Who ever thought that kicking and punching could become a fitness trend? Martial arts and karate have been around a long time but they seem intimidating and too serious. My first kickboxing workout was at a gym taught by a tiny but fierce instructor who had trained competitively in martial arts, mostly Muay Thai. I wanted just a sliver of her energy! The moves were physically powerful but also mentally empowering. She later said that she’d integrated some Les Mills Body Combat moves into her workouts, so I found and starting doing those classes too. Just like Zumba or spinning workouts, kickboxing classes have dedicated fans.
Kickboxing as a combat sport is about striking with the fists and feet, which I don’t know much about. As a fitness class, there’s obviously no 1:1 contact but a lot of punching the air and high kicks at various angles. There’s always a focused ab/core segment to build the balance needed to kick forcefully without falling over! The whole workout improves your endurance, strength, balance and power. When I’d mentioned mentally empowering, I also meant mentally freeing: like other intense cardio, it does a great job clearing your head of clutter, anxiety and even negativity. This gives you a boost of clarity and focus after the workout.
Great things about kickboxing as a home workout is that only a small space is needed, there’s no equipment, and it’s mostly low impact. Jacks, jumps and jogging are offered to boost intensity but that’s optional (replace with side taps, squats and marching in place). Below I included my fave go-tos when craving a kickboxing session. Les Mills Body Combat helped bring this workout to the forefront, but I included some Combat “inspired” workouts too. If you need greater intensity, try wearing weighted gloves or holding light 1-3 pound dumbbells.
I’m sure you’ll feel the mental “pow” after just one workout!
One last tip is that if you have a cushioned mat, you can leave behind the sneakers and do any of the workouts above in just socks or barefeet. This 1-inch thick super-foamed mat from ProsourceFit is comfortable even when doing jumps or jogs.