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Shadowboxing is a great tool to improve body mechanics, footwork, rythm, timing, speed and all round form.

Shadowboxing is bread and butter when it comes to martial arts training. Some of the worlds biggest names in martial arts such as Bruce Lee, Mike Tyson & Mohammed Ali all shadowboxed religiously and it doesn't take a genius to work out why...

Shadow boxing is great for so many reasons, it will improve your footwork, hand movement, body mechanics, combination timing, balance, stamina and overall form.

I personally like to use shadowboxing to work on the little things like head movement, angle changing, ensuring the chin is tucked in and that my hands are retracting on the right lines, as opposed to loops or even dropping.

Shadowboxing as a warm up?

I know allot of guys that use shadowboxing to lightly warm up which is fine. However, just because it's a warm up and your going lighter doesn't mean you should get sloppy. In fact you should use the lower intensity to focus hard on perfecting the basics such as:

Shadowboxing as a serious training tool

I personally like to use shadowboxing as a key tool to my training. I train with as much intensity as possible whilst keeping strict form. If I find myself tiring I take it down to a light pace and imagine i'm on the defense. Remember shadowboxing is all about imagination, you want to picture yourself in a real fight so use real pace. Imagine they are throwing punches back and you need to be quick to react, slip and hit, angle off, work that imagination and work that form.

Shadowboxing with weights or resistance?

I am personally not a fan of this. I often see newbies in the gym pick up big heavy dumbbells and attempt to punch the air with them. This creates an unnatural affect which requires you to use stabilizing muscles and a lot of strength.This type of training is not replicating any kind of punch at all.

However, if you are training for a fight where you will be using 16 oz gloves I think it can help to use weights all the way up to 20 oz but no heavier!

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
~Mohammed Ali

Shadowboxing tips

  1. Use a mirror and watch closely for your posture, balance, hand lines etc
  2. Be graceful. Float like a butterfly. Watch some of the greatest boxers and see how they glide gracefully across the ring. Try to replicate it.
  3. Interval training - shadowbox lightly for 15 seconds. Follow this with an intense burst of 15 aggressive seconds (Imagine your opponent is on the ropes and you want to finish the fight.)
  4. Shadowbox to music for rhythm

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