Tae Bo

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Tae Bo
Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks, leading a class.

Tae Bo is a body fitness system that incorporates martial arts techniques, such as kicks and punches, which became popular in the 1990s. It was developed by American taekwondo practitioner Billy Blanks.[1] Such programs use the motions of martial arts at a rapid pace designed to promote fitness.[2]


The name Tae Bo is a portmanteau of taekwondo and boxing.[3][4][5]


Billy Blanks developed the routine in 1976 by combining dance with elements from his martial arts and boxing training to form a workout regimen.[1] During the 1990s, a series of videos was mass-marketed to the public; by 1999, an estimated 1.5 million sets of videos had been sold by frequently-aired television infomercials.[6] As a result, Tae Bo became something of a pop culture phenomenon in the late 1990s. Gyms began offering kickboxing-based fitness classes similar to Tae Bo. Since Blanks had obtained a trademark on the name they were not allowed to use the term Tae Bo without paying a licensing fee.[1] Tae Bo videos and DVDs continue to rank among the top sellers in the fitness genre[citation needed] and derivative classes are still offered at many gyms.[2]

Tae Bo classes are taught worldwide.[citation needed] The routines include many of the same punches and kicks as karate, but is not developed for any combat or self-defense activities.[citation needed] There are no throws, grappling moves, or ground fighting techniques in Tae Bo. The only goal is to increase fitness through movement. Routines also include aerobic exercises intended to strengthen all muscles of the body with basic choreography. The high-intensity workout is intended to increase cardiovascular fitness, strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.[citation needed]


Tae Bo has been characterized as an excellent cardiovascular workout with very good distractions.[further explanation needed][7][better source needed]

Due to the movements it involves, Tae Bo is effective in toning and defining the body's musculature. It can also improve one's balance, flexibility, and coordination. According to Blanks, the cardiovascular benefits are a result of the dance moves added to the already high-energy workout.[8][better source needed] An hour-long Tae Bo workout will burn 500 to 800 calories, compared with the 300 to 400 calories burned with a more conventional aerobics class.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Green, Penelope (March 21, 1999). "MIRROR, MIRROR; Punching and Kicking All the Way to the Bank". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  2. ^ a b "Tae-Bo or Not Tae-Bo?". Time. 1999-03-15. Archived from the original on April 27, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  3. ^ "Fighting For Fitness". Newsweek. March 29, 1999. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  4. ^ Vitucci, Claire (1997-12-08). "Kick-Boxing Craze: A new form of aerobic exercise has..." The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  5. ^ "On Top of the World". Inside Kung Fu. Archived from the original on 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  6. ^ Collins, Scott (March 3, 1999). "Tae-Bo Infomercial Kicks Up Success--and Legal Disputes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  7. ^ a b Greer, Natalie. "Tae Bo: Fitness Craze or Effective Workout?". vanderbilt.edu. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
  8. ^ "What are the Benefits of Tae Bo?". Retrieved 2010-05-03.