When you hear the word sports you probably think basketball, baseball, or football. When you read fitness you may imagine intense daily workouts at a gym. As a person with a bleeding disorder, you may not be able to participate in these activities.
The next time you hear the words sports and fitness, consider that physical activity—through safe sports and exercises—will strengthen your musculoskeletal system and reduce extra weight. The real benefit: your joints will become more stable and you’ll be less likely to have bleeds and pain.
A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study showed that being overweight was strongly associated with limited joint range-of-motion. This was true regardless of the severity of the bleeding disorder. However, it’s not just about being overweight. Do you ever get tired just from climbing up a flight of stairs or does that walk down the hall feel like it keeps getting longer and longer?
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Add this plyometric move and its complementary exercises to your training regimen to reap all the benefits of a vertical leap.
Ever watch a slow-mo video of someone doing a vertical jump onto plyo boxes? At first you’re thinking, They can’t get all the way up there!
And then, in a full-body wave of intensity, they do. But what good is that kind of training for anyone besides basketball players? Turns out, plyo box jump training can push all the rest of your training into overdrive.
Here are tips from exercise scientists and performance coaches on how to go from a baby step to the big leagues to build strength and improve your overall conditioning with a single jump.
Plyometric movements “can increase power, reactive ability, jumping ability, and decrease injuries,” says Kim Goss, M.S., a former strength coach for the U.S. Air Force Academy. That’s exactly why this do-it-all training modality has become so popular and why the plyo box jump, executed well, is a great move to advance your training.
Get The Right Amount Of Joint Impact
Box jumps, due to the impact they apply to joints, can help boost much-needed bone-mineral content and collagen, both very important factors as women age. Yet in comparison with other jumping exercises, box jumps actually create a relatively lower impact on the joints.
You’ll train your body to become more explosive, which will complement the raw strength built during a deadlift or squat. “Box jumps are great for building power and firing up the central nervous system,” Woodrup says, “and are therefore perfect to add before weight training. They are also an effective warmup before squats.”
Challenge Hip Extension And Flexion
The goal is to fully and rapidly extend your hips at the top when both feet have landed. This training will complement lifts like the snatch and the thruster, which need a similarly fast extension at the top of the movement.
Another benefit of the box jump is the cardiovascular intensity it demands of your body. While you’re jumping, rather than doing leg presses, squats, or deadlifts, your body is consuming a greater amount of oxygen (aka boosting peak oxygen intake) during this dynamic movement. So it trains your heart to utilize oxygen more efficiently to pump blood to the muscles, and it can lower your blood pressure post-workout.
So how do you boost your plyo box jump the right way? Start small. Pick a 6-inch box to start, or one that “when you land on it you’re in a proper ‘athletic stance’ with feet shoulder-width, knees inside the feet, neutral back, and chest over feet,” Woodrup says.
“Once the landing position starts to get to the point where your knees are above waist height (i.e., quads slightly below parallel to the floor), then you’re not challenging your jump height but just how much you are bringing your legs up.”
Focus on landing softly and keeping the knees in line with the long toe. “If you can do that consistently and have several inches of clearance over the box when you land, you may be ready to increase the box height,” Goss says. But beware, going big for extended periods of time may do more harm than good. “The injury risks of performing a high number of reps of more intense plyo exercises like these may outweigh the benefits,” she explains.
Best Exercises To Increase Your Box Jump
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Jamie Hagiya, a CrossFit Games competitor, former pro basketball player, and co-owner of Torrance CrossFit, knows a thing or two about box jumps. Her top exercises, at left, will help with power, speed, and explosiveness to seriously boost your vertical. Woodrup further suggests doing the moves in the given order to push your body between plyo and strength training. Stick with lower-rep sets of high-quality reps to get the most out of it, he adds.
Try these: Low box jumps with hands behind the head. This variation forces you to use a lower box because you can’t use your arms to assist with the movement. Jumping with your hands behind your head also encourages you to develop a more powerful leg drive, plus it improves your balance, both of which will assist with so many other exercises. Two-legged box jumps that begin with a step/hop are also good conditioning.
Try these: Box jumps from a seated position on a Bosu ball. This advanced variation increases the range of motion required and removes the countermovement benefits you get from a standing box jump. It also helps improve joint mobility and creates higher levels of glute involvement. You can’t jump very high from this seated position, so lower the box accordingly, but it’s a great way to build explosive strength and fire up the glutes. You can also do box jumps with a weight vest.
Cardio Kickboxing Benefits
Cardio Kickboxing is a fun, high-energy class, with real-life applications. There are tons of benefits to learning kickboxing and other styles of martial arts, and today we want to jump into those. So, what are some of the cardio kickboxing benefits?
In this world of stress-induced everything, we need to find ways to counteract our daily stressors. You will be ditching your phone for an exercise for 30-minutes to one hour, which is stress-reducing in and of itself—but punching and kicking is a way to release even more of that. This high-intensity class promotes the release of endorphins which will make you feel accomplished, and sometimes even euphoric when you finish. To top it off, you can picture the situation that is most stressing you out in class, and take your anger out on it there. It is a great way to release those frustrations that we all so often have.
And while stress-relief is self-care, there is another level involved. Kickboxing and other HIIT workouts make you stronger, which could help you to fit into your clothes a little better, which could give you a bit more confidence, and so on, and so on. That is what self-care is all about. It is about finding that time in your day to de-stress and focus on your needs. If those needs are punching, kicking, jumping, and twisting, then this is the perfect class for you.
Cardiovascular training, such as cardio kickboxing, sets you on the fast track to better endurance. In a cardio kickboxing class, you are not only practicing a cardio workout, but your instructors will have you focusing on your breath (when to breathe in and out with every punch and kick). Those tips translate beautifully into all of your other workouts. Being mindful of how you are giving oxygen to your body, and building up those endurance muscle groups while you are at it all make this workout especially great at endurance-building.
Heart disease accounts for 1 in 4 of every death in the United States, making it the leading cause of death in both men and women. The American Heart Association recommends—to combat this form of the disease—150-minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. With cardio kickboxing classes offering fun and high-energy aerobic exercise that is 30-minutes to an hour long, this format is the perfect way to keep variety in your routine and to try something new.
If those benefits mentioned above are not enough, you will be torching calories in your cardio kickboxing workout. Healthline.com says that you can expect to burn more than 350 calories per hour in a cardio kickboxing class. So, set your one-hour run to the side and give this dynamic class a try.
It may feel like you are just kicking and punching at the air (because you are), but the elements of building your punches, kicks, and combos in class can be taken with you when you go out into the world. We need to be able to defend ourselves in times of danger. This benefit is unique to martial-arts-inspired workouts, with their real-life application that we hope you never have to use.
As a full-body workout, cardio kickboxing will tone your entire body from head to kicking foot. As you continue to keep this workout as a staple of your routine, you will start to feel your lower and upper body muscles tone and take shape like they never have before.
While you are in a group exercise class, you will be sweating it out next to peers with the same or similar goals as you—to come in, have a good time, and get a great workout. Group exercise classes of all kinds are a great way to build your community. Whether you chat with the person next to you or exchange a grin with someone across the room, many of us have made lasting friendships in group exercise classes.
Benefits of Kickboxing Fitness Classes
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Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
Depending on the length of the class, kickboxing fitness classes can range in intensity, but they are all great aerobic workouts. These types of classes get your heart pumping, which carries oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, therefore improving your cardiovascular fitness level. The more your heart has to work, the more efficient it will become at transporting oxygen. The more frequently you exercise, the lower your resting heart rate will be, which is the sign of a healthy heart. If you want to improve your stamina, try taking a 1-hour kickboxing class so you sustain the intensity for a longer period of time.
Kickboxing classes are a very efficient workout where you can burn up to 750 calories in an hour. A number of variables, including the intensity and duration of the class, will determine exactly how many calories you burn. Classes with interval-based training will be more efficient at burning fat and calories than a typical steady-state cardio class
.Tones Upper and Lower Body
All the routines performed in cardio kickboxing force you to engage a number of key muscle groups, therefore toning many areas of your body. Jumping moves will work your calves. Squats will work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Punches use power-driven from your shoulders.
What many people don’t realize is that this class frequently engages your core. A strong core is needed for balance and coordination. High kicks and the twisting motion from punches work the abdominals and your obliques, the muscles on the side of the torso. Proper form, however, is crucial to getting the most out of your workout.
Kickboxing utilizes multiple planes of movement, so you have to be aware of what your body is doing throughout the routine. For instance, you might be standing on one leg while kicking the other into the air. You might have to shuffle your legs while punching across your body. Thus, all these moves will improve your balance, flexibility, and coordination.
Exercise and martial arts have been known to improve confidence and self-esteem. Physical activity produces “feel-good chemicals” in the brain known as endorphins, which leave you with a natural state of euphoria. There are, of course, the physical changes you can see such as larger or toned muscles and a smaller waistline, which will give you an added dose of confidence.
Learn Helpful Defense Moves
You don’t ever want to think about being in a situation where you’d have to use self-defense, but unfortunately, those situations can happen to anyone, anywhere. It’s better to be prepared. Kickboxing fitness classes aren’t made specifically to teach self-defense, but you’ll learn basic moves such as kicking and jabbing. We want to empower people so that if they were ever involved in a dangerous situation, they could use what they learned in class to get out of it safely.
If you’re looking to learn more advanced self-defense techniques, we offer a small group training class at Elite Sports Club-Mequon.
Want to let out your frustrations in a healthy way? Kickboxing classes let you unleash your frustration through intense physical activity. Some classes use traditional boxing bags where participants can kick and punch something physical instead of just the air. Besides relieving stress, numerous studies have shown that physical activity is great to lower depression and anxiety levels as well.
Sick and tired of the same old boring workouts? If all of the benefits above aren’t enough for you, the best benefit is that it’s a lot of fun! It’s a very dynamic class where you’ll utilize a lot of muscle groups. Because you’re practicing martial arts moves, it won’t even feel like you’re exercising. You’ll jump, punch, and kick your way to a happier, healthier self.
You’ll also benefit from the social environment being in a group exercise class. Even if you have never taken a class before, the community will welcome you because they were once in that position, too. In a few sessions, you’ll feel like one of the group. And fellas, this class isn’t just for women either!