Are you ready to mix up your martial arts moves? 3-2-1 Kick! is an interval kickboxing class that integrates cardio, strength and core work. In each round of the work phase, innovative cardio kickboxing combinations, martial arts–inspired strength work and core moves are performed in quick intervals to keep participants engaged, motivated and challenged.

3-2-1 Kick! Details

Goal/Emphasis: total-body kickboxing interval training workout

Time: approximately 45 minutes

Equipment: dumbbells, stability balls and mats

Music: 136–150 beats per minute

Additional notes: Emphasize safety and technique, as punching and kicking involve quick extension and flexion of the elbow, hip and knee joints. Address the following:

  • When throwing punches and kicks, avoid fully extending the joint. Keep elbows and knees slightly bent to prevent hyperextension.
  • Rechamber punches and kicks.
  • Lift the heel to allow hips to rotate while punching. Power is generated from the hips.
  • Emphasize technique and control instead of height for all kicks.

Warm-Up (5–8 minutes)

Begin with standard warm-up movements to elevate heart rate. Gradually progress to basic punches and kicks. Warm-up may include side steps, hamstring curls, knee lifts, light kicks and bob-and-weaves. Review the following:

  • Jab:

    Straight punch extends from lead hand.

  • Cross:

    Straight punch extends from back hand (back heel lifts).

  • Hook:

    Punch comes across face, arm parallel to floor, elbow bent at 90º.

  • Upper cut:

    Back elbow stays close to body as arm scoops and extends upward, aiming under chin.

  • Elbow:

    Lower portion of forearm strikes across body, hand at chest.

  • Palm strike:

    Heel of hand aims front as arm extends.

  • Front kick:

    With hips facing forward, one leg lifts, knee bent at 90º. Leg extends, aiming with ball of foot. Leg rechambers and returns to original position.

  • Side kick:

    Knee lifts to chest, heel, hip and shoulder in one straight line. Base foot pivots so that toes point away from kick. Heel thrusts to side, toes down and pulled back. Knee rechambers, and foot returns to floor.

  • Back kick:

    Knee is lifted, and heel extends back, toes pointing down. Knee rechambers, and foot returns to floor.

Work Phase (30–35 minutes)

Each 6-minute round includes three parts:

  • cardio combination (3 minutes)
  • strength work (2 minutes)
  • core move (1 minute)

Gradually build intensity with each round, peaking with round five. Build form during the first 1½ minutes of the cardio combination, and then repeat 5–6 times “full-out” for the final 1½ minutes.

Round One

Cardio Combination

  • Start with hips square to front.
  • Moving forward: Bob and weave right with left upper cut, bob and weave L with R upper cut, 2x (8 cts).
  • Jump rope, moving backward (8 cts).
  • Squat + two punches as you rise up, 2x (8 cts).
  • Speed bag (8 cts).


  • Squat + front kick (alternating), 1 minute.
  • Three-pulse squat + kick (alternating), 1 minute.


  • Lie on stability ball, lower back in center of ball, feet flat on floor. Crunch and punch R and L at top of movement. Return to start and repeat.

Round Two

Cardio Combination

  • Start in boxing stance, R leg forward.
  • R lead: Jab-cross-jab-cross (4 cts), R hook (2 cts), L upper cut (2 cts).
  • To front: L knee, R knee, L front kick, R front kick (8 cts).
  • Jump legs out, R lead: 4 punches front (4 cts), 2 elbows across (R, L) (4 cts).
  • Squat + 2 hops, 2x (8 cts); turn as you hop to L lead.


  • Start on hands and knees, shoulders over wrists and hips above knees.
  • Abduct R leg, extend leg to side, pointing foot for roundhouse kick. Hold 1–2 seconds, bend knee and return to start (1 minute per leg).


  • Hold high plank: Alternate R and L back kicks.

Round Three

Cardio Combination

  • Start with legs hip-width apart.
  • Shuffle R (4 cts), jumping jack then R jab (4 cts).
  • Jumping jack then L jab (4 cts), squat center, jump R and L with simultaneous punch to front (4 cts).
  • 2 burpees (16 cts).


  • Push-ups with rotational back-fist (lift one arm and extend fist toward ceiling as body rotates) after each rep. Return to start and repeat on other side (1 minute).
  • Triceps push-up for three pulses, jump legs to squat, lift upper body and palm-strike to front; repeat (1 min).
  • Core

  • Side plank on forearm. Progression: Lift top leg, draw knee toward chest and extend for side kick. Rechamber, and rest on top of bottom leg (30 seconds each side).

Round Four

Cardio Combination

  • Start in boxing stance, R leg forward.
  • R jab to L corner, R jab to R corner, R jab high to front (option: add hop), L cross to front (8 cts).
  • R front kick, L back kick, R front kick, L leg step back lunge (8 cts).
  • Quick high knees (8 cts).
  • Football runs moving around to L side lead (8 cts).


  • Bent-over rows (1 minute).
  • Reverse flys on stability ball (1 minute).


  • Back extensions lying over ball.

Round Five

Cardio Combination

  • Start facing forward, feet together.
  • Step (or hop) R, single jump with overhead reach, 2x (8 cts).
  • L knee, L side kick, step R leg wide to squat and tap floor, step R leg L, then L side kick (8 cts).
  • With L arm to side, double jab high, double jab low, 2x (8 cts).
  • Star jacks, 4x (8 cts). Option: two star jacks with pause.


  • Biceps curl while sitting on stability ball, then rotate palms down to slowly punch forward and rotate palms up as you pull elbows back. Lower to start position (1 minute).
  • Lateral raises, elbows bent at 90° (1 minute).


  • Lie with lower back on ball, R leg extended and L hand behind head for support. Slowly crunch and draw L shoulder toward R knee. Return to start and repeat (30 seconds each side).

Cool-Down (5–10 minutes)

The strength and core exercises will help to lower heart rate, so incorporate a few additional light movements before having participants lie down for stretching. Cue static stretches for all major muscles groups, holding each one for at least 15 seconds.

Web Extra! If you’d like to see some of these moves in action, click here.

IDEA Authors

Leave a Comment

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.