, you can even use padded targets to increase your power and speed. The resistance provided by the pads will help to accelerate gains in strength and maybe even relieve a little bit of boss-induced work-related stress (imagine boss’s face on target?).
In fact, kickboxing and martial arts have such terrific health, strength, cardio, and coordination benefits that they have recently been included in many elementary and high school physical education curriculums.
Kick it with a friend
Along with being an encompassing mind, body, and soul workout, cardio kickboxing classes can be a great way to meet new people. What better way to say hello to a new friend than by snapping a head-high left hook or by delivering a front kick or two to the head, nodding beats of Britney Spears?
Of course, for all his kicking, punching, and squinting, Steven Seagal wouldn’t be caught dead eating a Whopper (or maybe he would). But a real kickboxer wouldn’t, so if you want your hard work to pay off in physical fitness, consult your local natural health and nutrition store to put a little power back in your punch. In the meantime, if you want to kick your current routine up a notch, give these exercises a whirl!
This is your home base; begin every exercise in this position. If you are right-handed, left shoulder and foot is forward. Left hand is your lead hand; it starts at your left cheek. Back hand is your right, on your right cheek. If you are left-handed, it is opposite.
(2 sets of 15 per side)
To perform a head-punch block, lower to a slight squatting position.
1, 2, 3 Slip Combo
(2 sets of 10 per side)
Kickin’ 3s: front, side, back
(2 sets of 10 reps of each kick per side)
Poetry in motion
(2 sets of 10 reps per side)
It’s time to shadowbox! You may want to watch yourself in a mirror for this one—you will be surprised at how cool you look. Put on some music with a good quick beat and then perform the following in order, transitioning from one to the next as smoothly as possible:
Return to starting position and then complete 9 more reps. Switch sides and complete 10 more reps.