Workout Wednesday #6
Shadow Boxing is a staple part of any professional fighters workout and should not be overlooked by anyone interested in improving their craft. Regardless of your level or experience it can be assest to your training routine and comes with many benefits when used on a regular basis.
These benefits are:
Shadow Boxing gives you a chance to think about your footwork without the pressure of an opponent; giving you the opportunity to practice using your footwork to close the distance or evade an opponent, move from side to side and to work on creating angles by integrating pivots or steps fluidly into your movement.
Improved head movement
Shadow Boxing gives you the opportunity to focus on your head movement, especially when being used solely for defensive and evasive purposes. It gives you the freedom to work on your head movement before and after punches, making sure that over time it becomes second nature for you to slip, dip, dodge and dive like a pro.
Shadow Boxing is a chance for you to experiment. Try throwing punches from different angles or from different points within your movement. Practicing this will force your body to adjust and adapt to different ways of using techniques and improve your overall co-ordination. Focus on making the movements and strikes feel as natural as possible, nothing should feel forced.
It can be difficult to comfortably throw long combinations in a fight or whilst sparring and you may find yourself just snapping out a jab or throwing singular techniques, the same may apply to your head movement or footwork.
Shadow Boxing allows you to focus on finding your natural rhythm and helps develop it for practical use. Try and stay relaxed and loose throughout your body; you can work on your rhythm by working through multiple movements. Eg: 4 attacks, 4 evasive head movements, 4 steps, pivots or bounces. Keeping each segment seperate allows you to work on your rhythm for each type of movement, once you feel comfortable with this you can start to mix them up.
Shadow Boxing is perfect time to really drill down on any areas of your technique which need improving. Using the mirror when working on technique is hugely beneficial.
Focus on throwing the technique slowly to begin with, making sure each one is thrown correctly, slowly speeding the movement back up to a practical speed. Repetition is key here, you need to re-teach your body the correct movement or position and make it muscle memory.
Physical cues can be useful too, for example if your guard is often too low make sure that everytime you start or finish a combination or evasive movement you tap your gloves to your cheeks reminding yourself of where your hands should be.
Improved fight strategy and fight intelligence
Shadow Boxing is key to improving strategy when sparring or fighting. You can use it to practice 'evade and counter movements' or to find different ways to avoid a jab. Perhaps you have difficulty moving in to range, or have a bad habit of always peddling backwards when under attack. All of these scenarios can be played out and worked on when Shadow Boxing.
Allows for visualisation of different scenarios, Opponents and outcomes
Being able to visualise different opponents and their different styles is crucial to Shadow Boxing. If you can prepare yourself for all types of opponent, visualise how the fight might go and then practice the possible responses for each one, you will find yourself far more prepared for the real thing.
Try and work on your strategies for fighting or sparring aggressive fighters, defensive fighters and counter punchers. Think about how you would deal with each scenario and what your responses would be, then try and implement them in your Shadow Boxing.
Put 10 - 15 minutes on the clock. Try and work consistently throughout the whole time period. You should not be exhausting yourself, stay relaxed but focused and when you need to, shake it out and walk around a bit before starting up again.
*Shadow Boxing can also be used as a tool for more intense workouts but we will cover this another week.
So there you have it...
There are just too many reasons to Shadow Box that if you're not doing it regularly then you should be! Or maybe you are and this article will help you refocus your time spent Shadow Boxing to get the most out of your workout.
Plus, you can do this anywhere, anytime, no gym or equipment needed!
We'd love to know how you get on or if you have any questions.
The Springhealth Team