The Benefits of Kicking a Punching Bag
My name is Aaron Swenson and I am a professional kickboxer and full-time coach at FightCamp. For the last 15 years, I have been teaching kickboxing to people from all walks of life and I have seen first-hand how beneficial it is for everyone.
Kickboxing can have a steep learning curve, but the benefits of the sport are endless. As a beginner-level kickboxer, it is important that you learn proper technique and find a bag that is beginner-friendly. In this article, I am going to explain the benefits of kicking a punching bag and share some tips on how to make learning to kickbox fun, easy, and enjoyable.
How To Find the Right Punching Bag
When you first start kickboxing, there is nothing worse than kicking a rock hard bag. Your feet and your shins are not properly conditioned, so you want to start on a soft bag and work up to a harder bag.
There are two types of punching bags: swinging bags and stationary bags. I recommend using a stationary bag at first because they move less and will be easier to hit as a beginner.
The FightCamp punching bag is super soft and stable, with padding along the entire length of the bag, making it an ideal option for kickboxing training. You will be able to practice low kicks and high kicks without risking injury.
For more tips on choosing the right punching bag for your at-home boxing/kickboxing training, check out these two FightCamp blog articles:
- What Punching Bag Should I Buy For At-Home Use?
- How To Choose The Right Punching Bag For Your Workout
The Benefits of Kicking a Punching Bag
Calcify your bones
When you start kickboxing, you should do so under the guidance of a professional instructor. You can hire a private coach or take group classes. But if time and money are a factor, try working out with FightCamp, and train from the comfort of your home. One common mistake beginner kickboxers make is striking with their toes when they throw a round kick--don’t do that! You want to land your kicks with your shin and instep (top of the foot). As you kick, you will start to calcify your bones, meaning that calcium will build up in your body tissue and harden. This is great for bone health and extremely important, especially as we get older. The stronger your bones are, the less likely you will be to twist your ankle or break a bone.
Beginner kickboxers often find that when they start kicking, they are tighter than they thought in terms of flexibility. If this is true in your case, don't worry, it's normal. Start by kicking the bag on the lower end, and as you get better, start to bring your kicks up higher. Eventually you will be able to kick above the waist, and eventually all the way up to the head level. Kickboxing is a great way to increase your flexibility. For additional flexibility training and exercises, check out these warm-up routines on the FightCamp YouTube Channel and enhance your mobility.
Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
Your legs are much heavier than your arms, so kicking is going to force your muscles to work harder and therefore you will burn more calories. Throwing a roundhouse kick for example, is going to require many muscles to work synergistically. Your hip flexors, glutes, obliques, calves, and core are all going to have to work together in order to properly execute the kick. If you practice kickboxing, you are going to get in phenomenal shape! I always say that there is no workout in the world like kickboxing.
Kickboxing is a great workout, but it also teaches self-defense. Learning how to throw a front kick or a sidekick to the body can be very empowering. I prefer teaching people to kick vs. punch when it comes to self-defense because you are a lot less likely to injure yourself by kicking. The bones in our hands are small and brittle, so it isn't smart to throw punches without gloves on. The bones in our legs, on the other hand, are much stronger and more durable, especially once you start conditioning those shins, so in the case of self-defense, it’s better (and safer) to learn to kick with force than to punch with force!
Kicking is therapeutic
One thing that I love about kickboxing is that it gets you out of your head and into your body. Learning a new skill allows you to be present and focus on the task at hand. It is an opportunity to forget about all of the mundane, repetitive worries that we have throughout the day and just do something good for our body and spirit. Usually, about halfway through my kickboxing workout, I fall into a flow state, and I am completely present. It is a euphoric feeling, and you will find that your body is flooded with endorphins by the end of the session.
Bring out the fighter within!
Lastly, kickboxing can be a great form of self expression. Personally, I can’t dance, so fighting is a great way for me to express myself. As you get better and more confident, you will start to develop your own style and swag as you train. I really believe that fighting is inherent and there is a strong fighter inside of all of us, you just have to bring it out.
So there you have it! Kickboxing is much more than just a workout. Kickboxing training, especially with a punching bag, strengthens your bones and heart, increases your flexibility, teaches you self-defense, and is a form of self expression. Kickboxing is a lifestyle. Now get out there and start kicking!
How To Use a Boxing Bag: A Beginner’s Guide
At-Home Boxing Equipment: The Free-Standing Punching Bag
Get Toned Fast With Kickboxing At-Home
7 Reasons Why You Should Be Kickboxing
6 Benefits of Boxing & Kickboxing for Kids
The Author: Aaron Swenson, aka ‘Speedy,’ began his Martial Arts journey under his father’s guidance in the family’s dojo in Chicago. By 2013, Aaron was an accomplished fighter with two National Kickboxing titles and a USA National Kickboxing Team spot and fought for the prestigious GLORY Kickboxing organization. Since then, Aaron has become a sought after trainer in LA known for his technical approach to teaching, fancy pad-work, and utilizing music to make the workout fun and engaging. Aaron is a Founding Coach at FightCamp, where he leads boxing and kickboxing workouts and plans to make his return to the ring. Aaron is also USA Boxing Coach certified.