Kickboxing is a calorie-frying workout derived from the centuries-old martial art of Muay Thai, which utilizes punches, knees, and kicks for self- defense. With each blazing-fast move, kickboxing generates enough power to take an opponent down making it an incredible cardiovascular workout. Since you’re relying on burst speed rather than steady state cardio, your body may oxidize more fat over time, which can increase resting metabolic rate similar to other HIIT workouts. IFBB bikini pro and Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Monique Ricardo Carvalho uses a workout by trainer Reggie Chambers to show you how to burn it up.
Do this workout for time so you don’t need to keep track of reps and sets and can go all out from start to finish. You’ll need an interval timer (like GymBoss) or app (like Interval Timer by Deltaworks). Unless otherwise instructed, do each move for 60 seconds; take a 30-second rest, then move on to the next exercise. Beginners can do a 30:15 workoutto-rest ratio instead. Perform each circuit four times. Change foot position only when kicking; otherwise, stay in orthodox position (left foot forward).
1. JAB PUNCH
Stand with your left foot one or two feet in front of your right, both feet facing forward. Lift your left hand in front of chin, right hand slightly behind it. (This is fighter stance.) Jab forward with your left hand, making a quick punch with a straight arm. Return your left arm back toward your body, bringing fist close to your cheek, which helps you get into the habit of protecting your face, and jab forward with right arm. Alternate arms for time, bringing punching hand back to start while the opposite hand protects your face.
REGGIE CHAMBERS, WHO DESIGNED THIS WORKOUT, HAS BEEN A CUTTING-EDGE TRAINER FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, WITH A FOCUS ON KICKBOXING, BOXING, STRENGTH TRAINING, AND WEIGHT LOSS.
2. CROSS PUNCH
Get in fighter stance. Cross punch with your right arm so it moves in front of your body and slightly to the left, aiming for chin level of opponent. Return fist toward face, not down. Keep left fist near chin. Go all out with this move, making sure to throw your force into each cross punch, keeping your abs tight and face protected with the nonworking hand. Alternate arms for time.
From fighter stance, instead of punching straight as you would with a jab, make an arc with your arm, hitting from the side as you pivot your hips and legs. Focus on engaging your obliques, biceps, and shoulders throughout. Do each side for 30 seconds.
4. UPPER CUT
Keep both arms bent at the elbow, shoulder width apart. From fighter stance, flex both arms and alternate upward punches with each arm in a staccato motion. This will help strengthen your biceps and engage your core as you punch. Continue alternating sides for time.
5. LUNGE WITH A KICK
Standing a few feet behind a heavy bag, step back with your right foot into a lunge, then explode up from the bottom, driving through your left heel to return to standing. Immediately extend your right leg, kicking “through the bag” with your heel first. Do 10 reps; switch legs.
6. SIDE KICK TO RIGHT/LEFT
Stand a few feet to the right of heavy bag. Get in fighter stance with your right leg back, left arm guarding your face, and right hand in front of your chin. Rotate your hips left and pivot on your left foot while kicking to your right, keeping your knee raised as you snap your heel “through” the heavy bag. Do 10 kicks; switch legs.
Monique Ricardo Carvalho
Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, IFBB bikini pro, fitness model
Jiu-jitsu teacher, personal trainer
Try these combinations to put your kickboxing training into action.
Do these for 30 seconds total, then rest 15 seconds and repeat.
- LEFT JAB
- RIGHT CROSS
- LEFT HOOK
- RIGHT CROSS
- LEFT UPPERCUT
- RIGHT UPPERCUT
- LEFT HOOK
- RIGHT HOOK
Follow these combos for the given number of reps.
- FRONT KICK, SIDE KICK (10x EACH LEG)
- STRAIGHT PUNCH (4x)
- RIGHT SIDE KICK, PLUS LEFT SIDE KICK (REPEAT 10x)