As the title alludes, air punches refer to imitating the act of throwing a punch. However, the fact that there is no particular target has helped make the name ‘air punch’ stick. It is also known as shadowboxing
Throwing air punches can seem like a ridiculous act to the uninformed. It is nonetheless a very easy and effective form of exercise that can be done by anyone.
HOW TO DO AIR PUNCHES
- Position one foot in front of the other
- Place your hands up by your head and clench your fists.
- Ensure that your elbows are supported by tucking them on the side of your torso
- Thrust your arm out and throw a punch at a time straight out in front of you. Alternate throwing punches between each hand.
While throwing air punches, keep the following in mind:
- Bend your knees slightly
- Switch to the other hand only when the lead hand is back in staring position
- As you punch, let your body ride the motion of the punch and twist
WHAT MUSCLES DO AIR PUNCHES WORK?
The effect of air punches are mostly felt on the upper body muscles. Although air punches are a low impact exercise, it is still an intense fat-burning activity.
It therefore leads to increase in muscle strength that consequently brings about bicep definition and hypertrophy.
2. CHEST MUSCLES
When you punch, one of the most activated areas is the chest muscles, the main one being pectoral muscles.
Punching moves primarily involve circular movement of the arms. As such, this circular movement strengthens the muscles within and around the chest muscles.
For instance, the serratus anterior is particularly strengthened due to fighting. This is because of its important in enabling you to make punching movements
Punching movements are very impactful on the shoulders more so than weight-based exercises.
For instance, when you throw a punch, you activate the front and middle deltoid heads whilst retracting the punch activates the rear deltoid.
4. LEG MUSCLES
While throwing an air punch, a chain of muscles is activated in the lower body. First the calf muscles start a punch.
Afterwards, the quads and hamstrings get involved by helping move your body in the direction of the punch.
Engaging these muscles consistently helps define and build them.
BENEFITS OF DOING AIR PUNCHES
1. HELPS CUT DOWN CALORIES
Although shadow boxing is mostly a low impact exercise, it is highly effective. As such, it cuts down on an exponential number of calories especially if you incorporate some additional movements.
For instance, if you add in head movements you are likely to loss more calories if you just did hand movements.
2. IT IS A LOW IMPACT EXERCISE
Air punches do not put too much pressure on your joints when done correctly.
This is especially so when compared to plyometric exercises that can be a bit strenuous on various groups i.e., the elderly.
The fact that air punches are more effective than some plyometric exercises also makes it more exciting.
3. IT CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to become more flexible when it comes to various matters. One of the most affected fields is fitness.
Before it would have probably been difficult to convince you that you could workout at home and achieve great results. However, having your hand forced has probably changed your stance on the matter
One of the exercises that is leading this charge happens to be shadow boxing. This is due to how effective, cheap and flexible it is.
For instance, air punches can be done even if you have limited space and have no money for equipment.
At the same time, it provides the same if not a higher level of efficiency than exercises that would involve equipment and space.
ALTERNATIVES TO DOING AIR PUNCHES
There are a number of exercises similar to air punches that you can gradually grow into or use to vary your routine. Some of the exercises that work similar muscle groups include:
Although jumping jacks are a plyometric exercise, they work similar muscles to air punches. This includes the glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors and calves.
It involves jumping in the air whilst spreading your legs to the point where they are shoulder-width apart.
Burpees are an intense variation of the simpler air punch. Here, the focus is on carving out muscle strength and endurance throughout your whole body.
It therefore works muscles in the upper and lower body similar to air punches. Burpees involve explosive motion whereby you have to do a lot of jumping and landing.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE DOING AIR PUNCHES
1. INCORRECT EXTENSION
There’s a right and wrong reach when it comes to shadow boxing. This is the major difference between hitting a punching bag and air punches.
When you hit something solid it automatically stops your punch and helps start the process of retracting your strike. However, when air punching, you have to retract the punches by yourself.
As such, there are a number of errors that can occur i.e., overextending and underextending. The most common mistake being underextending.
This is because we often retract our punches too soon. As a result, you end up throwing short ineffective punches as you lack something to bounce off of and begin your retraction in time.
2. STARING YOUR HANDS
Staring at your hands while throwing an air punch is an almost natural reflex to a lot of people. However, it’s a deterrent to good form and thus effective exercising.
This is because the fact you can see your hands is an indication of a low punch. What you should be doing instead is keeping your chin down and hands up therefore blocking the eyeline to your hands.
3. NOT IMAGINING AN OPPONENT
Punching stimulates adrenaline in a lot of us. A lot of times this to utilize these thoughts that in essence might be an added advantage to effective exercise.
For instance, if you’re pumped up due to the punching, picture an opponent. This should help you keep your punches at an appropriate height and get the best out of the exercise.
It doesn’t get simpler than air punches when it comes to efficient exercises. Its effective, low-impact, cheap and flexible nature makes it such an appealing activity.
Therefore, if you’re looking for something cost-effective and that will you get results, air punches are a good suggestion for an exercise. This is whether you’re a beginner or not