Fighter’s Abs: Train Like a Kickboxer

You don’t have to put a foot in the ring to get abs like a fighter.

When I was younger, I wanted to get in shape fast. I wanted to get 6-pack abs, defined shoulders, and a powerful looking back. At the same time, I wanted to learn how to defend myself. One of my friends suggested that I join a kickboxing gym. I found one and started to work out with their fighters. After a few weeks, I could already start to see the results, and before long I was addicted to training. Eventually, I began to compete, and after over 20 bouts, 2 national tournaments, and a national title, I retired to help others reach their fitness goals.

Combat sports are unlike anything else in the world. When an athlete steps into the ring, they understand that they are about to risk their lives. When the round starts, the other person’s objective is to hurt you as fast as possible. Stand up fighters like kickboxers are considered to be the fittest athletes in the world. They must become so, because their survival in the ring depends on it.

But you don’t have to ever set foot in a ring in order to use the training methods of fighters. Below, I’ll share my favorite ab workout with you. It’s what I use for myself and my fighters to build the core strength that protects us from punches, and allows us to generate punching power.

The Kickboxer Ab Workout

This workout should only take you about 20 minutes, and is a great workout by itself. If you want something a bit more challenging, you can always add it onto the end of your workout as a finisher.

Round 1

This circuit contains three exercises, each performed for a minute. After each circuit (3 minutes), you may take a 30 second rest before starting the next one. Perform three total circuits.

Muay Thai Plank: 1 Minute (15 second active, 5 second break)

The Muay Thai plank is a variation of a normal plank. Get onto your elbows and knees as in a normal plank. Be sure to engage your entire body, including your glutes, back, abs, shoulders, and even hands. When you engage your body, imagine if someone were about to hit you, and you need to stiffen to protect yourself.

High Plank Walk-Outs: 1 Minute AMRAP

Hold a high plank and walk your arms forward as far as possible. When you are walking your hands out, make sure that you keep your back flat and straight, and that your hips do not sway side to side. You should walk out to a distance where you are struggling to stay up, then stop and walk back to your original starting position. Perform as many reps as possible for one minute.

Plank Skip Knee: 1 Minute AMRAP

Start in a high plank position. If you are on hardwood, you can do this in your socks, or place gliders, towels, or a piece of paper towel on your feet. If you are on carpet, you will need gliders or something that can slide smoothly on carpet. Focus on keeping your back and abs engaged as you slide your knees in and out. Try to keep your whole body still by engaging your core.

Round 2

Just as in the first round, you will perform each of the exercises in a circuit. Complete one minute of each exercise to make one circuit, and repeat the whole circuit three times, with a 30 second rest between circuits.

Leg Hold: 1 Minute 

Lay on your back with your feet straight out. Focus on engaging your core, bracing your trunk, and squeezing your shoulder blades back. This puts your spine into a neutral position that will protect it. You will feel a natural curve in your spine, this is okay. You should contact the floor with your upper back and your pelvic bone area. Place your hands to the side of you, activate your core, and raise your leg six inches off the ground. Hold for one minute.

Bicycle: 1 Minute

Lay on your back with your arms up, hands touching your head. Lift your feet up so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Alternate your legs in and out as you touch your elbows to your opposite knee. Make sure that you are engaging the core for the whole duration, and you are turning using your upper body and not your arms.

In and Out: 1 Minute

Lay on the ground with your legs bent and lifted into the air. You can place your hands behind you, or right behind your glutes to make it harder. Extend your legs all the way and then bring them in.

You don’t always need a gym:

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