The Difference Between Designing Fitness Kickboxing & Combat Facilities

Over the years, there has been a surge in the number of people who now practice fitness and cardio-based kickboxing. From 2006 to 2017, that number jumped significantly, and more fitness facilities are opening up every single year. While Muay Thai and Combat Kickboxing facilities have, on average, not seen the same expansive growth, there are still a considerable amount of specialists and students in the U.S., and the discipline is still a heavy component in the styles of many MMA competitors.

While fitness-based kickboxing borrows many traits of Combat Kickboxing, they are inherently different. They also cater to completely different audiences, which is why the design of a fitness kickboxing facility is so drastically different from that of a traditional Combat or Muay Thai facility.

The differences between the two types of facilities can be broken down into a few categories:

General Layout

The primary focus of a fitness kickboxing class is the cardio aspect. Class sizes are also generally larger than in Combat facilities, meaning fitness kickboxing facilities will want to feature large, open spaces that are designed to cater to larger class sizes. Combat facilities may not need as much open space, but they will still need to account for sparring and training areas.

Bag Count/Positioning

Every person in a cardio kickboxing facility will be working with a bag during training, the same cannot be said of Combat facilities. Kickboxing facilities will want to have many multi-station bag racks or as many standalone bags/stations per sq. ft. as possible. Muay Thai and Combat facilities that split their space between sparring and bag practice areas may only necessitate a small number of Muay Thai bags or heavy bags positioned in a smaller area of the facility.


Since fitness kickboxing is focused on cardio, not combat, there is no need to set aside space for sparring rings or cages. Muay Thai and other combat facilities will need to account for these spaces in their planning.

Martial Arts Mats or Fitness Flooring?

If a facility is working with very little space and cannot accommodate a ring, a section of martial arts mats can be used for open mat sparring. It’s recommended for all combat and Muay Thai facilities to have protective flooring that can provide the stability needed to support the maneuverability necessary in striking arts. Zebra’s 1” combo mats are ideal for this type of training.

For fitness facilities that do not focus on sparring, rubber flooring can be used. However, martial arts mats will offer a lot more stability and comfort. They also come in many colors and support custom logo printing.


Whether you are looking to outfit a fitness kickboxing or any type of combat facility, count on Zebra Athletics to be your guide. Contact us today to start planning your facility.