Shadowboxing is a staple training method for Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA. This article talks about how there’s two fundamental ways to Shadowbox and how each one has their specific benefits.
Most people see Shadowboxing as something someone does when they have now friends and no one to train with. Just some random lonely stranger who’s violently swinging his arms in the air as if there’s bees attacking him.
Shadowboxing is a solo drill. Meaning that you can Shadowbox anytime anywhere whenever you want- alone at home, while you’re waiting for the bus, when you’re waiting for the squat rack at the gym- anytime/anywhere 🙂
There’s two fundamental ways to Shadowbox. The first way is use Shadowboxing as a way to perfect your form for you punches. The second way is to use Shadowboxing as a way to help you prepare for sparring.
Let’s take a look at both of these methods.
1. Perfecting Your Punches
Executing perfect punches takes practice and patience. When you’re throwing punches while you’re Shadowboxing, you want to be mindful of throwing punches with the best form possible.
Form. Three elements. Shadowboxing is great because it’s super safe. Poor form while hitting as hard as you can on a heavy bag can lead to injury.
Remember that form has three elements.
A) The first is to maximize power and range with your punches. This means that you’re turning your hip and you’re snapping out your strikes.
B) The next element is to make sure that your joints are at the proper angle so that you don’t injure yourself when you’re punching something. When you hit an object, that thing hits you back. It’s Newton’s 3rd Law Of Mechanics and basically means that if you punch a heavy bag, that heavy bag hits your hand with an equal amount of force. Thus, it’s critical that you keep your joints in proper alignment when you’re punching. You don’t want to bend your wrist and hit a heavy bag as hard as you can because you can easily injure your wrist.
C) The final component of form is to make sure that you’re safe from counter attacks. Now, you’ll never be absolutely safe from counters but you want to minimize the opportunities that you give your opponent. This means to keep your chin down. Or to keep your right hand up when you’re throwing a left hook.
2. Preparing You For Sparring
When you’re Shadowboxing, most people just use this training method to help them perfect the form of their strikes. This is only one half of the benefits that you can get from Shadowboxing. What you also want to do is imagine an actual opponent in front of you. If you were to film yourself Shadowboxing, you should be able to “see” yourself fighting an invisible opponent.
Here are some keys to visualizing a sparring scenario when you’re Shadowboxing:
As clearly as possible, imagine your opponent in front of you. You want to create your opponent so vividly that you can almost smell their gloves.
Imagine some of your punches missing and hitting nothing. Imagine how your invisible opponent might slip, duck or weave. Also think about how your opponent might cover or block. Now see yourself making contact with smart, crisp combinations and set ups.
Think of common counter attacks from your opponent and how you would catch or cover these counter punches. This is where you’ll feel like you’re playing chess with yourself. It’s way harder to do than you think 🙂