News

Kickbox your way to these legs

There’s more to kickboxing than watching Jean-Claude Van Damme’s film, discovers Ben Isaacs

"You don’t always get what you wish for," Owen Ogbourne, four-time British kickboxing champ tells us, "but you always get what you work for." Well, we wish we could kickbox everyone’s face in if we needed to, but we’ll settle for training like Ogbourne. Here’s his kickboxing-approved circuit for ShortList readers.

Push-up

“The ultimate floor exercises, which you can do almost anywhere. To do it properly, lie face down with your legs fully extended, and your hands placed flat along the side of your body. It is important that the hands are placed just below the chest (with elbows pointing upwards), as this will engage your chest muscles and the upper back. Raise your head so that it is in line with your back, and look slightly downwards towards the floor. Curl your toes inwards and grip the floor with the ball of your foot. Pull your hips inwards. Push your hands into the floor and raise your body while extending/locking the arms out. At the same time pull in the hips and tighten the abs.”

Speed rope skipping

“If you want to dazzle opponents with fancy footwork, then skipping is the way to go. It’s great for toning the legs, particularly the calves. Stand with both feet on the middle of the rope. Pull handles upwards. They should reach up to the hips. Step forward so that the rope is just behind your heels. Raise your ankles off the floor and bounce on the balls of your feet a few times. Swing the rope over your head. Rotate your wrist as the rope is travelling over your head. Generate the jump with the balls of the feet.”

Burpees

“This exercise has many quaking just at the mention of its name. It’s brutal but effective. Crouch into a frog position, with your hands flat on the floor. Stay on the balls of your feet, looking at the floor. Kick out with both legs into a plank. Bend arms, keeping elbows inward and legs extended, as you lower yourself. Push your body up, while kicking in with the legs back into a frog position. Jump up with both hands raised above your head.”  

Squat kicks

“A great way to train your legs, with quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves the beneficiaries. Stand with feet pointing forward, just wide of your shoulders. Clench fists under your chin, with elbows in at your side. Squat with straight back and knees parallel, then return to standing position while kicking out in front, curling the toes backward while extending the leg. Replace your leg on the floor, then repeat and kick out with the other leg.”

Punching Split Jumps

“The idea of being able to use both sides of your body effectively is a big advantage in kickboxing. Stand with your strongest arm at the rear. Place both clenched fists under your chin, either side of the jaw. Imagine a clock and place legs at 12:20, with the feet facing forward and both knees slightly bent. Punch with the lead hand, indicated by the foot in front. Twist the wrist so palm faces downward. Retract lead hand punch, simultaneously switching legs with a small jump and punching with the other hand. You should then be punching non-stop. Left punch left foot, right punch, right foot.”

Ogbourne is a personal trainer at Matt Roberts Hampstead; mattroberts.co.uk

(Images: AllStar/Thinkstock)