Tae-Bo is an exercise system that blends several disciplines, including ballet, boxing, karate, taekwondo, hip-hop dancing and resistance training. Developed by martial arts champion Billy Banks, Tae-Bo also uses the latest hits to get your heart pumping. Although the system is more rigorous than an aerobics workout, combining cardiovascular activity and strength exercises, it’s not as exacting as a martial arts session. You can do kicks and punches at your own pace with the intention of moving your body rather than disarming an opponent.
The Meaning of Tae-Bo
Each letter in Tae-Bo stands for a particular concept or word, according to the Shapefit website. While “T” stands for “total,” “a” represents “awareness” and “e” for excellence. The letter “B” represents “body” and the letter “o” for obedience. In Korean, “Tae” translates into “leg and foot” while “Bo” is an abbreviated form of the word “box.”
While exercising in his basement in Boston, Blanks developed the Tae-Bo system as a workout for himself in 1976. He experimented with boxing techniques by adding movements from dance. He offered his first classes in Tae-Bo in Boston in 1982. Seven years later, he moved the Tae-Bo program to Southern California. Word of mouth spread, and his classes became popular among the locals. By 1998, Blanks released his first Tae-Bo workout video. Since that time, his video package, which includes instruction, a basic workout, an advanced version and a brief eight-minute workout, has sold in excess of a million copies, according to “Tae-Bo: Fitness Craze or Effective Workout?” by Natalie Greer of Vanderbilt University.
Compared to a standard aerobics class in which you burn between 300 and 400 calories, a Tae-Bo workout will burn anywhere from 500 to 800 calories. Because the system borrows from many different disciplines, the system offers enough variety of movement to keep people interested and challenged. Basically, Blanks has transformed a kickboxing workout geared for fighters into a cardio workout for general fitness. Students of Tae-Bo build endurance, strength and rhythm. Blanks has also helped other martial arts schools provide instruction on cardio-karate and cardio-kickboxing to serve the fitness crowd, according to Bill Wallace’s article “Pros and Cons of Tae-Bo Aerobics” in “Black Belt.”
Because a Tae Bo workout is derived from kickboxing, you will typically perform a series of martial arts moves to music. To warm up, you may begin with jabs in which you throw a punch straight in front of you. By performing eight reps for three sets of jabs, you’ll get your heart pumping. As the workout progresses, you’ll execute more demanding movements, such as hooks and kicks. For example, Tae Bo uses a front snap kick in which you lift your leg with a bent knee and then kick your lower leg in front of you with a snapping motion. In addition, you’ll use trunk rotations to work the sides of your body as well as your spine. The sequence of repetitive movements flows from one move to the next, which makes Tae Bo an intense aerobic workout.