What You Need to Know the First Time in a Kickboxing Lesson

Today I ran a HIIT kickboxing routine where each exercise required three minutes of punches, kicks, or boxing-inspired conditioning movements. And let me tell you: I never knew three minutes could be this long.

Kickboxing training comes in many forms. Sometimes you do choreographic punches and kicks as part of a classroom aerobics class. Other times, you need to wrap your arms around and match the wits to the bag for speed, which I tried. Here are some things to know:

  • Make your hands useless . In the middle of training, the trainer put a pair of giant boxing gloves on my hands. This left me unable to scratch the itch or wipe the sweat off my face. Next time, I would consider wearing a sweat bandage or a bandana on my forearm. Other newbies noted that for the same reason, you should wear pants that won’t slide down because you might not be able to lift them up.
  • Ask about hand wraps . Experienced people at my gym used them, but newbies could do without them. The wraps stabilize and protect your hand from impact and also wick away sweat from the inside of the gloves. If you use them, be sure to ask how to wrap them properly.
  • Some bags are for precision and some are for strength . I started to fucking slap the double ended bag and the coach had to run across the room to stop me. This is not what it is for . Little bangs on small bags, ride into town in big and heavy ones. When in doubt, ask your instructor what the purpose of each exercise should be.
  • You will feel amazing when you tackle the speed bag . This is a tiny ball-and-socket punching bag. You have to hit it in the right place at the right time without making it curl, otherwise you will lose the rhythm. This list of speed bag tips is in line with what my instructor told me. It took a while, but in the end I was going to do 10 hits in a row.

Some basic punches (jab, cross, hook and uppercut) and kicks (front, side, and roundhouse) are useful to know, but your instructor should teach you the correct technique for these. If you want to take a peek, Wikipedia has descriptions of all the moves you’re likely to see. Fitness kickboxing instructors tend not to be as focused on form as instructors who teach you how to fight real people, so if you want to make sure you kick or kick with maximum force, seek out a martial arts coach. … or boxing background.

It’s time to share tips and questions. Have you tried fitness kickboxing? What surprised you and what would you say to a newbie? If you want to give it a try, what questions do you still have?

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