What Is Shadow boxing and How to Learn It at Home

What Is Shadow boxing and How to Learn It at Home

Most of us have never heard of the word shadowboxing, if you are one of them you are at the right place. We are going to give you a complete and detailed interdiction of shadowboxing. Additionally, we will also help you understand what the benefits are of shadow boxing and why you should consider it. If you are into self-defense, shadow boxing can be a complete game-changer for you and if you are a fitness freak, shadowboxing can help you stay fit. In short, there is a reason we say, shadowboxing can change the way you live. This might seem like a pretty big claim if you don’t know anything about shadow boxing or boxing for that matter. Once you know about the benefits and how you can easily practice shadowboxing at home, you will know how easy and inexpensive it is to stay in shape.

1. What Is Shadow Boxing?

Shadowboxing is a method of training that is a mix of boxing, martial arts, fitness, and other warm-up exercises. Most of the beginners use shadowboxing to practice their self-defense others use to it stay fit but it surely has various purposes. While practicing shadow boxing, the athlete has to be on his toes and move around a lot, which keeps the legs active. He needs to throw punches in the air which helps in keeping the shoulders and upper limbs active as well. This whole process of mimicking a fight while staying active helps not only with self-defense but also improves the reflex action. For beginners, shadow boxing might not be very interesting because it seems just like a simple exercise where a person is aimlessly throwing punches in the air. However, there are so many benefits of shadowboxing that almost all fitness trainers and gym instructors recommend shadow boxing as a warm-up.

If we just focus on the effect of shadow boxing on the human body, we will be convinced of its benefits. With the help of shadowboxing, the person is not only exercising his body but also his mind. It is not just a warm-up exercise, instead, it serves as a baseline for every kind of training. If you are aiming to become a professional boxer, shadow boxing can help you stay active mentally and physically in most cases, instructors give you a punching bag so you can build your punching force and see for yourself how effective your punching technique is. However, with punching, your footwork is restricted and your area is very small, you don’t move too much and you almost stay in one place. In short, your forelimbs are moving but your legs are almost at the same place. In real life that’s not the case, instead, you are required to move in the boxing ring and also block the punches. The shadow boxing technique can not only be used for polishing your boxing technique but also your overall workout routine, to help you stay in shape for your self-defense.

2. Why Shadowboxing Is Recommended By Everyone?

The best thing about shadowboxing is the fact that it doesn’t restrict you to just one kind of workout routine or one posture. It is an effective self-defense technique and a solid base for staying in shape. If you are a beginner and you want to work out, start with shadowboxing. You don’t need equipment or expensive workout clothes; all you need is your imagination and a few instructions. With the help of shadowboxing, you warm-up before an exercise, your body gets the rhythm to move, you polish your power, strength, endurance. You can also practice your footwork, defense, boxing techniques, and overall fighting abilities.  If you are new you can start by watching a few videos or reading a few blogs but it’s better to start by consulting an instructor first. With shadow boxing you will be polishing your fighting moves and keeping your body healthy but how exactly do you benefit from shadow boxing?

For someone still wondering about the possible benefits and why the instructors and fitness trainers keep recommending various types of shadowboxing, here are some benefits that they must consider.

This a versatile and diverse way of knowing about your own-self so you can practice freestyle technique with simplicity. You will not be distracted by the bag or any opponent. If you want to use a mirror, you will be able to see how well you complete a punching combination. You also don’t need any equipment for shadowboxing which saves a lot of money. This is overall harmless because you are not hurting anyone and you are just working against yourself. Your imagination will guide you which is the reason you will be syncing your mind with your body. This is a great workout routine and will help you get in shape. With shadowboxing, you will be able to lose weight as it is expected to be as good as real-life boxing. You will sweat and lose so many calories and you will also feel better about yourself as you will witness your own progress.

3. Why Don't Most People Prefer Shadowboxing?

After reading this, you might think, shadowboxing is great and you must do it. However, if you discuss it with someone you might get mixed reviews because some people will tell you this is not a realistic approach for real fighters. Also, there is no one as a reference so you might not know where you need to adjust. As the opponent is imaginary, you might not be able to see your progress unless you record yourself or let someone else see you. If you have just practiced through shadowboxing, there is a high chance that you will find it really hard to fight in real life because of the unpredictability factor. It will also be quite easier for the opponent to shock you, which is the reason most people lose their cool and aggressively attack the opponent and lose.

4. A Beginners Guide to Shadow Boxing At Home

By now you might be familiar with a few basics of shadowboxing. There is no other way to put it, shadowboxing is the first exercise that you will have to do when you start your boxing, you need to do it before you start with the bag work, in other words, practicing with your punching bag. For someone wondering what do you actually need to get ready for shadowboxing, the answer can be summed up in just one word “nothing”. You don’t need any specific equipment, tool kit, or even clothing. As far as boxing gloves are concerned, they just give you a cushion for your hand so you don’t end up hurting yourself. With shadowboxing, there is no hard surface or punching bag involved so you don’t need boxing gloves. For the footwork, most people use a mat when they practice at home because they want to see how far they can go and where the boxing ring is.

However, with shadowboxing you don’t need a foot mat if you don’t have it, you can stay at one place or even mark the place if you want. Apart from all these things, with boxing practice, you might require the standard gear including the teeth guard, head guard, and the standard suite that they wear. However, with shadow boxing, there is no hard surface that you will be punching and there is no other person who will be attacking you, so you are safe. You can even practice shadow boxing in gym clothes or just any tank top and joggers if you want. There is no restriction when it comes to clothing, equipment, and other tools, so you can rely fully on technique.

Shadowboxing is a fairly simple exercise and requires no special technique, even a kid or a beginner can follow a few instructions and practice shadow boxing without any hurdle. Just get ready and decide on your private space so you can move easily. As the opponent is imaginary in shadowboxing, this can get a little weird and a beginner can feel intimidating. This is secretly normal and most instructors would recommend you to start with shadowboxing on your own so you can develop confidence and technique so you can practice in public.

5. Shadowboxing - Know the Basics

For the basics, we don’t expect you to move like Mayweather, throw jabs like Klitschko, or to develop the attacking style or Tyson. This will serve as your beginning so you can aim as high as you want but keep your feet on the ground because you have a long way to go and shadowboxing will help you with that. You obviously don’t need any equipment and you can get started even with whatever you want. Just get on your feet and know your form. The form will serve as the base and you would see how effectively you can start burning your calories, develop a defense mechanism, and get into the world-champion physique. For beginners, here is a simple step by step method to get yourself into the shadowboxing form.

6. Get into the Form

Shadowboxing is a perfect opportunity for you to just focus on your form and practice accordingly. In most cases, beginners confuse the effort with the fast-punching pace but this is not encouraged. Your consistency is the only thing that matters and this will set your pace as well. Just mark your zone according to your comfort, there is no opponent and nothing is coming back at you. You need to build your own focus and zone in according to your own aim and abilities.

  • You can always start by practicing the basic boxing stance and this will help you with shadow boxing rounds as well.
  • Maintain a standing posture where your feet are apart and your weight is on both feet so you can shuffle according to the convenience.
  • Bend your knees, so you don’t get tired easily
  • You are going to practice your footwork, which is the reason your feet need to stay a little wider than your shoulder width
  • Keep your elbows down, you don’t have to use them as wings but instead keep your hands up to get the balance and pace.
  • Keep your chin a little down otherwise you will expose your neck, keep looking forward
  • For beginners start with practicing the basic boxing moves because they will furnish as a foundation to the movement and then you can add a few new moves accordingly.

7. Set a Goal

After you get into the form, you need to set a goal. Your practice needs to be goal-oriented because unless you don’t set a goal you can’t measure the progress. So, you need to start by setting a goal.

  • Start by warming up by getting into form and jog a little while you stay at the same place.
  • Move your body, hop on your feet, relax, and then shake your limbs to stretch them a little.
  • Know the basics of your punching techniques and then form a combination that you will be practicing.
  • Note down the key points that will help you with your technique and then you can shuffle these techniques to work your way around and form a routine.
  • Imagine an opponent and coordinate your mind and body according to the imaginary opponent.
  • You need to figure out your natural stance, so start by trying out different stances and then slowly move to one specific.
  • You need to rethink all the techniques and strategies you have been using and then carve out something that feels more natural according to your style.

8. Focus on the Technique

While working on boxing or shadowboxing, you might have heard the word “technique” from your instructor or trainer. Most beginners get very confused with the word technique and its importance. As we have already mentioned that your size, weight, height, and physic are not important but your technique plays a very important role in everything. Right after you are done with your form and you have set your goal, your need to work on your technique. Your technique can only be improved when you have someone to observe it and for that, you either need a professional or your need to record yourself.

Recording yourself is a great way to analyze yourself later because this way you can see your shortcomings and overcome them later. Additionally, you can also make a reel starting from the first day of work and see how much you have become better over time. This will help you with the analysis. Most athletes face issues with the footwork others keep punching with the same technique at the same height and cannot differentiate between a jab, straight punch, and uppercut. By videotaping yourself, you can see those lost strikes and make it perfect. Your punching combos along with your perfect footwork can save you the hassle of paying a trainer or joining a professional platform. You need to practice as much as you can and then reinforce that muscle memory because this will improve your reflex action.

Most people feel that punching bags puts pressure on them and they need to keep punching with the same power. Shadowboxing lifts that pressure, helping them to work just the way they want to be and save themselves from the bad punching technique and lousy footwork.

9. Your Balance Will Work Wonders

One thing that you experience when you are out of shape is that you lose flexibility and rhythm. To get back into shape, you need to start with gaining back your balance and improve the things that will give you back your posture. With the help of shadow boxing, you have the independence of moving according to your imaginary opponent, this gives you the strategic movement that you require to beat your opponent. Additionally, you will get the balance and by dodging the punches you will improve your striking technique. In case you miss a punch, you have the leverage to practice the same move. There will be nothing throwing you off the balance and you will still be able to maintain your balance. This is a perfect skill especially if you are looking to maintain a body posture that can take a hit.

Your footwork is the base of your balance, if your steps are lousy, you will lose the rhythm and you might be shocked how easily you can be defeated. Throw in some switches, try to use a few pivots and side steps to maintain a balanced rhythm.

10. Train Your Muscle for Reflex

The reflex action of a normal person is not quite like we see in an athlete. An athlete has a better reflex action, he knows how to handle a sudden kick or punch, this is how you build muscle memory and then practice it so much that it becomes your second nature. Muscle memory is a method that helps you perform something with ease, more accuracy, and automation that otherwise would have been quite difficult. This can only be achieved with practice. You might have seen soldiers responding to the voice of the band or how players catch the ball while you miss it.

With the help of shadowboxing, we are aiming to help your body build a muscle memory that will help you throw a punch like a reflex action with precision. As you will be in control of your surroundings your body will be in sync with your mind. Additionally, you will be building your muscle memory every time you will try a new style of punching and finally you will reach a point where this will become second nature for you.

11. Mind and Body Sync

As you start with the shadowboxing without any opponent, you will be working against an imaginary opponent in your head. In short, you will be going against your own self. You will see how much you will learn from this; you will not only be able to detect things you are really afraid of but also be able to work on your shortcomings more easily. For someone developing mindfulness, surroundings matter as much as the inner state of mind. Your emotions will no longer cloud your judgment because in most cases, your opponent will be using you against yourself by provoking you through your own mentions. In most cases, making someone angry will make them lose their control and this will work in favor of the opponent.

You can start by meditating and this will make you calm before you build up that range. Additionally, beginning mindful will also help you to foster rage and use it positively for your own benefit rather than getting manipulated by your opponent. Learning to be mindful will also help you to be controlled and master your emotions as well as predicting the way others will react.

12. Make a Routine

Forming a routine is the base of almost every workout routine and if you think, shadowboxing is different you need analysis again. If you have perfected your technique, your routine will help you do a lot better and overcome your shortcomings. Although, most people like to form their own routine however if you have hired a professional, they will help you design your own routine as well. In case, you are a beginner and you are still struggling to find a routine, here is a simple routine that you can practice.

For this routine, you need to start by learning a few punching combinations. Start with the basics of jab and cross and then move to the double jab and cross. Finally, you can try a jab, cross, and lead hook. Once you have learned these combinations, you can practice a 3-minutes round with these combinations. Start with 5 to 8 rounds of shadowboxing with these combinations and each round needs to be just 3 minutes. Take a rest of just 1 minute and streamline your breathing and then start the next round again. You can take help from a boxing match video and mimic their actions, this way you will be working on your footwork as well as your punching combinations.

Photo credit: fijimuaythai

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