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Muscles That Become Sore From Kickboxing

author image Michelle Dawn
Michelle Dawn has written professionally since 2005, covering a variety of topics over that time, the majority of that work focused on health and well-being. A Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Yoga Instructor, she enjoys teaching others how to live their healthiest, happiest life.
Muscles That Become Sore From Kickboxing
A kickboxer kicking high on a heavy bag. Photo Credit: Ivan Grlic/Hemera/Getty Images

Kickboxing is a popular martial arts sport that is quite similar to regular boxing, only you use your legs instead of relying on punches to defeat your opponent. It's a great form of exercise and excellent for total-body strengthening. Although kickboxing works nearly all of the major muscle groups in your body, the triceps and biceps, deltoids, abdominal muscles, quads and back muscles are the muscles that are often most sore after a kickboxing workout.

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The Quadriceps get Involved

Although kickboxing works the calves and other muscles in the legs, it's the quadriceps muscles at the front of your thighs that get the biggest workout. Throwing knees and kicking are actions that target the quadriceps. The quads are often the sorest muscles after kickboxing because most of your power comes from your legs. Even when you're throwing punches or elbows you're using your legs, as that is the part of the body where power is generated.

Deltoids for Strength

The shoulders, namely the deltoid muscles that span across the front and top of the shoulders, play a big role when you're throwing punches. The shoulders are particularly important for arm endurance, and you may notice that you feel pain and fatigue in your shoulders before your arms after a session of kickboxing.

Abs and Core

The abdominal muscles are the primary muscles that make up the core of your body, and they are used in almost every action in the sport of kickboxing. When you jab, uppercut, dodge, kick or simply move around, your abs are in motion. Kickboxing works the frontal abdominal muscles in particular, the rectus abdominis muscle, which is actually made up of two identical parallel muscles and spans from the underside of your rib cage to just above the pelvic bone.

Arms for Punching

Even though the legs are a big part of kickboxing, punching is one of the most commonly relied on actions; your arm muscles play a major role here too. Your tricep and bicep muscles are utilized for punching and throwing elbows. The triceps are for speed of straight punches, while your biceps get a workout when you're jabbing or throwing uppercuts. You need fast, powerful arms for kickboxing, and you will definitely be feeling the effects in your arms. The wrist extensor and wrist flexor muscles are also heavily relied on in this sport.

Don't Forget About the Back

Even your back gets worked out during a kickboxing session. When you punch, your back plays a significant role and it's the muscles in your back that help with punch recovery, a term used to refer to how quickly you can pull your hand back after you throw a punch. The latissimus dorsi muscles, which are the largest of your upper back, are utilized most in kickboxing because of the constant punch recovery.

Stretching to Save you From Soreness

Muscles often feel sore after a workout because of the microscopic tears experienced during exercise. These tears, which are then repaired by your body, are what help your muscles grow in size and strength. Although you still may feel a bit tender, stretching before and after your workout is a great way to prevent sore, stiff muscles. Dynamic stretches are best for before your workout, helping to warm up your muscles, while static stretches work best afterward.

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