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The importance of shadow boxing

If you are now practicing combat sports (whether it is Thai boxing, English boxing or even mma), you know that shadow boxing is absolutely fundamental!

The king of boxers, shadow boxing has many advantages. Let's see together why to do shadow boxing, how to do it and typical shadow boxing sessions.

Shadow boxing: what is it?

Shadow boxing is one of the most important exercises in boxing. Shadow boxing literally means "shadow boxing" and consists to box by imagining an opponent. It is an exercise which involves a minimum of creativity and which can be practiced at all levels: beginner as well as confirmed.

Many professional boxers use shadowboxing to improve their techniques and physical condition.

Whether it is French boxing, Thai boxing, kick boxing or even English boxing, shadowboxing will allow you to improve your technique, your footwork and your defense.

As you imagine an opponent, you will have to adapt to various situations. Shadowboxing involves focusing on the movements as you are alone with your fighting technique.

Demonstration by Mike Tyson:

Shadow boxing

Why shadowboxing?

Shadowboxer is great for working on technique, stamina and speed . All this without the need for hardware.

The advantage of shadowboxing is that you box without someone hitting you . It is therefore the ideal exercise in the event of an injury.

Small demonstration of Saenchai, legend of Muay Thai, who perfectly masters the techniques of Muay Thai:

2 ways to shadow boxing

There are 2 types of shadow boxing: warm-up shadow boxing and shadow boxing as a real exercise in its own right .

The difference between these two types of shadow boxing concerns the intensity of the effort and the time of the training. If you want to do shadow boxing as a warm-up then you will work slowly so as not to injure yourself. Shadowboxing 5 - 10 minutes before training is a good way to warm up.

But shadowboxing is not just a warm-up exercise . It is a full-fledged exercise that will help you progress. Shadow boxing is an exercise to include in your training session. In boxing clubs, we do a lot of shadowboxing. It's not for nothing!

Shadow boxing is really an exercise in its own right and therefore you can work on your technique and your speed of execution.

One of the best things about shadow boxing is that it's done on your own.

Shadow boxing

Shadow boxing to improve your technique

Shadow boxing allows you to improve your boxing technique without being disturbed by an opponent.

It's not about sending blows without thinking! With shadowboxing you have to work your combinations . Combine your fist techniques with your feet, your elbows with your knees (if you are a practitioner of Muay Thai).

Shadow boxing is not just about throwing hits , you also have to work on your defense by imagining the hits that the opponent can deliver to you

For shadowboxer while working your defense, you can do dodges, blocks or counters. Don't limit yourself.

The main thing is to be creative and to shadowbox by imagining an opponent .


You are on your own when doing shadow boxing, so you can take the time to perfect your boxing skills. Imagine yourself in a ring with an opponent in front of you. Work on your combinations.

To do shadowboxing, you have to think about it and not just throw blows but rather try new things, new combinations.

With shadow boxing you can and you have to work on your technique. For that nothing better than to train in front of a mirror and to self-correct.

For a beginner, shadowboxing is a great way to learn about boxing.

For a more advanced boxer, this is a great exercise to work on your technique.

Types of shadow boxing training

There are different ways to practice shadowboxing.

1. You can shadowbox with a partner

With a partner, training is always more motivating. Plus, shadowboxing with a partner is like fighting without touching yourself. The ideal is to get face to face and send!

2. Shadowboxer with a coach

With a coach, the advantage is that he will correct you. You will therefore be able to progress under his supervision.

3. Shadowboxer alone

Shadowboxing is an exercise that can be practiced alone . The ideal in this case is to train in front of a mirror.

4. Shadowboxer around a punching bag

The punching bag is a boxer's best tool. For shadow boxing, the punching bag is a good way. Touch the punching bag without touching it, but the important thing is to move around it.

5. Shadow boxing with resistance bands

Resistance bands are a great way to increase the intensity of your shadowboxing.

Shadowboxing type training at home

Here is an example of a 20 minute shadowboxing training that you can do at home alone and without boxing equipment.

  • 2 minutes of running: to start the warm-up
  • 2 minutes of shadowboxing: low intensity
  • 30 seconds of push-ups: go down and up slowly
  • 1 minute squat
  • 1 minute lunges
  • 1 minute Burpees
  • 2 minute rest
  • 2 minutes of shadowboxing with only fists
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 2 minutes of shadowboxing with only the legs
  • 30 seconds of rest
  • 2 minutes of free shadowboxing (legs and fists)
  • 15 seconds of rest
  • 2 minutes of shadowboxing only defensive
  • 1 minute 30 of running

You can repeat the cycle as much as you want and adjust the intensity according to your level. What is important is to train in a serious way.

To do this training you don't need any material. You can obviously add weights on your hands or legs for a higher intensity.

Shadowboxing is a training exercise in its own right

Slowly work your movements, and seek to perfect each of them so that they become perfect. The more you repeat your boxing movements during your shadow, the more they will be effective in concrete situations.

The shadow allows you to work on your movements and improve the fluidity and ease of your sequences You can also use resistance bands for even higher intensity.

Boxing in a vacuum will allow you to develop your abilities and skills.

Remember to work on your technique when doing shadow boxing . This means that you have to think about your supports, your guard, the pivot and working with all the body weight.

The shadowboxing also improves coordination. Indeed, when you shadowbox you must always be on the move, which implies taking the right information and remaining reactive.

It's the same in the ring. You don't have to stay static. A good tip is to imagine yourself as a very aggressive opponent when shadowboxing.

For this you have to work on your footwork.

When to shadow boxing?

Shadow boxing can take up 25 or 30% of your training. You can shadowbox at the beginning and at the end of the training but also during the minutes of rest as an active recovery. On a training that lasts one hour, this represents 15 minutes of shadow boxing.

Obviously, if you integrate your shadow fully into your session, this duration can increase.

In any case, shadow boxing training can only be beneficial .

You can even shadow at work, during your breaks!

Shadowboxer is not very complicated, you just need to be creative to have good shadowboxing .

Shadow boxing in front of a mirror

shadow boxing can be practiced anywhere: in the gym or at home. By practicing in front of a mirror, you will be able to correct your slightest faults.

As with all exercises, the repetition leads to perfection. By repeating the gestures and techniques learned during training, the boxer memorizes and develops his reflexes. That's why we have to do serious shadowboxing.

"In boxing the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle." - Julien Lorcy

In conclusion, having good shadow boxing is a great way to progress in boxing and it is an exercise to include in your training sessions. training if it is not already done.

Whatever combat sport you play, as long as you have to use your fists, then shadowboxing is a must.

Shadowboxing is an addicting exercise! Over time, you will find yourself shadowboxing anywhere (even at work).

If you found this article interesting, please share it with others who may benefit from it. Also, if you have any additional tips please add them to the comments section.

In the same theme, find our article " Improving your breathing during a fight ".

Have a good training!

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