At a Box 'N Burn group class we include x2 3min rounds of shadow boxing after a plyometric warm up.
We do this to extend the warm process while helping members work on boxing technique and ultimately improve their skill level.
A lot of novices to boxing can feel awkward and unsure when shadow boxing, so I thought I'd share some content from the Box 'N Burn Academy manual about what shadow boxing is, why boxers & trainers use it as a drill, ways to shadow box & some tips...
What is Shadow Boxing?:
Shadow boxing is when a boxer moves around by them self throwing punches at the air while visualizing an opponent or target. Shadow boxing is a very popular & standard drill for boxers to work on technique, conditioning, warming up, cooling down or to mentally prepare for a fight. When done properly and with the right goals in mind, shadow boxing should improve your technique, power, speed, agility, endurance, rhythm, footwork, offense and defense and overall skill. In my opinion and based on own experience, I've found shadow boxing to be one of the best (and most fun) ways to improve my overall boxing skill and keep my "boxing creativity" up. I love being "in the zone" when shadow boxing, concentrating on nothing but visualization, footwork, different styles, punches, etc. To reassure those who feel awkward shadow boxing, I used to hate being told by my trainer "3 rounds of shadow boxing" when i first started boxing! Now it's prob one of my favourite things to do in the gym and has been for a few years, you just have to relax, have fun with it, and make sure it's productive.
Shadow boxing rounds are a great tool to watch their boxer, and be able to work on bad habits / mistakes, and re-enforce the good. By taking a different view, trainers can identify common mistakes often not seen while working on the mitts.
Ways to Shadow Box:
* Warm Up: move around, practice good footwork, use the legs, head movement, keep shoulders relaxed, throw punches starting with simple combinations and build up to more advanced higher volume combinations. * Technique: work on repeating and perfecting movements, punches and drills. Concentrate on good form all the time and correcting bad habits. Shadow boxing is a great time to teach, correct and learn. * Game Plan: fighters will often use shadow boxing rounds to work on specific combinations and tactics they are going to use in their upcoming fight, visualizing their opponent and his / her style and any mistakes or bad habits they may be looking to expose. * Work Out: Shadow boxing can be a hight intensity workout in itself when performed at fight speed & intensity. This is approach should be non-stop work: constant movement, volume punching w/ defense at a fast pace. * Cool Down: shadow boxing can be ideal for cooling down after an intense training session, relaxed arms and shoulders, shadow boxing with ease at a slower pace reducing the heart rate gradually. Moving slowly through the motions slowly while reflecting on your session.
* Shadow boxing is a great warm up before moving into an intense boxing training session or strength & conditioning workout. * Shadow boxing is highly effective in front of a mirror to see a mistakes, bad habits or to see correct form & techniques too. * Use your own head & body as the target for your punches when shadow boxing in front of a mirror. * Relax, and exhale when punching. * Visualize punches coming back at you (keep it honest). * Practice punches and movements that you find difficult / awkward until they become more comfortable. * Shadow boxing can be done anywhere and is highly effective for improving mechanics, footwork, speed, agility, rhythm and really helps to think about and build combinations.
* Next time in the gym, shadow box for x3 2min rounds, then build up weekly to x4, x5 rounds etc. to eventually doing between x5-8 3min rounds at a high intensity.