Shadow boxing, a sport preferred by fighters, is a combat exercise that involves punching the air.
The shadow boxer will stand close to a wall when performing the exercise and pretend to throw punches at his shadow, hence the name.
It is an effective exercise for improving your boxing skills, athleticism, and physique. Also, it will improve your agility and flexibility.
The exercise does not only favor fighters, but also non-boxers. It will act as a warm-up activity and will elevate your heart rate. This makes it a cardio exercise and can help you burn down extra calories.
Targeted muscles: Abs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, glutes, hip flexors, calves, and quadriceps.
Exercise type: Endurance.
Exercise mechanics: Compound.
Difficulty level: Beginner.
- Stand straight, maintaining a tight core. Focus ahead and bring your hands up to the level of your shoulders.
- Fold your fists to make them tight. Keep your thumb outside your hand.
- Move your left foot forward slightly. Bend your left knee slightly to increase your stability.
- Throw a jab with your left hand by extending your elbow rapidly in front of you until the hand is fully stretched.
- Retract the hand immediately.
- Switch to your right hand and throw a jab with it by extending your hand straight forward and retracting it immediately. Remember to twist your foot for more power. Also, push your hips forward as you throw the punch.
- Switch your feet and repeat the steps.
- Repeat the punches until you start to burn out.
MUSCLES WORKED BY SHADOW BOXING
Shadow boxing is a compound exercise that targets many muscles at once. Pushing your hip forward and twisting your foot as you throw the jab will result in a rotation effect, which will work your hip flexors and glutes. Also, extending your elbow as you throw punches will activate your triceps, biceps, quads, abs, and chest.
BENEFITS OF SHADOW BOXING
IT IS A STRESS RELIEF EXERCISE
Shadow boxing is a perfect stress reliever because it will allow you to get rid of your anger and frustrations. It will allow you to beat up the air as much as you would like as you get rid of the negative energy.
IT WILL IMPROVE YOUR BALANCE
Shadow boxing is an excellent exercise for balance. It will improve your understanding of your center of balance as you throw the punches and will allow you to keep a firm grip on the ground.
IT WILL ENHANCE YOUR MUSCLE MEMORY
Shadow boxing exercise involves a lot of repeated precision moves. This will train your muscles to get used to the same motion over a long duration. It will, therefore, increase your accuracy and consistency.
IT WILL IMPROVE YOUR FORM AND TECHNIQUE
Shadow boxing will demand you pay attention to your movements and stance without getting distracted by an opponent or punching bag. It will improve your accuracy and power, allowing you to enhance your ring performance.
IT IS AN EFFECTIVE CARDIO WORKOUT
Shadow boxing involves the swift movement of body parts, such as arms and legs. This will increase its intensity, allowing your heart rate to elevate. As a result, it will help you burn excess fats, calories, and excess muscles.
ALTERNATIVES OF SHADOW BOXING
The wrist weights are a perfect alternative to shadow boxing. It is an exercise that involves punching the air while wearing weights as gloves or strapping them onto your wrists. This will increase resistance, making it an effective workout. It will increase your power and stamina. Also, it will elevate your heart rate.
- Find a pair of equally weighing wrist weights. Attack them to your wrists by wearing them as gloves or strapping them around the wrists.
- Stand straight with a tight core. Spread your legs slightly to increase your stability.
- Fold your elbows slightly and point them towards the ground. Remember to fold your fingers as you bring your palms to your chest level.
- Step forward with one foot and bend your knees slightly to add to your stability.
- Begin throwing random punches by straightening your elbow and pushing your arm forward. Retract your hand immediately. Remember to alternate both hands as you throw the punches.
- Alternate your feet occasionally.
- Perform the rep till you start to burn out.
Wrist weights have several benefits, including;
- It is a good cardio exercise
- Improves your stance and technique.
- It will improve your endurance.
- It will improve your strength.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING SHADOW BOXING
SHORTENING YOUR THROWS
Unlike the punching bag or sparring exercise, shadow boxing does not rely on an object to stop your punches. It is upon you to decide when to stop and retract the punch.
Most people, however, retract their punches too soon, shortening your range and lessening the effect of the punch. It will shorten your reach and minimize the power of the punch. Avoid this mistake by extending your hands completely before retracting. This will give you more reach and powerful punches.
WATCHING YOUR HANDS
Shadow boxers tend to stare at their hands naturally when throwing the punches. Most of them believe that they can better monitor their hands’ movement if they stare at them, which is a huge mistake.
Watching your hand can result in an inappropriate posture with a high chin or punching too low. Avoid this mistake by keeping your chin low and your hands up. Avoid staring at your hands!
FAILING TO IMAGINE AN OPPONENT
When performing shadow boxing exercises, it is necessary to imagine an opponent because it allows you to control your range of motion. People who swing their arms without controlling their range of motion can end up in poor positions.
Similarly, their technique will be unsuitable. Imagine an opponent and spar with “him.” This will improve your defense and counter-attacks.
Shadow boxing is an effective exercise for strength, stamina, and endurance. It has many benefits including burning down excess body fats, enhancing your muscle memory, relieving your stress, and improving your stability.
There are a few risks, which mostly occur when you perform the exercise poorly. It is better than its alternative because it will improve your imagination. If you are a boxer, add this exercise to your shortlist.