If you’ve ever thought you couldn’t exercise because you didn’t have any equipment, think again.

Shadow boxing might just be the thing you need. When it comes to my own fitness regimen, I like to include elements of boxing and kickboxing into most of my workouts. This is especially true when I am travelling and don’t have access to exercise equipment.

Any sort of boxing might sound intimidating if your only frame of reference is UFC matches. The beauty of shadow boxing is that while it entails integrating movements from boxing into your routine, it does not involve any of the other elements you may have seen on TV. There’s no fighting in a ring and as such, there’s no risk of head trauma. It’s just you, throwing punches at an invisible opponent.

Shadow boxing is a great way to get a low impact, fat-burning, full-body cardiovascular workout while also building muscle memory and improving hand-eye coordination. I’m not the only one who recognizes the benefits of shadow boxing, studies like this one from Harvard Health have shown that boxing routines can reduce obesity, improve strength, endurance, and balance.

Boxing vs. Kickboxing

The two types of shadow boxing I integrate into my practice are boxing and kickboxing. Below I’ll briefly share a bit about each along with videos that demonstrate how you would practice each.

Boxing combinations involve all major muscle groups, and most importantly, engage the core muscles with trunk twisting punching movements. Here is a great video done by Olympic medalist, Tony Jeffries, that explains combinations for beginners:

Kickboxing movements can help to loosen tight hip-flexors and improve overall hip mobility. This video for beginners shows how you can combine punching, kicking, knees, and elbows for a low-impact cardiovascular workout:

Helpful Tips

Since I’ve been practicing for some time, I have a few tips that you might find helpful if you’ve never tried shadow boxing before:

  • Remember to maintain good form and put some snap on those punches.
  • Don’t forget to concentrate on rotating your hips throughout the movements, as this is where power comes from.
  • Start slowly with three-minute rounds with rest in between, and gradually increase the time.
  • If you’d like to make it a bit more challenging, you can hold light weights in your hands or add in some jump rope in between rounds.
  • If you’d like to take it a step further, you might want to get some inexpensive boxing gloves and put up a punching bag in your basement or garage.

So next time you are looking for a quick total body workout, try shadow boxing.

You might end up enjoying it as much as I do!