Whether you’ve got some stress to relieve or you simply want a high-octane workout, kickboxing delivers a gut punch to your body-fat stores while building mental and physical strength.
“Kickboxing gives women a sense of empowerment,” says Lizen Yumang, a certified krav maga instructor and kickboxing trainer at Bionic Body (bionicbody.com) in Hermosa Beach, California. “Mentally, it’s encouraging to know how to protect yourself, and physically, it’s a great workout that taxes cardiovascular endurance, strength, power, flexibility and range of motion.” She should know — Yumang used martial arts to lose 108 pounds.
This kick-heavy workout, designed by Yumang, emphasizes your lower half and core (with a little upper body sprinkled in) to trim, tighten and tone all your trouble spots and then some. Warm up for five to 10 minutes by jumping rope and doing a series of dynamic stretches such as leg swings, knee hugs, Pigeon and the like. Go through the workout once to kick stress and fat to the curb or twice if you’re a serious fat-blasting badass. Cool down for five to 10 minutes with a light jog and some more stretching, and consider your butt kicked.
4 Straight Punch
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your hands in fists at shoulder height, elbows down. Alternating hands, punch straight forward, driving your first two knuckles toward your target.
4 Front Kick
With your foot flexed, lift your knee to hip height, then quickly extend your leg and shoot your heel forward, as if trying to kick open a closed door. Simultaneously lean back slightly to counterbalance your leg and generate power with your hips. Quickly retract your leg to complete one rep. Do all reps on one side before switching.
4 Side Kick
Lift your knee to hip height, foot flexed, then lean away from that leg and kick your heel forcefully out to the side until your leg is fully extended. Quickly retract your leg to complete one rep. Do all reps on one side before switching.
4 Back Kick
Lift your knee to hip height, then, looking back over your shoulder, extend your leg quickly straight behind you, striking your target with your heel. Bring your knee back in front of you to complete one rep. Do all reps on one side before switching.
4 Knee Strike
Reach your arms overhead as if you were going to grab someone by the hair. Then quickly lift your knee to hip height and pull your arms down as if trying to bang that person’s head on your knee. Do all reps on one side before switching.
- For all these moves, stand in a neutral, or passive, stance: feet hip-width apart, toes forward, abs tight.
- When you’re not punching, keep your arms in the ready position — fists up, elbows down — by your face as if to protect yourself from attackers.
- Think of kicks as punches with your feet. Make them quick, sharp and explosive.
- The power in your kicks comes from your hips and core. Each time you throw a kick, begin with your center and punch out from there.
- Exhale forcefully with each strike to tighten your core and help generate power.
- Keep your punches and kicks under control, and recoil after each strike to avoid hyperextension.