Top 5 Exercises for Kickboxing

Updated on March 27, 2019
Andy Campbell profile image

I have trained and competed in several martial arts for 29 years, giving me a wealth of experience on this topic to share with others.

Sports-Specific is Best

If you want to become a wold class kickboxer, there is no substitute for sport- specific training; pad work, bag work, partner drills and sparring. But maybe you’re already going to class a few times per week and are looking for something else you can do outside of the gym to supplement your training.

I am using the term kickboxing here to include most stand-up fight sports such as Muay Thai, K1, low kick kickboxing, above the waist kickboxing, ITF taekwondo, and so on.

1. Running

Running, often called “roadwork” by boxers, is an excellent way to build up fitness for kickboxing as it will help you increase your aerobic capacity and muscular endurance in your legs, avoiding a dip in your performance due to fatigue. If you watch any contact sports, you will see fighters who start out looking great but fade in the later rounds because they seem to “gas” (run out of oxygen). Avoid being that guy!

Another benefit is that running burns a high number of calories, which can help you to compete in your desired weight category.

You can run at low to moderate intensity, over distance, to develop good base fitness or use high intensity sprint intervals to replicate the fast-paced demands of a fight.

A word of caution—always give your body enough rest time to recover from running, particularly after sprint training, as over-training is counterproductive and can lead to injury. I would recommend doing high intensity sprint training no more than twice per week.

2. Skipping

As a kickboxer, you will spend lots of time moving on the balls of your feet and will usually slow down in later rounds as your calf muscles become fatigued. Skipping is a great exercise to build the endurance needed to overcome this problem.

In addition, skipping builds other beneficial attributes for kickboxing, such as improved rhythm, coordination, core strength, balance, shoulder endurance and wrist strength. If you are not already doing so, it’s time to add skipping to your routine, even as a warm up exercise!

Skipping can be hard to learn and even tougher to master. Thankfully, there are many excellent instructional videos available online to teach you how.

3. Squats

Adding bodyweight squats to your routine will help you build good leg strength and endurance for explosive kicking over the rounds.

Having strong legs is particularly beneficial for Muay Thai and low kick styles where a good strong base can prevent your balance being upset when absorbing low kicks or having your kicking leg caught.

In addition, squatting deep with proper form will increase the range of movement in your hips, making it easier to throw middle and high kicks.

4. Push-Ups

Push-ups are an excellent bodyweight exercise for kickboxing, as they will help you build strength and endurance in your upper body (back, chest, shoulders), allowing you to throw more explosive punches for the duration of your fight.

When performed correctly, push-ups will help you develop strong core muscles in the same way planking does. Core strength is beneficial for absorbing body blows and stabilising your spine during the twisting motion of punching/kicking.

There are several variations of the push up which makes the exercise easier for beginners and harder for experts.

5. Strength Training with Weights

It is often said that strength training with weight is bad for kickboxing as it supposedly “slows you down”. This is a misconception, probably born out of the belief that strength training is the same thing as bodybuilding.

Bodybuilders focus on aesthetics as their competition is judged on looks whereas the kickboxer is judged on performance. I would not recommend that you follow a bodybuilding program to become a better kickboxer.

There are however several strength training exercises performed with weights which will improve your balance, muscle/bone density, explosive power and reduce your risk of injury.

Therefore, I believe that strength training, whilst not the be and end all, can give you a competitive edge in kickboxing.

A word of caution—take extra care to lift weights with correct form to minimise your risk of injury. Start light and build up to higher weights as your strength grows. If you are unsure how to perform any lifting technique, seek professional advice before doing it.

So there you have it, my top 5 exercises for kickboxing. Please leave a comment on whether or not you agree with my picks and which exercises would make your top 5. Happy training!

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)