In the last few years, the appeal of boxing and kickboxing as exercise modalities has skyrocketed, certainly stimulated by the growth of fitness studios like 9 Round, TITLE Boxing Club and I Love Kickboxing, among others. Even champion boxer Floyd Mayweather is getting into this ring, with a flagship Mayweather Boxing + Fitness studio recently opened in Los Angeles, with aggressive worldwide expansion plans.
Obviously, these disciplines aren’t brand new. So why the resurgence now? And if you’re not boxing or kickboxing yet, should you start?
Here we provide a brief overview of the mass appeal of boxing and kickboxing today. If you have an opportunity, we encourage you to take on a few classes that are directed by a certified group exercise instructor or trainer. Note that despite their intense nature, boxing and kickboxing can foster enthusiastic passion and devotion, which makes them great ways to fuel your fitness.
The Appeal of Boxing and Kickboxing
With the growing variety of cardio equipment and more types of group exercise than ever before, boxing and kickboxing workouts are attracting raving fans. Here’s why:
- Rise of MMA – Mixed martial arts (MMA) and UFC have provided greater visibility into combat sports today, with rising interest. MMA combines elements of boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, judo and karate – with punches, kicks, joint-locks, chokes, takedowns and throws. While MMA might be too much for the average exerciser, boxing and kickboxing are easier to master.
- Classic, comprehensive HIIT – Before HIIT was even formally defined as an official style of training, traditional boxing and kickboxing routines naturally incorporated high-intensity intervals with recovery periods, along with automatically blending cardio, strength and core exercise.
In addition, these rigorous sessions tax speed, agility, coordination, power, balance and quickness – all in one efficient workout. Ultimately, this is a training powerhouse – working almost every muscle in your body, yielding major calorie and fat blasting, and boosting metabolism after workouts.
- Psychological benefits – It’s no surprise that today’s world – with instant access to virtually anything, elevated expectations and constant political, social and economic drama – we are super stressed. And hitting or kicking heavy bags or targets is a healthy way to release tension and experience an endorphin rush. Plus, research has shown that boxing and kickboxing improve self-esteem and cognitive skills. They provide both an escape from daily pressures and a sense of control.
- Accessible – Almost every health club offers some type of kickboxing or boxing classes, so it’s easy to get workouts in with the instruction of an expert and the motivation of a group. And because there can be a range of fitness levels in the class, the instructor should show regressions and progressions of moves, along with other options as necessary.
Plus, 9Round packs its workout into 30 minutes – with no scheduled class times and new rounds beginning every three minutes. Exercisers just show up when it’s convenient for them and get started.
As mentioned, now there are a slew of boxing and kickboxing studios (more than 720 9Round and almost 200 TITLE Boxing Club locations alone!) in the U.S. and globally, from more traditional, no-frills facilities to luxurious, elite centers. Or you can exercise at home with some kickboxing DVDs or streaming online workouts.
- Broad attraction – Group ex classes and small group training are in high demand due to the instruction, structure, accountability and camaraderie. But traditional group ex classes attract predominantly females. Boxing and kickboxing workouts offer an intense group training option in which men feel comfortable and challenged. Millennials appreciate the vigorous pace, and aging Baby Boomers welcome the novelty and mastery of new skills.