Kickboxing is an increasingly popular form of fitness around the world. It offers a fun yet challenging way to increase strength and endurance while bolstering confidence and camaraderie between gym members.

Whether you’re looking for ways to increase memberships, spark new levels of motivation, or improve the experience of existing customers, kickboxing classes may be a broadly applied solution. 

A Brief History of Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a blanket term for martial arts disciplines that use various punches, kicks, elbows, or knees while in a standing position. There are multiple forms of kickboxing worldwide, including Muay Thai, Japanese K-1, and the french style Savate to name a few popular forms. Each has its own unique rules, cultures, and foundational principles.

Modern kickboxing was developed from two centuries-old disciplines: karate and Muay Boran, which later became Muay Thai. In the mid-20th century, Japanese Karate artists traveled to Thailand, incorporating Muay Thai tactics into their style. At the same time, Thai fighters also adopted some aspects of Karate. 

Like a beautiful melting pot of cultures, kickboxing has continued to evolve while adapting and adding practices from each other. Stand-up styles have even adapted to deliver non-combative, high-paced cardio kickboxing. Cardio kickboxing became popular in the latter half of the 1990s with Tae Bo and Turbo Kick. 

Why is Kickboxing so Good for You?

According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), kickboxing is one of the fastest-growing fitness trends. That’s because it’s good for your heart, muscles, balance, and soul. 

A one-hour full-body kickboxing workout can burn an average of 500- 750 calories, but it goes beyond an efficient weight-loss tool. Kickboxing has also been shown to improve cardiovascular endurance, build lean muscle mass, and decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. 

Kickboxing is an effective way to get in shape and boost overall well-being. It positively impacts a gym goer’s life by:

  • Releasing Endorphins: These natural mood-boosting chemicals are released during high-intensity exercises and combat negative mental health symptoms. 
  • Improves Self-Esteem: A sense of accomplishment is gained as you increase technique proficiency, learn new movements, and progress through fitness goals. 
  • Builds Compradire: Gym members establish rapport with one another in a sense of community as they cheer each other on during this challenging sport. 
  • Healthy Coping Skills: Kickboxing is an excellent outlet to burn off stress and tension. A good gym session can help you take a bad day and leave it on the mat! 
  • Teaches Mindfulness: The need for focused concentration promotes the practice of mindfulness, which is another helpful tool to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Kickboxing is for Everyone

Sure, spin classes can be fun, but they target a specific demographic, use a single piece of equipment, and require some level of ability. They’re not very adaptable, but kickboxing absolutely is! The versatility of adding a kickboxing program to your gym could attract a wide range of demographics. 

Kickboxing can be practiced competitively, as a form of self-defense, or simply as a fun whole-body workout. It can meet the needs of youth, adults, senior gym members, and even those with different physical or cognitive abilities. It can also be done with or without equipment, as a solo activity, in a group setting, or one-on-one with an instructor. 

Overall, the versatility of a kickboxing program makes it an appealing form of exercise for people of all ages and abilities. Kickboxing is an excellent option if you’re looking for a challenging and dynamic workout or want to provide gym members with a practical self-defense tool. Consider these activities to incorporate into a variety of commercial gym settings or dedicated martial arts studios:

  • Self-Defense: Offering a self-defense workshop as part of community outreach for a targeted demographic, such as youth or women, can attract new customers and bolster loyalty from existing ones who learn practical skills in a safe setting. 
  • Group Classes: Cardio kickboxing can be easily incorporated. Since there’s no equipment needed, this is a perfect solution for commercial gyms looking to draw in new interests. 
  • Partner Pad Work: Students can work in pairs holding focus pads to master movement and target new techniques. This is another space-saving and cost-effective way to include kickboxing in your gym. 
  • Personal Training: Offering one-on-one sessions where gym members can obtain personalized instruction can appeal to those who want to learn a new skill but are hesitant about group classes. 

The Increasing Demand for Kickboxing

With all of that flexibility, it’s no wonder the demand for these classes is increasing. According to IHRSA, kickboxing is one of the top three most popular group fitness activities in the United States, and 75% of gym members participate in at least one group class available. 

The accountability, structure, and variety of a group class setting have made them popular in health clubs. Add in the high-intensity, empowering atmosphere of a kickboxing setting, and this situation draws in fitness enthusiasts like a moth to a flame. 

Kickboxing classes offer a wide variety of movements and combinations, making it a fun and engaging workout. They also boost self-confidence as you become more proficient in the sport, motivating fitness center regulars to take on new challenges. 

Getting Started with a Kickboxing Program

Getting started with a kickboxing program doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or all-consuming process. You can start small, gauge interest, and build over time. Here are a few easy steps to begin implementing a kickboxing program in your gym. 

Start Small

Assess your gym’s interest, identify your target demographic, and offer a few trial classes to get started. If you’re considering providing a self-defense workshop, make it a monthly occurrence on a specific day and time. You don’t have to go all in right away. 

You will also want to develop a kickboxing curriculum. This makes your job as a coach easier, and streamlines training for employees who run kickboxing classes.

Partner with a Professional

Maybe you’re not a martial arts expert, and that’s okay. Partner with a certified kickboxing instructor who has strong knowledge of techniques. They can lead a fun and challenging workout with safety in mind.

Purchase Minimal Equipment

A significant benefit of fitness kickboxing is the low need for equipment. For sanitary reasons, most gyms have members purchase and use their own gloves and hand wraps. You may need to invest in some minimal equipment like a heavy bag or focus pads. 

Market the Program

Once you’re all set up, it’s time to create a buzz. Use social media, flyers, posters, email marketing, and talk around the water cooler to get people excited. You could even offer a free session to attract new members or generate interest. 

Evaluate and Adjust

It’s important to check in and evaluate how things are going after you launch the new program. Use member feedback, check attendance numbers, track new enrollments, and other data-driven metrics to measure success and make necessary adjustments. 

Parting Thoughts

Kickboxing classes are highly desirable for a wide range of demographics. The high-intensity workout is both challenging and fitness-rewarding while also providing new levels of motivation. 

The cost-effectiveness and versatility make offering a kickboxing program in your gym a way to attract new members and retain existing clients who might otherwise be experiencing burnout. Start small with a class or two and adjust your approach as you gain popularity.

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