Crossfit vs. Kickboxing: Which One Is Better?

Crossfit vs. Kickboxing: Which One Is Better?

Crossfit and Kickboxing are two very different things, yet have quite similar results on your body health. Both are high-cardio exercises with great benefits. They have a lot in common, but there are some glaring differences as well. The question is, which one is better for you to practice?

If your only goal is to get in great physical condition, then you should choose Crossfit. It is a high-intensity fitness program that will get you into great shape. If you want to learn self-defense in the process and go at your own pace, then Kickboxing is the better option for you.

One can actually be a part of the other. Getting into a great physical state is a priority for Kickboxers, so they often use Crossfit as a part of their training to get great results quickly and effectively. The benefits of both Kickboxing and Crossfit are vast, and practicing one doesn’t exclude the other, so you have a lot of room to try both out and see which works better for you.

Differences between Crossfit and Kickboxing

As we already mentioned, Kickboxing and Crossfit both use some of the same exercises in their routine practice, such as weight-lifting, bodyweight exercises, high-paced cardio drills, etc. But that’s the point where the two start to go separate ways.

The first and obvious difference is that one is a full-contact martial art, while the other is a no-contact high-intensity fitness program. There’s no Crossfit fighting, although competitions are held each year where the contestants have to complete the tasks given in the shortest time possible.

That is why we’re not going to compare Crossfit and traditional Kickboxing that includes fighting and sparring, but only cardio Kickboxing. Cardio Kickboxing teaches you basically everything that traditional Kickboxing does but skips the contact/combat part of your training. That being said, you’ll still learn proper striking techniques; you just won’t have the opportunity to use them in practice with another fighter. It won’t help you with self-defense as, for instance, Krav Maga would, but you’ll still have a nice skill to help you out.

Crossfit uses a lot of bodyweight exercises that require explosiveness, strength, and high bursts of energy. Some of the most common exercises include push-ups, squats, burpees, jumping jacks, etc. You’ve probably noticed that all those exercises are common in Kickboxing practice as well. That’s because the sport requires explosiveness, too, so Kickboxing fighters find themselves doing Crossfit workouts very often.

One thing you almost always see in Crossfit, but rarely in Kickboxing, is the Kettlebell workout. It is a great workout for the entire body, but you should be careful when doing it. If done improperly, there’s a high risk of injury. A lot of weight training is also incorporated into Crossfit, including dumbbells, benches, etc.

Another glaring difference between Crossfit and Kickboxing is the workout plan. In Crossfit, your training isn’t carefully divided and structured between muscle groups, with each day being meant for a different group in an orderly fashion.

Crossfit has this system called Workout of the Day (WOD). Basically, your WOD for the day is what you focus on, but it can be anything, really. For example, doing 5 series of 10 burpees, 10 push-ups, and 10 squats can be a WOD. It’s not structurally focused on one muscle group at a time, but the entire body fitness in general. 

In Kickboxing, it’s a lot different when it comes to body training. You will have a well-designed plan of exercise daily, focusing on specific muscle groups. Also, you will do the exercises in the exact intervals, too. For instance, you’ll work on your abdominals on Mondays, your biceps and chest on Tuesday, triceps, and back on Wednesday, legs on Thursday, rest on Friday, and then work on the abdominals again on Saturday, continuing a new cycle.

In Crossfit, you can do the same WOD two times in three days, or you can do it once and then never repeat the same WOD. The only important thing is that you do it with high intensity, high power, and try not to neglect any part of your body. Coaches can help you with that, but you’ll start figuring out your own WODs that fit you the best as you progress.

So, to conclude – both of these are great for your cardio, strength, and overall fitness. But, they focus on different things and get results in different ways. While Crossfit emphasizes intensity, speed, and weight workout, cardio Kickboxing will focus more on striking, high-intensity punching/kicking drills, and working with your own body weight. 

Benefits of Crossfit

While Crossfit may have its advantages and disadvantages compared to other forms of exercise – especially martial arts – some great benefits are indisputable that you can get from practicing it.

First of all, Crossfit can be extremely effective for losing weight and burning fat. The high-intensity workout is proven to burn almost twice as many calories per minute as traditional weight-lifting exercises. Also, the nature of the training can help you get better cardio and burn fat, and at the same time, build strength and muscle.

The variety of exercise is huge, and your workouts will regularly include functional exercise, so you will undoubtedly gain better flexibility, balance, and overall agility.

To add to it, Crossfit training sessions are usually quite short, which is great if your main excuse for not working out is the lack of time. Because of the exercises’ high-intensity nature, there is no need for extra long hours in the gym. The training is brief, intense, and effective.

Finally, choosing Crossfit over Kickboxing allows you to avoid physical contact and combat with other practitioners. If you’re unwilling to get hit or hit someone else, Crossfit never incorporates a contact of that kind. 

You’ll need help from others to do some exercises, but there’s no sparring, no striking, and no combat whatsoever. Even now, when Crossfit became a sport, and there are competitions, you only represent your skills by weight-lifting, doing push-ups, etc., doing it faster and better than the others.

Benefits of Kickboxing

As we mentioned, we’re not comparing Crossfit and traditional Kickboxing through this article, only cardio Kickboxing. However, that doesn’t mean that the workouts won’t help you better understand how to defend yourself. Sure, you’re not putting the techniques you learn into real practice and sparring, but it will still help you be a lot safer out on the streets than having no martial art training at all.

You will undoubtedly get much stronger and tougher while also getting an incredible cardio workout. May experts suggest that Kickboxing training is one of the most beneficial types of training for cardiovascular health. The workouts maximize your oxygen uptake, meaning your body is taking in and using more oxygen and doing it more efficiently.

That leads to much better stamina, endurance, immunity, strength, and overall health. To add to it, Kickboxing is beneficial for your overall physical condition and your mental condition. The nature of the sport can help you blow off steam and fight stress very effectively. 

You will also feel a huge boost in confidence because you will literally work on it in practice. It is imperative to believe in yourself in Kickboxing, which will later easily translate to your everyday life.

So, Kickboxing can provide you with incredible physical and mental strength, balance, health, and immunity. It will help you get to know more people and work closely with them in an environment that you’re all comfortable with, and to top it all off – it will help you learn how to stay safe on the streets and defend yourself if need be.

Should you choose Crossfit or Kickboxing?

Choosing between Crossfit and Kickboxing depends on several conditions. Both are great workouts if your only plan is to get fit or lose weight, and both have other benefits apart from that. It all comes down to which one you prefer and what your motivations are in the end.

If you prefer contactless workouts that give fast, effective results, that Crossfit should be your choice. There’s not much technique learned for Crossfit because the training is more focused on body workout, weight-lifting, and intense cardio. However, some experts have a problem with the way the training plans in Crossfit are determined.

The WOD system gives you a lot of freedom to do random exercise on any given day, with no strict workout plan. Some argue that you don’t put specific muscle into action on specific days; your body lacks the consistency to build any real strength. There’s a point in that, but not to the extent they claim are true.

While structured workout planning is the most effective way to gain muscle and strength, that is not the only reason one practices Crossfit. As we mentioned, there are other benefits to it, and it is proven to be very effective when it comes to fat burning. In the end, Crossfit practitioners are all extremely fit, which destroys the argument of the WOD system not being consistent enough for muscle gain.

With that being said, people who prefer contact and possibly wish to find something, where they can get fit and get rid of stress, should undoubtedly go for Kickboxing. 

Even cardio Kickboxing includes bag work, meaning you’ll be striking a weight bag with kicks and punches a lot. To get the most out of it, you’ll need to do it as intensely as possible, leading to you punching out all the negative energy and stress you might’ve gathered in everyday life.

To answer which one is better: Crossfit works better as an intense, fast way to burn fat and get in shape, while Kickboxing is a more self-paced, structured exercise that focuses on technique as much as it does on body fitness. You can incorporate Crossfit training into your Kickboxing, and vice-versa, so the choice is really only yours to make.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
Scroll to Top