4 Reasons Why You Should Start Kickboxing

Photo Courtesy: Julia Cunningham

By Julia Cunningham, Swimming World College Intern

Who doesn’t love trying to find extra time in their schedule for dryland training? I should rephrase that. Has there ever been a form of training, non-swimming, that you love as much as swimming? I found one this summer– kickboxing.

It didn’t take me long to get into after my first free trial class. It was a typical instructor-calling-out-directions-as-everyone-frantically-tries-to-keep-up type of class. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty awful at following directions. Most of the time I don’t know what’s going on during a set. But as long as you’re moving, you could succeed in this class. I ended up going as often as possible, sometimes even as a stand-in for swim practices.

Once I got back to school, I found a similar class, and made sure to sign myself (along with an unsuspecting friend) up for it. With school in full swing and work piling up, and my collegiate season starting a week ago, I haven’t had a chance to go as often.

But here are the four reasons why YOU should find a pair of gloves and try the sport out for yourself:  

1. It’s great cross training.

The first thing I learned was that you throw punches from your core. The second thing I learned was that kickboxing is exhausting. It’s not like weight-lifting, where you do a few reps before taking a break and moving on. When I wasn’t punching the 100 pound bag in front of me, I was doing sit-ups or burpees or squats or anything else you can think of. To say I got my cardio in during those one-hour sessions would be an understatement. Short interval sets definitely became easier as the summer rolled on.     

As for the technical aspect, the momentum to initiate a punch or a kick starts from the movement of your hips. As a righty, I would stand feet shoulder width apart with my left foot a little more forward. That way, I was already set up to throw a cross, which is a more powerful punch, with my right fist. The power comes from your core, and is generated through the same opposite-arm-opposite-leg concept as swimming!

2. Anyone can do it.

kickboxing

Photo Courtesy: flickr

You don’t have to be flexible or strong or even in shape to take up kickboxing. People would come to the class exhausted from sitting at a desk all day long, or they would just be stepping out of their house for the first time. Reasons for participating in the class ranged from people trying to get in shape and get their bikini body, or just get active, or in my case, stay active. There were people who had histories of bad knees, and for them, the instructors always had modifications. Any time I showed up for a class, it seemed as though there was at least a 40-year difference between the youngest and oldest person in the room. 

It’s not easy to stay moving for an hour, let alone stay moving at such high intensity for an hour. Everyone would always do it, however, regardless of whether or not the instructor was watching. In a sense, we were all a team. Like swimming, when you’re kickboxing, you’re essentially by yourself. If you know the rest of the team is putting in the work, you don’t want to be the one to let them down.       

3. It’s fun.

There’s not much to add to this one. Over the summer, occasionally I went with a friend, one time I dragged my mom along, but for the most part I went to the class alone. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know anyone. We were all there to get better, to look better, to be better. I received encouragement from people I didn’t know, and offered it back. I struggled through the killer ab sets at the end alongside everyone else. It was still some of the most fun I’ve ever had working out on land.   

4. It makes you feel like a badass.

Photo Courtesy: Picasa

Photo Courtesy: Picasa

Everyone’s heard of the undefeated Ronda Rousey and her 34 second fight. While kickboxing is not the same as what she does, I like to think I’m one step closer to being that crazy.

As swimmers, we’re no strangers to putting in hours and hours of hard work. Kickboxing requires the same kind of dedication and motivation. I felt quite accomplished, albeit a bit nervous, when I could barely lift my arms to drive myself home after some workouts.

Putting on the boxing gloves certainly makes you feel ready to take on anything.

9 Comments

9 comments

  1. Cathleen Pruden

    4 reasons to start kickboxing=1 reason to fear swimming you

  2. Lindsay Titus

    Love this!! I was a competitive swimmer growing up but now I have found kickboxing!! I love it as much.. Possibly more! Great minds 🙂

  3. avatar
    ravi

    What you say is very true my son does this combo..and his kicking is strong.may be because of KB.

  4. Nino Sieling

    Jeroen Dellebeke op zaterdag ochtend na de training maar doen ?

    • Kamie Wagar

      See?? Great off season thing to do for swimming 🙂

Author: Julia Cunningham

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Julia Cunningham is pursuing majors in economics and Chinese at Vassar College. She is an All-American in the 200 fly, and serves as the features editor of Vassar's school newspaper.

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