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Combat sports have been around for thousands of years, and utilising striking techniques is crucial in a competitive fight, and in a real life street altercation. There are many different types of striking arts that are extremely technical, and use considerable amounts of power. Kickboxing, Thai Boxing, and Boxing are the three most potent forms, as they all train in full contact, and with precision and power. Professional Boxing is still the most popular combat sport in America, and even though the art was deemed out of touch to the modern era, it has surged in popularity in more recent times. Many young Americans are training hard, and aspiring to become world class strikers in Boxing, and in Mixed Martial Arts. 

What this article covers:

With the recent elevation of Boxing in the United States of America, and with the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts, striking is coming back with a vengeance. Nowadays athletes are more consistent with their Martial Arts ability, as they look to combine striking, and grappling arts into their repertoire. The popularity of Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC, has driven the need for more extensive workout routines.

The Shadow Boxing Masterclass is available at DynamicStriking.com!

shadow boxing drills

Athletes will train hard in all disciplines, but what can commonly be overlooked is the simple functionality for the direct sport they are training for. For example lifting heavy weights for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is just not functional, as the art uses complex angles, meaning athletes need a different style of strength training. This is the same with boxing, as the art relies upon diverse training methods that involve shadow boxing, pad work, sparring, heavy bag work, and a series of technical workout routines.


Shadow boxing is the concept of simulating a fight, by punching into the air, and moving around the canvas in a constructive way. Athletes can master their movements by circling around their pretend opponent, and using blocks, ducks, feints, slips, and other technical movements used in Boxing. Shadow boxing will help an athlete to develop considerable foot speed, and agility within their movements, as well as hand and eye coordination, which is beneficial to their punching technique and accuracy. The development of an athlete's punching arsenal can be improved significantly utilising this kind of workout routine. Shadow boxing is a full body workout that uses high energy, dynamic movements, with very little impact on an athlete's body. All of these movements are used with the specific design of mastering movement, improving strength, increasing mobility, and building up a better cardiovascular fitness. Many of the great Boxers of all time like Floyd Mayweather, Roy Jones Jr, Mike Tyson, and Mohammed Ali all used shadow boxing to practise their movements, and to build up their cardiovascular ability.


There are proven benefits of shadow boxing that all strikers are highly aware of. The most important benefit is how shadow boxing will improve an athlete's form, and their technique. Sometimes sparring against an opponent can be messy, and highly unpredictable, so it can be hard for an athlete to perfect their form. Shadow boxing is a good way of perfecting an athlete's precision, as they can practise combinations, and really put significant time into their stance, without the fear of being punched. This is also a great way to increase an athlete's muscle memory, and in a high calibre sport like Boxing or Mixed Martial Arts, this is essential. Building up a good muscle memory will improve an athlete's accuracy, and will help to build up good habits instead of falling into bad ones.

Another important concept of shadow boxing is for an athlete to work on their balance. Throwing strikes into the air, while using good footwork can help athletes master their centre of gravity, and always know how to stand within their own base structure. This is a vital concept that is hard to improve if an athlete is suffering from a constant barrage of punches. Another excellent benefit of shadow boxing is the cardiovascular workout an athlete will endure. Boxing is all about speed, power, agility, and resilience, and incorporating an intense workout like shadow boxing will improve an athlete's overall fitness level rapidly. Increasing the heart rate, and burning fat, will only result in more muscle tone, and a greater lung capacity, which is what is needed to become extremely proficient in Boxing.

One of the most important aspects in Boxing is head movement. Sometimes the head will telegraph where the punches will go, so it is important for athletes to work on their head movement extensively in training. Shadow boxing is one of the best ways to practice head movements, and this is because they can move with the freedom of not taking damage. This will build up significant confidence, and help the athlete to build a constructive pathway for their striking movements. Using head fakes, and roll unders with the head is extremely pivotal in evading punches in a Boxing exchange, and if an athlete has trained consistently then they will always be ready to capitalise on counter striking opportunities after dodging an opponent's attack.

The striking game is all about reflexes, and instincts, and this can have a diverse effect on how an athlete will fight. All athletes need to build up their reflexes, so they are fast with their reaction time. This is why shadow boxing can help with speed and form, and once a real training partner is in front of them they will have a better reflex system. Fighting is instinctive, and athletes that have trained for a long time will understand this concept, but for beginners to the art this concept will take time to build. Shadow boxing is a good way to turn their striking processes into an instinctive action, and this is because shadow boxing will connect punching with evasion techniques like slipping, rolling, ducking, feinting, side stepping and circling.


Like any combat sport, warming up is essential to improving, and for the prevention of injuries from occurring. In the modern day of combative striking, there are too many avenues that can lead to injuries, and the dangerous part about striking is an athlete can suffer from concussion, and haematomas to the head. This is why warming up the right way is pivotal to the long term health of an athlete. In Boxing, the brain can bounce around inside of an athlete's skull, so they must protect themselves from multiple shots to the head and neck region. Warm up drills will help an athlete stay limber, and will result in more effective movements, and this can help them evade many different types of injury. It is also important to warm up the neck, and this is because the cervical spine is crucial to supporting the head, and the brain. Too often an athlete can take punches to the head, which can cause a whiplash effect, so the benefits of warming up the neck is instrumental to longevity within the sport.


Developing a formidable striking game starts at the core, and before an athlete should worry about their power, or their ability to win a sparring match, they need to practise their footwork and their form. This means working on the fundamentals of the Boxing game like ducking and weaving, slipping and feinting, blocking and countering, and speed and accuracy with their striking. Utilising shadow boxing drills is the perfect method for building an efficient game style. There are many different shadow boxing techniques that are pivotal in helping an athlete become impenetrable with their defense systems, and ferocious with their attacking capabilities. 

A good system to follow always begins with the warmup, and this can be anything like jogging for a few minutes to warm up the muscles, before stretching out any sore spots, or tight spots. The next step is to loosen up the arms, so the athlete has a greater punching efficiency. This can be as easy as pushups for thirty seconds, and arm raises for thirty seconds. For more seasoned athletes this can be higher reps, or slower and more controlled movements, but the result being to loosen up the arms not to overwork them. Next the athlete should loosen up their legs by doing squats, lunges, mountain climbers, or squat jumps. These exercises should be thirty second intervals, but done with explosive power. Repeating this process a few times is perfect, but athletes must make sure they do not push themselves too hard, as this is simply a warmup.

After the warmups athlete's can start their shadow boxing rounds, and they can set two minute rounds, or until they need to rest. The key component to shadow boxing is staying light on the feet, while throwing continuous strikes like jabs, crosses, uppercuts, hooks and basically any shadow boxing combinations they choose. It is also important to filter in ducking, slipping, feinting, and blocking into the exercise. This type of drill should have an athlete breathing heavily, and repeating this several times can be highly beneficial to the athlete.  It is imperative that all athletes put significant time into their footwork, using pivots and side steps, while still maintaining the speed within their punches. Rest rounds should only be one minute at the most, and this is to replicate high interval training, which is vital to competing in a real Boxing fight.

Another drill that athletes can utilise is to add different strength exercises to the shadow boxing session. This means to start by throwing combinations, and then sprawling into a pushup, or a burpee position, before jumping up and throwing punches again. This is a great way to simulate a real fight, as athletes will need a considerable amount of cardio, and repetition to get back to their feet. One of the hardest aspects, especially in Mixed Martial Arts, is taking the fight down to the mat, and then getting back up to their feet again, and when this happens numerous times during a fight it can take a heavy physical toll on the athlete. This is why it is important to simulate this type of scenario in training, so the athlete is prepared for the adrenaline dump in a fight.


Shadow boxing can be more than just a fitness workout, it can effectively increase an athlete's overall strength. Any movements that incorporate squatting will begin to burn the core muscle groups, and will successfully build strength. Athletes can also try shadow boxing with weights, and this can be extremely beneficial, as the actions will result in a high level of strength and fitness. Using dumbbells in a functional way will not only build strength, but when the athlete puts down the weights, they will feel considerably lighter. Getting used to punching with weights means the athlete will build a faster punch, which will also result in more power. Some athletes will also incorporate different strength exercises into their shadow boxing like squats, lunges, pushups, burpees, and other types of strength workouts.


Shadow boxing involves moving around in circular motions, stepping the feet in an out, while throwing punches, and bodily movements. This will result in a highly effective workout routine, and anyone attempting this type of workout may ask can shadow boxing build muscle. Not only will shadow boxing build muscle, it will effectively increase an athlete's cardiovascular fitness, which will result in burning fat cells. There is a common myth that people can turn fat into muscle just by lifting weights or working out. This is untrue, as lifting weights will only build muscle, losing weight involves burning more calories than someone can eat. The best way to burn calories is with cardiovascular workouts like shadow boxing. The best part of shadow boxing is the harder, and longer the person works for, the more easily they will strip away their fat. 

The Shadow Boxing Masterclass is available at DynamicStriking.com!

shadow boxing routines


In the modern era people are under many different forms of stress, and finding the right stress relief can help reduce mental anguish. Martial Arts is one of the most iconic ways to reduce stress, and this is highly recommended by many health professionals. Martial Arts is a great way to redirect a person's anger, or sadness, and put the energy into a fully functional body workout. This is seen exponentially in grappling and striking Martial Arts, as they offer guidance from instructors, and a safe place they can release their tensions. There is nothing like punching a bag, and relieving the stress, or using shadow boxing as a way to alleviate the stresses of life. Shadow boxing uses a high amount of energy, which will increase the endorphins in the human body. Physical activity is proven to ramp up the production of the neurotransmitters inside the human brain, which will effectively cause a reverse reaction to stress, and help an athlete to calm down, and to feel good.

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