Kickboxing is a form of martial arts consisting of punching, kicking, and footwork. It is a high-intensity workout that uses a mixture of boxing and martial art movements such as various punches, kicks, and footwork. Kickboxing involves the moves from karate, Muay Thai, and boxing along with powerful kicks from karate and agile punches from boxing. It is categorised by complex and strategic skills
It gets organised by acyclic exercise and frequent changes in movement structure with variable work intensity and load duration. Kickboxing includes punching bags, gloves, and boxing equipment. In contrast, noncontact kickboxing includes punches and kicks thrown into the air rather than using contact equipment.
Kickboxing is often practiced for self-defense, general physical fitness, and as a contact sport. Also, it engages the entire body by activating all muscle groups, requires coordination, and activates the aerobic and the anaerobic metabolism. It targets areas such as the core, arms, legs, glutes, and back. Various bouncy and jarring moves improve flexibility and enhance muscle endurance and strength. It promotes physical fitness and motor abilities and prevents injuries by enhancing muscle flexibility.
Health Benefits of Kickboxing
Kickboxing provides a multitude of health benefits for people of every age. Some of the benefits of kickboxing are as follows:
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Kickboxing is a cardiovascular exercise that elevates the heart rate and improves cardiovascular conditioning. The positive impact on heart health enhances heart and lung functioning and leads to cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular fitness. It also increases the body’s energy levels and keeps one active all day.
Improves Body Coordination and Endurance
Group kickboxing is a feasible exercise activity. It shows significant improvement in gait speed, balance, and confidence.
A study shows that kickboxing improves physical variables such as fitness, power, flexibility, and agility. In addition, there was a significant improvement in upper body muscle power, aerobic power, anaerobic fitness, flexibility, speed, and sharpness. In this study, men in their twenties trained three times a week for five weeks, and a 7% improvement got registered in their upper and lower body power.
A study investigated whether noncontact cardio kickboxing can improve cardiovascular fitness and promotes weight loss and fat reduction in women. For weight management and fat loss, you should exercise at least three days per week, at an intensity and duration, to expend approximately 250-300 kilocalories (kcal) per exercise session. Performing noncontact kickboxing for 30 minutes at least four times a week consumes sufficient calories resulting in successful fat loss in women. Cardio kickboxing is an effective exercise for enhancing cardiorespiratory endurance and altering body composition.
Improves Mental Health
Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins that regulate the mood and enhance feelings of happiness. Kickboxing training reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. It improves self-confidence, motivation, and mental toughness and enhances optimistic thoughts. In addition, it improves brain functioning and cognitive functioning (memory and spatial awareness).
The HealthifyMe Note
Kickboxing, a high-intensity exercise, offers various benefits. For example, it improves your heart health by increasing heart rate and making your heart pump blood faster. It also improves body coordination and endurance, increases stamina, and aids weight loss. Besides the physical health benefits, kickboxing also improves mental health.
Attack Techniques of Kickboxing
It refers to striking a blow at the opponent (or in noncontact boxing in the air) using a fist. Punching in kickboxing includes jab, hook, uppercut, flying punch, and several other punching techniques.
They are as follows:
Jab is a straight punch from the front hand aiming for the opponent’s head or body. . It is essential for a fighter’s defence and can be used when one wants to preserve mobility and balance their stance. It gets used in conjunction with the cross.
It is a straight punch from the backhand. The defender strikes as the opponent lead with the same side hand. It crosses over the leading arm and travels inside the opponent’s guard.
It is a rounded punch to either head or body by turning the core muscles and back and swinging the arm. It aims at the jaw and the liver. Hook considered a powerful punch in boxing with knockout power.
This punch travels straight in a vertical line striking the opponent’s chin and solar plexus. These punches cause more damage when thrown at close range.
5. Back Fist
Backfist is performed from the front hand, while reverse-back fist and spinning back-fist get served from the backhand. It often strikes the side of the head with the rear knuckles.
A semi-circular and vertical punch gets thrown with the rear hand. It is often known as overcut or drop. Overhand relies on the body weight to deliver the strike with great power. It works when the opponent is bobbing and slipping to evade jab, swing, and straight punches.
7. Bolo Punch
It combines the wide uppercut, right cross, and swing. It is unlike the traditional punches such as jab, uppercut, hook, and cross. In this punch, the circular motion of one hand distracts the opponent, and the opposite hand sneaks the strike at the opponent.
It engages the shoulders and hips to enhance the power of the blow. However, it is imperfect because it leaves the person vulnerable to a counter punch if the haymaker punch is blocked or missed.
It refers to striking with the feet. There are four basic kicks in kickboxing; roundhouse kick, front kick, side kick, and semi-circular kick.
They are as follows:
It is often called a circle kick. It is performed by striking with the front foot or shin to the opponent’s head or body.
- Step across the target at a 45-degree angle
- Keep the front foot straight and chamber the kick through the centre
- Raise the toes of the base foot as you pivot and kick
- Extend the kicking leg, and land the strike with the shin
- Instep after the kick and swing the arms to counterbalance
It is often called a push kick or high kick. It is performed by striking the chest with the balls of the foot. Front kick usually aims at the targets below the chest; the stomach, thighs, groin, knees, and shin.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms bent and held in front of you
- Lift the kicking leg and shift the weight on the base foot while doing so
- Lift the kicking leg by bending the knee slightly and kicking forward
- Snap the leg down and retire to the boxing stance
It is performed by striking the head, leg, or body with the heel with a parallel leg to the ground.
- Start with the boxing stance
- Step the base foot forward and shift the weight on it
- Lift the knee to the chest and turn the hips over before extending the leg
- Snap the leg down to the ground and take a step back
- Return to the boxing stance
It is a 45-degree roundhouse kick known as a diagonal kick. Interestingly, it can counter any attack. Therefore, this kick can attack all parts of the opponent’s body.
There are various kicking techniques such as spinning kicks, jumping kicks, crescent kicks, axe kicks, sweeping, and other kicks such as:
It is performed by striking the opponent with the base of the heel. This kick often catches the opponent off-guard. In addition, it activates several muscle groups and strengthens the back, glutes, and legs.
It is also known as a heel kick. It is similar to the sidekick. However, a hook kick is performed by striking the target with the foot’s heel in a hooking motion.
Elbow and Knee Techniques
Knee kicks are a powerful weapon for close-range combat. It aims to attack the opponent’s groin, ribs, solar plexus, or face. The three basic knee kicks are front knee, side knee, and jumping knee kicks. Elbow strikes are dangerous as elbows are the compact part of the body. The basic techniques of elbow striking are front elbow and downward elbow strikes. In addition, an elbow strike often aims at the opponent’s head.
It is also known as the front knee kick. It is performed by thrusting the front of the knee into the head or body of an opponent. This aims at the opponent’s stomach, groin, hip, spine, solar plexus, and thighs.
It is also known as the curved knee. It is a highly deceptive knee technique often used in close-range fighting. Furthermore, it targets floating ribs, hips, the side of the abdomen, sensitive knee joints, insides of thighs, and groin.
It is also known as jumping knee kick. It can be effectively used when the opponent is off-balance and still recovering from the previous strikes. Also, it strikes the opponent’s face, chin, throat, and chest.
It makes a half-circle spin in a hooking motion and strikes the side of an opponent. It delivers the strikes by both front and back foot.
Defense Techniques of Kickboxing
Every kickboxing fighter has individual variations of defense techniques. Some keep their guard higher to protect the head, and some try to keep the guard lower to protect against body punches. However, others vary their defensive style to adapt to the situation and choose the best stance to protect them. Some of the defensive techniques used in kickboxing are as follows:
In this, the defender rotates the body (hips and shoulders) sharply and turns the chin sideways to deflect the incoming punch.
In this, the defender moves the head laterally and beneath an incoming punch. The defender deflects the opponent’s strikes by quickly bending the legs and simultaneously moving the body left to right.
Blocking and Parrying
In parrying, the defender tries to change the direction of the strike, preventing it from reaching its target. It helps to miss the opponent’s strike. In blocking, the defender uses hands as defensive tools to deflect the incoming strike from the opponent. The defender strikes a lateral, open-handed blow to the opponent’s wrist and forearm to deflect their attack.
It is a type of standing grappling (close-range gripping to gain a physical advantage over the opponent). You can use it when straight punches are impossible due to the close distance between both fighters. In this, the defender tries to hold the opponent’s hand and progress towards the neck wrestling position. In this method, knee, elbow, sweep, and throw techniques are often used.
The defender tries to avoid the incoming attack on an unprotected face or body at the last moment. You should hold your hands high to protect the head and chin in this position. The forearms are tucked against the torso to prevent body strikes. This type of guard is considered weak against attacks from below.
The HealthifyMe Note
Kickboxing is a vigorous exercise form that involves attacking and defending techniques. For some, it may seem a fascinating exercise involving attacking, punching, and kicking. However, defending is equally essential. Hence, when you learn the art of kickboxing, give equal importance to defending techniques as well.
Possible Drawbacks of Kickboxing
Studies suggest that kickboxing is associated with a high risk of injuries. These injuries are varied depending on specific factors. These factors are as follows:
- Using the improper form during kickboxing training
- Excessive exercise frequency (more than four times a week) of kickboxing training
- Extreme intensity and speed during training
- Fast kickboxing training music (above 140 beats per minute)
All these factors can lead to a significant risk of injuries. Therefore, the trainees need to be careful and follow safety procedures to prevent the risk of injuries.
A study shows that instructors using music above 140 beats per minute had higher injury instances than music between 125-135 beats per minute. Therefore, limiting the number of kickboxing training sessions per week and using music below 140 beats per minute might help reduce the rate of injuries.
It is a vigorous training regimen that can increase the risk of injuries without the guidance of a professional trainer. Hence, it is advised not to perform the whole workout without proper supervision. In addition, back, knee, hip, and shoulder strains are common among kickboxers leading to possible injuries in the future.
Kickboxing is a high-intensity physical activity that comes under vigorous exercises. Therefore, starting from a beginner’s pace is essential to prevent the risk of injuries. Also, you must follow various safety tips needed to avoid the risk of injuries:
- Stretching is essential to prevent the risk of injury by relaxing the joints and muscles. It improves flexibility, mobility of joints, and muscular as well as cardio potential. Stretching reduces the risk of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint injuries.
- Keeping a relaxed posture while training is essential to prevent strains in muscles and joints. Tensing up ruins the posture, impacts energy level, and prevents one from reaching their best potential.
- Eating a proper diet is essential to get enough energy for workout sessions. Low blood sugar levels affect the performance during kickboxing workouts resulting in fainting spells and lethargic feelings. Eat a high protein diet to enhance the recovery of the muscles and prospective injuries. A balanced diet contains portions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, meat, and milk products for optimum nutrition.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily to prevent dehydration. Hydrate before, during, and after the kickboxing training to avoid several health implications.
- Start the kickboxing training at a beginner’s pace. Do not try to complete the workout in one go. Overexertion can only cause injuries, not mastery of the moves.
- Always wear the kickboxing gear while training to prevent instances of injury. In competitions, one wears groin protectors, mouth guards, and head guards for safety.
Kickboxing is a high-intensity combat sport categorised by various kicks and punches with excellent prowess. Also, this sport improves cardiovascular fitness, reduces stress, and improves balance and coordination. It alters the entire body’s composition by reducing fat mass. It enhances muscle flexibility, endurance, and power and improves mental health and motor abilities.
The swift whole-body movements essential in kickboxing can lead to injuries. The most common injuries in kickboxing are back, knee, hip, and shoulder strains. It is important to note that kickboxing training at a beginner’s pace is controlled and systemic. It minimises the risk of injuries and leads to one’s full potential.