You’re probably reading this right now because you’re looking to get in tremendous shape, burn fat, and maybe even build some confidence as well. I’m going to tell you right now that kickboxing is an excellent way to achieve these three things and much more. Participation in this rigorous sport is no easy feat and there are an extensive number of training methods. We’re going to cover a few of the most effective kickboxing drills that will prove useful on your way to a lean, mean, functional physique to be reckoned with, so fetch your mitts and shin pads and spar with our Top 5 Kickboxing Exercises!
1. Tabata / HIIT Cardio drill
Similar to other exercises consisting of short, intense bursts (think weight-lifting, plyometrics or sprinting), this TABATA/HIIT cardio drill has multiple benefits. This form of cardio is a great method for burning fat, increasing power and developing coordination through the repetitious performance of kickboxing combinations. Also, for readers who are considering competitively fighting, this drill works wonders because it allows you to teach yourself to work through fatigue, adding mental toughness to your training as well.
2. Reaction / defense drills
Something that’s better than being able to throw strikes (in my opinion) is being able to defend yourself against someone else’s strikes. This defense drill teaches you how to efficiently, with proper technique and without expending too much energy, block and parry punches as well as kicks. Similar to the TABATA drill, it allows you to practice basic combinations with a partner. This drill develops coordination, fighting efficiency, solid defense and mastery of basic striking.
3. Counter-attack drill / light sparring
After getting comfortable throwing basic combinations on the pads, as well as the aforementioned reaction drills, you can advance to light sparring or “Counter Attack Drills”. These drills are closer to simulating real fighting than anything else that you’ll be doing in the gym, so make sure you put your mouth guard and headgear on before attempting them! You and your partner will be deliberately smashing your gloves and shins into each other’s guards at 30-60% power. You’ll be watching for openings, learning patterns, dancing around the ring using your footwork, and when the moment feels most right (and sometimes when it doesn’t!) you’ll see through each other’s strikes and counter, leaving each other momentarily caught off-guard, maybe stunned, and more experienced than when you first walked into the gym. This is truly one of the most constructive fighting drills that you’ll utilize.
4. Tire drill
This drill forces you to be uncomfortable. For newer practitioners of kickboxing, you’re more than likely going to go through a phase where you’re afraid to get “up close and personal” with your opponent. This drill forces you to learn how to fight on the “inside” of each other’s punching range. This drill will help with ring anxiety, staying calm under pressure and definitely builds stamina as well as teaching you how to utilize and conserve your energy. This drill also builds confidence, which is great for individuals new to the sport.
5. Skipping rope
Touted as one of the best forms of cardiovascular training and with good reason! Skipping rope has many benefits in one affordable, convenient package. Skipping rope can be done at either a steady pace (similar to jogging), HIIT cardio style, or a combination of both (my personal favourite). It can be performed anywhere there is a solid surface and simulates dancing/marching around the ring with short-intense bursts, which simulates throwing combinations. You’ll learn how to establish rhythm, train your cardiovascular system, and torch your fat away with just this one exercise.
Kickboxing isn’t just a sport of brutality and pure ferocity, it’s a sport that requires fine-tuning of your reflexes, calming your mind in the midst of pressure and challenging your own self-limiting beliefs about what you can and can’t do. These drills will put pressure on you to transform you from a kickboxing piece of “coal” into a sparkling, sharply honed, fierce diamond in the ring. “As long as we persevere and endure, we can get anything we want.” – Mike Tyson. So endure and enjoy the training and you too will come out on top! Do you practice Kickboxing, what are your fave drills? Let us know below or @KeepfitKingdom !