How Kickboxing Can Improve Your Game

STACK Expert Brian Smith extols the benefits of kickboxing for athletes in any sport and provides a kickboxing workout you can add to your training.

Kickboxing

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Kickboxing is much more than kicking and punching. It's a discipline that can help you become a better athlete, no matter what sport you play. Keep reading to learn how kickboxing improves your performance on the field and get a workout you can incorporate into your training.

Kickboxing Benefits

  • Breathing – Kickboxing forces you to practice controlled breathing so you can exert more force on the target when you exhale. As you learn to control your breathing, you'll get better at controlling your athletic movements.
  • Mental Focus – You'll learn focus early in your kickboxing training when you spar against an opponent. Use this focus in your sport to stay sharp during important moments.
  • Balance – The single-leg balance you learn in kickboxing will help you maintain stability through all athletic movements.
  • Core Strength – If you have a weak core, your kickboxing punches and kicks will be weak. In other sports, core strength helps you shoot, hit, throw, run and jump at a higher level.
  • Mobility – Kickboxers are constantly working on flexibility and mobility to reduce their chance of injury. Improving mobility will help you stay on the field longer, no matter what sport you play.

Kickboxing Warm-Up

Scale this workout up or down according to your training experience.

Breathing and Mental Focus

You can do "box breathing" before each training session and any time you need to relax.

Do your box breathing in a quiet, controlled setting. The pattern is simple: inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for another four counts and hold again for the final four counts. At first, you might feel slightly uncomfortable on the exhale hold and when filling your lungs to capacity on the inhale hold.

Dynamic Warm-Up

  • Jog forward for 2 minutes
  • Jog backward for 20 yards
  • Side Skip Lunge for 20 yards
  • Backward Lunge with Trunk Twist for 20 yards
  • Carioca 20 yards
  • Wrist Stretch - 15 seconds each way
  • Neck Roll

Balance

  • Squat until your quadriceps muscles are below your knees, maintaining contact between your heels and the ground. If you heels begin to lift, stop and try to go lower next time.
  • Balancing on your right foot, squat down and touch the ground on either side of your right foot and in front of your body. Repeat with your left foot.

Core

Complete a 90-second Plank variation by cycling through the following positions every 10 seconds for a total of 90 seconds.

  • Traditional Plank
  • Extend right arm
  • Extend left arm
  • Extend left leg
  • Extend left leg
  • Traditional Plank
  • Extend left leg and right arm
  • Extend right leg and left arm
  • Traditional Plank

Mobility

The World's Greatest Lunge with Overhead Reach combines hamstring, groin, calf, shoulder and thoracic spine mobility with a Lunge.

Kickboxing Workout

  • Left jab for 30 seconds
  • Right punch for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Left jab followed by right punch for 60 seconds
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • 3-way kicks with left leg (back, side, front) for 30 seconds
  • 3-way kicks with right leg (back, side, front) for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Repeat 3-6 rounds
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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: MMA | WORKOUTS | MOBILITY | HEELS | KICKS | KICKBOXING | MENTAL FOCUS