Kickboxing: An Intense Way to Initiate Muscle Definition
The fitness industry today is obsessed with weight loss programs. Kickboxing takes a different approach to that same goal by involving a lot of kicks, punches, elbow strikes and knees, that puts different parts of your body to work. This is why the results show really fast when you join a kickboxing class.
However, just losing weight won’t cut it. A complete fitness regime should be able to help you get toned and have better muscle definition to show off the hard work you put in. Let’s see how kickboxing can help you achieve this.
Muscles Involved in Various Kickboxing Moves
Kickboxing training is more than just high-intensity cardio. What makes it well-rounded is the combination of styles and techniques that have been borrowed from Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and Karate. A proper session focuses on different parts of your body at the same time. The incredible amount of stress on your muscles force them to recover, and lays down the foundation for hypertrophy, resulting in noticeable muscle definition.
Here’s how it works:
Punching in kickboxing is more about coordination than just a brutal demonstration of physical strength. To properly execute punching combinations effectively, you’ll need a tremendous amount of muscular endurance.
- Despite what you may think, proper punching techniques involve a lot of footwork and the movements start from the toes.
- When you push your leg back, it engages the entire lower body, especially the flexors and the hip abductors.
- The core muscles are then activated along with the subsequent hip rotation.
- The arms are engaged last, with the help of the back and deltoids in the shoulder.
- Most punching combinations involve jabs, which exhaust the deltoids.
- The biceps, triceps, and the muscular fibres of the forearm act as shock absorbers when the punch makes an impact with an opponent or target.
Kicks are initiated from the hips as they whip the leg around for a strike. The type of kicks used in kickboxing are mostly narrow, meant for close-contact fighting. There is a repetitive use of leg and core when performing the high roundhouse, the front straight, and crescent kicks. Therefore, training in kickboxing can result in:
- Stronger hip abductors and quadriceps, the latter located in your upper leg.
- Tougher soleus and tibialis anterior, the latter located in your lower leg.
Since these are narrow muscular fibres, and a thin layer of skin are the only things that separate your shin bone and your target, strengthening them becomes a necessity in kickboxing.
The clinch, so prominent in Muay Thai, is also a fundamental part of MMA style kickboxing.
In this technique, you wrap your arms and hands around the back of your opponent’s neck to hold them, so you can kick and punch from close range. This particular move requires full engagement of your core as it requires you to constantly flex your transverse abdominis and the rectus abdominis. The obliques get a good workout from these movements as well. Not to mention, the explosive amount of output that is required from the hip abductors and flexors to lift the target into the striking radius.
4. Elbow Strikes
There are a lot of forearm and elbow strikes involved in kickboxing, and your arms are guaranteed to feel sore after a thorough session. The reason is that there isn’t much muscle covering your wrist area, and this style of martial arts requires you to use the wrist extensors.
The impacts of the movements are absorbed by the wrist extensors, even though the power actually originates from the latissimus dorsi of the lower back.
This is probably the least flashy part of this martial art style, but nevertheless, it’s one of the most essential skills. Good footwork helps you in defending yourself by avoiding oncoming blows. It engages your entire lower body, while building good cardio conditioning by keeping you active on your feet. The movements involve the feet, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and the muscular fibres around the shins. Footwork that requires you to perform pivots, drops, slips or rolls, engages the hips and gluteal muscles too.
Anyone who has ever had the experience of being at the receiving end of a punch will tell you how important defending yourself is. A solid defence is to keep your hands up by your chin with your elbows tucked close to the body. This is highly effective in defending your head and the body. When you keep the hands close and the elbows bent, it creates an isometric contraction activating the biceps, the latissimus dorsi, and the trapezius. In defensive movements, you need to engage the core muscles along with the legs to perform a combination of slips, rolls, and pulling back.
While these techniques seem simple on the surface, they have many nuances that could result in injury if not practised well. That’s why they should only be performed under professional supervision and in a secured environment. So, if you want to make the most of kickboxing training to better your level of physical fitness and overall health, find a studio near your location to help you with your fitness goals and dietary program.