Shadow boxing isn’t just throwing punches into thin air. In fact, it can provide a quality aerobic workout and be pretty fun, too. Other pluses are that it is a highly portable workout, doesn’t cost anything, can improve balance and coordination as well as helping to relieve stress.
All you really need to get started is a full-length mirror, so that you can see your punches and respond accordingly. You may also want to wear boxing gloves, but it’s not required. Also, as you progress in your shadow boxing workout, you can opt for a shadow boxer. It’s a device that adds resistance to punches by using elastic bands. There’s also a version available that helps with footwork and leg strength.
Boxing coaches frequently recommend shadow boxing to budding boxers, since it helps them practice and perfect their form and overall technique. But whether you’re training to be a boxer or just wanting to go a few rounds to keep your fitness levels up, shadow boxing may be for you. Here are some tips to get started:
Use your reflection in the mirror as the opponent. As you throw punches, dodge the punches the reflection throws. This is the most basic form of shadow boxing. However, you can also not use the mirror and imagine an opponent throwing punches. You can practice blocking and dodging those punches.
Being true to a circuit format, change your activities frequently and at timed intervals. For example, you could shadow box for five minutes, performing basic punches, combinations of punches and footwork—whatever punches you want to throw in those five minutes. Then, for approximately one minute, try some squat thrusts or jumping jacks. Repeat this process three to five times. As stamina and strength grow, this routine—or a similar one—can be increased by the number of intervals or duration. You can also add boxing gloves or a shadow boxer for more resistance.
Additional tips: Be sure to throw all punches purposefully and with speed to activate fast twitch muscle fibers. Then pull your arms straight back to the guard position. Additionally, make sure to exhale with every punch to get your breathing right and to get more speed and “punch” from your boxing. You’ll also want to keep on your toes and keep moving while you shadow box. If you’re looking to really amp up your workout, then build in 10 pushups and 10 squats during rest times in your workout.
Go ahead and throw those punches because shadow boxing can be a great workout.
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.