Tae Bo Benefits for Weight Loss & Muscle Strength

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Tae Bo is a high-intensity exercise that will kickstart your cardio routine and boost your health and wellness with intense and invigorating workouts.

What is Tae Bo?

Tae Bo is a workout style developed by Billy Blanks in 1976 that surged into popularity during the 90’s. Billy Blanks is a Taekwondo master from the United States who won the World Martial Arts Championship seven times. He combined his martial art specialism with the disciplines of dance, kickboxing, aerobics, and muscle-toning exercises to create his specialized high-intensity workout routine. The name Tae Bo originates from Taekwondo and Boxing, drawing on the first letters of both practices. The name also forms an acronym:

  • T – Totally commit yourself to whatever you do
  • A – Awareness of your body and self.
  • E – Excellence, the truest goal in everything you do.
  • B – Body as a force for total change.
  • O – Obedience of your desire for accomplishment.
People in gym clothes practicing Tae Bo in the outdoors

Tae Bo is a total body fitness workout. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How to Do Tae Bo?

If you’re interested in this workout, there are a couple of different routes to give it a try. The first is to find a certified Tae Bo instructor in your area and sign up for a beginners class. There are official Tae Bo instructors teaching all over the world. Many gyms now offer classes in a similar style, but they are not legally allowed to call them Tae Bo without paying the licensing fee, and there might be more variation in class content. The other route is to purchase Tae Bo home workout videos [1]. If you practice Tae Bo at home, it’s important to start with a level that is suitable to your body, and then you can build up your strength and flexibility before moving on to more difficult levels.

Tae Bo Benefits

Aids Weight Loss

As Tae Bo is a high-energy cardiovascular workout, it helps the body burn off calories. The American Council on Exercise conducted a study [2] that put the number of calories burnt off in an hour-long aerobics class such as Tae Bo at 350 to 450. Billy Blanks believes that Tae Bo far outdoes the average aerobic class, and puts the calorie loss count as high as 800. However, for Tae Bo to be a serious aid for your weight loss goals, it must be done regularly and in combination with a balanced and healthy diet. In other words, rule out those post-exercise fries!

Muscle Strength

Blanks designed Tae Bo with the intention of working on both lower body, core and upper body strength. The thighs, glutes, and hamstrings are activated with kicking movements, while the arms, shoulders, and chest are activated through punching movements. The core muscles are intrinsic to many of the movements, and the ideal result of continued practice is, therefore, a build-up of overall muscle strength in the body.

According to a study conducted Jason M. Winkle and John C. Ozmun, and published in the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, tae bo can also be an effective way to increase healthy muscle development in young people as well!  [3]

Cardiovascular Exercise

Tae Bo is an extremely active workout. The particular combination of dance moves and martial arts practice gets the heart beating, blood pumping and demands high levels of energy. It makes for an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise. [4]


One of the best tae bo benefits is the effect that it can have on your overall flexibility. The repetition of kicks and dance movements in Tae Bo could help improve your flexibility over time, increasing your capability of movement. The building of muscle strength should ensure that this increase in flexibility is stable. [5]

Builds Confidence

Cardio exercise releases endorphins in the brain that help you feel happier and more confident in yourself. An increase in body strength and a loss of excess weight could also contribute to confidence. [6]

Warnings and Contraindications

Doctors such as Dr. Andrew Feldman of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan have expressed the importance of a thorough warm up and warm down for Tae Bo. Despite the range of potential health benefits, the high intensity of the activity means that it might not be suited for people who are very out of shape. There is a danger of over-exertion resulting in pulled or even torn muscles. The ideal situation to practice Tae Bo is with an experienced teacher.

If practicing at home, it is best if you have previous workout experience and it’s important to start at a level where you are truly comfortable. Don’t be afraid to skip a move or two if you feel that your body isn’t ready for it; you want to experience the tae bo benefits without putting yourself at risk. Remember, there is a difference between pushing yourself and pushing yourself too far!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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