There's no denying that kickboxing is one of the best workouts for your body. It combines cardio and strength training, toning muscles while burning fat. Even celebrities like the Hadid sisters, Adriana Lima, and Ashley Benson swear by its effectiveness and have added regular kickboxing sessions to their own workouts. What's particularly notable about the exercise isn't just how effective it is but how quickly it transforms your body. If there's any single quality that separates kickboxing from other cardio workouts it's that it's—to put it simply—so much fun. It's the perfect form of cardio because you are constantly pushing yourself, typically working with a trainer one-on-one to motivate you throughout your session. In fact, you won't even notice when your hour-long workout is up. Keep reading for five kickboxing benefits that will have you adding this workout to your fitness routine.
Tone Your Entire Body
Whether you're looking to tone your arms, legs, or core, there's no area of your body kickboxing won't tighten and tone. A study by the Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal showed that after five weeks of training, participants showed significant improvements in muscle power, speed, and agility. Like swimming, this is a full-body workout. If you've taken a kickboxing class in the past, then you know one thing's for sure: You're moving your entire body throughout the duration of your workout. The results from this constant movement will show in the way your muscles become more defined with every session.
This is a perk not too many workout plans can boast. Kickboxing is not only great for your mind and body, but it also has a very practical usage as a means to learn self-defense. According to kickboxing expert for Black Belt magazine Addy Hernandez, kickboxing uses jabs and strikes that can be transferred into practical defense applications. While martial arts–inspired workouts may have a lot of frills that aren't necessarily adaptive to real life, kickboxing's straightforward movements and cardio training set it apart.
Kickboxing is a high-intensity, high-impact workout that will have you constantly in motion. Your heart rate will be raised throughout your session, which means you'll be burning calories. In fact, an hour-long kickboxing session burns about 750 calories, according to Women's Health magazine. A study by Duke University found that aerobic exercise, like kickboxing, was the most effective way to reduce belly fat, a problem area for fat accumulation that, according to Duke's study, correlates with heart disease and diabetes.
Opt for a post-workout shake made with whey protein to help boost muscle recovery after kickboxing.
Whether it's anger or stress, sometimes there's nothing quite like punching out those less-than-positive emotions. As mentioned previously, kickboxing requires constant movement, which not only relieves stress, but studies have shown that boxing exercises can also diminish feelings of anxiety, depression, and anger. Forget dwelling on your everyday worries—when you're enjoying your kickboxing session, you won't be able to think of anything else.
Cardio-heavy workouts are the ticket to building endurance. A study published by the journal Biology of Sport journal shows that kickboxing can build cardio and muscular endurance. The good news is that by improving your endurance with kickboxing, you can transfer it to any other workout you pick up. One of the most important components of kickboxing is learning when to breathe during your workout to prevent getting winded. Learning proper breathing techniques and maintaining them throughout your session is equally as vital to your practice as throwing the perfect punch.
Ouergui I, Hssin N, Haddad M, et al. The effects of five weeks of kickboxing training on physical fitness. Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2014;4(2):106–113.
Karadag M. Compare the values of blood lactate and heart rate of kickboxers during kickboxing matches. J Educ Train Stud. 2017;5(7):13-19. doi:10.11114/jets.v5i7.2317
Slentz CA, Bateman LA, Willis LH, et al. Effects of aerobic vs. resistance training on visceral and liver fat stores, liver enzymes, and insulin resistance by HOMA in overweight adults from STRRIDE AT/RT. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011;301(5):E1033–E1039. doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00291.2011
Kumahara H, Nishida J, Sakai Y, et al. Effects of acute boxing-style exercise on affect and mood states in young and middle-aged adults. Jpn J Phys Edu Health Sport Sci. 2014;59(1):251-261. doi:10.5432/jjpehss.14008
Slimani M, Chaabene H, Miarka B, Franchini E, Chamari K, Cheour F. Kickboxing review: anthropometric, psychophysiological and activity profiles and injury epidemiology. Biol Sport. 2017;34(2):185–196. doi:10.5114/biolsport.2017.65338