As much as we believe that all exercise is good exercise, it's also true that form matters. Working out isn't only about breaking a sweat and going hard; it's also about precise movements that deliver the best results while keeping you injury-free.
That's especially true when it comes to a workout like cardio kickboxing. While you may feel ready to throw intense punches and kicks left and right, you're going to want to nail down your form first.
"Don't worry about power yet," says Justin Blackwell, master coach at Los Angeles-based fitness studio BoxUnion. "Worry about the technique of it, worry about your breathing, worry about your fundamentals — that's all."
Focusing on technique doesn't mean your session will be easy, though. In this 15-minute kickboxing video, Blackwell will teach you the essentials while still giving you a heart-pounding cardio workout.
Better still: This routine is equipment-free, so all you'll need is a comfortable pair of shoes and a few feet of space to get started.
Blackwell kicks things off with a dynamic warm-up, followed by three combo rounds. Keep your body moving to the beat of the music throughout.
- Boxer Bounce: Start by bouncing to the beat of the music.
- Hip Flexor Circles: This dynamic stretch will warm up your lower body.
- High Knees: Drive your knees toward your chest to the beat.
- Jab (1) and Cross (2): Alternate between jab and cross punches, keeping your lower body moving as you go.
- Jump Rope: "All we're doing right now is just getting that blood flowing, focusing on the breathing, letting those lungs open up," Blackwell says.
- Hip Flexor Circles: As your hips loosen up, make each rotation a little bigger.
- High Knees: Start to bring your knees higher as your legs and hips warm up.
- Front Uppercut (5) and Rear Uppercut (6): Focus on loosening the shoulders with each punch.
- Jump Rope: "If you start to feel that heart rate climb, you'll start to feel that breathing get a little heavier," Blackwell says. "That's a good thing."
- Front Hook (3) and Rear Hook (4): Rotate at the core as you alternate between your front and rear hook punches.
- Jump Rope: Bounce it out before starting your combos.
- 1, 2, 3, 6, Rear Kick, Lead Kick Combo: Take your time to build up to the combo, starting with a jab and gradually incorporating the other punches and kicks as you move to the beat of the music.
- 1, 2, 1, 2, Rear Knee, Lead Knee Combo: As you raise your knees, keep your movements sharp, Blackwell says.
- Single Strike Combo: Follow along as Blackwell calls out single punches, knees and kicks throughout this final round.
Cool down with this three-minute stretch before hopping in the shower.