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Cardio Fitness

What Muscles Does Cardio Kickboxing Work?

So, what muscles does cardio kickboxing work? Find out everything you need to know here in our latest blog post.

Published: 1/6/22

What Muscles Does Cardio Kickboxing Work?

Cardio kickboxing is one of the best aerobic workouts that you can try. It offers physical and mental benefits and is a fun addition to a cardio workout. But, what muscles does it work, exactly? We want to cover which muscles you will work in a Cardio Kickboxing class. Let’s get into that now. 

Full-Body Workout

One of the major benefits of cardio kickboxing is that it is a full-body workout routine. In this class, your instructor will lead you through exercises that work your upper body, lower body, and core muscle groups, all for a well-rounded workout. This is simple to do, because the mechanics of a punch or kick, when done properly, force you to engage your core, twist your body, and use your legs and glutes for extra power—even in a punch. 

Upper Body


When kickboxing comes to mind, jabs, uppercuts, and hooks might be the first exercises we think of. You may be interested in these classes to punch and kick out stress, and these punches are where our upper bodies do the work. When you stand guard in a kickboxing stance, your hands should be out in front of your face to protect it, with your elbows tucked in towards your body at a 90-degree angle. This simple movement targets your shoulders and delts. From here, your punches have a strong foundation. When you start, your shoulders might get very tired in this position. That’s because, in our everyday lives, we do not hold our arms high in front of our faces. But, over time, you will gain endurance in these muscles, allowing you to punch harder and workout more efficiently.


From there, your arms will deliver your punches. And, while it may seem like they are bringing the force of the punch, that actually comes from your lower body—which we will get into in a moment. Because of that lower-body function, your arms just need to facilitate the punching movement. You will build muscles and endurance in your biceps and triceps.


Because you are activating your shoulder and arm muscles to pack the perfect punch, your chest muscles will also engage. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of the power coming through your arms will stem from your chest muscles.

Core Muscles 


Every single punch and kick will target your abs as well. To hold proper form as you push through your lower body and glutes to twist and punch, your abs will need to engage. By engaging, your abs help you to keep your body aligned throughout your movements, and you are going to feel the burn as you go through the kickboxing workout. 


Core muscles are usually associated just with the abs. Probably because we have been taught that 200 crunches a day will give us a 6-pack for summer. But, your core includes all of the muscles in your trunk. That means that your back is a part of your core. Similarly to your abdomen, your back muscles will need to be active and engaged for you to throw the most powerful punch, or kick your best kicks.

Lower Body


Without further adieu, let’s talk lower body. In class, you will learn how to stand correctly during a punch and kick. This stance consists of keeping your feet at about hips distance apart, and your legs slightly bent. Because you will be in this position for your entire workout, your glute muscles will be building up.  But, beyond that, front kicks, back kicks, roundhouse kicks, sidekicks, and the like will all activate your glute muscles. So, drop the squats and come on in to give this exciting workout a try!


Your hips are an essential component of kickboxing. Each punch and kick will require you to twist your body so that your lower body, legs, core, and arms deliver the maximum power. Because of that, your hips will be working overtime. They keep you balanced and make you a more skilled boxer overall. 


Finally, with every movement, your legs will be doing work. That’s right, even during punches. This is because your twist starts all of the way down at your feet. For example, let’s say you are going to do a jab. You will start in the guard stance, pull your arm back while twisting your foot, and then turn your foot back into the starting position while using the power from your core and arms to land the punch. Similarly, your quads, calves, and other leg muscles will be used for every single kick you do as well. 

If you would like to punch and kick your way to fitness, join us in a Cardio Kickboxing class. You can find the class closest to you by checking out our schedules online. We offer group exercise classes at all of our locations. So, stop in and say hello! 

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