CARDIO KICKBOXING SAFETY TIPS
Reproduced with permission of IDEA,
The Health and Fitness Source,
Are you planning to kick and punch
your way to fitness with one of the
hot, new cardio kickboxing programs? Currently,
millions of exercisers are trying today's
most popular trend in physical activity - fitness programs (such
as TaeBoÔ )
that provide the heart-healthy benefits
of cardio exercise, while offering the
gains in agility, strength, balance and coordination that can
be achieved through martial arts training.
Although the range of benefits is impressive,
cardio kickboxing also poses considerable
risk of injury, particularly for new exercisers or participants
who don't know how to protect themselves from the potential dangers.
Even very fit exercisers can be challenged by their first class.
Cardio kickboxing is a complicated form of exercise because the
range and planes of motion differ from what most people are used
to, says Los Angeles, California, instructor Keli Roberts, who recently
choreographed Kathy Smith's kickboxing video. Roberts notes that
traditional martial arts training builds progressively; students
learn each new move gradually, giving their bodies time to develop
the ability to perform all moves safely and correctly. Moves are
not done repetitively to fast music, as they generally are in cardio
In your first cardio kickboxing class, you could find yourself
performing advanced moves, such as fan and hook kicks, even though
you wouldn't do these in a martial arts class until you had progressed
through several belt colors, says Roberts. Kicks like these produce
explosive forces on the lower back and other joints. The punches
and jabs taught in these classes can cause problems for the elbows,
neck and shoulders. Unless you progressively develop the necessary
strength and stability to perform these moves with good form, you
will be at risk for injury.
How to Be Safe
Roberts offers cardio kickboxers these safety tips:
Go Slow, Low and Easy With Kicks and Punches. Whatever you do,
don't start throwing full kicks and punches in your first class.
Progress slowly and keep your kicks low, especially on side kicks
and roundhouses. Don't overextend your kicks or lock your joints.
Remember, kicks are weapons to the lower body and punches are weapons
to the face, says Roberts. Don't act as if you were kicking at an
opponent's head - you're kicking at the legs.
Don't Do More Than Three Cardio Kickboxing Workouts per Week. If
you want to have longevity in the sport, start with only one workout
per week and gradually build up to no more than three (unless you're
also doing some other form of martial arts training or sport-specific
Look for an Interval Training Program. A cardio kickboxing program
that follows an interval training format will alternate high-intensity
work bouts with recovery periods in which moves are performed slowly.
By choosing interval training, you reduce your chances of getting
fatigued and sacrificing good form.
Select a Trained Instructor Who Offers Prgressive Teaching. Your
instructor should be trained and certified as a fitness instructor,
in addition to having boxing or martial arts training. He or she
should give you specific instructions for modifying moves.
Allow Yourself to Be a Beginner. Look for a simple program that
isn't heavily choreographed, has limited repetitions and isn't extremely
fast. Roberts advises that the music speed should ideally be no
faster than 135 beats per minute.
Include Strength and Stability Training in Your Fitness Regime.
If these are not part of your cardio kickboxing program, supplement
it with additional training.
Don’t Ignore Your Feet. Consider jump rope drills or other
Forms of floor work to strengthen your feet for the specific demands
of cardio kickboxing. Your shoes need to be designed for pivots
and lateral movement. If you wear running shoes on carpet, you risk
spraining an ankle.
Always Warm Up. Your warm-up should be specific to the class and
should include static and dynamic stretching with some kicks and
Cross Train With Contrasting Activities. Complement your kickboxing
program with non- or lower-impact, more linear forms of exercise-such
as indoor stationary cycling, walking and hiking.
Try Traditional Martial Arts Training. This will allow you to learn
at a slower pace and practice proper technique--both of which are
especially important if you are new to exercise.
Note: Remember to check with your physician
before beginning a cardio kickboxing program.
©1999 by IDEA Health and Fitness Source.
This handout is a service of IDEA, the leading international membership
organization in the health and fitness