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All forms of martial arts can condition and tone the body when practiced regularly. You can develop strength and flexibility simultaneously with martial arts practice, according to Sports Fitness Advisor1.
Typically, cardio kickboxing routines especially provide intense aerobic exercise. To develop your own complete cardio kickbox routine, include plenty of lower body work, as well as upper body exercise. Incorporate repetitions of jab, cross and hook punches with plenty of kicks for a complete aerobic workout.
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To perform typical kickbox punches, first practice each punch separately. Then combine jab, cross and hook punches for a cardio kickbox routine. As you carry out each punch, release the corresponding foot slightly and turn or lean into the punch to add more energy to the move.
"Remember to continually engage your core for support during punches and keep light on your feet. Incorporate all three punches in your kickbox routine for a powerful combination," says Julio Anta of Anta’s Fitness and Self Defense2.
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Bend your elbow, hold your forearm straight up in front of you and make a fist for a jab. When you’re not in motion, keep your fist near your face for protection in proper kickboxer fashion. Quickly release your elbow and punch, or jab, right out in front of you.
Your arm does not completely straighten out during a jab; instead, your forearm moves out and in very fast. Keep in mind, though, that as a fighter, you forcefully jab an opponent. Quick and intense moves such as this one will increase cardio activity during a kickbox routine.
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A cross punch is similar to a jab, except that you cross over to the opposite side with your punch. As you move into a cross punch, your body turns with it for energy. When combining a jab and a cross punch, remember to keep the resting arm near your face. Start with alternating between a jab and a cross punch to build your kickbox routine.
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A hook punch is more open. Perform a hook punch with a round swinging motion toward your opponent. Imagine how a jab and a cross will land in your opponents face and then how a hook will clock him more on the side of his face. In kickbox fighting, punches coming at an opponent from different angles help surprise and confuse him to your advantage. Combine hook punches with alternating jab and cross punches for an exciting cardio kickbox routine.
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Combine front and side kicks to incorporate powerful kicking moves into your kickbox routine. Keep in mind that you don’t have to kick high for an effective workout, and fighters in the sport know that low kicks mixed with knee jabs can take an opponent down fast.
Although a high kick to the head might look impressive to spectators, kickboxing sport insiders say it’s the efficient use of elbows and knees that do the most damage to an opponent.5
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Cardio Kickbox Routine
To create an effective cardio kickbox routine of your own, incorporate fast combinations of basic kickbox moves in with squats, turns and shuffles.6
A kickbox routine that emphasizes conditioning and toning doesn’t have to stay pure to kickbox moves throughout the entire choreography. You’ll likely get tired of constantly punching and kicking. Integrated aerobics moves will help keep your routine interesting and fun.
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1. Sports Fitness Advisor: Martial Arts Training Section
2. ExpertVillage: Beginning Kickboxing Moves—Kickboxing Combinations in Beginning
3. YouTube: Kickboxing Training - Hook
4. MuayThai Online: Muay Thai
5. YouTube: Kickboxing Kick Techniques—Full-Pivot High Roundhouse Kick
6. 24 Hour Fitness; Austin, Texas