Cardio boxing, fit boxing, aeroboxing: which kind is best for you?

What are the differences between cardio boxing, fit boxing and aeroboxing? To figure out which kind of boxing is right for you, check out our tips.

The great thing about boxing is that there's something for everyone. All of the different disciplines mean that you're sure to find something that suits you physically, technically and mentally.

And the good news is that the same is true for cardio boxing. You mean there's really something for everyone? Exactly! But there are a few different kinds that go by different names. So if you're interested in taking up fitness boxing to work up a sweat or burn off calories, check out our list of the most popular kinds, their features and their benefits.

Cardio boxing

Let's start with the most popular one: cardio boxing. A US import in the early 90s, this variant is based on kickboxing, boxing and Muay Thai movements, with the aim of exerting yourself and burning calories. That's lucky, because that's exactly what you're after.


The aim of cardio boxing isn't to perfect your technique so that you can do fights, but instead to use boxing exercises and movements to train your cardio and channel your energy.


And to mix business with pleasure (and to help squeeze out that extra drop of motivation when you're starting to flag during the class), everything's done to music! Whether you're at a boxing club or gym, classes are run by a coach against a backdrop of funky lighting and music.You won't be able to resist letting off steam and working up a sweat.


And that's exactly why cardio boxing is a great way of expending energy. What with movements where you're punching the air (shadow boxing), exercises where you hit a target (punching bag or focus pad), fitness exercises and skipping sessions, you're sure to burn off calories: 600 per hour, on average. It makes perfect sense when you think about how intense boxing training is.


In a nutshell: Cardio boxing is a chance to take advantage of the intensity and quality of boxing training - both cardio and muscular - in a fun environment that focuses on fitness rather than fighting.

Fit boxing

Let's move on to another name you might have heard bandied about: fit boxing. The clue is in the name. This activity is a blend of kickboxing, martial arts, fitness and aerobics.


So what should you expect at a typical fit boxing class? Muscle and joint warm-ups to begin with, then choreographed exercises with movements inspired by combat sports, followed by a bit of time on a punching bag or with focus pads. Last but not least, you'll do a bit of muscle strengthening and stretching.


In short, you get to do an hour of intense, explosive fitness based on martial arts techniques. It helps you clear your head and get yourself in a good frame of mind. Plus, to help you work up a sweat and stay motivated, your coach will stick on a killer playlist! Be prepared to do your moves to an electrifying soundtrack.


And in terms of results, fit boxing improves your endurance, strengthens your muscles, slims your figure and gives your mental health a boost. This is thanks to both the fitness side of it, because it's fitness that relaxes you and gets rid of stress, and the punching bag and focus pad training, because that's what helps you assert yourself and build self-confidence.


In a nutshell: With fit boxing, you've got a chance to give your fitness workouts a fun, explosive aspect and to focus on cardio training and well-being.


The third discipline you might have heard about is called aeroboxing. And if you hadn't already guessed from the name, it's a mix of aerobics and boxing. You therefore won't be surprised to learn that it involves combinations of aerobics movements and punches and kicks (without a target) inspired by combat sports.


If you're a fan of group classes and music, aeroboxing is definitely your cup of tea. You'll spend an hour moving around and alternating between slow and fast paces with a series of non-contact punching and kicking exercises. It's really good fun and lets you relax with nothing to fear, while also burning calories.


And of course, because it pairs combat sports with aerobics, it burns off fat, boosts your cardio fitness, tones up your muscles, and trains your flexibility, coordination and reflexes. All that, without the stress of having to hit anyone or get hit!


In a nutshell: In this class there's no punching bag, focus pad or impact. Instead, it's all about aerobics inspired by kickboxing rhythms and actions, with the aim of relaxing your mind and toning your body!

Punching bag or no punching bag?

As you've seen, the biggest difference between these three activities is the name! So it's not unusual for the three terms to be used interchangeably. The principle stays the same: using boxing exercises and intensity to make fitness more fun and explosive.


The main difference is whether or not you use a punching bag during the class. Of course, if you already do a kind of boxing and you're just interested in complementing your training, it's hard to imagine a session without a bag or pad.

And if you're tempted to have a go with a punching bag, here's a quick list of the kit you're going to need:


Boxing wraps which you wind around your hands, fingers and wrists. They absorb perspiration and support your joints. Boxing wraps are rarely worn alone. They tend to be accompanied by boxing gloves which you need when training on a punching bag.


If your workouts combine exercises on a bag and exercises on the floor, it's important to get some training gloves. The main advantage is that they leave your hands and fingers free to move so you don't have to put them on and take them off when you switch between press-ups and the punching bag!


For kicking a punching bag, ankle guards will cover and protect the top of your foot.


So will it be a punching bag or shadow boxing? We put the question to Ewa, Boxing Digital Leader at Outshock and a fan of cardio boxing (no prizes for guessing why we asked!) :


“Most people will do cardio boxing without a punching bag. Here at Domyos, it's a bit different. We've created a cardio boxing class that uses a bag and it's the most successful class in our club!

The big difference when working with a bag is that you touch the target, you aim, and you really exert yourself. You can train alone or with others on the same punching bag. It lets you do sequences, swap over or complement each other. And if you've got your own punching bag, you can carry on your workouts at home!

Training without a bag means constant movement. It's synchronised and dynamic but you don't hit a target. Ultimately, it's a very physical workout because you're moving around a lot.”


It's really a question of knowing whether you want to prioritise muscle training or cardio fitness and if you're doing cardio boxing to complement your boxing or increase your fitness. If it's the latter, although it might be less intimidating to try cardio boxing without a target, there's a strong chance you'll soon find yourself wanting to have a go on a bag!


How about you? How did you get into cardio boxing and what are your favourite exercises? Share your experiences and don't forget to let us know if you liked this article!

Ewa_ambassadrice OUTSHOCK


Combat sports enthusiast

Have fun!

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