Do You Need to Be Fit to Start Kickboxing?

Kickboxing was partially made popular by the rise of MMA. Kickboxers are very fit individuals, but can somebody who is not fit start kickboxing classes at their local gym without working on their fitness first?

You can start taking kickboxing classes even if you are overweight or out of shape. Kickboxing drilling and fundamentals are suitable for anybody regardless of fitness level. Kickboxing is so effective for building general fitness that cardio kickboxing is common in commercial gyms.

Now that we know that you can start classes without first getting into shape, let’s take a look at some of the other factors that come into play when considering getting started in Kickboxing.

Do You Need to Be Fit for Kickboxing?

Having good fitness is required for almost any combat sport and kickboxing is no exception. Building up your general fitness capacity will go a long way towards helping your performance when you are training.

If you are considering your fitness in relation to cardio kickboxing classes or similar fitness-oriented classes that simply include kickboxing in the program, then you will likely be training alongside other people who are there specifically to increase fitness, so if you are out of shape you’ll likely have similar peers.

Try to internalize the fact that even people who are in shape will feel nervous and unsure about their movements because they are new and untrained too. The playing field is more level than you might think.

Do You Need to Be Strong for Kickboxing?

Kickboxers do need to build explosive strength to maximize their performance when they are fighting. This explosive strength combined with speed and technique is what translates into knock-out power in kickboxing.

Some of this strength can be built through simple kickboxing training, but the classes are mostly there to teach you how to use what you have by building good technique.

That being said, attributes are not required to get started in kickboxing.

Adding in a strength training program to complement your kickboxing training can be helpful. Take a look here to see an example of a workout that you could use to build that explosive strength when performed with controlled speed and power.

Do You Need to Be Flexible for Kickboxing?

Kickboxing has a high flexibility requirement if you want to reach a high level of performance. Having proper mobility and flexibility will also mitigate some injury risks and maximize your ability to strike more parts of the body with higher power output.

Beginners do not need to start out with good flexibility, and normal classes will add significantly to overall flexibility anyway.

Working on your dynamic movements to increase mobility is one of the most valuable types of supplemental training that you can do to improve your kickboxing.

How Hard is Kickboxing to Learn?

Kickboxing is easy to pick up for most students. Most beginners will look awkward for a few months as they learn how to move and how to execute basic punches and kicks. Within 2 to 3 months you can expect to be reasonably proficient at kickboxing basics.

If you are just looking to learn enough to get through cardio kickboxing fitness classes at your local gym, you will likely reach a point of feeling more comfortable after just a few weeks since these classes are designed to be simple and prioritize building fitness over skill.

What to Expect in Your First Kickboxing Class

Your first kickboxing class will likely be more basic than in future classes. You will likely follow the normal class curriculum through the warm-up and get through the drilling basics for punches and kicks. If the techniques get more complex you will probably be sticking with the drilling basics anyway.

Try not to be concerned about your performance in early classes since you will be working on those same fundamental movements at every class going forward until it lives in your muscle memory.

Check this post out if you want to do more reading about what to expect at your first Kickboxing class.

A Kickboxing class at a typical school might look like this:

  1. Warm-up: fast-paced basic calisthenics or jogging to get warm.
  2. Drilling Basic Striking: practicing basic striking sequences and movements.
  3. Technique Sequences of the Day: instructor-led striking combinations and movements.
  4. Drilling Techniques: partnered up drills to learn striking combinations and movements.
  5. Live Sparring: light to moderate intensity sparring. Catching strikes and trips and usually acceptable in these classes.

What to Wear to Your First Kickboxing Class

Speak to the gym in order to get an idea of what clothing and equipment to bring to your first class. Typically you will only be expected to bring yourself and wear gym clothes. If you have workout clothing that does not have pockets that is better since then nothing can get caught in pockets.

Final Thoughts

Kickboxing is one of the most approachable combat sports disciplines to get into when you are out of shape. This is partly because it is conceptually simpler than many combat sports, and partly because kickboxing has been heavily integrated into the fitness industry, so classes are often designed to be scalable from out-of-shape people all the way to fitness-focused individuals.

For more information and comparative tables on combat sports check out Do You Need to Be Fit to Start Combat Sports?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

Recent Posts