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Exercise has become a huge part of today's society values, and people in all forms are choosing to get healthy by working out. Some people go to the gym and lift weights, while some will choose exercises like swimming, running, or cycling, and others will engage in Martial Arts like Boxing, Judo, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Whichever form of exercise is chosen, people need to commit, and use their time wisely. Martial Artists are well known for their rigorous training sessions, that include extensive warm up drills, strength and conditioning workouts, mobility exercises, and functional sparring sessions. Some athletes will utilse other training methods like shadow boxing techniques, and these are highly functional, and promote extensive health benefits. 

What this article covers:

Some of the best shadow boxing workout routines involve a grueling nature, and engaging in an exercise that has a wide range of health benefits is crucial for longevity in any combat sport. Watching a Boxer from the outside perspective, and seeing them dancing around the mat punching into the air, may have people skeptical about the value of this exercise.

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is shadow boxing effective

Shadow boxing is one of those highly functional exercise routines that promotes fitness, strength and conditioning, along with a high volume of technical components. Beginners will wonder how to start shadow boxing, and there is no real wrong way of moving, from a fitness stand point. From a fight perspective shadow boxing is commonly being used to condition, and sharpen an athlete's skills for fighting, and this is why it becomes more important to utilise more definitive methods.


There is nothing more important than regular physical activity, and looking after the physical, and mental well being of your health. There are many reasons why exercise is beneficial to a person, and understanding why all people need fun and physical activity is pivotal. Engaging in physical activity can significantly improve someone's brain health, and this can translate into a calmer attitude, and a more focused mindset. Physical activity will also help someone manage their weight, and staying healthy is a good life choice. When someone exercises they are reducing their risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease, and stroke, which are the two leading causes of death in the United States of America. Type two diabetes can also be problematic along with elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even different forms of cancer. Exercise will also help the athlete to strengthen all of their bones, ligaments, tendons, and their muscles, which will only improve an athlete's ability to train in Martial Arts, and keep up with their day to day activities. 


It is a proven and tested process that shadow boxing is great for fitness. This highly functional workout routine is tailored to the fight game, and many Boxers have utilised these shadow boxing combos to sharpen their striking. Engaging in this workout will help athletes lose weight, and gain muscle mass, and any highly energetic workout like shadow boxing will burn a significant amount of calories. Losing weight and increasing fitness involves more than just exercise, as athletes will need to fuel up with the right foods, and eat enough calories so they have energy to burn. Athletes can burn hundreds of calories in a small amount of time, and because shadow boxing is a full body workout, athletes are guaranteed to improve their cardiovascular fitness.

Using many of the systems that are incorporated during a shadow boxing session, are highly dynamic, and involve high amounts of energy. What makes this workout program so effective is the ability an athlete has to modify the training to suit their objectives. If the athlete needs a higher level of cardio, then they will simply ramp up the shadow boxing, or extend each round for longer. Athletes can also incorporate sprinting exercises into their shadow boxing, or simply try long distance running while throwing strikes into the air, to work on the athlete's endurance. Even beginners will highly benefit from shadow boxing, as they will start to feel the pinch from the high calibre of moving all of their muscle groups at the same time.


There are a multitude of benefits that all athletes can gain from shadow boxing workouts. Working on form is all about improving their flow efficiency, and improving technique is to develop a good technical structure within their striking. Shadow boxing offers a great way to increase their productivity of striking, and enhances their ability to be creative with their movements. Piecing these aspects together will be a significant help in ensuring their game style is improving. In a shadow boxing drill the athlete can safely practise their form, and without fear of being punched means a mistake won't have any problematic effects.

Another vital benefit of shadow boxing is increasing an athlete's muscle memory. The neuro pathways will adopt different movements, and this means an athlete can remember certain movements without putting in any conscious thought process. The connection of the central nervous system and the muscles will act like a sponge, as it collects different forms of data. Imprinting technical movements into an athlete's muscle memory only takes repetition, and this is the reason people know how to walk, because they do it everyday. The more shadow boxing they do, and the more styles of movement they practise, then they will achieve a high level of muscle memory ability. Creating an instinctive striking style is highly beneficial to the success of any potential athlete, and adopting these systems are important.

Improving the concept of hand and eye coordination is one of the most important facets of the striking game. Without a good hand and eye coordination the athlete will continue to be outmaneuvered every time they step into the ring for a real fight. Developing instincts in fighting is crucial, and improving an athlete's reaction time is necessary for the effectiveness of the combative athlete. Athletes will need to become symbiotic between all of their body systems, this means having their hands, feet, hips, and their head all working together in unison. Athletes must dedicate themselves when they are practising their coordination skills, and using tactics like punching, blocking, and shuffling their feet at the same time can help to ingrain some more fine motor skills.

Staying on the feet in a real fight involves having a good postured base, and being balanced and light on an athlete's feet. All fighters must have a good centre of gravity, and this will benefit them in staying on their feet during real life punching exchanges. Posture and balance is all about how the fighter holds themself, and how their footwork is placed. Posture is about being strong in the spine, and not allowing an opponent to break their posture down. This will help to create a stronger and more formidable position, while an athlete is attempting to land more proficient strikes. Using punching accuracy, and power will only be dominant if the athlete is coming from a balanced position, as an unbalanced athlete will lack the natural punching system, and therefore wind up exposed to counter strikes, and takedown maneuvers. 

The benefit of utilising shadow boxing as a full body workout means the athlete will improve every aspect of the fight in one continuous movement. Some athletes have a powerful punch, or good footwork and being able to combine these all together is a huge advantage for competitive athletes. Using all of the core muscle groups in one fast and furious workout, can build a strong base, and in half the time of other traditional workout routines. Shadow boxing can be a tiring workout, and even though this may be grueling, it is only going to give the athlete a more predominant system of strength, conditioning, speed, and diversity. Any system that can push an athlete to their limits, while improving their overall flow of striking, is one that is worth its weight in gold.


Shadow boxing is a great functional workout that allows an athlete to build up their strength and conditioning systems. Shadow boxing movements are designed to mimic a real fight scenario, and athletes will be using all of their muscles at a higher energetic rate. Throwing constant jabs, crosses, and hooks for solid rounds can be extremely grueling, and this is the kind of strength building exercises that combat athletes need. Being strong doesn't necessarily mean an athlete can bench press one hundred kilograms, strength in an athlete's movements is far more valuable. Increasing strength through shadow boxing doesn't just hit the muscles, it builds strength in the bones, the tendons, and the ligaments, giving an athlete a more athletic strength. 

There are other strength building properties within a shadow boxing workout that are highly effective. Some athletes will incorporate shadow boxing with weights, and this means to hold a dumbbell, or use weighted straps on the athlete's wrists, and ankles, and continue to mimic fight movements. This can be a revolutionary way to build strength, while still performing functional movements. Another way to increase the strength building process is by adding a variety of exercises into the shadow boxing formation. Combining burpees, lunges, squats, squat jumps, and sprawling techniques are the perfect way to upgrade the exercise into a more intense session. This can also be highly effective for Mixed Martial Artists, as they will commonly use level changes, and sprawling for takedown attempts, and for takedown defense. 


Shadow boxing can make an athlete a better fighter, and this is because the workout is specifically designed to increase an athlete's overall strength, fitness, balance, posture, technique and form. Engaging in a good shadow boxing session can give the athlete all of the tools they need to improve their overall fight game. Because shadow boxing involves mimicking the exact movements of a fight, the athlete can start to develop their punching accuracy, and how they move their feet in conjunction with their punches. Developing form and movement is vital to improving fighting systems, and athletes can explore these concepts without any impact on their joints, and without fear of getting punched. 

Becoming a better fighter is all about hard work, and consistency, and this means athletes will need to put in a huge body of work to increase their efficiency, and their overall ability. Finding the right balance between all of the appropriate aspects can prove complicated, but with a positive frame of mind an athlete can take a step in the right direction. Using shadow boxing will only sharpen an athlete's punches, and this is going to have a diverse effect on how they can strike within a real fight. Bolstering up an athlete's punching arsenal is vital, and muay thai shadow boxing is a great way to achieve this. Incorporating elbow, knee, and foot strikes are highly recommended for MMA or Muay Thai athletes, and using these skills will only increase the intensity of the workout.

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what does shadow boxing do


Beginners in Martial Arts may have heard the term "fight IQ", and this is an extremely important concept of the fight game. Having a fighting intelligence can be gifted to a natural athlete, but in most cases it is something that must be trained. Building up a significant fight IQ, firstly involves learning the knowledge, and this means every attack, every defense, every counter movement, and every avenue towards the win. Intelligence in the fight game is crucial in the modern era, because fighters are smarter, trainers have better systems, and the availability of the knowledge is easy to access. Developing a strategic mindset is like engaging in the art of war, or playing a game of chess, all athletes need to make the right decisions, but still maintain speed, and control.

All of the best fighters in the past like Mohammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, and Joe Frazier all utilised this old school mentality of using their fight intelligence. Winning a fight is not always going to be about the better fighter, the faster fighter, or the stronger fighter, it is more predominantly about the smarter fighter, or the fighter that makes the smarter moves. Training to be an excellent striker is only half the battle, as becoming a capable competitor is another skill entirely. Some athletes are exceptional on the training mats, but struggle during a real match, so the trick is training an athlete's fight intelligence so they are highly capable of winning a fight. Of course any athlete has a puncher's chance, but a true tactician of the game will have an intricate and systematic approach to winning against their opponents.

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