We all are familiar with boxing as a tough sport where two opponents fight each other tooth and nail, to reign as the champion of the ring. Similarly, shadow boxing workout is a fitness workout program, where a person fights with an imaginary opponent, which helps to better his or her fighting skills and also works as a good workout program. It helps your arms and legs to get used to the movement, and also get better improve at boxing. That’s why many pro boxers practise with shadow boxing, rather than heavy punching bags.
Shadowboxing has many benefits, which also include shaping the body by burning bad cholesterol and excess calories. By performing a proper shadowboxing exercise, you can melt out the excess of fat from your inner thighs, belly and other flabby areas. Doing it correctly will yield positive results to improve the shape of your body.
A regular shadowboxing workout would range between 10-15 minutes per a day. However, if you are very serious about shadowboxing as a fitness program, then you should practise shadowboxing for at least 30 minutes every day. Shadowboxing tests your force and agility on an equal level, also you can set your own parameters while you practice by getting better and better at it. It’s very similar to the process of a boxer utilizing heavy punching bags for practise.
You should not be getting too exasperated while shadowboxing. If you are, then you are doing the exercise incorrectly. You will only be required to simulate force and motion.
Where to Shadow Box
Ideally, shadowboxing is practised mainly in front of a wall or any other reflecting surface, where the shadow of your body is visible. You can also practise shadowboxing in the gym, in front of a mirror or even with a partner. If you are shadowboxing with a partner, then it is preferred to maintain some distance from him or her.
An advantage of shadowboxing with a partner is that you get the feel of aggression and determination, which increases the power in your punches. Remember not to actually punch or kick your partner, otherwise it would not be shadowboxing.
Shadow Boxing as a Cardio
A shadowboxing workout is deemed as the best cardio workout to get a perfect body frame. It pumps up the heart rate faster than you can imagine and gives you an ideal niche to sharpen your reflexes. It is the perfect way to burn calories. It’s said that an hour of shadowboxing can help you lose around 400 calories and is equivalent to jogging. In case you feel that your shadowboxing workouts are not giving you the crunch, then you may increase the frequency or intensity.
You can practice shadowboxing workout at home by throwing random punches and dodging at intervals. If you feel like you’re unable to lose calories, then you can reinforce it with kicks. The only equipment needed in shadowboxing is a pair of gloves. Shadowboxing is packed with all the intensity of a boxer in a match. It’s a total body workout which results in high energy levels, an elevated mood and a fit body.
How to Shadow Box?
Believe it or not, when you see someone shadowboxing, they usually have an aim as to what they are doing. Shadow boxing is a synchronized combination of cuts, jabs, hooks and punches depending on the move or reflex of the imaginary opponent. You can use shadowboxing a number of different ways to improve your boxing skills. It is not necessarily just random punching and moving, although it could be. Here are nine different shadowboxing drills for you to incorporate into your workouts:
1. Movement Shadowboxing
When practicing your movement while shadowboxing, you start out by not throwing any punches. Your goal here is to concentrate on how you are moving around in your boxing stance. Move forwards, backwards, side to side, pivot, hop, pendulum step, and more. This is where you learn to master agility and footwork. Once you get comfortable with the movement, you can coordinate it with some punches, but don’t shift your focus off the movement.
2. Pivot and T Frame Shadowboxing
In this round, while you shadowbox, your focus is on maintaining the T Frame posture, keeping your shoulders above your knees and pivoting correctly while throwing your punches. You can move around in all directions; but at all times, your focus should be on the pivot and T-Frame posture.
3. Shadowboxing Combinations
For beginners, the best thing is to start with a specific movement of shadowboxing, followed by a couple more rounds of specific combinations. For instance, one entire round, try shadowboxing jabs only. They can be single jabs, double jabs, triple jabs, jabs to body then to head, and so on. But, the focus is the jab. Then in the following round, master punches like the hook, cross and upper cut by increasing the number of reps.
4. Shadowboxing for Speed
This is the most challenging part of the workout. While shadowboxing, your toes are constantly on the move and keep changing directions. Shadowboxing for speed means the boxer will throw as many punches as he can in the least amount of time.
Try to squeeze in maximum number of punches in minimum time frame. The boxer should be able to throw technically correct punches and track the time taken so that he can beat his previous record. The ideal goal is being able to throw 200-300 punches in three minutes.
5. Shadowboxing an Opponent
Watch yourself in front of the mirror so that you’re able to design and manipulate every stance and move. This helps you correct your weaknesses and improve your agility and reflexes. Whatever you see in the mirror, you need to reciprocate the imminent move from your imaginary opponent.
Even professional boxers are trained in shadowboxing so that they don’t look too anxious or hyperactive when they’re inside the ring and are in a far more relaxed mode with strong reflexes.
6. Shadowboxing Free For All
In a shadowboxing routine, you always imagine an opponent before you and move to defend yourself accordingly. If you imagine such a situation and plot and counter a move, then you’ll get more skilled in your shadowboxing workouts. When you can visualize a scenario in vivid detail and respond with agility, then you boost your strength in the process and lose weight.
7. Slow Motion Shadowboxing
Slow motion shadowboxing helps you master all the moves perfectly by following the minute details of boxing. This will help you to figure out if your feet are off centre, if your pivot is strong enough or your head doesn’t swing back at the right moment.
8. Shadowboxing with Your Mouthpiece
The mouth is the most vulnerable part in shadow box exercise. So, it becomes necessary to incorporate a mouth guard into your training, to catch how to sustain breathing in this workout regime. Same goes for hand wraps, wear them when you train.
9. Shadowboxing with Weights
Start small, holding small dumbbells or weights in either hand as you shadowbox. Shadowboxing with added weight helps you simulate a situation as you put on heavy gloves, and also helps you strengthen your shoulder muscles. It also helps you maintain speed when you aren’t holding the weights.
Do not add weights more than 2 or three pounds as it may lead to potential shoulder and elbow injuries. By adding small weights to normal punching routines, you’ll be increasing the resistance and forcing your arms, shoulders, chest, back and core to work harder, resulting in leaner, stronger muscles. Once the weights are removed, your hands will feel lighter and faster than ever, improving hand speed.
Some Tips on Shadowboxing:
- Find a private place anywhere at home, gym or hotel room. Stand in front of the mirror and turn on the light.
- Take the correct stance and position your hands in front of your body. Flex your hands and muscles as forcefully as you can. When you’re confident, you can pick up your speed.
- Set the timer in the clock and try punching your fists, using any combination for 3 minutes at a stretch. Keep your knees bent to maintain balance.
- Add in foot work and coordinate this with lunges, hops, squats and switch feet at intervals.
- Start with 100 punches in 3 minutes, then speed up with 200 to 300 punches in 3 minutes.
- Take rest in between 3-minute workouts.
- You can increase the intensity with weights or by using heavier boxing gloves.
Benefits of Shadow Boxing:
- Shadow boxing is a great cardio workout like jogging or running, where your heart beats and breathing increases. It’s a great way to tone your arms and shoulders, and lose weight.
- Because you rotate your shoulders and waist, shadowboxing works on your abs and helps sculpt them.
- Shadow boxing is a perfect back-strengthening exercise, as it works on the back muscles.
- You can literally do it anywhere and there’s no equipment needed. It’s a perfect boot camp style cardio that can be performed anywhere.
- In this exercise your body uses white muscle fibres (type II) for the explosive movements, this is something you miss in other exercises.
- Shadow boxing routine also boosts confidence levels. We all know that a big part of every fight is in the mind. Even in boxing, coaches guide the fighter to imagine themselves beating an opponent again and again.
- This builds confidence so that when the actual fight comes, he or she has boosted confidence manifold.
Shadow boxing is also good for beating stress and aggression.
An Ideal Shadow Boxing Diet:
Meat- Consume more white meat as it’s easier for your body to digest and doesn’t make you feel heavy. Examples of white meat are chicken, turkey, and fish. Red meat like beef or pork is an absolute no-no.
Proteins- Besides meat; eggs, tuna, peanut butter, and milk are an excellent source of pure protein. Remember, this is boxing and not weightlifting, so don’t try to be like a bodybuilder and eat one jar of peanut butter a day. It does nothing for you.
Fruits and Vegetables- Everybody needs vitamins, this is a requirement to be a healthy person in general. Eat a wide variety of them. Remember, the more colorful the better.
Liquids- As the shadowboxing workout is intense, you sweat a lot and need to keep yourself hydrated. One gallon a day is minimum recommended for everybody in general. Two to three gallons is a must if you work out hard and are exposed to hot weather. Avoid alcoholic drinks as it slows down the metabolism and makes you sluggish.
Fats- Try to consume healthy fats like avocados, walnuts, olives, butter, peanut butter, flaxseeds and salmon. In regards to your body fat, this has more to do with your genetic makeup than anything. If you have a body make up that puts on fat easily, stay away from unhealthy fats like chips, fries and ice-creams, unless you have intense cravings on weekend escapades.
Vitamin and Minerals:
These micronutrients are essential for some crucial body functions like blood circulation, bone growth and producing RBCs.
The more you shadowbox, the more you improve your reflexes and endurance levels. You can easily incorporate it into your daily routine; sit at your desk and throw punches, walk down the hallway and throw punches, move like you’re in the ring. You may look silly but you’re training with something new and trying to conditioning your muscles and brain to react in a specific way.
For beginners, it’s advisable to start off with moderate intensity and increase the time limit for the first few weeks. Once accustomed, you can increase the intensity and cut the time limit. Shadowboxing has tremendous effects on abdominal muscles, shoulders, chest, back, calves, quadriceps and more. Punching power starts in the legs. Assuming you do a variety of punches, footwork, and dodging, you are working your toes to your neck.
Since shadow boxing does not involve a punching bag or person, your abs and back muscles are used more. That is because you stop the force of the punch yourself and maintain your balance. It is the most instant cardio fitness that can be performed anytime, anywhere. You don’t need a partner to hold bags or gloves and neither do you need to visit the gym at your expense. You even get shadowboxing DVDs to monitor the different positions and punches in a shadowboxing routine. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to pack your punch and stay fit through shadowboxing!