What is Kickboxing?

Kickboxing (sometimes called aeroboxing) is a class that takes the moves of a kickboxer’s training and choreographs them to music. You’ll do some or all of the following: jump rope, shadow-box, forward kicks, punches, and the fancy footwork you see boxers do in the ring when they’re trying to avoid taking one on the chin.

If you are interested in taking a kickboxing class, consider the following:

  • What kickboxing does for you: Develops anaerobic and aerobic fitness — in other words, power and staying power. Kickboxing also improves your coordination, agility, and balance. Most classes build muscle strength, too.

  • The exhaustion factor: Very high. Kickboxers are reputed to be among the best conditioned athletes. After one of these classes, you’ll know why. Most classes are geared toward advanced exercisers, although some clubs offer beginner and multilevel classes, too.

  • The coordination factor: High. The drills require some fancy footwork and arm work.

  • Who digs kickboxing: Anyone looking for a killer workout with plenty of variety, or anyone who hates his boss.

  • What to wear: The usual aerobic clothing will do, although some funk-aerobics clothing crosses over into the boxing classes. High-top aerobics shoes are better than running and walking shoes. Cross-trainers are fine. Most gyms supply boxing gloves if they’re used in the class.

  • Signs of a sharp instructor: Look for classes taught by someone with good kickboxing skills, rather than, say, a step-aerobics instructor who is just futzing around with a few punches and kicks. Some independent kickboxing organizations certify instructors, but most teachers don’t have these certifications. They should, however, have at least one of the usual aerobics-instructor certifications, and they should have attended a few kickboxing seminars.

  • Tips for first-timers: Pay attention to how you feel. If a lot of the moves are bone crunching or the exact opposite of what other instructors have told you to do, skip the moves or modify them. Don’t give up. Kickboxing will get easier.

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