What is Shadow Boxing and what is its purpose?

I have always wondered what was so fascinating with fighting with yourself. You know, on a Friday night after one-too many drinks and that guy is walking down the road swearing and punching the air. I thought they were crazy, but then I learnt these guys were actually shadow boxing! No? Well I guess it’s not quite the same thing.


My coach has recently put quite a bit of emphasis on shadow boxing and explained in short that shadow boxing helps with building technique and muscle memory, and I was like “WOW! For real?” It also helps you when punching or kicking an opponent and you miss. Your body gets used to this and you won’t get so tired, so quickly. Well I decided to read up on it and gain some more knowledge on the subject.

Shadow Boxing is not just punching by yourself

So what exactly is Shadow Boxing? OK, in laments terms, shadow boxing is when a fighter moves around by himself while throwing punches and kicks to the air (also, bobbing and weaving to avoid punches). So even though, those guys on a Friday night were not shadow boxing, they were emulating some sort of shadow boxing movement.

With that said, here are some advantages to shadow boxing:
  • You can practice anywhere and at any time
  • You can practice without the distraction of a punching bag (moving around) or an opponent (trying to hit you)
  • You get feedback immediately (from the mirror, or you coach)
  • It helps with improving your technique
  • It builds muscle memory
  • It helps you visualize fight scenarios
  • It helps with warming up the muscles (before sparring or a fight)
  • It helps with rhythm, co-ordination and strategy

There are however, also disadvantages:
  • It’s not real
  • You can’t adjust to your opponent as you would in a fight
  • A real opponent won’t move the way you will

I have never really considered shadow boxing to be such an imperative part of training. Guess I’ll have to change my train of thought.

References:
ExpertBoxing.com (read this article for a more in depth view on shadow boxing)

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