The Rise of Cardio Kickboxing (This is Why It’s Now So Popular)

Picture this: Another day at the gym, not much interest or desire, you’re doing what you normally do. You head over to the treadmill to walk for an hour. As you trudge along, you glance at the time. You’re thinking “It must have been an hour already!” After a double-take, the disappointment starts to set in… it’s only been five minutes.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If it does, then you might be the next person to ride the cardio kickboxing wave. Millions of people around the globe are ditching their traditional (though more dull) forms of cardiovascular training for the much more intense and engaging alternative.

So, what makes cardio kickboxing so popular?

Read on to find out…

The Origins of Cardio Kickboxing

Original martial arts such as Jiu-Jitsu and Kung Fu have been around for hundreds of years. That said, kickboxing’s history is relatively young. Billed as a mixture of different striking sports (including Muay Thai and Karate), kickboxing came about during the 1950s. Full-contact karate practitioners were frustrated at traditional karate tournament limitations. Although little official information is publicly available, sources cite this as the reason for the rise in kickboxing’s American appeal.

During the 1990s, Frank Thiboutot was credited with the creation of cardio kickboxing. Originally promoting the sport as a fitness programme, he created circuit training methods utilising kickboxing techniques.

Participants would go through different stations, hitting a punching bag, jumping rope, and others for a prescribed amount of time, and then move on to the next. His course served the purpose of popularizing the sport while providing a challenging workout.

The Rise

Frank refined his training programme to include pad work with more emphasis on traditional kickboxing techniques. He released the book “Cardio Kickboxing Elite” to express the significance of his training while providing readers with some genuine kickboxing techniques.

It’s safe to say that Thiboutot’s sport spread like a wildfire. In less than a decade, cardio kickboxing was introduced to gyms all across the United States, with most traditional gyms and martial arts dojos offering some form of cardio kickboxing.

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and cardio kickboxing found plenty of imitation with products like Tae Bo, etc. Cardio kickboxing was an easy sell due to the fact that it provided both a strength and a cardio workout in one. While most programmes require choosing one or the other, cardio kickboxing kills two birds with one stone.

Cardio Kickboxing Class

Cardio Kickboxing Benefits

While many fitness trends come and go, cardio kickboxing has thrived for nearly twenty years. Who knew hitting a punching bag could be so much fun?!

Here’s what you can expect from cardio kickboxing workouts:

  • Burn more calories – The American Council on Exercise (ACE) estimates that a half hour session can burn between 350 and 450 calories. On average, this is a greater expenditure than most steady-state cardiovascular workouts including a treadmill or bike, for example.
  • Develop strength – There are very few forms of cardio that develop strength and muscle simultaneously; if you would like real-world proof of that, just visit the next full marathon and take a look at the build of most successful marathon runners. Now, compare that build to a kickboxer’s build, and you will see the difference. While cardio kickboxing primarily focuses on cardiovascular exercise (with a name like that, who would have thought?), it also helps develop strength and muscle as well. Hitting a punching bag or focus mitts causes the user to exert more energy and push the muscles hard, which encourages your body to develop more strength.
  • Weight management – With the ability to burn many calories in a short period, cardio kickboxing emerges as a great form of weight management. Whether your goal is to lose weight or maintain your weight, it will always be a great option. With cardio kickboxing, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym, so you can participate even on a busy schedule.
  • Stress relief – After a long day, exercising is a great way to unwind. Cardio kickboxing programs require plenty of effort and focus, but hitting a punching bag is a great way to relieve stress. While the training is challenging, it serves as a positive distraction and a form of catharsis, allowing you to unload some of those frustrations on an inanimate object.
  • Convenience – You don’t have to spend hours in a gym anymore. Cardio kickboxing is a full-body workout that is sure to work up a sweat in half the time of traditional workouts. Studies show that high-intensity exercise can burn the same amount of calories as a moderate intensity workout in 40% less time.

Cardio Kickboxing Punch Bag

Final Words

Tired of the same old workouts? If you hate slaving away at the gym for way too long, and you are seeing poor results, chances are it’s time to switch things up with cardio kickboxing. Working out is a necessity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot enjoy doing it! Give cardio kickboxing a shot, and you won’t regret it.



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Albert Guardado

Albert Guardado Jr. is a retired boxer and former Olympic competitor. Since his retirement from the sport, he continues to share his extensive boxing experience and knowledge by coaching, blogging and assisting with tournament administrations.

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