Kickboxing Moves List

Updated June 21, 2019
Two women kickbox

Kickboxing and cardio kickboxing classes are a great way to burn calories, build endurance, and challenge the muscles of you core. Though it may seem like a complicated workout, once you get the basic moves down, you'll find you can easily push your training to another level.

Basic Kickboxing Moves

While skilled kickboxers can make the sport look like a well-choreographed symphony of elaborate moves, kickboxing is in fact comprised of only a few types of moves.


Strikes are some of the most basic of those kickboxing moves. The types of strikes allowed in a match depend upon the style of kickboxing. There are several ways for a kickboxer to strike an opponent. A few include:

  • Jab - This is perhaps the most basic of kickboxing moves. It comes from the front hand and strikes the head or body of an opponent.
  • Cross - This typically follows a jab and hits the target from an angle.
  • Uppercut - This move is a rising punch to an opponent's chin.
  • Hook - This move comes around from the side; the arm is bent at a 90 degree angle and the body rotates with the punch.
  • Hammer punch - This punch relies on the body weight to power it through to your opponent. It combines semi-circular and vertical movements.
  • Elbow - An elbow strike uses the elbow instead of the fist and can be quite powerful.
  • Knee - Knee strikes typically come from below up, but can also come from an angle.
Boxer training


An effective way to neutralize an opponent is to utilize kicking moves.

  • Push kick - The push kick is your basic front kick, effective for landing a blow to the face or chest with the heel of the foot.
  • Side kick - This kick pushes out laterally and begins with a knee lift.
  • Back kick - This kick pushes back toward the rear, behind the person kicking.
  • Crescent kick - This kick draws on a chopping motion, striking with the top of the foot or the shin area.
  • Roundhouse kick - This kick comes from behind and involves a swing forward of the hip.
woman kicking punching bag in gymnasium

Defensive Moves

Ask almost any competitive athlete, and he or she will tell you that one of the most important components of success is having a great defensive game. These defense moves can help prevent injury and will work in complement with the other basic kickboxing moves.

  • Parrying - This defensive maneuver basically relies on a kickboxer's hands to deflect blows by meeting the punch halfway and redirecting the movement.
  • Slip - If you learn no other defensive kickboxing move, this is the one to know. When you give your opponent the "slip," you rotate your body just in time for the punch to "slip" past you.
  • Defensive stance - If you are right-handed, your left foot will be in ahead of you and your right foot slightly behind. Knees are soft and ready for movement, while your core is engaged in anticipation. Hands are in a "ready" stance, up toward your cheeks as you prepare to fight. Note that varying kickboxing styles may dictate a different defensive stance.
Female kickboxers training together in gym

Challenging Kickboxing Moves

As you get more comfortable in your kickboxing abilities, you'll soon be ready to evolve into more difficult moves.

  • Flying knee - This move elevates your knee strike to meet your opponent's head - and likely knock them out.
  • Spinning back kick - This move involves a back kick accompanied by a 180 degree spin.
  • Snap kick - Though not an advanced move, the snap kick becomes incredibly effective in slowing your opponent down when you learn how to land the kick strategically.
  • Flying kicks - This group of kicks combines a leaping motion with any number of swift kick moves and can be very efficient against an opponent.

Kickboxing Combos

Combos are important in kickboxing because once you learn them, they become second nature, making it easier to use a combo in an actual match. Classic combos may vary depending on the style of kickboxing.

  • Jab-Cross-Hook-Upper cut - Practice this quick hands combo until it can be done with equal parts speed to equal parts power.
  • Jab-Cross-Kick - The kick at the end of this combo can come as a surprise to your opponent, giving you an edge in the match.
  • Jab-Cross-Hook-Kick - Like the combo above, the kick may come as a surprise to your opponent.

Popular Sport

Kickboxing has become a popular sport for fitness and competition alike. Though it's based on much the same principles of movement as karate, it can provide a unique challenge for those looking for a full-contact competition sport. Recently, kickboxing classes have taken these unique moves and combined them with music to create a high-impact cardio workout that people of nearly any fitness level can enjoy.

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Kickboxing Moves List