Kickboxing is a full-body, high-intensity interval workout that combines speed, strength, and endurance. Most routines require repeating quick punches and kicks. Depending on the program, kickboxing can focus on cardio, strength training, or both.
What does this kind of training do for your body? Cardio, short for cardiovascular, is any exercise that increases your heart rate, while strength training is any exercise designed to improve your strength or increase your muscle mass. Doing both at the same time has rich rewards.
Kickboxing, as with any high-intensity interval training (HIIT), makes your heart more efficient. It can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. How does HIIT do this? Kickboxing increases MAP, VO2 MAX, and anaerobic fitness.
Kickboxing increases maximal aerobic power or MAP. MAP is the ability of muscles to take up oxygen from the bloodstream. The more efficiently the muscles receive oxygen, the better they can metabolize that nutrient, and the more effectively the muscles will work.
Kickboxing expands VO2 MAX or the maximum volume of oxygen a person can use during exercise. It’s the volume of oxygen per weight of the person per time. VO2 MAX is a measurement of a person’s cardiorespiratory health. Basically, the higher the VO2 MAX, the longer you can work out.
Kickboxing improves anaerobic fitness. Anaerobic exercises mean “without oxygen.” Whenever you sprint, jump rope, punch, or any high-intensity interval training, your muscles are working without consuming oxygen. This limitation changes how your muscles operate. Instead of eating fat and glucose, the tissue only consumes glucose through a process called glycolysis.
During anaerobic respiration, the muscle creates more lactic acid and becomes fatigued easier. When more anaerobic exercise is performed, the more efficient the muscle gets at eliminating lactic acid and will be slower to fatigue. Improved anaerobic fitness means you can do the quick movements faster, more frequently, and longer.