An Introduction to Kickboxing Workouts at Home
Kickboxing as a sport is a combat activity where two opponents throw punches and kicks at one another to score points.
It’s an excellent exercise to improve endurance, build muscle, and increase mobility. However, combat sports are not for everyone and have downsides, such as physical stress and injuries.
Many people try no-contact or cardio kickboxing workouts to enjoy the benefits of kickboxing and minimize the risk of injuries.
No-contact or cardio kickboxing utilizes kickboxing strikes, but instead of hitting another person, you can shadowbox, hit a bag, or pads.
Can I Kickbox at Home?
While most people prefer kickboxing at a boxing gym or fitness studio, you can execute a kickboxing workout at home. If you have the space, you can purchase a heavy or free-standing bag for your kickboxing workouts.
If you live with someone or have a person you enjoy working out with, you can purchase focus mitts, Thai pads, or kick shields to practice your strikes on instead of a bag. One person will need to hold pads while the other hits, and then you can switch.
If you can’t purchase equipment or don’t have someone to hold pads, you can still do kickboxing workouts at home by shadowboxing. When shadowboxing, imagine an opponent and practice your strikes with intensity and purpose.
You may not see muscle growth as quickly as if working with a bag or pads, but you’ll soon notice shadowboxing is an excellent workout for building endurance and mobility. Shadowboxing is also a great warmup, and many professional kickboxers shadowbox to improve their technique and speed.
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Getting Started with Kickboxing Workouts at Home
The best part about kickboxing workouts is that you can do them anywhere, at any time, without gear or equipment.
Equipment for Kickboxing Workouts at Home
You can customize your kickboxing workouts depending on your fitness goals and the equipment you have available. While you don’t need equipment, you can incorporate the following gear:
Dumbbells- If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough of a workout from shadowboxing, you can use 2lb or 3lb dumbbells. You can also incorporate dumbbells between kickboxing rounds for more strength and conditioning-focused training.
Boxing gloves- Even if you’re not hitting anything during your at-home kickboxing workout, you can still wear boxing gloves. Boxing gloves are weighted, with most between 12oz and 16oz. Wearing gloves while shadowboxing gives your arms additional weight and works similarly to kickboxing with dumbbells.
Heavy or free-standing bag- If you have space, you can set up a heavy or free-standing bag. Heavy bags need something secure to hang from, whereas free-standing bags have a weighted base and are easier to set up in most homes. If you’re using a bag, use boxing gloves and wraps to protect your hands and wrist from injury.
Hand wraps- If you use a heavy or free-standing bag at home, you must use boxing gloves and hand wraps to keep your hands and wrists safe. Traditional hand wraps are 180-centimeter-long cloth wrapped around the knuckles and wrist for support.
You can find videos online to learn how to wrap them correctly, but if you’re new to hand wraps, you can try speed wraps, which are padded mittens you put on under your gloves. Speed wraps are not ideal for sparring or combat kickboxing but are generally safe for cardio-style kickboxing.
Pads- If you have someone at home who can work with you, pads are a great way to get a kickboxing workout.
There are many different types of pads, but the most common ones you’ll want to consider for kickboxing are Thai pads, belly pads, or kick shields. All options allow you to safely throw punches and kicks with reduced risk of injuring your pad holder.
Warming up and Cooling Down for Kickboxing
Like any other workout, you want to warm up before jumping into your workout. Warming up allows blood to flow to your muscles and reduces your risk of injury.
You want to focus on movements that increase your heart rate, such as jumping jacks, jump rope, high knees, jogging in place, or taking a face-paced walk.
You can also incorporate dynamic stretches like walking lunges, arm circles, or leg swings to help open your range of motion. Aim to warm the body for five to ten minutes before your workout.
After you’ve finished your workout, you’ll want to ensure you take about ten minutes to cool down and stretch your muscles. The first few minutes of your cooldown should focus on lowering your heart rate. You can do this with a slow-paced walk, shadowboxing, or a light jog.
Once your heart rate returns to normal, transition into static stretches. A static stretch is holding a pose for 30 to 40 seconds.
Focus on leg and hip stretches, such as a figure four or pigeon pose. You should also incorporate shoulder stretches like needle threading or a reverse prayer pose.
Scheduling Your Kickboxing Workouts at Home
Before you jump into your first at-home kickboxing workout, it’s helpful to map out how long and how many days you plan on working out.
If kickboxing at home is your primary form of working out, you can commit to kickboxing three to five days a week.
If you’re cross-training with kickboxing or using it as a form of cardio or mobility training, scheduling one to two days a week should suffice.
The length of your kickboxing workout can vary depending on your goals and overall workout routine.
If you’re new to kickboxing, try starting with a 30-minute session, not including your warmup and cool down. As you grow more comfortable with the movements, try increasing your session to 45 or 60 minutes.
Format for Kickboxing Workouts at Home
The format of a typical kickboxing workout is a bit different from other forms of exercise.
After the warmup, you’ll break your workout into rounds. A round is three to five minutes of active work where you’re striking with a mix of punches and kicks. Between each round is 20 to 30 seconds of movement, followed by 20 to 30 seconds of rest.
Your movement between rounds usually uses your body weight, such as squats, alternating lungs, jumping jacks, pushups, or situps. After your body weight exercise, give yourself a rest period before jumping into your next round.
If you’re new to kickboxing, try starting with five three-minute rounds followed by 30 seconds of movement and a 30-second break.
If you’re a more experienced kickboxer, try eight to ten rounds ranging from three to five minutes, but keep the movements and rest to 30 seconds each.
Understanding Your Stance
Before you start throwing punches and kicks, you’ll need to find your fight stance. Your fight stance is the position you’ll be in during your striking rounds. Make sure you are in your fight stance before throwing any strikes.
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
- If you’re right-handed, you’ll step back with your left foot. If you’re left-handed, take a step back with your right foot.
- Keep your hips and torso square to your target.
- Put a slight bend in your knees and put your weight on the ball of your feet with your heels slightly elevated.
- Tuck your elbows into your rib cage and bring your fists to your cheeks or eyebrows.
Best Kickboxing Workouts at Home to Try
There are many ways to set up a kickboxing workout at home. Remember, you can do kickboxing workouts at home with a heavy bag or on pads if you have a friend who can hold them.
You can shadowbox the combos if you don’t have a bag or pads. If you want more of a challenge, shadowbox with gloves on or use small hand weights, no more than 5 lbs.
If you’re familiar with kickboxing, you can make the combos and strikes as simple or complex as desired. If you’re new to kickboxing, try sticking to two or three punches and kicks per round.
You also have flexibility between rounds to do any movement you’re craving. Remember, these exercises between rounds are quick, so doing bodyweight movements such as squats, situps, and pushups is best, but you can always add weights if needed.
Below is a sample workout, not including your warmup and cool down. Feel free to get creative with your strikes and movements, and don’t forget to have fun!
Round 1: Jab-Cross (3 min)
Your jab and cross are your straight punches. The jab is the punch from your lead side. Your lead side is whichever foot is forward. The cross is the punch from your rear side.
Extend your arm and rotate your wrist so your palm faces down for both punches. When throwing the cross, turn the same side hip so you’re getting a slight rotation of the core.
Start the round by gently throwing the jab and cross, whether you’re hitting a bag, pad, or shadowboxing. Once you’re comfortable with the punches, start picking up the speed and power.
After the first minute, try changing up the rhythm or your strikes. You can throw two jabs and then a cross. Or throw one jab and two crosses. Whatever combination of jabs and crosses you throw, keep the intensity high and focus on your form.
Movement: Squat with Alternating Front Kicks (30 sec)
Stand about hip distance and drop your weight straight down for a squat. Keep your chest facing forward as you go down, pushing your weight into your heels.
As you rise from your squat, kick one of your legs in front of you. Swing the same side arm down to help keep your balance. Then go back to your squat and kick out the other leg as you come up this time. Continue the squats with alternating front kicks.
Round 2: Lead Hook- Rear Hooks (3 min)
When you throw your hooks, aim for the side of your bag or imagine reaching around your opponent’s guard to hit the side of their head. Keep your elbow in line with your shoulder, palm facing in like you’re holding a cup of coffee for both your lead and rear hooks.
Get up on your same side toe and rotate your core to power up your punch. Ensure you’re twisting on the same side foot like you’re squashing a bug.
Like the first round, start slow, then pick up your pace as you get more comfortable. You can double up punches on one side or throw them as fast as possible for a few seconds to increase your heart rate and burn out your arms.
Movement: Tricep Pushups (30 sec)
Start in a high plank position with your tucked close to your body. Slowly lower your body to the ground in one motion, keeping your elbows close to the ribcage.
Once your chest is about an inch from the floor, engage your triceps and push your body back to a high plank position.
If you’re wearing boxing gloves, keep your fists tight in your gloves. You can also take this tricep pushup from your knees.
Round 3: Jab-Cross-Lead Hook- Rear Hook (3 min)
Now that you’ve gotten the hang of your straight punches and hooks, it’s time to combine them into a combo. Start slow with your combo, focusing on all four strikes’ techniques.
Once you get comfortable, start picking up your speed and power. If you want more variety throughout the round, change your rhythm. Throw some punches with speed and others with power or intensity.
Movement: Situps with Alternating Punches (30 sec)
Place both feet flat on the ground and cross your arms over your chest. Use your core to pull your chest close to your knees.
Once you’re at the top of your situp, throw a jab-cross focusing on your core rotation before lowering your body back to the ground.
Round 4: Rear Roundhouse Kick- Switch Kick (3 min)
Your rear roundhouse kick and switch kick are round kicks to the body aiming to hit your opponent’s biceps or rips. Start by taking a step with your lead foot on a slight diagonal for your rear roundhouse kick.
Get up on the toes of your lead foot and use the momentum to bring your back leg into your bag or pads. As you kick, the same side arm is swiping out in front of you to help keep your balance.
You want to hit the bag or pads with your shin, avoiding your ankle or foot. Once you make contact, use your core to get your rear leg back to your fight stance.
The switch kick follows the same mechanics as the rear roundhouse kick, but you first need to switch stance so your opposite is forward. You can switch with a jump or step up into the new stance.
If you’re shadowboxing, you can follow through with your kick, then reset back to your fight stance.
Movement: Squat with a Knee to the Elbow (30 sec)
Stand at hip-width and go into your squat position with your chest facing forward and weight pushing back to your heels.
Pull one of your knees up to touch the same side elbow as you come up from your squat. Go back into a squat, changing the knee that comes up with each squat.
Round 5: Jab-Rear Round Kick- Lead Hook- Rear Round Kick (3 min)
Now that you know a few punches and kicks, it’s time to combine them for a combo. After each strike, make sure you’re in a good fight stance before throwing the next punch or kick.
As always, start slow and build your speed as you get comfortable with the movements.
Movement: Plank Hold (30 sec)
Start face down on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your forearms flat.
Tuck your toes and lift your body in one solid motion to align your hips and chest with your shoulders. Don’t let your butt or hips rise above your shoulder. Hold this pose, and don’t forget to breathe.
Round 6: Jab- Cross- Switch Kick- Cross- Lead Hook- Rear Kick (3 min)
End your workout with a combo utilizing all the punches and kicks you know. If the combo is too long, break it up into parts. Work the jab-cross-switch kick for the first minute.
Then work the cross-lead hook-rear kick for the second minute before trying the full combo for the last minute.
30-min Cardio Kickboxing with Weights
15-min No Equipment Kickboxing Workout
30-min No Equipment Kickboxing Workout
Cardio Kickboxing for Beginners Workout
Kickboxing is a full-body workout that can help improve your endurance, build muscle, increase mobility, and improve your balance.
On the surface, it may seem like kickboxing only works your arms and legs, but as you continue to practice, you’ll notice how every muscle in your body needs to work together to strike.
With kickboxing specifically, you’ll find kicks are a great way to improve the range of motion in your hips and practice your balance.
But kickboxing is more than just an excellent physical workout. It can also benefit your mental health.
Many people find kickboxing a fantastic stress reliever and a fun way to relieve tension after a long day. It may also increase your confidence and make you more aware of everything your body can do.
There are many reasons people try kickboxing, and it’s an accessible workout you can do in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to start kickboxing to compete to gain the physical or mental benefits of the sport.
Simply throw on some gloves and start practicing your strikes and combos and enjoy everything kickboxing workouts at home have to offer.