Kickboxing was developed as a self-defense technique in East Asia about 2,000 years ago. Popularized in modern times by Bruce Lee, competitive kickboxing is now a sport enjoyed around the world. The combination of boxing and martial arts movements -- performed repeatedly for 20 minutes or more -- also makes kickboxing a cardio workout that can burn hundreds of calories per hour. Cardio kickboxing can add flavor to your weekly fitness routine as throwing punches and kicks may keep your interest longer than riding a stationary bike. You can find free cardio kickboxing routines across the Internet.
Warm Up and Stretch
Look for a comprehensive cardio kickboxing routine that includes an aerobic warm-up plus some dynamic stretches to prepare your body for the workout. If your desired routine doesn’t offer a warm-up, precede the workout with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise, such as jumping rope or jogging in place. To stretch your muscles dynamically, the Active Physiotherapy Clinic in New Brunswick, Canada, recommends that you perform horizontal arm swings; forward and backward leg swings; sideways leg swings; front and side lunges; torso twists; and butt kicks. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions of each stretch, moving smoothly through a full range of motion without stopping.
Elements of a Cardio Kickboxing Routine
A well-rounded routine should include a variety of kickboxing punches and kicks. Punches should include jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts. Lower-body moves can include front, side and roundhouse kicks plus knee drives and shin blocks. Stay on the balls of your feet as you work out so you can shift your weight quickly and remain in constant motion. Use good punching and kicking form even though you’re not hitting anything and don’t extend your arms or legs fully when you punch and kick to help avoid elbow and knee injuries.
“Fitness” magazine offers a free routine featuring nine different segments, not including a warm-up. Throw left-hand jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts for 30 seconds each in the first segment and then repeat the segment by throwing the punches with your right hand. In the next three segments, perform front, roundhouse and side kicks, respectively. Divide each segment into right-footed and left-footed kicks. For the next 30 seconds, throw combinations featuring a left jab, right uppercut and left-front kick. Perform the opposite combination -- going right-left-right -- for the next 30 seconds. Finish with a jab-cross-roundhouse combination for the final two segments, going left, right and left for the initial 30-second segment and then reversing each move for the final half minute.
The number of calories you burn in a cardio kickboxing routine depends on the workout you select and the intensity at which you exercise. In general, however, you can expect your cardio kickboxing routine to burn approximately 350 to 450 calories per hour, according to a 1999 American Council on Exercise (ACE) study. If you wish to burn the maximum amount of calories, look for a free routine that includes both upper- and lower-body moves. Participants in the ACE study burned 6.45 calories per minute doing a routine based on upper-body movements, but the burn increased to 8.3 calories per minute for a program that combined upper- and lower-body action.
- Columbia University Kickboxing Club: Brief History of Kickboxing
- American Council on Exercise: ACE Research Team Counts Calories, Confirms Benefits of Cardio Kickboxing
- Active Physiotherapy Clinic: Stretching Guide for Kickboxing
- Fitness: Kickboxing Workout: Sculpt Muscles and Blast Fat
- Fitness Blender: Cardio Kickboxing Workout -- 400-Calorie Cardio Routine
- Photo Credit studio1901/iStock/Getty Images
- YouTube: RealFit.tv: Kick, Jab, & Jump Cardio Kickboxing Workout
- YouTube: FitnessBlender: Cardio Kickboxing Workout to Burn Fat at Home
- YouTube: Janis Saffell -- Kickbox for Weight Loss Program
- YouTube: BeFit: Denise Austin: Kickboxing Cardio Fat Blast Workout
- YouTube: Jillian Michael Cardio Kickbox
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