Cardio Kickboxing: The Best Workout of the Year

Norrie Beach
In Fitness And In Health
4 min readAug 24, 2021

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Photo by Kade Beasley on Unsplash

Ever since COVID started over a year ago, I have been experimenting with at-home workouts. Since March of 2020, I’ve tried pilates, yoga, HIIT, strength training, Barre, and cardio dance. I’ve even experimented with KINRGY and Plyojam classes (and loved them both). I’ve bothered my neighbors with my excessive jumping, and I’ve bothered my boyfriend with my excessive use of our kitchen, the only space big enough for working out in our 700 square foot apartment. 17 months later, as the US is starting to shut down again, I’ve finally discovered the best at-home workout. Cardio Kickboxing.

What Is Cardio Kickboxing?

Well, your typical class usually includes a series of combos composed of air punches and kicks, sometimes with some extra strength or cardio thrown in. You’ll start in your boxing stance (feet shoulder-width apart, one slightly in front of the other, hands up to protect your face). Combos might involve one or more of the following punches:

  • Jab: punch straight forward with your arm on your leading side (the side turned slightly to the front). Always leave a micro-bend in your arm when you’re punching to avoid injury.
  • Cross: the opposite of the jab. punch straight forward with your arm on your lagging side.
  • Left or Right Hook: with either your left or right fist, punch from the side to the center.
  • Uppercut: punch in a hooking upwards motion, as if you’re hitting someone in the chin from below.

You could also through in a backhanded slap or an elbow here or there. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this tutorial.

Once you’ve mastered the punches, you’ll move on to the kicks. These are pretty straightforward. You have the front kick, side kick, back kick, knee, and of course the roundhouse. For proper form (and extra badassery) on the front, back, and sidekicks, imagine you’re kicking down a door. When you throw in a knee, bring your knee up to your chest and back down quickly. To master a roundhouse kick, lean your body away from the kick and aim forward with your shoelaces.

If you’re still not convinced that cardio kickboxing is for you, here are five reasons you should try it out the next time you’re in a workout-from-home slump.

1. It Busts Stress

If you’re having a tough day, my number one recommendation is to punch it out. Even though you’re not making contact with anything, throwing powerful punches and kicks is a great way to relieve stress and boost confidence. As a bonus, the more complicated combos require a lot of concentration, which increases mindfulness and leaves less brain space for anxious thoughts.

2. You’ll Burn Calories Quickly

This morning, I burned 200 calories during a 20 minute cardio kickboxing workout. For reference, 200 calories is about what I burn walking at a quick pace for an hour. It’s an effective way to burn calories while also being so fun that it doesn’t feel like a workout at all

3. There’s No Equipment Required

Since you’re not actually punching anything, you don’t need anything at all to enjoy this workout. All you need is yourself and enough space to avoid roundhouse kicking something or someone by accident (I would like to formally apologize to both my boyfriend and our living room chair).

4. You’ll Boost Your Heart Rate

If you’re looking for a high-intensity workout, this is the one for you. Even though I don’t feel like I’m working as hard as I have in many HIIT workouts, my heart rate often spikes to 195 at the end of a combo.

5. You Can Easily Create Your Own Workout

For a while, I was getting my cardio kickboxing fix from instructor-led workouts (check out Popsugar or FitOn if you want to try some great classes for free). After a few months, I realized that I can easily create these combos myself. And bonus, that means I get to choose my music. I highly recommend finding some songs with a great beat that you can punch along to during your breaks for extra endorphins. Creating my own kickboxing workout means that I decide how I want to change it up each time. If I’m feeling a little run down after a long day of Zoom fatigue, I’ll keep it simple. If I want more of a challenge, I’ll add a little extra to the combos to challenge my brain as well as my body. Here’s the stress-busting 20-minute workout I did yesterday:

Warm-up

Combo 1: jab, cross, front kick x 2 (90 seconds on each side)

30 second rest

Combo 2: jab, cross, uppercut, uppercut x 2 (90 seconds on each side)

30 second rest

Combo 3: jab cross, uppercut, duck, cross x 2 (90 seconds on each side)

30 second rest

Combo 4: front kick, side kick, back kick, knee x 2 (90 seconds on each side)

30 second rest

Combo 5: jab, cross, uppercut, roundhouse x 2 (90 seconds on each side)

Cool Down

With endless ways to create new combos, you’ll never get bored. And with so many benefits, it’s impossible not to love cardio kickboxing workouts.

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Norrie Beach
In Fitness And In Health

Freelance writer. Blogger. Lover of true crime podcasts, appetizers, and going to the beach.