Shadowboxing is an excellent way to get your body moving. It can be done anywhere, any place and any time. Shadowboxing will prepare your body and mind before you do stronger physical activity. It is for this reason that we start every FightFit class with shadowboxing, noting that we do it in a “rhythmic, high-paced human movement” kind of way.
Most great boxing trainers get their fighters starting the workout with shadowboxing. However, this is not limited to just combat sports. If you are lifting weights, you should always do warm-up sets after warm-up cardio. Yoga and Pilates move the body to warm up. Every effective form of working out involves you “mimicking” the movements you will do later in the workout. Within FightFit, as you be blending the best bits of kickboxing, weights, cardio, tabata, yoga and pilates, starting off with shadowboxing is imperative.
The benefits of shadowboxing to you (as part of a highly intense workout) are:
- It gets your muscles warmed up and ready for the more intense workout to come. Therefore, do not do shadowboxing half-heartedly. It is an integral part of the workout;
- Following the above, shadowboxing gets your mind ready for what is to come. Shadowboxing is like a ritual done at the beginning of the workout. It is like a tennis player who bounces the ball a certain number of times before serving. It is a ritual to prepare you mentally. Treat your shadowboxing to the tennis player;
- You start getting into a rhythm. When you get your body and mind into the flow of the workout, you will always perform much better;
- If you can see yourself in the mirror, you can start to assess your technique. It helps you self-correct what you are doing. It turns your workout into a session of “continual improvement”.
For those of you more focused on serious martial arts / self-defence, shadowboxing helps you:
- Really improve your punches, kicks, throws and grappling technique;
- Increases power, particularly as you are working on your speed (noting that power = strength x speed);
- Helps with your muscular and cardio endurance;
- Improves your rhythm, co-ordination and movement. A lot of people do not know how to move correctly. That is why people pick up so many injuries. Shadowboxing will help you learn how to move the body correctly, which will help when the workout gets more intense;
- Aids your footwork. Your legs are your biggest muscles. Moving the legs will increase calorie burn. Moving your feet improves your agility;
- Helps you with calm offence and calm defence. Fighters that only hit the heavy bag and pads are often static and trying to load up on every shot. They are always trying to hit as hard as possible, which is not always the best thing for your sparring (particularly as you are so tense). When you shadowbox, you are learning how to hit while moving. You are learning to hit while the muscles are relaxed. You become fluid. This is far better for your sparring; and
- Benefits your overall fighting abilities.
At FightFit, we shadowbox differently. We use punches, kicks, elbows and knees. You get a better workout when you use 8 weapons rather than 2. We also believe in the power of music, and therefore shadowbox in time to it. You must keep up with the pace of the music, which forces you to work harder and burn more calories. I look on this as a good thing, as you cannot slacken off, you are getting into a beat, and you are working damn hard. This sets a really positive tone for the rest of the workout. This is what you want from your shadowboxing.
For a unique and fun way of shadowboxing (prior to getting a terrific fitness experience), come down and try a FightFit class. You have nothing to lose except calories, weight and stress.
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