You’ve decided to do it. You’re about to take your first CKO Kickboxing class. Being that you’re about to bite the black and yellow CKO bullet, you may find yourself beginning to wonder. As everybody knows, unknown territory so often brings up a slew of thoughts. And so, in an attempt to answer the most often posed CKO questions before you can even ask them, well, just take a look below and that inquisitive mind of yours will be put at ease.
The CKO Kickboxing Workout: A 60-minute full-body workout class, in which you perform upper and lower body strengthening and conditioning exercises in a group setting.
Pretty broad information, huh. Let’s get a little more detailed so you can actually picture yourself here.
You’ll walk into a sea of black and yellow walls and equipment; the equipment primarily being a plethora of heavy bags (130lbs to be exact) hanging from above, slightly grazing the floor. You can choose any bag, and that will be your bag for the entirety of class (aside from any around-the-room exercises your instructor may lead you through).
As a first-timer, come prepared by equipping yourself with comfortable clothing and sneakers. Bring a water. Maybe two. You’ll arrive at least 15 minutes early so that the instructor can go over the basic strikes (a.k.a. punches and kicks) that you will perform on the bag. You’ll hear the words “jab” “cross” “hook” “uppercut” “roundhouse” and so on. You won’t remember all of them right away and you’re not expected to. There’s a learning curve here just like anything else in life.
An early arrival will also give you the time needed to get comfortable with the boxing gloves you’ll be donning throughout class (if you purchased the popular Triple Play Package, gloves are included, FYI). Wraps, which go underneath your gloves, are recommended, but not necessary.
The heart-pumping music that plays throughout the workout will keep you on your toes, revved up and raring to go. Your instructor will give the class a warning that class will begin soon, providing you time for any individual stretches you feel you need. And then, it’s go-time.
With gloves up (always up!) on either side of your face, you’ll begin your boxer’s stance, a little back and forth hopping from foot to foot kinda movement, keeping your heart rate up. Your instructor will lead you in a short warmup before she yells out the first combination, such as “Jab. Cross. Switch.” which she will demonstrate on her bag. So you’ll do just that.
You’ll throw a jab on the bag, followed by a cross then switch your stance to your other side where you’ll do the same combo there. You keep going, repeating the movements until your instructor calls out the next combo, so keep your ears open.
During your first class you might get a little lost at times. Combos with multiple strikes may have you standing there thinking, ‘Wait, WHAT?’ This is to be expected and totally normal so be patient with yourself. As you perform each combination, remember that this is your time to develop an understanding of the technique behind each strike. With each subsequent class your technique will improve and your confidence will grow. You will throw your strikes harder, faster and you’ll get your kicks up higher.
Along with strikes on the bag, your instructor will be mixing in calisthenics, cardio-focused movements and strengthening exercises. For example, after a few different combos on the bag, such as CROSS-CROSS-BACKHAND-UPPERCUT and JAB-JAB-HOOK-HOOK-ROUNDHOUSE, you may then be instructed to drop into a plank hold, do air squats, mountain climbers or lunge walks around the perimeter of the room. You will always be moving and your body will always be working. Modifications are also provided for anyone who may need them. The most important part is to go at your own pace. You’ll improve with each combination.
Having new combinations and calisthenics exercises thrown your way every few minutes serves as a huge benefit to you and your fellow CKOers. There’s no time for boredom to set in, your concentration abilities are exercising just as much as your body and speaking of body, your entire body from head to toe will experience one heck of a workout.
Before you enter the abdominals, cool down and stretch session at the end of those 60 minutes, you have to go out with a bang, right? Enter the attack rounds. Three rounds (anywhere from 30-60 seconds long) of you throwing the hardest fastest strikes on your bag. When you’ve completed the last attack round you’ll throw your gloves to the floor, take a quick jog around the bags and then take on the last portion of your workout.
Your instructor will lead you through abdominal exercises. Think planks, side planks and a variety of sit-ups. And lastly, you will stretch thoroughly so that your muscles can recover well in time for your next class.
Things to Remember:
- Push when you can, but remember this is an individualized workout where you go at your own pace.
- Hydrate when you need to.
- Ask for help with your technique before and after any class.
- Every CKO Kickboxing member has been in your shoes. Each and everyone has had their first class.
With each class, your technique will improve. With each class, you’ll be able to do more. With each class, you’ll get stronger, both inside and out.
Know this. You will never be bored. You will always get a full-body workout. And you’ll feel amazing…a badass, if you will. And rightly so.
And through a new workout, you will learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of. You’ll find that any fitness boundaries you set or borders you built will simply fade away.
Ready to book your first class? Find a location near you!
Kimberly Oley is a self-employed content writer and strategist who began as Contributing CKO Author in 2018.