9 Amazing Benefits of Shadow Boxing

benefits of shadow boxing

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.

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 a 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 catching 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.

Shadow boxing is good Warm up and Cool Down exercises

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.

6. Balance

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.shadow boxing improves balance

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 sport, 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 the 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. You can tell me more about the benefits of shadow boxing in the comment section.

Image Courtesy of Matthew Davis, Marines and Peter Gordon via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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12 thoughts on “9 Amazing Benefits of Shadow Boxing”

  1. My daughter is into martial arts and she will be very interested in shadow boxing. I didn’t realize that gloves are part of the experience of shadow boxing. Sometimes when my daughter is punching the bag, her hands do get a little sore, so incorporating this would help keep her in shape without having to have contact. I’m off to read about the gloves.

      1. For punching bag or sparring she definitely needs to use boxing hand wraps however she talks about incorporating with shadow boxing so she does not need wraps for it 😉

  2. I found shadowboxing great for practice new drills when I didn’t have a partner to train with. It’s also great to incorporate into circuit training for keeping things new and interesting and you can do it anywhere without equipment.

    1. It is why shadow boxing is great. I do it when I can’t go to gym. After I moved to another country, at first weeks I just did shadow boxing sessions.

  3. As a yogi I have learned that shadow boxing, which is an amazing whole body workout, complements my yoga practice really well. Besides for helping me to get rid of aggression and achieve inner peace, it also helps me with balance, which is one of the key factors in yoga.

    1. It has really incredible benefits and balance is one of my favorites too. It is just too important for boxing and I am glad to hear that it helps with your yoga routine as well.

  4. Totally agree. I do a lot of shadow boxing…good opportunity to practice all the things I’ve trained individually…Once I feel comfortable, then I can try them out in actual sparring.

    An excellent workout as well. I prefer to warm up with sparring than regular boring jumping jacks and other stuff.

    1. Man, I am not sure that I want to warm up with sparring. I really don’t want to take a punch while I am just warming up but I guess you are different lol. Anyway, I also showed progress with shadow boxing and get better at moving during defending. At least my coach felt this way.

  5. I am not a boxer, but I find shadow boxing fun to do. I hate jogging and workout at home. Shadow boxing is my only favourite cardio. I usually shadow box 30 minutes. Though I can’t move like pro boxers.

    1. Hi, it is quite common for people who don’t like boring cardio stuff like running, jogging just love shadow boxing. It is fun and there is actually some variance which you can do. And if you spend this period (30 minutes) in an intense way, the burnt calories will be even more.

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