Don't be afraid to add mindfulness to your kickboxing warm-up.
The secret is to start with very simple physical movements that require minimal cuing. This lets you verbalize other key points that will mentally engage students in the workout. Intersperse the following ideas while you cue simple, basic warm-up movements:
Set the Mood. This is kickboxing, folks! Time to get tough and mean—no backing down today, no 'nice guy' attitudes! Who's in?"
Motivate With a Specific Purpose. We're focusing on upper-body combos today, and we'll be using our strikes and blocks. Remember, your power comes from the core, and today you're strong!
Show a Little Magic. Demonstrate an important safety tip and/or proper form for a movement you will use in class. Show students you care about their bodies, and tell them how to prevent injury. Be sure to lift your left heel and rotate the left knee and hip inward to execute a safe left cross.
Empower With Options. You are in charge of your workout today! Pick the level that works best for you. I will show low-impact options for all high-impact moves, and you choose!
• Do slow shoulder shrugs, emphasizing downward movement (2 counts [cts] up, 2 cts down); 8x, 32 cts.
• Perform alternating shoulder rolls (start small, then make bigger by leading with elbows); 16x, 32 cts.
• Open arms to side, palms forward, and do chest/shoulder stretch (2 cts to stretch open, 2 cts to release forward and flex spine); 8x, 32 cts.
• Pull arms into "boxer ready" position, stand tall and begin side-to-side rotation (right [R] on 1, center on 2, left [L] on 3, center on 4); 8x per side, 32 cts.
• Step feet into narrow stance and continue rotation as above, emphasizing core; 8x per side, 32 cts.
• R lead: step-touch, adding easy front jabs L, R; 8x, 16 cts. Perform step- touch knee lifts, pulling arms to knees (emphasize rotation); 8x, 16 cts.
• (a) Repeat step-touch with front jabs; 4x, 8 cts. (b) Repeat step-touch knee lifts; 4x, 8 cts. Repeat (a) and (b); 16 cts.
• R lead: double step-touch moving R, L (arms start in boxer position); 2x, 16 cts. Repeat; add jab on count 4 (add step-touch on end); 2x, 16 cts. (Double step-touch R, single step- touch L, R; 2x, 32 cts.) (Add hook on ct 6, uppercut on ct 8; 4x, 64 cts.)
Transition (repeat as needed):
• bob and weave 4x, 8 cts
• squat 4x, 8 cts
• rotate side to side (as described above) 4x, 8 cts
• step narrow, rotate side to side 4x, 8 cts
• alternating front knee lifts 8x, 16 cts
• alternating front kicks 8x, 16 cts
• jumping jacks 8x, 16 cts
• power jacks 4x, 16 cts
Option: Break down to 4/4/4/2 of each.
You are now ready to rock-and-roll right into your first combination. Remember, put your smile, energy, enthusiasm and passion into your warm-up and you will shine—and your students will keep coming back for more!
Linda L. Freeman is a master trainer for Resist-a-Ball®, EFI Sports Medicine, BOSU® Balance Trainer and other companies, as well as an IDEA presenter, author and Master Personal Fitness Trainer.