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How to shadow box

Psst… 

Can I tell you a secret?

There have been times when I felt like a complete idiot while I shadowbox.

Not feeling confident or just not knowing what to do while I’m doing it!

I didn’t know why it was so important and what I was gaining from it. I was sure all I was doing was making a fool of myself along with just wasting time when I could be doing push-ups or hitting the bag.

In a ring full of endless possibilities I didn’t know where to begin, I didn’t know what was my objective.

For alot of people I’ve trained, they have hated shadow boxing with a passion, begging to remove it from our workout.

If you are one of these people, let me help guide you through a successful and fun shadow boxing routine. 

What is shadow boxing

You ever see that one person in the grocery store looking like they are fighting the air in aisle 3, just randomly throwing punches.

Yeah… 

You are sparring with an imaginary opponent as a form of training. You should shadow box as part of your warm up and part of your cool down.

Warm up visualizing a fight situation and you work on form technique, movement, balance, mindfulness of where you are in the ring.

Cool down after your workout by honing in on what you practiced during your session to lock it in.

That’s shadow boxing anytime anywhere and any local grocery store can get it! We get excited when we get to eat a good meal after a workout or just had a good sparring session at the gym.

I’m getting off-topic here but I want you to know you might be catching yourself do this on runs, at family parties, in your room listening to music, and it’s fun. 

Frequently asked questions

  1. is shadow boxing a good workout
  2. is shadow boxing good cardio
  3. is shadow boxing effective
  4. is shadow boxing good for weight loss
  5. is shadow boxing with weights good
  6. is shadow boxing bad for joints
  7. is shadow boxing useful

Is shadow boxing…

A good workout, yes it isn’t just used as a tool for preparation. It can also be used to get a good sweat in. This depends on the intensity and duration. 

Good cardio, yes the longer you shadow box the better cardio you get. Start by shadow boxing a couple of rounds then add on to your rounds the easier the workout gets.

Effective, depending on what you are talking about. It is an effective warm up, cool down, concentration endurance.

Good for weight loss, only if you plan on doing this for a good half hour. I would choose jogging or hitting a heavy bag instead, but this is a good substitute if you liked disguised cardio or have hand injuries.

With weights good, very good with weights and builds good endurance with the shoulders and arm.

Bad for joints, this is what is best for your joints there is no impact and you can work at your own pace!

Useful. Why? Well, I just gave you all the reasons above.

Overall this is a safe workout to warm up and cool down with, go light or intense totally up to you. Boxers competing for competition this is a must, average joes I still recommend for you to get in a couple of rounds, no excuses let’s go!

Where do I start

Have a plan, don’t overthink it too much if you are getting started. I would start from the bottom up, footwork, and if you need to be specific choose something simple like lateral movement.

Next, choose one defense move to use after you are done throwing punches like a slip.

Then, choose one punch, the jab, and if you feel good a combination.

Visualize what’s happening, you move your feet to get out of danger, use slips to dodge punches, and strike with your attack to put the hurt on them. This is also really good just for staying mentally sharp.

Stay smooth, there is no need to go hard when you are working on form and technique, just move smoothly and flow while you work.

Don’t get stuck, you have to move around, shadowboxing is using your footwork if you don’t use anything else. Get comfortable moving and then settling your feet to punch. Getting out of danger or lateral movement to catch your breath are situations to work on.

Breathing isn’t talked about enough and it should be. You cant hold your breath and all beginners do is hold their breath. Practice exhaling sharply as you punch and make defensive movements. Calm breathes as you are regaining your energy on the outside. 

Frequently asked questions

  1. Can I shadow box with gloves on
  2. Can I shadow box as a southpaw
  3. Can I shadow box with a blindfold
  4. Can I shadow box my shadow

Can I shadow box… 

With gloves on, yes you can! This is like shadow boxing with weights in your hand, those 14oz gloves get heavy real quick.

As a southpaw, sure why not, you want to be good at both stances I see the advantage in that. To start I would stick to one and get the basics down, but there is no wrong way and you may learn differently and better than others. Try it out

With a blindfold, I can see where this is going and I like it. We’ve all been watching these young fighters on social media doing some fancy tricks. Though they are just for show and not necessary, you can do this if this makes it fun for you.

My shadow, here are 4 steps to defeat your dark side. I’m just playing I don’t give advice on inner work like that, but yes if you have a shadow that looks like it mimics your movement and helps you, by all means, do it!

Development takes time and practice, be patient don’t overthink it, throw on some music and face your demons of not wanting to shadow box by just doing it!

Workouts

First, throw on some of your favorite music that makes you move.

Next, find some open space where you won’t trip or slip.

Last let’s get working champ, you should already have your plan of what you are working on before you start.

One footwork in mind, one defensive movement, and one combination.

How to make it fun

While you have your favorite music pumping in the background, try these extra tools.

  1. In front of a mirror
  2. Slip rope 
  3. Slip bag
  4. Tape on the floor
  5. With a partner
  6. In a pool

In front of a mirror, great for feedback on what you look like and what you might be doing right or wrong.

Slip rope, alot of dips side to side and working off the line.

Slip bag, free movement around the whole bag more circular and a lot of pivots. 

Tape on the floor, set up the tape in the ring or on the floor in front of a bag to work on in and outs, and getting to specific positions while setting the feet fast to punch.

With a partner, you can just have them move around forcing you to make space or take space, or you can shadow each other monkey see monkey do.

In a pool, you all know the famous Muhammad Ali picture of him under the water shadowboxing, great for resistance and cooling off during the summer. Two for one right here you can’t go wrong.

Conclusion

There is no wrong way to shadow box if you are trying. Yes, we all talk about bad habits and not wanting to make mistakes. So scared of making mistakes, but that’s where we do all our learning and you aren’t learning anything if you aren’t doing it at all!

Let’s change the narrative from we don’t want to create bad habits, to let’s show up and get started!

I applaud all my risk-takers, this sport is a risk, life is a risk vato locos and we get nowhere by being scared or never starting. Get unstuck and out of your head.