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Kickboxing first started in the United States in the 1970s. It began as a way for those in martial arts to practice a full-contact sport, instead of having to follow the strict rules of karate competitions. Over time it has evolved from fighting in a ring to fitness centers and group exercise studios as a way to get, and stay, in shape. Because kickboxing is an intense form of exercise, muscles all over your body can become sore.
Whether you jab, cross, hook or uppercut, the muscles in your upper body are getting a workout in kickboxing. Even if you're not punching, the arms are held up to protect the face and body, tight and ready to move quickly. The anterior portion of your deltoids, your triceps, the pectoralis major and minor, and your traps can become sore from repeated punching. As you build endurance and get more used to punching, the soreness will decrease.
Your core muscles are active during punching, kicking and just holding your body in a proper stance during kickboxing. The rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques and transverse abdominus are all used. Your core stays tight to protect the body if you are sparring with a partner or just holding pads. If you are punching and kicking, the core muscles are used to generate power as well as to aid in rotation and stability.
Front kicks, side kicks, round kicks and even back kicks are all used in kickboxing. Muscles in the hips and legs are active and can become sore, including the gluteus maximus, minimus and medius; as well as the hamstrings, quads and calves. Inner and outer thigh muscles become sore from side kicks, round kicks and stabilization during other kicking motions.
Preventing and Recovering from Kickboxing Soreness
To help prevent or minimize soreness, warm up properly for five to 10 minutes before you begin kickboxing. Perfect your form during all punches and kicks before you go high intensity. Gradually increase the duration, frequency and intensity of your workouts. And stretch at the end of every workout. During and after a kickboxing session, hydrate your body with water and eat a meal that contains both carbohydrate and protein to aid muscle recovery. If you are very sore, take a few days off before you do another workout.