In my home growing up there were 3 women, my mom, my sister and myself, and unfortunately for my dad, our menstrual cycles often synced up. Noticing this pattern and the emotions that came with it, my dad had a brilliant idea, a punching bag. He bought a simple self-standing punching bag that you just filled with water, but what a difference it made!
Monthly female cycles or not, it gave everyone in the house a target to get rid of any unwanted aggression or tension and helped us break a sweat too! Now that I live on my own and don’t have access to a punching bag, I actually miss that outlet and that type of workout. SO after some research I came across shadow boxing, which was exactly what I needed plus I can do it at home!
What & How
Shadow boxing, put simply, is sparring with yourself or your “shadow”. You will visualize an opponent while you complete a workout by doing various punching, ducking, kicking and even jumping moves. And don’t worry, you don’t need to have any real boxing experience to do this.
You have to be sure you’re putting your full effort into each move, punching and kicking like you intend to hit an opponent, and block like your face and body depend on it! When your technique and effort are strong, you can get a great cardio based workout from shadow boxing and learn some new skills.
Shadow Boxing Benefits
Physical changes are usually the most sought after for any type of workout. So you’ll be happy to hear that shadow boxing is a full body workout. Your arms will receive more focus but the power behind punching comes from your lower body, so it is all being worked. Your core and back are actually used more in shadow boxing because you have to control your movements to a stop when sparring solo.
Shadow boxing is great for toning muscles but not necessarily for building size due to it being all bodyweight based. Adding shadow boxing into your routine can help improve strength, endurance and even your reflexes.
Shadow boxing is also great for burning calories, and who doesn’t want that! It is said that it is comparable to jogging or running at a moderate pace. Sparring with an opponent does burn more calories, but you can still burn up to 400 calories in a hour boxing solo and have no risk of injury.
Shadow boxing is meant to be mixed in with other types of workouts. For example: shadow box 2-4 times a week, 30-60 minutes each, and do something like strength training, running or yoga on the other days.
It’s free and easy to start! Go to YouTube or Pinterest or any site really and look for shadow boxing workout videos or written workouts. Then just pick a spot in the house, maybe blast some music and get in the zone. Even if you don’t have an opponent or a bag, a good workout is always a winner!
1. Basic Boxing Stance– Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, step back slightly with your dominate foot until your (dominate foot) front toe and back heel of your (non dominate) foot create a center line. Evenly distribute your weight on both legs with your knees slightly bent. Bring your hands to your just below your chin with your dominate hand in back, elbows down and hands up. Your head should be behind your hands allowing you to peek over your gloves to your opponent or shadow.
2. Jab– Begin in your basic boxing stance. Keeping your body still and core tight extend your (non dominate) front hand forward and then recoil back to your basic stance quickly.
3. Cross– Begin in your basic boxing stance. Keeping your body still and core tight extend your (dominate) back hand forward, allow your hips and back foot to pivot naturally and then recoil back to your basic stance quickly.
4. Hook– Begin in your basic boxing stance. Keeping your body still and core tight extend your (non dominate) front hand forward and towards the side of the target. Allow your hips to pivot and your front heel to lift naturally and then recoil back to your basic stance quickly.
5. Upper Cut– Begin in your basic boxing stance. Keeping your body still and core tight point your elbow down (front or back arm) drop your fist slightly and swing upward with your palm facing upwards. Allow your hips to pivot and your heel to lift naturally depending on what arm you’re using.
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