Getting Into KickBoxing: What You Need To Know


Whether you choose to do kickboxing classes for fitness or take it further and think about competing, you’ll get a ton of benefits from this exercise. It’s incredible for cardio, delivering a ready-made HIIT session that’s so much fun you won’t even think about it. Alongside cardio conditioning, you’ll see increases in strength all over your body, better coordination, better balance, and increased self-confidence. Kickboxing training burns serious calories and can help you lose fat and get leaner. And you’ll be learning a new sport alongside all those skills and drills.

Thinking about getting into kickboxing?

Kickboxing is a martial art and combat sport, but you’ll find a lot of flexibility across classes, clubs, and lessons. There is no single definition of kickboxing. In South East Asia, it can mean Muay Thai or a number of other regional martial arts and fighting styles. In the UK and the USA, it tends to mean a combat sport that blends boxing, karate, kung fu, and Muay Thai. You can expect your kickboxing sessions to include hand strikes, kicks, jumping kicks, blocks, movement, spins, and footwork, and even some gymnastic-type moves.

To get started with kickboxing, you could take classes at a kickboxing club, or find a mixed martial arts style workout class which will incorporate some of the kicks, punches, and strikes used in kickboxing.

Either way, you’ll experience a high-intensity full-body workout that’ll get your heart pumping and burn serious calories with a combination of bodyweight resistance and cardio conditioning. No wonder kickboxers are always in such great shape!

Is kickboxing right for me?

I’m a big fan of trying anything at least once! But with so many types of fitness and sport available, how do you know if kickboxing is right for you?

You’re likely to enjoy kickboxing if you like intense, sweaty workouts which use your whole body and need quick, nimble footwork.

Are you a bit competitive, at least with yourself? Then you’ll enjoy the goals and targets that kickboxing offers, even if you never compete.

Kickboxing isn’t a team sport, but it’s not a solo pursuit either. You’ll be working with a partner and learning to anticipate another person’s moves. Kickboxing is about respect, partnership, and working as a unit. And you’ll need to take instruction and criticism from your coach, too.

What to expect from kickboxing

Every kickboxing session will be different, but most will be built around a warm-up, skills and drills section, sparring or padwork, and then a fitness circuit. You should expect to sweat and work hard! You might feel sore after the first few sessions, but your body will quickly adapt as you get stronger, more flexible, and more cardio fit.

In competitive kickboxing, strikes to the head and body are allowed, plus sweeps to the lower leg. Strikes include kicks, jumping kicks, and hand strikes. These are all techniques you will learn as you progress.

Kickboxing offers grading in the form of colored belts like some other martial arts. The most common belt grading is white, red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, and black.

How to get started

It’s best to learn the basics of kickboxing though a local club or a martial arts center or gym that offers kickboxing sessions. A good coach will be happy to answer your questions before you get started. So get in touch – or, better still, pay a visit during training times so that you can get a feel for the style of coaching.

You don’t need to be super-fit to get started – that will come later! As long as you’re injury-free and in good health, you can start slowly and build up as you get fitter, stronger, and more flexible. Be honest with yourself and your teacher about your physical and emotional limits.

If you’re struggling to find a local kickboxing session, head for the British Kickboxing Council website which has a ton of useful resources and which can help you find an accredited kickboxing club.

What to wear for kickboxing

Ask your teacher if you need to buy any specific kit. Most classes ask you to turn up in loose, cool clothing that allows you to move but won’t get in the way as you learn to spin and kick. Don’t forget to take water and a towel!

I hope you love your first kickboxing session!