Kickboxing is a hybrid martial art form that combines elements of boxing, karate, and Muy Thai. It originated in Japan in the mid 1960s, eventually becoming popular in the United States and beyond after the first ever professional Karate World Championships in 1974.
Why Is Flexibility Important In Kickboxing?
All forms of MMA require athletes to be flexible, and kickboxing is no exception.
Due to the heavy involvement of leg strikes and leg blocks, it is important for anyone looking to participate in kickboxing classes or competitions to develop and maintain proper flexibility.
Failure to do so could lead to a pulled or even torn muscle. A high round house kick to an opponent’s head could do more damage to you if your muscles are not properly flexible and warmed up, so use caution.
Lower Body Flexibility in Kickboxing:
The main muscles used in a kick are the gluteals, the hamstrings, the quadriceps, the hip flexors, and the rectus abdominus.
To ensure that you can go round after round without sustaining any training injuries, make sure that each one of these muscle groups is stretched and strengthen on a regular basis.
What Stretches Should You Do To Target These Muscle Groups?
Each muscle group has their own optimal stretches. With all muscles, make sure that you give equal attention to both sides of your body, as kickboxing will involve kicking with your left and right foot.
Use these stretches below as a guide:
An easy yet effective hamstring exercise is the Seated Hamstring Stretch. If you prefer standing, try the same movement standing up with one foot over the other.
Many people don’t think to stretch their abs. Don’t be one of those people! The Cobra Pose is very beneficial for targeting your six pack. Variations can be done using a medicine ball for extra reach.
A good way to stretch your quadriceps is by doing the Kneeling Quad Stretch. It is important to keep your back as straight as possible while stretching and to push your hips forward, as this will put more tension on the quadricep muscle and increase flexibility faster.
Finally, your hip flexors need some attention as well. The Butterfly Stretch will help target them well, but again, be careful not to let your back roll forward.
For those with a weak lower back or abdominal muscles, the Frog Stretch is a good alternative for still effectively targeting and increase flexibility in the hip flexors.
Why Should You Take A Kickboxing Class?
Regularly stretching and conditioning sounds like a lot of work, but the benefits to your kickboxing and overall fitness are huge.
Kickboxing is a valuable martial art form for self-defense. Going into the gym and curling might make your biceps look great, but it won’t teach you functional skills to use in case of an emergency.
Another benefit of kickboxing is the fact that it is a full body workout. Rather than having to choose one or two individual muscle groups to train on a given day, you can take a kickboxing class and virtually work out your entire body.
Finally, regular attendance of kickboxing classes will greatly increase your cardiovascular endurance. Running and the elliptical are nice, but putting your entire body to the test in a high intensity interval training workout consistently will have a substantial effect on overall muscle and cardiovascular endurance.
Now What? How Can O Athletik Help?
Now that you know some of the history of kickboxing, how to stretch for it, and what benefits come with taking a class, you’re ready to get started!
We look forward to seeing you on the mat.
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