Boxing is a full-body sports, which requires a complete and undivided mental engagement too. Shadow boxing workout is basically a solo fight against, well, the air in front of you, actually.

Shadow box exercise is a typical routine in combat sports training. It works as a preparation for the real fight against a somewhat more tangible opponent, such as another person or a heavy bag. In addition to warming up their muscles, boxers and fighters use this routine to get into the rhythm, for psychological focus, and to rehears their moves before the real fight on the ring.

You can watch perfect examples of this workout done in front of a mirror in many of Bruce Lee's movies.

Shadow boxing is not only for professional fighters, though – it's a great cardio workout for anyone, really. Here are a few of the basic moves. Learn and practice them separately on each side of your body and later you can combine them together. Remember to prioritize control and quality of your moves over speed and power.

Shadow Boxing for Cardio:

1. Starting Stance


Keep your feet hip width apart with your dominant leg back and both knees soft. The leg that is now in front of you is called your lead.

Cover your mouth with your fists, keeping them inches away from your face, and slightly tuck your chin. Keep your elbows close to your sides. Now you're ready for some moves.

 2. Jab


It's important to remember to move in synchronicity with your breath.

Forcefully exhale while extending your lead arm in front of you. Do this by turning your lead hand's knuckles down. While doing this, don't move your rear hand from your face. This is how you cover it from a supposed opponent. Your lead shoulder will work as an additional barrier for your face as you'll round it inwards.

While inhaling, return to the Starting Stance.

3. Cross

cross hook

While exhaling, rotate inward and forward on the ball of your back foot and rotate forward with your torso. Doing this, extend your rear arm. Keep your wrist straight by turning your fist down. Keep covering your mouth with your lead hand.

Inhale and reverse back to the Starting Stance.

4. Lead Hook

lead hook

Settle your rear foot to keep your balance. Come up onto the ball of your lead foot. Now you should be standing facing your supposed opponent with with a side of your lead leg.

Rotate on your both feet and torso towards your opponent while bringing your lead arm into semicircular strike. Keep your face blocked with your rear fist by your mouth and with your lead arm's hook shielding your head. Your lead arm's shoulder and elbow should be at the same height when the hook reaches the goal.

Inhale and reverse to go back to the Starting Stance.

Possible Shadow Boxing Circuit:

Combine Jab, Cross, and Lead Hook moves freely with your dominant leg in lead position for 60 seconds.

Then rest for 60 seconds or, to keep your heart pumping, jump rope or do pushups for the whole minute.

After 60 seconds return to your Starting Stance. Again, combine Jab, Cross, and Lead Hook freely, but now keep your dominant leg in rear position. Do this for 60 seconds.

Then jump rope, do pushups, or rest for 30 seconds.

Repeat the circuit 5-10 times.

Written by Audra Bajori
Audra is a writer, an ethical vegan, a compulsive self-experimenter and health-hacker, who plans on living for at least 100 years. She's also a cinephile,...
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