When I first started boxing training I thought that shadow boxing is only a warm up exercise. Well, I could not be any more wrong. It is so much more than that and let’s start with 9 amazing benefits of shadow boxing.
1. Have Better Technique
You are under constant pressure when you spar. Your sparring partners will try punching you and you try implementing what you have learned in this process. It can be truly overwhelming whereas you are under no pressure during shadowboxing. This is the place where you learn how to do movements, footwork, dodges, punching techniques like jab, hook… and you can get expert with all of these.
After some point, you will surely do these movements auto-pilot.
2. Full Body Workout
Your chest, shoulder, arm and leg muscles work in coordination during shadow boxing. Obviously, we won’t build big muscles however it will add some muscle mass after a couple of weeks and we can actually burn 200 calories per 25 minutes session. Also, these added muscles will be dense because the muscles are built when we do cardio. If you are interested in knowing more about it, you can check out shadow boxing benefits weight loss.
When you punch, dodge and do various movements easily, then it is time to do these at a higher level. Some people use dumbbells during this session. Luckily I have seen it happening less last years. Because it can and will hurt your punching technique and most importantly it can hurt your joints. So I highly recommend you to avoid training with resistance bands or dumbbells.
Instead, you can do the training with boxing gloves or resistance bands. I don’t normally like Adidas pairs at all. Because Adidas gloves just have average quality. However, they produce a pair exclusively for shadow boxing and it has ideal weight distribution. After you wear the pair, you can still get “normal punching experience”. When you can do shadow boxing training easily, you can increase the intensity with this pair and if you are interested, check out its review. You can also improve intensity with high-quality resistance bands as well.
3. Aerobic Exercise
As any cardio it will also exercise your lungs and you can do it without any equipment.
However, always keep moving. In that way, you will get all benefits of this aerobic exercise. Even if you have a hard time to catch your breath, you can lower the intensity and move slowly.
4. Learn from Mistakes
Sparring training is really useful because you have a chance to implement all the things which you have learned so far. However, you are under pressure and probably get some punches during the session. So it is totally okay if you can’t concentrate on your footwork or punching technique mistakes. Honestly, if I can punch a few times in a proper form, I consider that the training session is just fine. With that, we can see our mistakes in a mirror during shadow boxing. Is your head down all the time or can you dodge efficiently? These errors can be fixed and you can even polish up these skills.
Certainly, you won’t see all the mistakes and you can ask someone to watch you. It can be your boxing training buddy or if you have the chance, a trainer would be perfect.
5. Visualize and Get Ready for Sparring
Visualizing is a very powerful tool. If you can visualize how an opponent can strike, you can practice how to move away, dodge etc. Of course, it will be far away from the “real situation”. Still, you already start doing plans, making strategies for how to beat your opponent. And I know it is a long shot but your plan can even become reality and it is a huge plus.
Heavy bags and free standing punching bags are great right? After you punch it is still there and waiting for you to punch again. This is actually both good and bad. When it happens, you don’t lose time and strike again so your workout becomes INCREDIBLY efficient. However, these will hold you after you punch and you don’t have that luxury when you are in a real match or do sparring. If you miss, you can even be knocked out. I think this is the most critical benefit of shadow boxing. You learn how to provide balance or dodge when your punch does not land. So you can be prepared for that.
And this will lead to…
7. Back Muscles
We don’t use back muscles much because punching bags will hold us after every strike. However, after you miss a punch, in order to have balance you will use back muscles during sparring. Actually, shadow boxing is another and the best place for practicing it. Because unlike sparring no one will try punching your face 😉 and it will definitely help your back muscles to coordinate better with other muscle groups.
8. Warm up and Cool Down with it
In any sports, warming up is essential and we do warm up exercises particularly for our training type. Whether you spar or do punching bag training, you do same movements in shadow boxing. So it is a great way to warm up those muscles.
Also after finishing boxing training, you can do shadow boxing at a lower intensity to cool down. Again it is perfect because we train all those same muscle groups in the same way.
9. Can be Option after an Injury
Even though you wear most protective boxing gloves, which you can find these and their other features on here, you can have bruises during punching bag training. And if your pair doesn’t have wrist support, your wrist can have a serious injury. Also when you do sparring, there can be cuts and most likely you will get some bruises.
Even after some serious session with a speed bag, your hands can be sore especially if speed bag has not quality welts. Whereas shadow boxing is completely safe and you don’t need any equipment to do it. Also, let’s not forget that there will be no tension on your joints. So if you need to start training after an injury, you can start by doing shadow boxing and you can practice every boxing move with it.
Shadow boxing is definitely a GREAT way to practice all movements, make strategies against opponents and it also provides you to have better balance. And I could easily do it after I had a wrist injury. It helped me to start doing boxing training again. What are your experiences about benefits of shadow boxing?