Do you practice boxing? Do you know about the Air Guitar? Mix the two together and you get Shadow boxing. The new fitness trend and infallible training technique of the greatest boxers: if you box, you can not miss this essential practice technique!
"In boxing the more you sweat in training the less you bleed in battle." - Julien Lorcy, English Boxing World Champion
So get into the boxing ring- but before we will tell you everything about Shadow Boxing!
What is Shadow Boxing?
Shadow boxing is the practice of throwing punches at an imaginary boxer while on the move so that you can practice and perfect your boxing techniques. The name is quite literal!
Many Pro boxers practice shadow boxing to warm up, to improve their fighting skills or to maintain their musculature and their physical condition. This practice is also used as psychological preparation before a fight: basically boxing your opponent and practicing your combos before the fight starts!
If you box in the French boxing style, shadow boxing can help you perfect your technique, your speed and your power.
It also allows you to improve your leg play, stamina and defence.
In short, done seriously and with the intention and intensity of precise objectives, shadow boxing can help you to increase your boxing abilities in all areas.
<h2">Why Should Boxers Practice Shadow Boxing
The interest of the shadow boxer is primarily to focus on their movements.
Unlike the traditional English boxing practice, you do not face opponents who can distract you.
You do not have to focus on dodging possible blows, apprehending your opponent's next move, or pinpointing weaknesses, you are free to do so of course but this is not the main objective.
You are alone in your own technique, which gives you plenty of time to perfect and apply yourself to each of your actions and combinations. Take the time to analyze your jab, your footwork and your geometry, in order to improve them and to truly make them second nature.
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Shadow boxing also has the advantage of being harmless. It's a way to work your technique without the risk of being hit. This will allow you to be ready when you face an opponent.
If you've used your imagination during your sessions and focused , you'll be able to face any boxer. Whether larger or smaller than you, heavyweight or featherweight, fast or not, you will know how to adapt your movements in all situations.
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Four Tips to Perfect Shadow Boxing
- The tennis ball
There are many ways to work with a tennis ball to perfect both your defense and your moves.
You can first dribble the ball as if it were a basketball, while moving by hopping from one foot to the other. This technique will allow you to work your footwork while channeling your movements.
You can also place the ball between your elbow and your chest to get used to keeping one arm close to your face to ensure your defense while you work your shots with the other arm.
Finally, place the ball between your chin and your bust. Keeping your head down in this position will help you to reduce the chances of knockouts during a Muay-Thai boxing match.
- The elastic band
Place an elastic band around your legs at your ankles. The diameter of this elastic must correspond to the ideal spacing that you must maintain between your feet: Your stance. Performing your Shadow Boxing movements with an elastic will get you used to not spreading your feet too much during your workouts, to stay small whilst not losing height and reach. Indeed, the fact of having too much space between the legs decreases your size and your power against an opponent who would be the same size or would be taller than you. A huge disadvantage!
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- The dumbbell
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and focus on it every time you kick. Focusing on keeping your dumbbells parallel to the ground will be a great way to improve the accuracy of your shots. This exercise will also help you strengthen your hitting power.
- Work on your footwork while crouching
Do not hesitate to perform part of your Shadow Boxing session by lowering yourself, to better work on your support and strengthen the muscles of your legs. This is also a way to really feel the results provided by your intensity during a French Boxing Match.
What Are the Different Shadow Boxing Techniques?
There is no single way to shadow box. It's up to you to find the one that best suits your needs and your shortcomings.
- Alone, anywhere, anytime: This allows you to focus on your pace, and to have no constraints. You do not need any material for this, which gives you the opportunity to practice as soon as you have a free moment.
- Alone, in front of a mirror: the advantage of this practice is that you have a vision of your movements. You can observe, control and correct them if necessary. This saves you from adopting bad reflexes, and inconsistent movements.
- In the presence of someone (a partner or a coach for example): you can then simulate a fight, without obviously touching so that it remains Shadow Boxing, to work your reflexes and keep a watchful eye. But this second person can also simply observe you in order to be able to comment on the quality of your combos, your rhythm or your footwork.
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- With a punching bag: Punch the bag just to make it move, then quickly punch or combo where it originally was before it has returned from it's swing. It is effective to train following a moving object, it helps you keep your senses alert, to adopt different positions and to train your hand-eye coordination.
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The New Sport That Will Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals Fast
Looking to get muscle and get fit? No more fitness classes and water aerobics sessions. Combat sports such as Shadow Boxing and kickboxing classes are THE latest trend for you to sculpt a dream body. Many gyms offer classes and boxing training workouts designed to give you a full body work out and to help you get in shape. The workouts consist of high intensity, cardiovascular routines involving kettlebells, jumping rope and swift movements.
Whether you are a beginner or want to build or work on your endurance, Shadow Boxing is an complete practice that boosts you at all levels: musculature, breathing, flexibility, heart rate - its benefits are varied!
Place your left foot in front, bend your knees, keep your elbows close to your bust and your fists close to your jaw, here are the most effective Shadow Boxing movements to burn calories (if you're left-handed, place your right foot in front of your jaw and do the following instructions in the opposite direction):
- The jab: this movement consists of sending a blow with your left fist, keeping the palm of the hand turned towards the ground.
- The cross: The classic so to speak, make sure the power of the punch comes from the abs! Remember to keep shoulder flexibility, and rotate your back foot to tilt your weight forward.
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- The left hook: imagine that there is in front of you an opponent who would be too close for a cross or a jab. Start the movement from the left with your forearm parallel to the ground, while rotating your front foot, hips, and shoulders. Little trick: a well-made pivot will sculpt you with concrete abs! And if you bring your elbows close to your bust at the end of the stroke, you will strengthen your back and shoulders.
- The right hook: repeat the movements of the top by reversing the support foot and the striking arm.
- Left Uppercut: Strike your left fist from the bottom up to the chin of your opponent. Same goes for the right uppercut, changing arms of course.
- The simple dodge: now work your defense, and work your belly at the same time! To do this, rotate from one foot to the other by turning your shoulders at the same time. It will work even better if you imagine each time someone trying to hit you from one side to the other.
"He who has no imagination does not have wings" - Mohamed Ali
- The rotating dodge: This time, no pivot. This is to dodge the imaginary shots by transferring the weight of your body from the right foot to the left foot by stooping low each time. The benefit for you is perfectly sculpted legs! And not getting hit!
Repeat each of these movements for 60 seconds, and you'll see the results quickly at the cardio and muscle levels. And for even more efficiency, and a tougher workout do not hesitate to bring ankle weights!
You can also discover the techniques of American boxing.
You will have understood, whether you are an amateur boxer, a professional one or someone simply looking for a playful and effective sport to let off steam and strengthen you muscles. If so, Shadowboxing is for you!
So put on your boxing gloves and step into the ring!
There are Boxing styles to suit every taste, just see here!
Check out what Thai Boxing is all about here.
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Finally, explore the full-contact American style of Boxing here.