Cardio Kickboxing For Weight Loss: Benefits & Workout Exercises


Kickboxing is an efficient martial art for self-defense in the street. It contains superb punches, kicks, and knees which could rock even the most dangerous opponent and force him to retreat.

Kickboxers are tough, strong fighters ready to fight until the last bell, tolerate an impossible amount of pain, and eat an infinite amount of strikes.

But have you ever thought about the appliance of kickboxing for weight loss (cardio kickboxing)?

Many people believe martial art’s primary purpose is fighting.

Don’t listen to these narrow-minded, old school people.

A good coach can combine various factors to create a pleasant and effective workout!

Kickboxing benefits are endless. This lovely martial art could turn your weight loss process into real enjoyment!

Cardio Kickboxing for Weight LossCardio Kickboxing for Weight Loss

This guide contains 2 parts:

First, we will guide you through the hidden kickboxing benefits.

Oh, yeah, ladies and gentlemen, the perfect combination of strikes can transform you from a fat guy into a ripped warrior with perfectly shaped abs, strong shoulders, and Superman’s calves.

Second, I introduce to you what is cardio kickboxing and how to do it.

In this article, there are so many specialized cardio kickboxing workouts for boosting your striking performances, strengthening your body, and affecting weight loss at the same time.

Kickboxing is a very demanding martial art by itself, so it activates many physiological processes that force your body to burn a lot of calories.

They are some of the most entertaining and highly efficient ways to say goodbye to your bulk!

The Correlation Between Kickboxing And Weight Loss

Have you ever watched a kickboxing bout?

The match lasts, depending on the level of competition, 3-5 rounds (each time frame lasts 3 minutes), with 1-minute rest.

It means the round lasts 180 seconds.

For example, the match of three time frames lasts 540 + 2*60 = 660 seconds, which is 11 minutes.

There is no chance to maintain a maximal or submaximal level of activity for such a long time, you can only perform “a vigorous activity”.

The human body gets the energy from 3 energy sources during the workouts:

  1. The phosphagen system,
  2. Glycolysis, and the
  3. Aerobic system.

Phosphagen system is used during short-term activities performed in a maximal or submaximal, which don’t last longer than 20 seconds.

The perfect kickboxing example is combo (throwing 5 or more strong strikes at the opponent who retreats or eats shots).

Glycolysis is a predominant fuel in the exercises that last between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.

A fighter who takes part in one kickboxing round where he doesn’t trade too many shots against his rival mostly gets the energy from this source.

But what happens if the match lasts for 2 rounds or more, or when you take part in a tournament?

The main source of your fuel is the aerobic system.

When the bout lasts longer, the intensity drops, but calorie consumption grows.

The long-lasting fight will activate aerobic energy sources.

Any activity performed at the same pace for over 30 minutes leads to beta-oxidation, a process critical for the greatest kickboxing weight loss result!

It means the participation in a kickboxing tournament, where you take part in 2 or more matches, leads to weight loss.


Now let’s see how we can make our own kickboxing bracket against imaginary dangerous opponents and say goodbye to the bulk once and for all!

Numbers and academic research confirm that kickboxing is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. Read an intriguing paragraph below!

Part I: Kickboxing For Weight Loss

Kickboxing And Energy Expenditure – Academic Evidences

I will give you a few examples.

You can only punch bag or shadow box. But a sparring session or hard specific strength and conditioning training session is a
superb fat-burning activity!

Let’s assume you take part in a regular kickboxing training session. It is a mixture of high-intense and low-intense workouts.

According to, kickboxing burns a similar amount of calories like Judo and Karate.

The person who weighs 185 pounds (84 kg) spends 444 kcal in only half an hour of kickboxing, which means this wonderful striking martial art is a superb choice for weight loss.

So how many calories does kickboxing burn?

It burns the same amount of calories like rope jumping, swimming, or water polo.

The appliance of kickboxing for weight loss is a great decision, as it demands more energy than, for example, soccer, basketball, tennis, wrestling, volleyball, or badminton!

Many fighters punch bag to improve the power of their strikes. But it also forces fat cells to retreat!

Punching Bag Workouts For Weight Loss

Heavy punching bag or free standing punching bag are popular devices among kickboxers. It is widely used for heat hardiness, countering, or combo strikes.

But this part, we don’t talk about cardio kickboxing.

This is a pure appliance of striking martial art, kickboxing, for weight loss and transformation of your body!

Punching Bag WorkoutsPunching Bag Workouts

There is an endless number of kickboxing punching bag workouts for weight loss!

Each type of punching bag has its own lovely set of benefits for a high-quality fat-burn training session.

We recommend you stay away from speed bags if you intend to lose weight.

This is sports-specific training device, and it is impossible to maintain the same quick striking pace for 20 minutes or more.

Uppercut, free standing, or regular heavy bag sounds like a great choice, right?

Absolutely yes, as it gives you the opportunity to circle around and land various strikes into a moving object!

You can hit quickly or slowly, hard or light–these three types allow you to ADJUST your training session towards kickboxing for weight loss!

Here is a great example of punching bag workouts for weight loss.

There are only two rules – First, it has to last more than 20 minutes, and second, you must maintain at least a moderate pace (high-intense is recommended).


  • Drink a cup of coffee or a warm cocoa 20-30 minutes prior to the exercise to boost the beta-oxidation process!
  • And don’t throw strikes all the time, you’ll run out of gas!
  • Drink 300-500 ml of water before your workout because good pre-hydration will lead your body to better performances and allow you to train harder.


Round 1 (you need only one heavy bag)

  • Quick strikes (2 minutes) – this means only jab and right cross
  • Circling and jabs (2 minutes) – move around the heavy bag and throw jab from time to time
  • Hooks (2 minutes) – left right hook, move and keep your hands high
  • Punching combos (2 minutes) – fire at will whilst moving
  • The quick strike followed by a strong strike (2 minutes) – for example, deliver a right jab (for a southpaw and fire hard to the head via (internal) left hook)
  • Low kicks (2 minutes), circle and cover up
  • Push kicks (2 minutes) – you can link internally teep kicks
  • Shadow boxing 4 minutesStrong strikes (3 minutes) – kicks, punches, and knees are allowed, move and attack
  • Rest 3-4 minutes, then repeat the whole circuit one more time


Round 2 (let’s assume you have a rope, uppercut bag, banana-shaped bag, and free standing bag, also don’t forget to move)

  • Rope jumping (3 minutes)
  • Uppercuts (3 minutes)
  • Shadow boxing (3 minutes)
  • Punches followed by a strong low kick (3 minutes)
  • Kicks (3 minutes, head kicks are not allowed)
  • Clinch strikes (3 minutes knees + short punches)
  • Punch combos (3 minutes)
  • Jab- straight punch-front hook-cover up and move backward (3 minutes)
  • Rope jumping (3 minutes)
  • One strong strike (3 minutes, move around the bag and deliver one super hard punch, kick, or knee, then continue moving and fire hard again)

Oh, but those who train for a long time can handle even harder kickboxing weight loss routine!

Professional Kickboxing Routine For Weight Loss

This is a brutally good fat-burn combination. I highly doubted kickboxing for weight loss results could be positive. I do this training once per week, alongside two other regular kickboxing sessions. I made a few corrections in my nutrition and lost 5 kg during the last 30 days!

Let’s assume you train for a long time. So your body tolerates a high-intense training session.

Here is an example of an interval kickboxing training session for effective weight loss.

The syntax 10+20 means – 10 seconds strong strikes, 20 seconds slow and weak attacks (use this to recover).

  • Quick strikes (2 minutes, 10+20)

30 seconds rest

  • Strong strikes (2 minutes, 10+20)

30 seconds rest

  • Front hand (hook, uppercut, jab, overhand; 2 minutes, 10+20)

30 seconds rest

  • Body strikes (punch, kick, or knee to the body, hit the bag; 2 minutes, 10+20)

30 seconds rest

  • Counter punches (duck in, out, or under and deliver a strong p
    unch; 2 minutes, rest between the strikes and move)

30 seconds rest

  • Spinning techniques (spinning back kick, spinning heel kick (internal), or spinning back fist (internal), 2 minutes, 10 + 20 seconds)

30 seconds rest

  • Fast strikes (punches, kicks, and knees are allowed; deliver 3-4 clean strikes, then circle around)

30 seconds rest

  • Long-range strikes (the following ones are allowed: overhand punches, right straight, push kicks, spinning kicks, and high kicks; 2 minutes, 10 + 20 seconds)

30 seconds rest

  • Clinch strikes (knees, uppercuts, hooks, and low kicks are allowed; 10+20 seconds, 2 minutes)

30 seconds rest

  • Free fighting (all kinds of strikes are allowed, 2 minutes, 10+20 seconds)

This is one set, rest 5 minutes, then repeat the whole routine and you’ll be thrilled how good kickboxing for weight loss result is!

When you kickbox regularly, transformations of your body are inevitable. Let’s get to know the positive changes!

Kickboxing Body Before And After

The greatest differences in kickboxing body before and after a few weeks of training are lower body fat percentage and a higher percent of muscles (upper body, especially your shoulders, will look better).

Here is how it works.

If you are a beginner who has just learned to punch and deliver a low kick, the next step is the work on the punching bag or shadow boxing.

A dedicated coach will ask from you to keep your hands up.

Muscles activated during these sessions are:

  1. Upper back (Trapezoids),
  2. Shoulders (esp. Deltoids),
  3. Triceps,
  4. Chest (Pectorals),
  5. Biceps (mostly during uppercuts).

Kickboxing for Weight Loss - Muscles AnatomyKickboxing for Weight Loss - Muscles Anatomy

Muscles Anatomy

Punches, and especially jabs and crosses, put a lot of pressure on your deltoids and triceps.

This area of your body will show significant changes after only a month or two.

Those who train regularly for more than a year, even if they have never had a serious physical activity before, should notice the shape of their triceps:

Shoulders will become stronger, and it also means the lateral part of your deltoid muscles will be ripped.

Good shaped shoulder musclesGood shaped shoulder muscles

On the upper side of your back, big thick traps will appear (in some cultures, it is a sign of a well-developed muscular man).

The hours of kickboxing sessions will shape your latissimus dorsi (it is active during all kinds of body shots – uppercuts, hooks, and straight punches to the body).

Oh, wait, there is one more entertaining, less violent form of this wonderful martial art, highly efficient in weight loss training – cardio kickboxing!

Part II: Cardio Kickboxing

What Is Cardio Kickboxing?

Cardio kickboxing is a fitness class which represents the combination of fast-paced cardio and techniques from martial arts.

Optionally, this HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session could include strength and conditioning exercises (jumping jacks, burpees, ropes, core workouts…).

Classes usually last between 30 minutes and 1 hour. The following kickboxing techniques are applied throughout the session (both arms of course for upper body):

  • Hooks
  • Jabs and straight punches
  • Uppercuts
  • Overhands

Lower body:

All the punches during this workout are no contact, thrown into the air or on the mitts. According to the American Council of Exercise, this is not a sports activity, so it burns 350-450 calories per hour.

It has positive effects on your heart, fat loss, concentration, endurance, technique, muscles, and endorphin excretion (the hormone of happiness).

According to this study from Oxford, group workouts increase the level of endorphins in a human’s body, which leads to a greater level of satisfaction, better mood, and improved quality of your sleep.

It has positive effects on your heart, fat loss, concentration, endurance, technique, muscles, and endorphin excretion (the hormone of happiness).

According to this study from Oxford, group workouts increase the level of endorphins in a human’s body, which leads to a greater level of satisfaction, better mood, and improved quality of your sleep.

Cardio kickboxing also boosts the levels of your energy.

It is a group activity, and, according to this research from Mayo Clinic, group training sessions improve your energy rate because it forces lungs and heart work faster and more efficiently

It’s a fabulous workout and let’s get to know the genius who created it!

When Was Cardio Kick
boxing Invented?

It is believed that Frank Thiboutot, karate judge, and a martial arts champ, devised his own workout in 1992 and named it “Cardio Kickboxing”.

Frank was looking for something that included an aerobic workout, but also a self-defense system which offered the technical elements from martial arts.

It turned into a serious, interesting fitness class that burns fat efficiently, teaches defensive movements, and offers you a great way to release stress.

But we don’t have the same stamina levels, right? Well, the next paragraph describes critical factors which determine the length of your entertaining fat-burn session.

How Much A Cardio Kickboxing Class Last?

This is a very difficult question, as it depends on the level of your physical fitness.

#1 – Newbies

A starter cannot maintain the same pace for a long time, but there are few useful tips for newbies:

  • Decrease the pace – just perform movements slower, the goal is to maintain the activity;
  • Strikes – if you can’t throw hooks, cover up and imagine you are blocking attacks, it is also a drill;
  • Movement – make smaller steps, it will save your energy;
  • Don’t do every single strike – the coach throws jab-hook-hook-knee, you might deliver jab-hook-knee, or hook-hook-knee;
  • Decrease the number of repetitions – if your instructor demands ten repetitions, do five, just don’t stop.

Training session for beginners shouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes.

Make sure it is made of intensive exercise and active rest periods.

Below is a fair example.

#2 – Intermediate Level

The intermediate workout usually lasts 30-45 minutes.

The combination of various technical elements helps you release stress and boost your performances to the next level.

You can join this program after three to six months of intensive training sessions.

#3 – Advanced Level

Please look at the video from cardio kickboxing boot camp. An outstanding way to put your body on fire, isn’t it?

Great, but train at least for one year before trying this out!

One more advice – don’t cheat! You’ll sweat and waste a lot of energy!

Cardio Kickboxing - Billy BlankCardio Kickboxing - Billy Blank

You probably wonder whether a home workout might be as effective as a dojo or club training session, don’t you?

Should I Practice At Home Or In The Club?

If you are a loner who enjoys training when nobody sees him, then train at home.

The same rule counts for all of you who shame of your look.

We’ve already described the benefits of a group training session.

You’ll push yourself to the limit more when surrounded with people.

The good atmosphere creates positive energy, which also increases your capacities to achieve better results.

We believe group training is better for beginners because the instructor needs to show you some moves.

Intermediates and advanced levels have solid levels of experience, so exercising at your home is acceptable.

All you need is a “dancing podium” and music.

If you have additional equipment (barbells, Swiss ball, rope, medicine ball…), great, you’ll make your training more interesting!

But a good training session is only one half of your route to success. Eating tips and habits are crucial for a stunning result too!

Nutrition Tips – How To Create A Caloric Deficit?

Well, this is the most difficult part, you can’t achieve a good result without a pen and paper, or an app on your smartphone.

You must control calories all the time, if you train kickbox like a maniac and overeat, you might even gain weight!

Let’s assume you are an 80kg man. Your training sessions last one hour and happen three times per week.

Your weekly BMR is 1920 x 7 = 13440 kcal, but an hour of kickboxing spends 888 kcal => which means you add 3 x 888 kcal to your weekly nutrition value.

Total score is 13440 + 2664 = 16104 kcal.

Just divide this number with 7, 16104/7 = 2300 kcal. So, if you want to maintain your weight, and don’t go up or down, you must take 2300 kcal every day.

But how would you force your body to lose weight? Super-simple, decrease the value by 20%!

100 : 2300 = 80 : x = 1840 kcal

From now on, take 1840 kcal per day to lose weight regularly! You can check how many calories each food contains by clicking on this link.

But what happens if you don’t progress? For example, your goal is to drop from 80 to 70 kg. You reached 75 kg limit, but your body resists and won’t go down. Well, here is the secret!

Your BMR is not 1920 kcal anymore, but 24 hours x body weight (75 kg) x 1 kcal/kg/h (4,184 kJ/kg/h) = 1800 kcal (7524 kJ)

Weekly BMI rate would now be: 7 x 1800 + 3 x 888 = 15.264 kcal. Dividing it by seven, you’ll get a value of 2180 kcal.

Now let’s set the new equation, cutting the portion by one-fifth.

2180: 100 = x : 80

X = 1744 kcal

Your body is not progressing because you must eat 1744 kcal instead of 1840 kcal to continue losing weight.

This is called a great appliance of kickboxing for weight loss!

Kickboxing will put your body on fire and drop your weight ladies and gentlemen, especially if you train hard!

How Many Calories Does Kickboxing Burn (Examples And Weight Calculations)?

You’ll hardly answer this question, as it depends on whether your training intensity is light or hard.

Kickboxing is generally considered a vigorous activity, as its high-intensity training sessions rarely last less than one hour.

#1 – The Secret Behind Basal Metabolic Rate

Energy consumption is related to your body weight. Heavier people usually burn more calories as their basal metabolic ra
te is higher.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) means energy which is required for basic life functions (heart, lungs, CNS…) when the whole body rest.

Technically, this is the number of calories needed to maintain weight if the person rests the whole day.

The average difference between genders is 10-15% for males, and it depends on body composition differences.

Men have greater BMR values because of a higher percentage of muscles in their bodies.

So how to calculate BMR value and discover how many calories does cardio kickboxing burn? One day has 24 hours, isn’t it?

Well, here it goes, assuming the person weighs 80 kg.

Approximate equation for males is:

BMR = 24 hours x body weight (80 kg) x 1 kcal/kg/h (4,184 kJ/kg/h) = 1920 kcal (8033 kJ)

Approximate equation for females:

BMR = 24 hours x body weight x 0,9 kcal/kg/h(4,184 kJ/kg/h) = 1728 kcal (7230 kJ)

Values could be 10% less or bigger, according to individual genetic variations.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is BMR value plus energy consumption for sedentary activities–food digestion, standing, reading, sitting…

Add 5-10% and you’ve discovered your RMR!

If you take fewer calories, you’ll lose weight!


Also retaken from: Djordjevic Nikic, M. (2006), Athlete nutrition. (this is my book from college)

Cutting your rations is never easy, but if you eat less and train well, the result has to come, as cardio kickboxing is another very effective way to burn fat.

Cardio Kickboxing Weight Loss –Fat Burning Secrets

As we described in the previous chapter, one hour of this vigorous activity wastes 350-450 kcal. So let’s assume you train three times per week, one hour, intermediate intensity. You are a female who weighs 60 kg (feel free to calculate on your own).

BMR = 24 hours x 60 x 0,9 kcal/kg/h(4,184 kJ/kg/h) = 1,296 kcal (5,422 kJ)

Your weekly BMR is 7 x 1,296 = 9,072 kcal. Add three sessions of 400 kcal (1200 kcal). The total sum is 9,072 + 1,200 = 10, 272 kcal. Divide it with seven, you need 1,467 kcal to maintain your weight.

Now simply create a caloric deficit by an equation:

100 : 1,467 = 80 : x

X = 1173, 6 kcal

Optionally, you can create 30 or even 40% caloric deficit (in that case, numbers 60 or 70 will change number 80 in the equation), but 20% has fewer chances of leading to severe psychological, physiological, and other issues.


Final Words

When somebody mentions kickboxing, the first thing that comes to 99% of minds is “martial art where two fighters throw strikes at each other in the square ring”.

But you can turn kickboxing into a fabulous weight loss tool because it burns more calories than soccer or basketball!

A good combination of intensity, proper exercises and fine-tuned rest periods will allow you to say goodbye to the excess fats.

If you installed a heavy bag in your garage or home, you might even reach the perfect body through punching bag workouts!

The first changes on kickboxing body are visible in the shoulder, stomach, and upper back area.

Years of training might even turn you into an awesome-looking ripped athlete!

Despite cardio kickboxing wastes less energy than fighting or striking heavy bag, it is an entertaining way to give your body an athletic look.

Decrease your rations and use hidden kickboxing benefits to create a lovely ripped body of your dreams!

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Teaching, Friendly, Young, Passion. Always wanna go up & down. Hey, you gotta live, do you?  

I would like to add more useful articles for Martial Arts Community. Do you have any feedback for me? What can I do better for my blog?

Hope to receive your warm feedback.

Robert Sterling  //  Author

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